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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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Quaternary Glaciations - top of the pops!

22nd January, 2020


Quaternary Glaciations - Extent and Chronology - A Closer Look. Developments in Quaternary Science 15. 1108 pp. published by Elsevier: Amsterdam in 2011, ISBN: 978-0-444-53447-7, edited by Emeritus Professor Philip Gibbard with J. Ehlers and Philip Hughes was the most downloaded e-book from the Geological Society of London's Library in 2019.

Pani, Pahar: The Water Curriculum

17th January, 2020


Research led by the Department has been used to develop an innovative resource for schools in India, Pani Pahar: The Water Curriculum. The resource is free to use and download, and should be adaptable for use in a wide range of contexts, including the UK.

The underlying research focused on the political economy of water resources and water security in six small towns in the hill regions of India and Nepal. The project was led by Professor Bhaskar Vira and Dr Eszter Kovacs, and worked with the Centre for Ecology, Development and Research (CEDAR), Dehra Dun, India and the Southasia Institute for Advanced Studies (SIAS), Kathmandu, Nepal Further work focused on developing a visual archive of the research, in collaboration with photographer Toby Smith, which resulted in an exhibition that travelled across the UK, India and Nepal.

The curriculum material was developed following the exhibition, and was co-developed by a recent Department graduate, Beth Barker with The Hearth Education Advisors (India and UK), who led on the education structure, development of curriculum resources (including activities, worksheets, learning tools) and instructional design for the learning materials.

Funding for this research was generously provided by grants from the UK's Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme, which was a joint initiative of the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Funding was also provided by the University of Cambridge's Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account. The Oxonian India Foundation funded the graphics design of the curriculum materials.

Undergraduate Geography dissertation prize for Paavan Sawjani

16th January, 2020


In more success for Cambridge Geography, we are delighted to congratulate Paavan Sawjani of Sidney Sussex for winning first prize for his undergraduate dissertation, "Sex and the post-colonial City: University students' understanding of the accepted boundaries of public intimacy in New Delhi, India".

The prize was awarded by the Geographies of Children, Youth, and Families Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers. Paavan graduated last summer, and is currently studying for his MRes at the University of Nottingham. Well done, Paavan!

Antarctic research features on BBC Radio 4 Today programme

9th January, 2020


Current glaciological research being undertaken by Ian Willis and Alison Banwell as part of a joint US-NSF and UK-NERC funded project featured on a recent edition of the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, guest edited by Greta Thunberg. The research investigates the role of surface meltwater movement on the stability of Antarctic Ice Shelves and involves fieldwork on the George VI Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsular from where the SPRI scientists have recently returned. Their work is mentioned as part of a larger report into Antarctic glacier melt and sea level rise, which begins about 47 minutes into the programme.

Contemporary climate change debates: a student primer

12th December, 2019


Climate change raises many complex and interlocking moral, ethical and political questions about the future, the answers to which lie beyond the reach of science. In this new book edited by Professor Mike Hulme, 15 important questions that lie at the heart of climate politics are debated by leading scholars. Understanding how and why serious people arrive at different answers to these questions is a crucial learning experience for any climate student or activist.

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Cambridge Geography 1919-2019

The Cambridge Geography Tripos turns 100 in 2019. We are celebrating with a programme including a Centenary Lecture Series, London public panel and Alumni Celebration Day. We look forward to welcoming you to one of our events soon.

  • 28th January 2020:
    Gender and Extractivism in Plurinational States – An intersectional approach to mining in Bolivia and Ecuador. Details…
    Political Ecology Group meetings
  • 28th January 2020:
    Gender and 20th century Antarctic fieldwork: Constructing and dismantling the 'ice ceiling'. Details…
    Histories, Cultures, Environments and Politics research seminars at SPRI
  • 29th January 2020:
    How Equality Created Poverty: Japanese Wealth Distribution and Living Standards 1600-1870. Details…
    Quantitative History Seminar
  • 30th January 2020:
    Introduction of new PhD students. Details…
    Climate and Environmental Dynamics - Department of Geography
  • 30th January 2020:
    Roundtable discussion on ‘Decolonising the Polar Library: Moving forward’. Details…
    Polar Humanities and Social Sciences ECR Workshop
  • 30th January 2020:
    El Niño, tropical forests and the potential instability of the global carbon cycle. Details…
    Department of Geography - main Departmental seminar series
  • 4th February 2020:
    Invasive species and ecological imperialism in South America. Current interactions between wood industry, wild boars, perroquets and hunters in Uruguay. Details…
    Political Ecology Group meetings
  • 5th February 2020:
    Causes of death in Copenhagen, 1876-1900. Details…
    The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure - seminar series
  • 6th February 2020:
    Roundtable discussion on “Off the beaten track? Critical approaches to exploration studies”. Details…
    Polar Humanities and Social Sciences ECR Workshop
  • 6th February 2020:
    Abrupt CO2 release to the atmosphere under glacial and early interglacial climate conditions. Details…
    Quaternary Discussion Group (QDG)
  • More seminars…