Programmes

BA Geography

  • Undergraduate
  • Department of Geography and Environment
  • UCAS code L702
  • Starting 2017

As we attempt to improve human welfare and environmental quality, it is vital that we have a good understanding of the social, political and economic forces which shape development and social change in our interdependent world. To this end, Geography at LSE focuses on improving understanding of the social, economic and environmental aspects of geography and informing policy processes worldwide.

You will learn to understand the uneven nature of economic and social development and the varying characteristics of people's lives in different locations, and will develop skills in the manipulation and evaluation of geographical information. In your third year, you will undertake an independent research project, which will allow you to apply your knowledge to a small research exercise in your chose field of interest.

This degree aims to produce highly trained geographers, skilled in economic, social and environmental geography with reference to developed and developing countries. The analytical and communication skills you will develop will also be highly valued in many occupations and careers.

Programme details

Key facts

BA Geography
Start date 21 September 2017
Application deadline 15 January 2017
Duration Three years full-time
Applications 2016 314
First year students 2016 33
Availability Closed
Tuition fee UK/EU fee: £9,250 for the first year (provisional)
Overseas fee: £18,408 for the first year
Usual standard offer A level: grades A A A
International Baccalaureate: Diploma with 38 points including 7 6 6 at Higher level
English language requirements Proof of your English language proficiency may be required
Location  Houghton Street, London

For more information about tuition fees, usual standard offers and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections below.

Programme structure and courses

The degree involves studying courses to the value of 12 units over three years, plus LSE100. You will undertake an independent research project in your final year. Fieldwork is an important component of the programme and you should expect to pay a contribution of approximately £500 towards flights and accommodation to New York, as part of your fieldwork for the second year course Research Techniques (Spatial, Social and Environmental). You should be undertaking a minimum of 27 hours of independent study across all your courses. 

First year

You will take two compulsory courses, and choose one course from a choice of three: either Environmental Change: Past Present and Future; or Contemporary Europe; or Sustainable Development. For your fourth course you can choose from arrange of other approved outside options, or take one more of the three courses listed above which you haven’t already taken. You will also take LSE100, which is taught in the Lent term only

Introduction to Geography
Examines the key concepts of human geography.

Methods in Spatial and Social Analysis
Introduces a range of qualitative and quantitative research approaches and methods used in the construction of contemporary knowledge related to human geography and the environment.

LSE100
Beginning in the Lent term of the first year and running through the Michaelmas term of the second year, LSE100 is compulsory for all LSE undergraduate students, and introduces you to the fundamental elements of thinking like a social scientist.

Either
Environmental Change: Past, Present and Future
Focuses on developing an appreciation of the Planet Earth as the home of human societies.
Or
Contemporary Europe
Provides an introduction to society, economy and polity of contemporary Europe. 
Or
Sustainable Development
Seeks to understand how the natural world is affected by development decisions.

Either
One approved outside option
Or
Environmental Change: Past Present and Future
Or
Contemporary Europe
Or
Sustainable Development

Second year

The second year core courses provide a thorough grounding in the key environmental, economic, social and political aspects of the discipline and form the basis for a range of more specialist third-year options. You will also take three further geography and environment options, one of which may be an approved outside option, and will continue to take LSE100 in the Michaelmas Term only.

Research Techniques (Spatial, Social and Environmental)
Prepares second year students, who already have some grounding in social science methodology, to undertake individual research projects. It includes a field trip to New York.

LSE100
Beginning in the Lent term of the first year and running through the Michaelmas term of the second year, LSE100 is compulsory for all LSE undergraduate students, and introduces you to the fundamental elements of thinking like a social scientist.

Either
Three geography and environment options
Or
Two geography and environment options
And
One approved outside option

Third year

In the third year you will take undertake an independent research project and take three further geography and environment options of your choice.

Independent Research Project
You will undertake your own independent research project from start to finish on a geography topic of your choice, with guidance from your academic adviser.

Three further geography and environment options


You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up-to-date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.

You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated undergraduate course and programme information page.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching

For each course you will have a combination of lectures and classes (12 to 15 hours per week in the first year). Hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar within the Teaching section of each course guide.

You are also expected to complete independent study outside of class time. This varies depending on the programme, but requires you to manage the majority of your study time yourself, by engaging in activities such as reading, note-taking, thinking and research.

