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Undergraduate study

Geography is one of the most exciting subjects to study at university. We live in an interdependent world caught up in chains of events which span the globe. We depend upon an increasingly fragile physical environment, whose complex interactions require sophisticated analysis and sensitive management.

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Graduate study

The Department has a large community of postgraduate students. Many are working for the PhD degree, awarded on the basis of individual research and requiring three years of full-time study. The Department of Geography also runs a range of Masters/MPhil courses.

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People in the Department

The Department's staff publish regularly in hundreds of separate publications, and attract research funding from a wide variety of sources.

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Research groups

Research in the Department of Geography, arranged across six Thematic Research Groups and two Institutes, covers a broad range of topics, approaches, and sites of study. Our expertise, individually and in collaboration, is both conceptual and applied.

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Cambridge top for Geography & Environmental Science in the Complete University Guide 2019

25th April, 2018


We are pleased to announce that the University of Cambridge has again come top for Geography and Environmental Science in the Complete University Guide 2019. The University has ranked top for Geography since 2009.

Scientific expedition to the Larsen C Ice Shelf

11th April, 2018


A planned scientific expedition to the Antarctic to visit and study the Larsen C Ice Shelf - and explore the area where Endurance, Sir Ernest Shackleton's ship was last seen - will be led by Professor Julian Dowdeswell next year.

Professor Dowdeswell, Director of the Institute and Professor of Physical Geography, will lead the international Weddell Sea Expedition 2019 next spring. It will bring together leading researchers from the Institute as well as the Nekton Foundation, the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, the University of Cape Town and the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning, Professor Dowdeswell explained that the expedition will survey the underside of the iceshelf using underwater submersibles, to ascertain whether conditions leading to the calving of an enormous iceberg from Larsen C in 2017 means that the shelf may collapse: "Iceshelves butress the interior of the Antarctic icesheet, they effectively act to hold back the ice that flows from the interior of the Antarctic to the edge. They are in some senses vulnerable because not only can they lose mass by the production of icebergs at their edge but also because they're floating, beneath they have ocean water flowing in and that ocean water can lead to meltrates at the base of a number of metres per year and this is what's been happening to some areas of Antarctica."

Further coverage also features on BBC News, Telegraph and Independent websites.

New interactive website,, now live!

24th April, 2018, a new online interactive Atlas of Victorian and Edwardian Population, is now live!

Explore regional and local variations in a range of demographic and household indicators and how these changed between 1851 and 1911, zoom in to focus on particular areas, compare two maps side-by-side, and download the underlying data much of which has been calculated from individual level census data. More resources will be added over the coming months.

Created by a team led by Dr Alice Reid of the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure (Campop) at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, with help from colleagues at the Universities of Essex and Leicester and funding from the ESRC and the Isaac Newton Trust. The site coding was implemented by Geography's own Webmaster.

The major barriers to evidence-informed conservation policy and possible solutions

23rd April, 2018


A new paper produced by various partners across the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, including the Department of Geography, has identified the top barriers to evidence-informed conservation policy and possible solutions.

Based on a global survey of 758 people in policy, research, or practice positions across 68 countries in six languages, we found that barriers related to the low priority of conservation on the policy agenda were ranked most highly. Highly ranked solutions related to the need to mainstream conservation, for example the need to convince the public about the importance of conservation, so that policy-makers would adopt pro-environmental long-term policies.

The optimistic message is that there seems to be agreement between different groups about what the problems and solutions are - so time to put solutions into practice!

Subglacial lakes discovered under Devon Island ice cap

18th April, 2018


A new study of the Devon Island ice cap, led by a team from the University of Alberta, has discovered two subglacial bodies of water. These are the first subglacial lakes to be observed in the Canadian Arctic, and are estimated to cover areas of five and eight square kilometres respectively.

The findings, co-authored by Director of The Scott Polar Research Institute Professor Julian Dowdeswell, have been published in Science Advances

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  • 26th April 2018:
    ‘Women’, ‘Lads’ and ‘Copers’: Household, community, and the divisions of labour at the Derbyshire lead mines, c.1736-1765. Details…
    Early Modern Economic and Social History Seminars
  • 26th April 2018:
    Record of abrupt changes of last climate cycle in European glacial dust deposits. Details…
    Quaternary Discussion Group (QDG)
  • 3rd May 2018:
    Contested ground: Agricultural improvement in Hatfield Level, 1625-1660. Details…
    Early Modern Economic and Social History Seminars
  • 8th May 2018:
    Population and Poverty in Pre-Famine Ireland. Details…
    The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure - seminar series
  • 10th May 2018:
    The extreme seasonality of early modern casual labour and what it means for workers’ incomes: Sweden 1500-1830. Details…
    Early Modern Economic and Social History Seminars
  • 14th May 2018:
    'They don't know about the people who live here': Local non-participation in extractive resource management in Greenland. Details…
    Histories, cultures, environments and politics research seminars - Scott Polar Research Institute
  • 15th May 2018:
    Low population density, high female status, and fertility restriction in early modern Southeast Asia: evidence for the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Details…
    The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure - seminar series
  • 17th May 2018:
    TBC. Details…
    Quaternary Discussion Group (QDG)
  • 22nd May 2018:
    New insights into historical plagues using GIS analysis: towards a retrodiagnosis of the unknown 1705 epidemic in Martigues (Bouches-du-Rhône, South of France). Details…
    The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure - seminar series
  • 24th May 2018:
    Debtors’ schedules: a new source for understanding the economy in 18th-century England. Details…
    Early Modern Economic and Social History Seminars
  • More seminars…