Course Structure – Geography @ Cambridge


1st year

  • Human Geography – topics include globalisation; Fordism and welfare; ecological, economic and political perspectives on resources
  • Physical Geography – topics include tectonics and volcanism, hydrological and geomorphological processes, atmosphere and climate
You also take the Geographical Skills and Methods paper that covers numerical methods; survey techniques; documentary and archival data; spatial data; and field, laboratory and desk-based skills.
Assessment First University examinations:
one written examination for each paper.
2nd year
Courses Students take a core Geographical Ideas and Themes paper relating to global change, assessed through both coursework and written examination. In addition, you can begin to specialise and select three papers from a choice of six, which are also assessed by a combination of coursework and examination. Three human geography papers and three physical and environmental geography papers are available. Human geography

  • Economic Geography
  • Development Theories, Policies and Practices
  • Citizenship, Cities and Civil Society

Physical and environmental geography

  • Glacial Processes
  • Biogeography
  • The Coastal System

You also undertake project work involving a range of field, laboratory and computer skills and techniques.

A piece of submitted work from a 1 week residential field class forms part of your second-year assessment. This is essential for your final year dissertation research, both in terms of inspiring your choice of topic and in acquiring specific field research skills. 

Assessment3 examination papers, written coursework and residential field class.
3rd year
Courses You select four papers from 12, which are assessed by either written examination or by a combination of written examination and coursework. Papers on offer vary each year but recent examples include:

  • Europe and Beyond: Politics, Societies and Economies
  • The Human Geography of the Arctic Regions
  • Contemporary India: The Politics of Society, Environment and Development
  • Geographies of Discipline and Social Regulation in the Nineteenth Century
  • Biosedimentary Coastal Systems
  • Biogeography
  • Glacial Environments
  • Changing Cultures of Risk
  • Volcanology

You also write a dissertation of 10,000 words on a topic of your choice, which you start work on during the summer vacation between your second and third years. The topic must be defined by the second term of Year 2 and the proposal is assessed as part of your second-year coursework.

Assessment 4 written exams and written coursework. 10,000 word dissertation