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Field courses


Fieldwork is a key part of the experience of doing Geography at Royal Holloway (watch the video above for more information). The Department offers a substantial and exciting range of field trips in the UK and overseas. Current locations include Spain, Malawi, Sicily, London and New York. The cost of the Year 1 fieldtrip to Spain is included in the student fee.

The fieldwork curriculum is designed to provide a rigorous training in research skills in human and physical geography, and prepares students for their own research within the dissertation completed in their third year.  The curriculum is arranged as follows:

Students undertake field training in two forms:

1. Local Field Training: Specialist training in techniques is undertaken at sites local to Royal Holloway throughout the academic year. (Assessment: continuous throughout the first 2 terms).

2. One-week course to Andalusia in southern Spain. All students attend this trip which normally runs at the start of the spring term. (Assessment: oral presentation, production of a poster, and a formal report).

All students select one field course from the five options available. Each location and course is designed to provide a training in specialist methods, techniques and approaches, as follows:

Assessment: a field report based on project work carried out in the field. This contributes substantially to the final degree assessment.

There is no compulsory field trip in the third year, although many course options have day or residential trips associated with them. Field work can be undertaken as part of the dissertation process:


Complete in the 3rd year, you will produce an 10,000 word Dissertation on a research topic of your own choice. This forms an important part of the final degree assessment. You are encouraged to develop your projects through contact with local authorities, aid organisations, environmental agencies, commerce, industry and international expeditions.

An opportunity to work on a substantial research problem, often exploring and developing research techniques in one of the Department’s fields of special expertise. The selection of a research problem is made by the student in consultation with a member of academic staff, who acts as your advisor throughout the research project. Recent topics have included: problems of squatter housing in Nairobi; the role of women in Zimbabwe; reclamation of derelict land in the Cornish china clay industry; ecotourism in northern Thailand; disaster preparedness in the British Virgin Islands; studies of vegetation on the Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve, NW Scotland; geomorphological processes at an active glacier margin in Iceland, and predicting coastal erosion rates and resulting management strategies for the southern coast of the Isle of Wight. Many dissertation topics provide a chance to meet and work with experts in national and international agencies who are collaborating with Departmental staff.

Field training and particularly the Third Year Dissertation, provide an opportunity for you to investigate ‘real world’ problems. It is for these reasons that we consider field work a vital part of an undergraduate course.

 Trailer: Andalusia Field Trip

Video: Review of the Andalusia Field Trip (2012)


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