Geography

Geography at Fitzwilliam College has a long and thriving tradition, making it one of best places in the world to study the subject. Geography is important to the College in terms of its degree results, the number of Fellows in the subject, the size of our typical admission and in terms of the successful history of the subject in the College. We aim to admit 10 to 12 geographers per year. 

At present the College has four Geography Fellows (two in Human Geography, two in Physical Geography). From the second year, University teaching staff and Fellows from other Colleges provide small group teaching in fields requiring particular specialism, and we regularly appoint Supervisors of Studies to assist College Fellows for particularly popular papers. 

The College has an extensive library collection in Geography, to complement that available in the University’s Department of Geography and the Scott Polar Research Institute. This contains one of the best College collections in Environmental Science, Development Geography, Political Geography and Economic Geography. The College, through its scholarships and bursaries, is able to provide significant financial assistance for geographers who wish to carry out fieldwork and to travel in the United Kingdom and abroad, particularly in the vacation between the second and third years. There is a dedicated Environmental Studies Fund for travel linked to research on environment-related topics. Geographers at Fitzwilliam are particularly encouraged to choose overseas topics for their Part II dissertations and spend much of the long vacation at the end of their second year in faraway places. In recent years, the Part II students have conducted research in Kenya, Sweden, Brazil, USA, Japan, Mexico and the UK.

Geography students represent a strong community at Fitzwilliam. In recent years, a large number of postgraduate geographers have also come to Fitzwilliam. All Geographers, whether undergraduate, postgraduate or Fellow, are proud to belong to the Fitzwilliam Geographical Society. No first year Geographer feels at sea on arrival, with a ready-made family of peers and associates with whom to socialise and enjoy areas of mutual interest. The Geography Society meets socially very regularly for meals, drinks, field trips and even ten-pin bowling! This engenders a strong sense of community among the students, with friendships and support developing over the three year groups. The mutual support extends to a range of academic activities as well. Final year students, for instance, give talks on their dissertation projects, and their peers are able to provide feedback, discussion and support. This means that first year and second year students benefit from the experience of the third years when designing their own research projects.

Fitzwilliam is most anxious to maintain its considerable reputation in Geography, and also to reach new schools which have not previously considered sending students to this College or to Cambridge. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and are a diverse and inclusive community. The Geography Fellows may be willing to come and give a talk on a Geographical topic if their time permits and any teacher interested in this should approach the Directors of Studies for Geography. The College also organises an annual Progress in Geography Conference for sixth form students. 


Requirements

The typical A Level offer is A*AA and the standard IB offer is 42 points (with 776 at Higher Level). For other qualifications, please consult the Admissions Office. Applicants are also required to sit the Geography admissions written assessment, prior to being invited to interview.  More information can be found on the University website.

Details of the admissions procedures can be obtained on the Fitzwilliam admissions pages, from the College Admissions Tutor, or in the University of Cambridge Admissions Prospectus. In addition the Director of Studies will be very happy to give additional information about Geography entry to the College. He may be contacted by writing to Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, CB3 ODG, or on the telephone number or email address given below. Further information about this subject can be found on the Department of Geography website.


Life after Cambridge

Geographers at Fitzwilliam are very successful in their subsequent careers. A large number of former Fitzwilliam geographers are influential in Universities around the world.

Several recent graduates are engaged in PhD research, and a large number are doing Masters courses in subjects like Human Geography, Development Studies, Environmental Science, International Relations and Environmental Management.

Recent Fitzwilliam geographers are pursuing successful careers in accountancy, stock broking, transport management, the Immigration Service, and urban planning, among many other careers.


Directors of Studies and Fellows

Dr Richard Powell is a Fellow and Director of Studies in Geography for Part II, and University Lecturer in the Human Geography of the Polar Regions. His research interests encompass historical and cultural geographies, the geopolitics of territory and resources, geographies of science, and the histories of the social and natural sciences. He teaches courses on history of geography, fieldwork and the human geographies of the Arctic at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Professor Bhaskar Vira is a Fellow and Director of Studies in Geography, and Professor of Political Economy, Department of Geography. His research interests span the fields of political economy, development studies and environmental studies, with a regional focus on South Asia. He is particularly interested in state-society interactions over resource use, at a variety of scales. Watch a short video of Professor Vira talking about the political economy of development. He teaches courses on environmental economics, development studies, and local natural resource management at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Dr Fiona Danks is a Bye-Fellow and teaches physical geography. Her research interests include global biodiversity, nature conservation and Arctic ecology. She is also Senior Programme Officer in the Science Programme at UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge.

Dr Céline Vidal is a Bye-Fellow (from 1 October 2017) and teaches physical geography. Her research interests include volcanology, geochemistry and climatology. She is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Geography.


More information

Watch a short video about Geography on the University's YouTube channel.