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Home > Courses > Undergraduate > Geography, Politics and International Relations
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Geography, Politics and International Relations BSc

UCAS code FL82
Year of entry 2017
Course Length
3 years full time
Department Geography »
Politics and International Relations »

Vastly improved communication, economic globalisation, and the emergence of new political powers are some of the factors that have conspired to make our world smaller and more complex than ever before. Geography, Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London prepares students to tackle some of the modern world’s most crucial and compelling issues and develop the critical tools required to understand them.

This flexible joint degree programme enables you to combine a variety of disciplines in both the Department of Geography and the Department of Politics and International Relations. You’ll have the chance to tailor your learning in years 2 and 3, selecting from a range of optional modules to suit your ambitions and interests. As part of your studies, you'll be offered exciting fieldwork opportunities in the UK and abroad giving you the chance to bond with fellow students in a close, community-focussed department.

The Department of Geography was ranked 2nd in the UK for research by the Research Excellence Framework 2014, while the Department of Politics and International Relations was named 10th in the country for research intensity. This means you'll experience teaching that is informed by leading research and delivered by enthusiastic, expert academics.

Follow your passion for Geography, Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway and you’ll have the opportunity to study some of the most compelling global issues of our times, graduating with the skills and knowledge you need to progress into a rewarding career or further postgraduate study.

  • Study a joint honours degree across two challenging subjects: Geography and Politics and International Relations.
  • Enjoy extensive fieldwork opportunities in locations currently including Andalusia, Cyprus, Malawi, London and New York.
  • Join a department which has received the highest student satisfaction results in every National Student Survey (NSS) since 2011.
  • Be part of a supportive learning environment, with small group seminars and tutorials encouraging development and cooperation.

Core modules

Year 1

Geography: Human Geography 1 - Cultures, Economies, Histories

In this module you will engage with key issues in human geography. You will consider human geography as a distinctive way to approach the world, examining key questions about globalisation, inequality, identity and the nature of place. You will look at approaches to economic, cultural and historical geography, and the development of the discipline, celebrating geographers’ active involvement in the challenges facing humanity.

Geography: Human Geography 2 - Politics, Society, Development and Environments

This module will introduce you to human geographical perspectives on political processes, societies, development and the environment. You will develop an appreciation of the importance of scale, networks and spatial patterns, and how geographers have approached the challenges of inequality at local, national and global scales.

Geography: Geographical Field and Research Training 1 (for Human Geography)

In this module you will develop your practical research skills on a week-long fieldtrip to Andalusia in Southern Spain. You will spend four days, guided by staff, looking at specific local examples of environmental, social, economic and cultural processes. You will then spend two days, working in small groups, conducting a short piece of original research on a topic of your choice.

Geography: Geographical Techniques 1 (for Human Geography)

This module will provide you with an introduction to the methods for collecting, interpreting and presenting human geographical information. You will conduct human geography fieldwork in the local area, with activities including exploratory and inferential data analysis, questionnaire design, interviewing, and visual and textual interpretation.

Geography: Digital Geographies - Introduction to Remote Sensing and GIS

This module will provide you with an introduction to the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in human geographical research, giving you practical experience in the use of ArcMap (an industry-leading GIS software package). You will look at the use of satellite remote sensing for census classifications and boundaries, and volunteered geographic information.

The core modules in Politics are:

Introduction to Politics and Government

This module will introduce you to the academic study of politics and to the ‘real world’ of contemporary politics. As a foundational course, it will give you all the essential tools to understand the nature of politics and analyse the way different political systems work. You will be introduced to key concepts such as politics, power, rights, ideologies, democracy and representation, and will learn about the different actors, institutions and processes that make up politics today.

Introduction to International Relations

This module offers a broad introduction to theory and history in international relations since 1870. You will look at a variety of different theoretical lenses, ranging from orthodox to critical perspectives, in order to understand events from the collapse of the Bismarckian European order and the origins of World War 1 to the contemporary War on Terror. Along the way you will also explore the origins and the end of the Cold War, decolonisation and the End of Empire, the rise of international institutions, humanitarian intervention and new security issues.

