Resources and costs
There is no major funding available to prospective applicants directly from the Department of Geography for your fees or living costs. As part of your programme of study you should consider your full costs of study.
Fieldwork, laboratory work, access to data, archives and travel
All fieldwork, laboratory work, access to data, archives and travel will have to be supported for the length of your study. You should ensure that your funding body provides sufficient support. (The department has only limited funds to help with these costs.)
We aim to provide a well-resourced base for your studies. General access IT facilities are available for all graduate students (MPhil and PhD). However, experience shows that most students are considerably advantaged by having their own laptops, especially for PhD studies. It is recommended that you budget for the purchase of a laptop before or soon after your arrival at Cambridge. Laptops can connect to the Geography Department network (and to most College networks) providing they have a ethernet or wireless card. PC Laptops should run either Windows 7 or a recent version of Linux. MACs should run OSX. All machines will need approved anti-virus software installed before connecting. Users must comply with rules laid down by JANET, the Cambridge IT Syndicate and the Department when making use of the network.
For purchasing a laptop, hard disk size should exceed 80GB, a memory of 2GB is a good minimum amount, (but 4GB is preferable) and for Intel machines a corei7 processor is the fastest and most expensive, corei5 the most cost effective and corei3 the slowest (for AMD machines Athlon is perferable to Sempron). Older machines may have core 2 duo, Pentium dual or even (at the slowest end) celeron processors; these will provide just acceptable performance but it is best to get a higher specification machine if possible. Small netbooks (or nettops) with atom processors will generally run office applications fine, but should not be expected to give good performance for more demanding computational tasks. Additionally, very small netbooks, although relatively inexpensive and highly portable, with good battery life, may prove tiring to work in front of for an extended period - the same applies to tablets such as the iPad or more recent Android devices (e.g. the Asus eee pad), which are good for quick note taking or web browsing but not ideal for editing large documents or serious development work. For all laptops, an external mouse, and possibly also keyboard/monitor may improve ease considerably. A CD writer or (preferably) a DVD writer or external hard drive is a must for backup purposes (in addition USB sticks can now be purchased at up to 64GB reasonably cheaply and are very useful in conjunction with a laptop for transferring files). The Department cannot supply applications to run on laptops so students will need to have at least an office package, Open Office (can be downloaded for free from openoffice.org), Libre Office (www.libreoffice.org) or the usual Microsoft offering (you may be able to get discounted as a student, or it may come bundled in with some new machines) - the current version for windows users is Office 2010. Please note that not all departmental machines can be expected to be running the most recent version of Microsoft Office at present.