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Cultural Geography (Research) MA by Research

UCAS code
Year of entry
Course length
1 year full time
2 years part time
Geography »
Location of study
Main Campus (Egham) »
Central London »

The MA Cultural Geography (Research) was founded in 1995 as one of the first masters programmes in the world to offer students focused engagement with the then emerging sub-discipline of Cultural Geography.

Twenty years later and Cultural Geography is one of the most dynamic sub-disciplines in contemporary geography. Our course reflects this dynamism, exploring the relationships between our physical world, human identity and mobility. We combine core concepts with research methods training and interdisciplinary scholarship and practice. We develop this alongside innovative placements and research engagements with some of world’s top cultural institution, located on our doorstep in London.

The MA in Cultural Geography (Research) combines the vibrant research of the outstanding Social, Cultural and Historical Geography group with cutting edge teaching.

Thematically cultural geography focuses on the interconnections between place, landscape, environment, mobilities and identity, and thus has profound relevance for the contemporary world. Our graduates go on to work in a range of sectors, including the arts and cultural sector, publishing, planning and urban policy, private and public sector research work as well as many carrying on to further doctoral study.

The course attracts a diverse range of students from a range of backgrounds, not just those with geography degrees. To see more about the activities around the MA Cultural Geography at Royal Holloway, please look at our research group blog Landscape Surgery.

  • Study in a department ranked 2nd in the UK for research by the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
  • Enjoy placements and research engagements with top cultural institutions including the V&A Museum, the Museum of London, the British Library, the Natural History Museum, the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the Royal Geographical Society.
  • Graduate with excellent employability prospects or progress to doctoral study.

Core modules

Cultural Geographies - Key Ideas

In this module you will develop an understanding of the key ideas in cultural geography. You will look at themes such as place, space, body, landscape, time, mobilities, economy, nature, mapping and exploration. You will consider the history of key ideas within culutral geography and their current state, examining the intersections between substantive themes and their future development. You will be supported by an advisor who will help you to criticically reflect on your intellectual interests.

Cultural Geographies - Contemporary Debates

In this module you will develop an understanding of contemporay debates in cultural geography. You will look core ideas and research interests of academics within the department, such as phenomenology and landscape, heritage and memory, urban subversions, geographies of knowledge, material geographies, and artful geographies.

Social Science Methods for Cultural Geographers

In this module you will develop an understanding of research methods used for exploring the social sciences. You will look at the key methods used by social scientists, with teaching delivered by those who have practical experience in their field. You will look at the research process and explore research beyond the field, becoming familiar with the practical considerations of a range of methods, their benefits and challenges, their epistemological basis, and their ethics.

GeoHumanities Research Methods for Cultural Geographers

In this module you will develop an understanding of the geohumanities research methods used by cultural geographers. You will look broadly at the research process and consider how to write and present cultural geography. You will become familiar with the practical considerations of these methods, their benefits and challenges, their epistemological basis and their ethics.

Research Training

In this module you will develop an understanding of the practices of research design and training crucial to the practice of contemporary cultural geography. You will consider how you can take your research skills out into the world beyond the academy, with social social media training in blog writing and podcasting to communicate your research and facilitate knowledge exchange. You will reflect on the transferrable skills you have learned and consider how you may use these in your future career. You will also learn how to prepare your CV, write grant applications, and prepare a PhD proposal.


You will write a 15,000 word dissertation on a topic of your choice. Guided by an advisor, you will develop your research topic over the course of the year and will design and conduct original research in order to produce an original research report.

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.

Cultural Engagements

In thid module you will develop an understanding of how your cultural geography learning is relevant beyond the academy. You will critically reflect on the role of impact and knolwedge exchange in the contemporary academy, examining how you may put your cultural geographic ideas into practice. You will consider the benefits and challenges of working as a researcher, developing an activity for the Science Open Day, curating a Passenger Films session, and developing a podast or video targetted at the wider audience.

Cultural Engagements Placement

In this module you will develop an understanding of how your cultural geography learning is relevant beyond the academy. You will undertake a placement with one of a number of cultural institutions across London, spending a minimum of 20 hours working with you chosen organisation. You will be allocated a member of staff as an academic tutor to help support your experience and learning.

Assessment is by coursework only. Formative feedback and detailed ongoing discussion of work before final submission is a central part of the teaching ethos of the course. Students also have significant autonomy in the selection of topics for coursework and dissertation allowing them to develop particular interests and specialisms.

Essay 1 and Essay 2 - 5000 words each (20 credits each)

Workshop Report 1 and Workshop Report 2 - 5000 words each (20 credits each)

Research proposal - 2000 words (20 credits)

Dissertation presentation - 20 minutes
Dissertation Viva - 1 hour - (0 credits)

Blog post (s) - 4000 words - (20 credits)
Video/podcast - 10 mins/30 mins

Placement Reflection - 5000 words (20 credits)

Dissertation - 15000 words (60 credits)

This programme is delivered in a single stage, equating to either one-year of full-time study or up to five years of part-time study.

Entry criteria:

UK 2:1 (Honours) degree or equivalent in one of the following subjects:

  • Cultural Studies
  • Drama
  • English Literature
  • Geography
  • History
  • History of Art
  • Media Studies
  • Music
  • Theatre Performance

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall with 7 in writing and no subscore below 5.5. For equivalencies, please see here

If you require Royal Holloway to sponsor your study in the UK, your IELTS must be a UK government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT)

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

Study Cultural Geography (By Research) at Royal Holloway, University of London and you’ll be well placed to progress to PhD study or to a rewarding career in your chosen field. This research-based programme sees more than 50% of graduates progress to doctoral study.

This programme is structured to maximise graduate employability and further education prospects, with transferable skills sessions, career development sessions and workshops taking place to help graduates you achieve your career ambitions. We help our students to work on their PhD applications, and also help to arrange placements with some of the world’s top cultural institutions – including the V&A Museum, the Museum of London, the British Library, the Natural History Museum, the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the Royal Geographical Society.

  • 90% of Royal Holloway graduates in work or further education within six months of graduating.
  • More than 50% of Cultural Geography students progress to PhD study.
  • Transferable skills sessions, career development sessions and workshops help you to achieve your career ambitions. 

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2018/19*: £7,200

International students tuition fee per year 2018/19*: £14,900

Other essential costs**: You must attend three research days in London, with transport cost for these dependent on departure point.

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

* These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata tuition fee, usually equivalent to approximately half the full-time fee. Please email student-fees@royalholloway.ac.uk for further information on part-time fees. All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees and our terms and 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, have not been included.

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