LSE is internationally recognised for its teaching and research and therefore employs a rich variety of teaching staff with a range of experience and status. Courses may be taught by individual members of faculty, such as lecturers, senior lecturers, readers, associate professors and professors. Lectures are given by academic staff while classes are undertaken by PhD students or LSE Fellows. Courses which focus on spatial analysis and research techniques have practical work. You will also be involved in fieldwork, some of which may be abroad. You can view indicative details for the teacher responsible for each course in the relevant course guide.

You will have an academic adviser who will meet you at regular intervals to discuss your progress and concerns and help you to gain the most from your studies. There are many opportunities to extend your learning outside the classroom and complement your academic studies at LSE. LSE LIFE is the School’s centre for academic, personal and professional development. Some of the services on offer include: guidance and hands-on practice of the key skills you will need to do well at LSE: effective reading, academic writing and critical thinking; workshops related to how to adapt to new or difficult situations, including development of skills for leadership, study/work/life balance and preparing for the world of work; and advice and practice on working in study groups and on cross-cultural communication and teamwork.

LSE is committed to enabling all students to achieve their full potential and the School’s Disability and Wellbeing Service provides a free, confidential service to all LSE students and is a first point of contact for all disabled students.

Your timetable

The lecture and seminar timetable is published in mid-August and the full academic timetable (lectures/seminars and undergraduate classes) is published by mid-September and is accessible via the LSE Timetables webpages.

Undergraduate student personal timetables are published in LSE for You (LFY). For personal timetables to appear, students must be registered at LSE, have successfully signed up for courses in LFY and ensured that their course selection does not contain unauthorised clashes.

Every effort is made to minimise changes after publication, once personal timetables have been published any changes are notified via email.

The standard teaching day runs from 09:00-18:00; Monday to Friday. Teaching for undergraduate students will not usually be scheduled after 12:00 on Wednesdays to allow for sports, volunteering and other extra-curricular events. 

Assessment

All taught courses are required to include formative coursework which is unassessed. It is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. LSE uses a range of formative assessment, such as essays, problem sets, case studies, reports, quizzes, mock exams and many others. Summative assessment for most courses is at the end of the academic year. Courses usually have a three-hour examination plus an extended essay (or practical work for methods courses), although assessment methods vary. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.

Feedback on coursework is an essential part of the teaching and learning experience at the School. Class teachers must mark formative coursework and return it with feedback to you normally within two weeks of submission (when the work is submitted on time). You will also receive feedback on any summative coursework you are required to submit as part of the assessment for individual courses (except on the final version of submitted dissertations). You will normally receive this feedback before the examination period. 

Find out more about LSE’s teaching and assessment methods

Preliminary reading

If you wish to gain further insight into geography, we suggest that you look at one or more of the following books:

S Chant and C McIlwaine Geographies of Development in the 21st Century: an introduction to the Global South (Edward Elgar 2009)

P Cheshire, M Nathan and H Overman Urban Economics and Urban Policy: challenging conventional policy wisdom (Edward Elgar, 2014)

P Cloke, P Crang and M Goodwin (Eds) Introducing Human Geographies (3rd edition, Hodder Arnold, 2013)

P Daniels, M Bradshaw, P Shaw and J Sidaway (Eds) Human Geography: issues for the 21st century (Prentice Hall, 2008)

P Dicken Global Shift: mapping the changing contours of the world economy (Sage Publications, 2015)

R Flowerdew and D Martin Methods in Human Geography (Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2005)

E Glaeser Triumph of the City (Penguin Press, 2011)

A S Goudie The Human Impact on the Natural World: past, present and future (7th edition, Wiley-Blackwell, 2013)

A Jones Human Geography: the basics (Routledge, 2012)

N Klein This Changes Everything: capitalism vs. the climate (Simon & Schuster, 2014)

P L Knox and S A Marston Places and Regions in Global Context (Pearson, 2009)

W Murray Geographies of Globalization (Routledge, 2006)

W Oates (Ed) The RFF Reader in Environmental and Resources Management(Resources for the Future, 2006)

D Perrons Globalisation and Social Change: people and places in a divided world(Routledge, 2004)

A Pike, A Rodríguez-Pose & J Tomaney Local and Regional Development(Routledge 2006)

A Rodríguez-Pose The European Union: economy, society and policy (Oxford University Press, 2002)

M Storper Keys to the City: how economics, institutions, social interaction and politics shape development (Princeton University Press, 2013)

Careers

Recent graduates from this programme have gone on to work in the areas of financial services, planning, consultancy, administration, marketing, development, teaching and further study. 

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme

Support for your career

Many leading organisations give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available to students through LSE Careers.

