What makes the Cambridge Geography course so special?
In 2010, the Department of Geography at Cambridge was once again ranked top by the Independent, the Guardian and the Times Good University Guide, so it is a great place to come and study Geography. Geography at Cambridge is wide-ranging and allows increasing specialisation over three years. The degree is constructed to allow choice and flexibility but also to provide an introduction to all aspects of the subject. You will be taught by many leading geographers in their field, in lectures, supervisions, laboratories and in the field.
Why choose Newnham for Geography?
Newnham admits a large enough number of Geographers to be a dynamic community. It has an excellent reputation for Geography and Newnham students achieve good results. The subject is well supported in the College: there are several funds reserved for Geography fieldwork, and a good collection of Geography books in the College library. Newnham has three ‘Fellows’ in Geography (of whom more below), more than most Colleges, so students can generally find someone with whom they can discuss their ideas and interests. There is also a student-run Geography society (the Lucy Adrian Geography Society) which organizes talks and social events for students.
How many students take Geography at Newnham and what options can they choose?Newnham takes six to eight Geography students a year.
In the first year, all students take the same two major courses in Human Geography and Physical Geography, and a general course in Geographical Skills and Methods.
In the second year, greater choice is possible. From 2012-13, there will be one Core Course that examines issues that are central to Geographical analysis and study. All students will take this course. Students will then choose three options from a choice of six human and physical geography papers. Currently the second year options include papers on Cities, Development, Glaciology and Rivers and Coasts.
In the final year there is a completely free choice, taking four papers from a list of twelve physical and human geography papers. These also include papers focusing on the geography of different parts of the world including Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
There is a certain amount of assessed course work that the student must carry out during the three years. In the second year, students carry out a project based on a one-week field visit overseas. In the last few years, Mallorca, Berlin, Morocco, Ireland and Portugal have been the destinations of these field trips. In the summer between the second and third year, all students carry out research (in the UK or abroad) which forms the basis of a dissertation that contributes to the final exam results at the end of the third year.
How will I be taught at Newnham?
All students attend lectures in the Department of Geography. Field classes and practical classes are also organized through the Department. Supervisions are organized by the College. Supervisions normally consist of two or more undergraduates meeting with a senior member for discussion on topics arising from lecture courses, and students will usually complete an essay for the supervision. Geographers generally have two or three supervisions a fortnight. In the first year at Newnham most supervisions will be with other Newnham students, but thereafter undergraduates of different colleges are often supervised together according to their interests.
Can you tell me more about the Newnham Geography Fellows?
Newnham is fortunate in having three senior members in College:
What jobs do Newnham Geography students go on to do?
Geographers have excellent job prospects and enter into a wide variety of occupations. Prospective employers welcome Geographers as people with a range of critical skills and analytical abilities trained to be both numerate and literate over a wide field. Newnham Geographers can be found in environmental organizations, development organizations, banking, information technology, chartered surveying, law, landscape architecture, the Civil Service, accountancy, management and teaching, as well as in further research and lecturing. Some go to specialist professional courses after their BA, including for accountancy and law, while others go on to graduate study as Master’s or PhD students.
Are there any A-level subjects that are particularly useful?
Students have usually studied Geography at AS/A2-level (or equivalent), although this is not essential. Other suitable supporting subjects are varied but include Economics, English, Geology, History, Politics, Mathematics, Modern Languages, Science (Biological or Physical) and Sociology. An interest in contemporary issues gained from newspapers and journals (e.g. Geographical Magazine, New Scientist, The Economist) is also a good background for studying Geography.
Can I take a gap year?
The College is sympathetic to applicants who wish to take ‘a year out’, before starting university but also understands that others may prefer to go straight into University.
How should I prepare for interview at Newnham?
There are usually two separate interviews at Newnham, each lasting about 25 minutes. These do not involve written tests, although applicants may be asked to comment on material (text, a map or photographs for example) made available during or just before the interview.
Where can I find out more?
It is usual for the course in Geography to change slightly from year to year but it is currently in a process of reform. The information above is correct at time of writing. For more details and up-to-date information, explore the Department of Geography website.
Take a look at the profiles of a current student and two former students.
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