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Masters Degree in Geography

Find postgraduate programs in GEOGRAPHY

Across the UK and Europe there are a large number of institutions that offer masters degrees in the field of Geography, usually out of their Social Sciences or Humanities faculties. The exact type of degree, as well as the dominant method of study, all depends on the institution in question, though courses generally tend to be either research-based or study-based, or a balance of both. Research courses will have you perform original research in a specialised area of Geography, while taught courses will see you delve deep into a highly specialised area of the subject.

Study modules

Geography is a vast subject covering many different sub-disciplines. Many of these disciplines overlap with other areas of Geography, while others overlap with different subjects such as Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Geology, Computing, Ecology, Anthropology, Palaeontology, Economics and Politics. Geography is usually divided into Human Geography and Physical Geography, with the former often taught as an MA and the latter almost always taught as a MSc (in the UK research courses often come with the qualification MRes). Physical geography can be split into Environmental Science and Earth Science. There are plenty of subjects available to study as a postgraduate in the areas of Human Geography, Environmental Science and Earth Science.

It is rare to find an institution offering geography as a general masters course, instead most institutions will have departments that specialise in specific areas of Geography, and will accordingly offer masters degree programs in more specific areas. For example the University of Birmingham, offers MScs in Applied Meteorology and Climatology and Environmental Health among others, and Utrecht University in the Netherlands, is about to begin a new Marine Sciences Masters program this year.

Environmental Science

With the world trying to be greener and more sustainable, Environmental Science is now one of the most popular areas of Geography for study. Areas available for study include River Environments, Waste Management, Pollution Management, Environmental Health, Occupational Health, Environmental Management and Ecology. Communication and fieldwork are two significant aspects of the environmental sciences.

Earth Science

Geography Masters Planet Earth

The Earth Sciences cover all the physical phenomena of Earth, and so naturally there are a huge number of different disciplines. Areas available for study include Hydrology, Meteorology and Oceanography, as well as the extensive discipline of Geology, itself covering Palaeontology, Geophysics, PlateTectonics and Petroleum Geosciences, to name a few. Some areas of Earth Science involve a lot of data analysis and modelling, while others are much more hands-on and fieldwork-based. 

Human Geography

This area deals with the understanding and management of humans. Areas available for study include Urban Planning, Urban Environments, Geopolitics, Social Research, Population Geography, Public Health and International Development.

Reasons to study Geography at masters level

There are a number of reasons why students go on to study Geography at the Masters level. A common reason is improve employability in a specific area of the job market, and especially competitive areas of the job market. For example, a student with a Masters in Meteorology is better placed to secure a graduate role at a meteorological forecast centre than a student with a Bachelors in Geography. Masters degrees are good for students who already have a specific subject area in mind and would first like to gain extra knowledge, understanding and skill.

Another common reason is to test the waters of a subject area before going on to further study. While a student can pursue a PhD straight after they have completed an undergraduate course, they can instead complete a year-long masters in a specialised area and determine whether this area is suitable for them before making a decision.

To pursue a Masters in Geography, you don't necessarily have to have a Bachelors in Geography. Graduates in science, computing and math often make the leap to study a Masters in Physical Geography, while graduates in politics, sociology and economics often study masters courses in Human Geography.

Student case study

Aaron had a degree in Geography from the University of Southampton and took an interest in the subject of disease and public health. He wanted to pursue a career in this field, however his undergraduate course did not teach him the requisite biological discipline of Epidemiology to get started in this field.  Aaron undertook a masters course at the University of Leeds course that combined human geography with disease control. He gained an in-depth understanding of the transmission of infection as well as the current methods of control, and he chose to take models that involved the control of infectious disease in developing countries, and health promotion. 

After completing his masters, Aaron not only had a much better understanding of the crucial field of Epidemiology, but had cemented in his mind the career that he wanted to pursue.

Geography & beyond

There are so many different careers available within the field of Geography, and so if you want to break into a specific field you can greatly improve your chances of success by pursuing a specialised masters course. 

Find postgraduate programs in GEOGRAPHY

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