Year 2

Geography: Geographical Techniques 2 (for Human Geography)

In this module you will develop your skills in research design, data collection and analysis. You will learn how to handle and process advanced human geography data sets, and further your ability to apply geographical information systems (GIS) techniques. You will also start to plan your dissertation, thinking about proposal design, and risk and research ethics assessments.

Geography: Geographical Field Training (for Human Geography)

In this module you will have the opportunity to conduct field research in Malawi, New York, or London, with each destination focussing on a different area of Geography. You will develop your ability to analyse and problem-solve in the field, collecting, interpreting and combining different types of geographical evidence.

Year 3

All modules are optional

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

Only core modules taken

Year 2

Geography: Political Geography

Geography: Cities - Society, Economy and Space

Geography: Cultural Geography

Geography: Perspectives on Development

Optional modules in Politics include:

European Union - Politics and Theory


Comparative European Politics and Institutions


International Relations Theory


Introduction to Global Studies


Democracy in Britain


Contemporary Political Theory


International Political Economy


The Politics of Migration and Ethnicity


Empire and Decolonisation


Political Behaviour


War and Security in World Politics


Modern Political Thought


International Organisations


The Politics of Human Rights


Introduction to Political Communication


Year 3

Geography: Regeneration and Urban Policy

Geography: The Geographies Of Commodities

Geography: Post-Capitalist Cities

Geography: Geopolitics of Media and Communications

Geography: Images of Earth - from Homer to Google

Geography: Exploration, Science and Making of Geography

Geography: Geography of Museums and Collections

Geography: Geopolitics on Film

Geography: Creative Geographies

Geography: Geographies of Home

Geography: Fairtrade and Ethical Consumption

Geography: Cities and Development in the Global South

Geography: Mobilities

Geography: Challenging Development? Disasters, Conflict and Human (In)Security

Geography: Critical GIS

Geography: Cultural Imaginations of Nature

Geography: Dissertation

Optional modules in Politics include:

Public Policy and Foreign Policy in the European Union


Political Sociology


The Politics of the Internet and the Information Society


The Politics of Modern Germany


Radical Political Theory


The British in India - a Social and Political History


The Politics of Toleration


Social Justice - From Theory to Practice


Contemporary Middle East Politics


Comparative Democracy and Elections


US Foreign Policy


Issues in Democratic Theory


Advanced Readings in Global Studies


Comparative Foreign Policy


The Making of Modern South Asia


Gendered Communities - Women and Nationalism in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia


Advanced Seminar in British Politics


Transational Security Studies


Resistance to Global Governance


The Politics of Africa


Defence in the Post-Cold War World


Thinking Security - The Theory, Politics and Practice of Security


War and its Aftermath


Chinese Foreign and Security Policy


Visual Politics


Global Crime


Statecraft and Diplomacy


Terrorism and Counterterrorism


Non-State Violence


Understanding China's Rise


Conflict and Law




The course has a modular structure, whereby students take four course units per year. These are typically two units per year in each department. Some course units are compulsory while others are options thereby offering flexibility and choice.

Assessment is by a mixture of coursework and end-of-year examination in varying proportions, depending on the course units you choose to take. In the final year, you will write a dissertation on a topic of your choice which you will research and write with individual guidance from your tutor. The first year is foundational and marks do not count towards your final degree. The second year and final year marks do count, with more importance being given to the final year marks in order to reward progress and achievement.

In your Geography units, you will be taught through a combination of lectures and small seminar groups, tutorials and practical workshops. The department has a substantial and varied programme of field training and laboratory work, giving you the opportunity to apply your skills and knowledge in a practical setting. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources including the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle, which provides a wide range of supporting materials.

We use a range of assessment models to suit different learning styles, from fieldwork exercises and reports, individual and group presentations to coursework essays and examinations.  In your final year you will have the opportunity to write a research-led dissertation.

