Geography is a very popular subject relevant to more careers than we probably realise. So, it’s a great subject to study if you’re interested in how the world works and how we impact the planet around us.
If you’re interested in studying geography, where is the best university to study? Which university will give you the best chance of success in your future career?
We compared some of the top universities in the UK. We also compared the various university league tables from the likes of The Times, Guardian and other sources to provide an insight into the top universities for geography.
The study of geography
Geography is such a broad subject that you can get a BA or BSC in it.
The Batchelor of Arts degree covers the human elements of geography. How we use and interact with the world, how our civilisation has grown to use resources and change the world around us, the impact of economics, population, consumerism, manufacturing and all those things we as humans do to the earth.
The Bachelor of Science degree concentrates more on the earth, tectonics, rocks, natural elements, the chemistry and physics of how the world works, climate, landscape, oceans, pollution and the many interesting aspects of the physical world and how it operates.
Both are fascinating areas of study that prepare students for a wide variety of careers.
What careers use a geography degree?
There is no limit or restriction to what type of career you can have with a geography degree but there are a few that will utilise many aspects of what you learn.
- City or transport planning
- International development
- Economy and population planning
- Environmental and climate specialists
- Business and manufacturing
- Government positions
- NGO and non-profits
The list is extensive. Even more so when you get into the interdisciplinary skills that you’ll likely learn during your course!
Where to study geography
So that’s the what and why, now let’s get to the where. Where are the top universities in the UK for geography?
1. University of Oxford
The University of Oxford and Cambridge come first, second or third interchangeably depending on what source you use.
Oxford has a single BA course that is very highly rated. It doesn’t hurt that The University of Oxford is also the #1 rated university in the world by more than one table!
Oxford is a nice city that’s about as English as it gets. Narrow streets, old buildings, lots of history and tradition. It isn’t as laid-back as some universities but cannot be beaten for the quality of its education.
2. University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is another top-rated university with a single BA degree course in geography. Again, it’s rated so highly because of the quality of the faculty and the teaching.
Some tables put The University of Cambridge before Oxford, some after. Either way, a Cambridge education is still going to prepare you for almost anything the world can throw at you!
Cambridge is also a nice city with a lot of history. The university is another more formal institution with lots of tradition, but the quality of the teaching is beyond reproach.
3. St Andrews
St Andrews in Scotland has 60 geography-related courses and is also a highly rated university. Located northeast of Edinburgh, it is the oldest university in Scotland and is known for the quality of its education.
St Andrews offers both BA and MSC in geography and related courses and has a very high student satisfaction rating. It also has a high entry criteria, so if you secure a place here, you’re one of a lucky few!
St Andrews is a nice place to study, with lots of green space, golf courses, the North Sea and easy access to Edinburgh.
4. London School of Economics
The London School of Economics, LSE for short, has four geography degree courses covering both BA and MSC. This is another high-profile university with a reputation for delivering quality education in a wide range of subjects.
LSE is known for business, law, economics and related courses, so many elements of geography fit right in.
The London School of Economics is located in Holborn in the centre of London and is a great place to study. It’s one of many unis in London and close to many famous landmarks, good shopping and more dining and entertainment options than you could visit in a lifetime.
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Glasgow University has an excellent reputation for geography and is known as one of the most accessible universities to attend. It offers 32 geography-related degree courses across BA, BSC, MA and MSc.
Glasgow is also rated #5 university in the country by the Guardian and has a high student satisfaction score as well as high scores for quality teaching.
Glasgow is a vibrant city in Scotland on the west coast, just 50 miles or so from Edinburgh. It’s lively, characterful and has a rich history. The city centre has been extensively modernised and the city as a whole is a great place to be a student.
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Durham is another top UK university that places higher or lower, depending on where you check. There is no doubt that it’s a great university to get into if you can. It offers six geography degree courses across BA and BSc.
Durham has an excellent reputation and is one of the highest rated universities in the north of England. It has excellent course, teaching and student satisfaction scores and is known for delivering top-quality degrees.
Durham as a city is friendly, welcoming and a great place to be a student. It’s close to Newcastle and Gateshead and has a lively, vibrant student scene and an accommodating city centre.
UCL, University College London is another of the many unis in London and one of the top universities in the UK. It offers five degree courses in geography covering both BA and BSc.
University College London places #5 or #6 in the country as a university depending on where you look. It has a solid reputation for delivering quality education across a wide range of courses.
University College London is in Bloomsbury, close to Euston Station. It’s a thriving part of the city not far from The Regent’s Park, The British Museum and other highlights. As London is so easy to get around, it’s a great place to be a student.
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Southampton University may not have the same profile as Oxford or St Andrews but it’s a very highly rated university. It is regularly rated within the top 10 universities in the UK for the quality of its teaching and student satisfaction.
Southampton offers 10 geography degree courses across both BA and BSc. There is also a MEnvSci course and a BSocSc too.
Southampton is a coastal city in the south of England and is next door to Portsmouth. It has a strong maritime history and is a very cosmopolitan city thanks to the port. It’s also a great place to be a student!
Loughborough University is another of those universities with a relatively modest profile that punches way above its weight in league tables. It is regularly within the top 10 universities in the UK for quality and student satisfaction.
Loughborough University offers 12 geography degree courses covering both BA and BSc.
Loughborough is located between Leicester and Nottingham and is a short distance from Derby and Birmingham too. This makes it an excellent place to be a student, with lots going on in town and four cities a short distance away.
10. The University South Wales
The University South Wales in Cardiff is the only Welsh university highly rated for geography degree courses. It’s a good university that offers a wide breadth of courses across all subjects.
The University South Wales is also regularly rated within the top 10 universities in the UK and offers 12 geography degree courses across BA, BSc and MGeog.
Cardiff is an excellent city to study. It’s an old city with a young heart and has seen significant transformation over recent decades. Quality of life is good and the cost of living is relatively cheap.