School of GeoSciences

School of GeoSciences

Undergraduate Studies in Geography at Edinburgh

Students are admitted to read degrees in Geography through the College of Science and Engineering. In addition to single honours Geography, students may be admitted to joint honours degrees that combine Geography with one other discipline, to interdisciplinary honours degrees in which Geography is one component or to an ordinary degree. Approximately 100 students graduate in Geography each year.

Students reading for honours degrees at the University of Edinburgh complete four years of study. During each of the first two years, students take three courses. Normally, two of the subjects studied in the first year are also taken in the second year. At the end of second year, students in Geography are considered for entry into honours. The Geography honours programme is spread over two years and consists of a combination of core courses, option courses and independent study for the dissertation.

The curriculum of the Institute of Geography has seven principal aims:

  • To maintain the Scottish tradition of a broad education
  • To use research excellence as a springboard for teaching quality
  • To encourage interdisciplinarity
  • To take full advantage of Geography's position at the interface of the natural and social sciences
  • To develop students' learning skills
  • To develop students' communication skills
  • To contribute to life skills more generally

The first year course in Geography spans the full range of the discipline and examines some of the major issues affecting the world today. At second year level, students have a choice of courses ranging across human geography and physical geography. A great deal of choice is available at honours level.

Being a Geography student at the University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh is a large institution and offers a very wide range of courses. This gives undergraduate students a great deal of choice and also, under certain circumstances, the flexibility to change degree programme. Each student entering the University is allocated to Director of Studies who is available to provide advice and guidance about course choices, and about other matters.

The Institute of Geography is a thriving community within which undergraduate students play a very important role. The Geographical Society, which is run entirely by students, organises academic, sports and social events throughout the year. With regard to the teaching programme itself, students make an input through various mechanisms, one of the most important being the Staff-Student Liaison Committee, on which sit representatives from all the years in the Institute of Geography.


As degree programmes and course units are subject to frequent review, the information contained in these pages should be considered illustrative rather than contractual. Applicants for undergraduate study should consult the terms and conditions of admission set out in the undergraduate prospectus.