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Geography

Undergraduate Geography at Oxford covers the breadth and depth of the subject across human, environmental and physical interests; you will learn about interactions between people and their environments in every continent of the world.

It is the ideal subject for those who want to address the contemporary challenges of climate change and economic globalisation, to compare the impacts of urbanisation and the information revolution on diverse cultures and places, and to better understand political and ecological conflicts in both the developed and the developing world. The first year of the course provides an overview of current debates within all areas of academic geography, whilst the second and third years allow students to specialise within particular sub-fields. At this stage students also benefit from the opportunity to undertake an independent, original geographical research project of their own, to be written up in the form of a dissertation. Throughout the course, there are significant opportunities to undertake field-based study, both in the UK and overseas.

Geography provides for the development of a range of skills in high demand from employers. These include writing reports, presenting, interpreting and analysing data, and understanding and applying computer methods, including geographical information systems (GIS) and mapping. Such skills are developed through lectures, seminars, tutorial and practical sessions, and via the preparation of essays, as well as the dissertation. In all areas, the ability to critically analyse and articulate coherent arguments is of paramount importance. Many recent geography graduates have taken up positions in management consultancy, chartered accountancy, financial services, and law or marketing, but there is also an increasing trend towards the pursuit of further study through masters or doctoral programmes in geography, environmental science and vocational courses.

For further information about Geography at Oxford, see the School of Geography website and the Geography page on the Oxford University website.

Yearly Intake

At Keble: 8
At the School: 75

Past Admissions Feedback

Every year tutors prepare detailed feedback about the admissions process.
Links to the text from the last three years can be found below.

Feedback 2020 (pdf)
Feedback (College) 2019 (pdf)

Feedback (University) 2019 (pdf)
Feedback 2018 (pdf)

The Course at Keble

To learn more about geography at Keble, please visit our dedicated webpage.

Geography is a thriving subject at Keble and Keble is one of the top colleges for the subject in Oxford. The college’s tutorial team is committed and enthusiastic, keeping abreast of current developments in the field and helping students to draw innovative links with real world events. All of our tutors strive to promote academic excellence; Professor Richard Washington received a prestigious teaching excellence award from the University, Dr Beth Greenhough joined in 2014. Professor Sarah Whatmore – formerly head of the University’s School of Geography and Environment (SOGE) – is a professorial fellow.

With an annual intake of around eight Geography students, Keble is a focal point for undergraduate geographers in Oxford. Beyond ensuring that there is a real sense of community among geographers within the college, such large cohorts also attract valuable additional resources in the form of field trips, extra tutors, entertainment allowances and extensive library material. As a result, while Keble geographers are a down-to-earth, social bunch, they also perform well in University Examinations, and have achieved some of the college’s top firsts across all subjects in recent years.

Keble’s central location means that it is a mere two-minute walk from the School of Geography. The Radcliffe Science Library (where the Geography department’s books are kept) is also directly across the road, whilst the University’s Bodleian Library is only five minutes away on foot. Closer to home, Keble’s Library is well stocked with geography texts and DVDs, and the college has plentiful resources to order in new books as required. Computing provision is also excellent; students can readily access email, academic articles and online bibliographic information from their rooms.

Keble Geographers maintain an active Facebook page and a blog. These will give you a sense of the frequent interactions that the college’s tutors and students enjoy beyond regular tutorial teaching. Recently, for example, students have accompanied tutors to a Parliamentary Seminar at the House of Commons in London, and on a trip to BMW’s MINI manufacturing plant in nearby Cowley. Keble’s geographers have also conducted their own independent fieldwork in places as far-flung as China, Tanzania, Mauritania, Indonesia and Malawi, often on the basis of successful applications for much sought-after Keble Association travel grants. For more information, including an account of a typical week in the life of a Keble geographer, and guidelines for what to expect in an admissions interview, you might like to visit a detailed web page set up by recent graduates.

Scholarly achievement is encouraged by academic prizes. As well as a prize for best performance in Prelims, there are two awards named for a former tutor, Gordon Smith: one is for best performance in the second year and the other is for excellence in dissertation research.