Degree programmes in Geography are flexible, allowing you to explore a broad range of geographical topics, or to focus on particular areas of interest.
The Department of Geography is a friendly and lively place to work and study, and is one of the leading departments in the UK for teaching, academic support and research.
We offer you the chance to experience and learn about different aspects of Geography in both the UK and overseas. We do this through a range of department-based teaching methods, the use of state-of-the-art laboratory facilities for both physical and human geography, and field training.
As well as the academic programme, the student-run Geography Society organises regular events. It has been recognised by the Students' Union as the ‘Most Sociable Society’.
The undergraduate programme is structured through a system of ‘course units’, with students taking four units in each of the three years. The individual units comprise a range of teaching methods, including lectures, seminars, tutorials, fieldwork and practicals.
This diversity of teaching underlies the ethos of the department to teach students to ‘do’ geography as well as learning it. Key features of the undergraduate programme are:
- The ability to choose second and third year courses.
- The ability to choose courses in other departments in the second and third years, subject to availability and requirements.
- All second and third-year courses count towards your degree.
- Courses examined in the year in which they are taught.
Your course is assessed through written examinations and/or coursework. Coursework is designed to assess a range of skills, with typical methods including essays, subject reviews, laboratory reports, oral & poster presentations, fieldwork reports, policy briefs and the final year dissertation. On a year-by-year basis, the balance between coursework and examinations is as follows:
- Assessment is split 50% continuous assessment and 50% exams.
- There are four exams, all taken in the summer term.
- Coursework includes field and laboratory reports, based on the Spain field trip.
- You will also have small-group tutorial assignments.
- Overall weighting is approximately 63% continuous assessment (including field trip report) to 37% exams.
- Year 2 Geography option courses are 50% coursework and 50% exams.
- Depending on the options taken, course units are either 50% coursework: 50% exam, or 100% coursework
- There are no Geography options which are 100% exam.
Key features of the tutor system are:
- All students are allocated a personal tutor for the duration of your course.
- Tutorial groups usually number seven or eight students.
- In the first year, you’ll meet in your tutor group to develop key skills and for regular (at least fortnightly) group learning sessions to support the lecture courses.
- You’ll also have a one-to-one with your tutor at the start and end of every term.
- Tutors also provide pastoral support as appropriate.
- Further academic support is provided by the Director of Undergraduate Programmes and the Department's Education Support Officer.
Teaching & research
The links between teaching and research are important for any contemporary degree environment.
Geography graduates need experience in what is at the forefront of your subject (research-led teaching). You require an understanding of the processes involved in ‘doing’ Geography (research-oriented teaching), and the need to experience enquiry-based learning (research-based teaching).
The Geography degree programmes at Royal Holloway are designed to incorporate all of these elements.