Meanwhile, in your Politics and International Relations units, you will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and seminars. Outside class teaching, you will work both independently and collaboratively with other students, researching topics in the preparation for class discussion and producing your assessed coursework. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources and the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle.

The department has a number of special online learning resources, such as access to the full collection of the prestigious Oxford Handbooks of Political Science and the entire Communication and Mass Media Complete journals database. All our academic staff hold regular drop-in consultation sessions with students and, when you start with us, you will be assigned a Personal Tutor to support you academically and personally.

Most modules contain an element of assessed coursework, such as an essay, a report, group work, a research blog, or a presentation, which contributes to the final examination mark awarded. The results of the first year exams qualify you to progress to the second year but do not contribute to your final degree award. The second and final year results do contribute to the final degree result, with the final year work counting double that of the second year.

Typical offers

Typical offers


The offer given will take into consideration:

  • The educational context in which academic achievements have been gained.
  • Whether the Extended Project Qualification is being taken.
  • At least five GCSE passes at grade A*-C including English and Mathematics.
Required/preferred subjects  
Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level with a minimum of 32 points overall.
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a related subject.
BTEC National Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction in a related subject plus 1 A level grade B.
BTEC National Extended Certificate Distinction plus A levels grade BB.
Welsh Baccalaureate Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate.
Scottish Advanced Highers AB at Advanced Higher, in combination with Highers at the published level.
Scottish Highers AABBB at Higher, in combination with Advanced Highers at the published level.
Irish Leaving Certificate H2,H2,H3,H3,H3 at Higher Level.
Access to Higher Education Diploma

Pass in a relevant subject with at least 30 level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits at Merit. Please note that the Access to the Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant has had a considerable break from education.

Other UK qualifications

Please select your UK qualification from the drop-down list below

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International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language
IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in all other subscores. For equivalencies please see here

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

The breadth and diversity of this programme prepares graduates for excellent employability prospects in a number of different sectors.

Our close industry links give students the chance to enjoy professional workplace placements in some of the country’s leading companies. Our outstanding record of success for work and further study puts Royal Holloway in the top 10 for graduate career prospects (Complete University Guide, 2015). .

You'll acquire a wide range of important transferable skills, enabling you to approach problems in a rigorous, analytical and critical way and to communicate clearly and concisely in both speech and writing. Our graduates leave us with skills and knowledge that not only makes them attractive to employers in a broad spectrum of careers, but prepares them for further advanced study and research.

Geography graduates are in demand in fields including environmental conservation, NGOs and media relations, while International Relations alumni often progress to the public sector, as parliamentary researchers, as civil servants or journalists.

Many of our politics graduates also go on to further study, entering postgraduate programmes both at Royal Holloway and at other prestigious institutions around the world. In fact, our most recent graduates are enhancing their skills with further study or forging careers in companies and institutions such as:

  • Bloomberg
  • Citigroup
  • The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
  • The European Commission Global Capital
  • HM Treasury
  • The Henry Jackson Society
  • House of Commons
  • Ipsos MORI
  • Save the Children 

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year 2017/18**: £15,600

Other essential costs***: £750 to £2000 (All students studying for this degree will have the opportunity in their first year to go abroad for no additional cost. In years 2 and 3 students may chose to participate in fieldwork abroad that would incur additional costs. However, it is possible to complete the degree programme with no addditional fieldwork costs.)

How do I pay for it? Find out more.

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year. This amount is subject to the UK Parliament approving a change to fee and loan regulations that has been proposed by the UK Government. In the future, should the proposed changes to fee and loan regulations allow it, Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for UK and EU nationals annually. If relevant UK legislation continues to permit it, Royal Holloway will maintain parity between the tuition fees charged to UK and EU students for the duration of their degree studies.

**Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for international fee paying students annually. Tuition fees are unlikely to rise more than 5 per cent each year. For further information on tuition fees please see Royal Holloway’s Terms & Conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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