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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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Applications open: two new Climate Change Masters

11th November, 2019


Applications are now open for two new 11 month Masters Programmes in the Department of Geography: Anthropocene Studies and Holocene Climates, with our first intake in October 2020.

These Programmes will provide deep insights into the various processes of global change, both climates of the past (the Holocene MPhil) and the processes of human and planetary change and transformation taking place in the present and future (the Anthropocene MPhil). An inter-disciplinary concepts and methods course is common to both Programmes. The Anthropocene Studies course is led by prominent public intellectual on climate change Prof Mike Hulme and Holocene Climates is led by Prof Ulf Buntgen, Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis.

ERC Arctic Cultures Workshop, 9-10 January 2020

6th November, 2019


The ERC Arctic Cultures grant led by Richard Powell is holding its first Project Workshop – 'Knowledge Formations and Colonial Encounters in the Arctic', 9-10 January 2020 at the Scott Polar Research Institute.

The workshop is part of a series of research events bringing team members, leading international experts and interested scholars into dialogue around the themes of the project. The focus for this workshop specifically is to examine the co-production of Arctic knowledge formations through encounters between indigenous inhabitants and non-indigenous actors. Presentations will draw upon empirical research and theorisation to investigate spatial formations of the Arctic and the role of Northern actors and institutions.

All are welcome and attendance is free, but prior registration is required please. The full programme, abstracts and registration details are available on the project website.

Living with a predator: why understanding local attitudes is vital for successful snow leopard conservation

5th November, 2019


Local people in the Nepal Himalayas value snow leopards as much for the potential personal benefits they gain from the animals' conservation as they do for the intrinsic value of this charismatic species, according to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE.

A team of researchers, including Jonathan Hanson, PhD student in the Department of Geography, who led the study, found that local attitudes towards the snow leopard were strongly linked to local views on the conservation methods used to protect them.

The snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is considered a 'vulnerable species', with an estimated 4,000 left in the wild, and Protected Areas have been created to safeguard its habitat. However, the animals range over much larger areas, and successful co-existence with humans is key to their survival. The potential for Protected Areas to restrict, as well as benefit, local livelihoods makes it imperative to consider how snow leopard conservation measures are perceived by inhabitants and neighbours of these areas.

SPRI Director, Professor Julian Dowdeswell, awarded RSGS WS Bruce Medal

24th October, 2019


Congratulations to our Director, Professor Julian Dowdeswell, who has been awarded the Royal Scottish Geographical Society 2019 WS Bruce Medal, for his contribution to glaciology & polar science.

We were pleased to welcome RSGS Chief Executive Mike Robinson, as he visited the Scott Polar Research Institute to present Professor Dowdeswell with the award.

ESRC Interdisciplinary PhD studentship - Entrepreneurial infrastructure in the off-grid city, Ghana and South Africa

23rd October, 2019


The University of Cambridge ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership [DTP] is pleased to offer an interdisciplinary studentship available for admission in October 2020. The studentship will be a one-year masters (MPhil Geographical Research) followed by three-year doctoral programme, and will be co-supervised by Dr Charlotte Lemanski (Department of Geography) and Prof Jaideep Prabhu (Judge Business School).

The studentship will explore entrepreneurial practices and state regulation of off-grid water and energy infrastructure (e.g. water sachets/bottles, storage tanks, boreholes, solar panels, diesel generators) in the cities of Johannesburg (South Africa) and Accra (Ghana). Primary fieldwork in these cities will involve ethnographic observation and qualitative semi-structured interviews with off-grid water and energy entrepreneurs, and state officials. While in the field the student will be supported by colleagues at the University of Ghana and University of Witwatersrand.

The deadline for applications is Tuesday 7th January 2020 (references must be received by then). Applicants should apply for the MPhil Geographical Research, indicating their interest in this project. Please enter the Studentship title under the research section of the application and indicate that you wish to receive funding under the Reasons to Apply section. In the Proposal section, please explain your interest in this particular project, why you feel you are a suitable applicant, and any ideas that you have for how you would wish to develop the project.

Please direct questions to Dr Charlotte Lemanski.

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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.

  • 19th November 2019:
    The Political Ecologies of Urban Macaques in India. Details…
    Political Ecology Group meetings
  • 19th November 2019:
    From Arctic statehood to self: State personnel’s articulations of Arctic identity in Norway, Iceland, and Canada. Details…
    Histories, Cultures, Environments and Politics research seminars at SPRI
  • 20th November 2019:
    The uses of messiness: understanding climate governance in practice. Details…
    Department of Geography - main Departmental seminar series
  • 21st November 2019:
    The Selected Body: Investigating Ideas about Nerves and Constitutions in the Heroic Age of Polar Exploration. Details…
    Polar Humanities and Social Sciences ECR Workshop
  • 21st November 2019:
    Did peasants plough? Agricultural technology and the growth of the medieval economy. Details…
    Core Seminar in Economic and Social History
  • 21st November 2019:
    Beyond mean climate change:  Using paleoclimate archives to better constrain climate variability. . Details…
    Quaternary Discussion Group (QDG)
  • 22nd November 2019:
    New insight on the mycorrhizal fungus–host association, expected to emerge from combining dendrochronology, wood anatomy, mycology and ecology. Details…
    Climate and Environmental Dynamics - Department of Geography
  • 26th November 2019:
    Social Assessment of Protected Areas. Details…
    Political Ecology Group meetings
  • 28th November 2019:
    The anatomy of Britain’s inter-war super-rich: reconstructing the 1928 ‘millionaire’ population. Details…
    Core Seminar in Economic and Social History
  • 28th November 2019:
    Evading problems of IRD in palaeocurrent estimation: Glacial to Recent changes in flows around Greenland. Details…
    Quaternary Discussion Group (QDG)
  • More seminars…