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Telephone: 01223 333313
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Cambridge University Students' Union
Old Examination Hall
Free School Lane
Cambridge CB2 3RF
There are many great reasons why you should choose to study geography at Cambridge, and that make it stand out as one of the best degrees in the country. Geography truly can cater for nearly everyone’s interests, and the course covers a wide range of highly relevant and interesting topics in both human and physical geography (including globalisation, colonialism and post-colonialism, environmental change and volcanology) that allow you to find your niche in the subject. The first year course contains two papers – one human and one physical – to start everyone off with the same grounding. The course is truly diverse, allowing you to choose your own areas of interest over time, with gradually more options to choose from in each year of your degree.
Geography also has a great learning environment. You’ll only typically have around 8 lectures per week (so loads of time for lie-ins!), and around 8-10 essays each term. These essays will then be discussed in small group supervisions with experts, allowing you to develop and express your views and clarify any issues you may not have understood. With a small amount of contact time, you are hence allowed and encouraged to develop your own views on particular subjects rather than being told what to think. This culminates in a third year dissertation, in which you are free to investigate virtually anything of interest to you in almost any corner of the globe. This is a unique opportunity to produce your own original, relevant and interesting piece of research. Destinations people are travelling to this year include Borneo, Australia, Peru and Israel.
“ The department is littered with equipment last used in an Antarctic Exploration ”
Of course not everything about geography is academic! With quite a small year group, you’ll get to know other geographers well and lectures will soon become full of friendly faces. The residential field-trips during your second year, to areas such as Berlin, Nice or Mallorca, are also a great way to get to know fellow geographers better. CUGS (the student geography society) also runs many social events such as garden parties, Christmas dinners and club nights, as well as various Freshers’ Week events, whilst members can also benefit from various offers and discounts by becoming a member. CUGS also arranges a variety of academic and non-academic speaker events. Recent speakers have included the likes of Doreen Massey and Linda McDowell (if you haven’t heard of them, they’re really big names in geography – trust me!).
If you needed any further selling points, the Geography Department is pretty central in town, and about 100 metres walk from the UK’s largest Wetherspoons and a multi-screen cinema, whilst a variety of coffee shops and cafes are also close – perfect for grabbing a break between lectures!
All in all, geography at Cambridge is a highly relevant subject in which your interests and experience – both academic and non-academic – will develop and flourish. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here so far, and would recommend the course to anyone.
Best thing? The breadth of the course
Worst thing? The weather on the field trips!