This programme is currently under development and may be subject to change
Duration: 3 years full time
UCAS code: L711
Institution code: R72
Geography, Geopolitics and Global Affairs (BA)
Geography engages with some of the most must fundamental challenges facing the modern world, as well as opening up critical questions about our past, presents and futures. Study Geography at Royal Holloway and you’ll join a leading centre for geographical research and teaching, where academic staff are advancing understanding of the challenges facing contemporary culture, the economy and environment.
BA Geography, Geopolitics and Global Affairs examines the social, political and economic aspects of geography. There has never been a more important time to respond to the world’s challenges as a global society, requiring new thinking that cuts across traditional boundaries, political behaviours and processes.
You’ll benefit from world-class, research-led teaching in a Department ranked 5th in the UK for research by the Research Excellence Framework 2021. Fieldwork is a key part of the experience of doing Geography at Royal Holloway. As well as being excellent research training, our extensive programme of fieldwork helps bring the department together as a real community. The department offers a substantial and exciting range of field trips in the UK and overseas. Current locations include Cyprus, Spain, Malawi, Sicily, London and New York.
This flexible course gives you the chance to tailor your studies with a range of optional modules in years 2 and 3, to suit your interests and career ambitions. You’ll gain a range of skills and knowledge to take into your future career, making you a highly employable candidate in a number of sectors.
Core ModulesYear 1
In this module you will develop and understanding of the factors that control the physical, biological and chemical forces which shape the Earth’s surface. You will look at oceanic and atmospheric processes, plate tectonics, hydrology and coastal processes, glaciation, and arid environments.
In this module you will develop an understanding the complexity of the relationship between people and environment. You will examine how and why ecosystems vary spatially and the impact of human activity, such as deforestation and agriculture, on the physical environment. You will also consider the nature of environmental change, including climatology.
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.
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.
This module will provide you with an introduction to the methods for collecting, interpreting and presenting physical and human geographical information, in both the field and in the laboratory. You will conduct physical and human geography fieldwork in the local area, with activities including surveying and mapping, vegetation sampling and identification, soil and water analysis, interpreting past history, exploratory and inferential data analysis, questionnaire design, interviewing, and visual and textual interpretation.
In this module you will develop your practical research skills on a week-long field-trip to Andalusia in Southern Spain. You will spend four days, guided by staff, looking at specific local examples of physical, 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.
This module will provide you with an introduction to the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in physical and 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 geomorphological mapping, census classifications and boundaries, and volunteered geographic information.
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 or physical 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.
- Field Training in Geopolitics and Global Affairs
- Political Geography
- Perspectives on Development
- All modules are optional
There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules 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
All modules are core
- Environmental Systems: Processes and Sustainability
- Earth Surface Processes and Hazards
This module develops an appreciation of the historical context which underpins theory concerning environmental history, present-day environmental problems, and the prediction of future environmental changes. Practical training in laboratory methods relevant to testing such theories is involved, and you will train for readiness to undertake fieldwork and third-year independent studies (dissertations) in a range of topical research themes in Quaternary environmental change. Laboratory practicals are designed to give experience in using a number of fundamental methods used in the analysis of stratigraphical records, which underpin the reconstruction of former environmental conditions. The accent is on the careful observation and logging of data, and on precision and accuracy in description and analysis of the processes leading to rapid environmental change. Training is provided in data presentation and in the construction of scientific reports, as well as other key skills in the field of quaternary Science, such as the use of electronic resources and bespoke software packages for bibliographic searching, inspection of large databases of relevant palaeoenvironmental information and practical approaches such as radiocarbon calibration.
- Cities: Economies and Ecologies
- Cultural Geographies of the Modern World
- Coast and Estuarine Management
- Global Warming
- Managing River Environments
- Glacial Environments
- Digital Landscapes
- Arid Africa
- Past climates and environments
- Humans and Climate Change
- Mammals in a Changing World
- Regeneration and Urban Policy
- Modernity and the City
- Geography of Commodities
- Post-Capitalist Cities
- Geopolitics of Media and Communications
- Images of Earth: From Homer to Google
- Exploration, Science and Making of Geography
- Geography, Museums and Collections
- Geographies of Home
- Gender & Development
- Fair Trade
- Urbanisation and Climate/Environmental Change
Teaching & assessment
The course has a modular structure, whereby students take four course units per year. 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 10,000 word 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.
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.
A Levels: ABB-BBB
- At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9-4 including English and Mathematics.
Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A-levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required. For students who are from backgrounds or personal circumstances that mean they are generally less likely to go to university, you may be eligible for an alternative lower offer. Follow the link to learn more about our contextual offers.
We accept T-levels for admission to our undergraduate courses, with the following grades regarded as equivalent to our standard A-level requirements:
- AAA* – Distinction (A* on the core and distinction in the occupational specialism)
- AAA – Distinction
- BBB – Merit
- CCC – Pass (C or above on the core)
- DDD – Pass (D or E on the core)
Where a course specifies subject-specific requirements at A-level, T-level applicants are likely to be asked to offer this A-level alongside their T-level studies.
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway (apart from some language courses) is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please visit here.
Undergraduate preparation programme
For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, for this undergraduate degree, the Royal Holloway International Study Centre offers an International Foundation Year programme designed to develop your academic and English language skills.
Upon successful completion, you can progress to this degree at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Your future career
As a Geography graduate from Royal Holloway, University of London you will have excellent employability prospects in a variety of related sectors. Our industry links give you ample opportunity to experience rewarding placement opportunities. You’ll also be well equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to progress onto postgraduate study if you choose.
Recent alumni have gone on to enjoy careers in coastal management, wildlife conservation, carbon consultancy, campaigning, teaching, the Civil Service and the media.
Fees, funding & scholarships
Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,250
EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £24,000
Other essential costs***: You will have the opportunity in your first year to go abroad and carry out fieldwork for no additional cost. In your second and third years you may choose to participate in fieldwork abroad that will incur additional costs of between £750 and £2000. However it is possible to complete the degree course with no additional fieldwork costs.
How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students who have already taken out a tuition fee loan for undergraduate study should check their eligibility for additional funding directly with the relevant awards body.
*The tuition fee for UK undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations. For students starting a degree in the academic year 2022/23, the fee is £9,250 for that year, and is provided here as a guide. The fee for UK undergraduates starting in 2023/24 has not yet been confirmed.
**The UK Government has confirmed that EU nationals are no longer eligible to pay the same fees as UK students, nor be eligible for funding from the Student Loans Company. This means you are classified as an international student. At Royal Holloway, we wish to support a transition for those students affected by this change in status. Please see the fees and funding page for more information.
Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. The policy at Royal Holloway is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.
***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2021/22 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.