Student stories

Nicholas Siew

BA Geography
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Nicholas-Siew170x230 

I think there are three main benefits offered by the BA Geography at LSE. Firstly, within your three years you will be challenged to consider a range of issues such as economics, development studies, politics and the intrinsic links that connect them. Secondly, you will acquire the discipline of being able to understand the effects of these on varying scales and within a global arena. Finally as a small department, lectures and classes all take place amidst a group of friends.

The combination of these three highlights the main beauty of the course and is confirmed by the fact that I have found these skills to be useful within a working environment. My time here has helped me develop a skill set, such as the use of GIS and presentation skills, which has proven crucial during my internship over the summer.


Cleo Pearson

BA Geography
Chichester, UK

Cleo-Pearson170x230

It’s a great challenge to study at LSE and Geography at LSE is very distinct from other geography programmes. We focus on how people, the economy and the environment shape our world’s development. It’s also a very intimate course, with a lovely mix of people.


Watch a video about the programme

Watch the video

Assessing your application

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic merit, potential and motivation, irrespective of their background. The programme guidance below should be read alongside our general entrance requirements information.

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on the UCAS application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including predicted and achieved grades)
- subject combinations
- personal statement
- teacher’s reference
- educational circumstances

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency, although you do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE. See our English language requirements.

What we are looking for in an application for BA Geography

Academic achievement

Successful applicants for this programme are usually predicted to achieve or have already achieved a minimum of A A A in their A levels (or 38 and above International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) points, including 7 6 6 at Higher level).

Applicants should also have already achieved a strong set of GCSE grades including the majority at A and A*, or equivalent. Your GCSE (or equivalent) English Language and Mathematics grades should be no lower than B. We also consider your overall GCSE subject profile, and your AS grades, if available.

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you are predicted or if you achieve the grades that meet our usual standard offer, this will not guarantee you an offer of admission. Usual standard offers are intended only as a guide, and in some cases applicants will be asked for grades which differ from this.

We express our standard offers and where applicable, programme requirement, in terms of A levels and the IB, but we consider applications from students with a range of qualifications including BTECs, Foundation Courses and Access to HE Diplomas as well as a wide range of international qualifications.

Information about accepted international qualifications
Information about other accepted UK qualifications

Subject combinations

We consider the combination of subjects you have taken, as well as the individual scores. We believe a broad mix of traditional academic subjects to be the best preparation for studying at LSE and expect applicants to have at least two full A levels or equivalent in these subjects.

For the BA Geography we are looking for academic students with a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for the social sciences and human behaviour. There is no one ideal subject combination, however many applicants have studied or are currently studying one or more social science subjects in the sixth form, with Geography and Economics being the most common. Other frequently offered subjects include Government and Politics, Sociology, History or a natural science. 

If you have taken Mathematics, Further Mathematics and one other subject at A level, this may be considered less competitive for this programme.

Personal characteristics, skills and attributes

For this programme, we are looking for students who demonstrate the following skills:

- an interest in contemporary geographical problems and their alleviation
- desire to understand the significance and impact of policy at all level
- ability to evaluate and challenge conventional views
- ability to follow complex lines of reasoning and analyse data
- ability to think independently and show initiative
- excellent time management skills
- intellectual curiosity
- motivation and capacity for hard work

Personal statement

In addition to demonstrating the above personal characteristics, skills and attributes, your statement should be original, interesting and well-written and should outline your enthusiasm and motivation for the programme.

You should explain whether there are any aspects of particular interest to you, how this relates to your current academic studies and what additional reading or relevant experiences you have had which have led you to apply. We are interested to hear your own thoughts or ideas on the topics you have encountered through your exploration of the subject at school or through other activities. Some suggestions for preliminary reading can be found below, but there is no set list of activities we look for; instead we look for students who have made the most of the opportunities available to them to deepen their knowledge and understanding of their intended programme of study.

You can also mention extra-curricular activities such as sport, the arts or volunteering or any work experience you have undertaken. However, the main focus of an undergraduate degree at LSE is the in-depth academic study of a subject and we expect the majority of your personal statement to be spent discussing your academic interests.

Please also see our general guidance about writing personal statements.

Fees and funding

Every undergraduate student is charged a fee for each year of their programme.

The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.  

Fieldwork is an important component of the BA Geography programme and you should expect to pay a contribution of approximately £500 towards flights and accommodation to New York, as part of your fieldwork for the second year course Research Techniques (Spatial, Social and Environmental).

Tuition fees 2017/18

UK/EU* students: £9,250 for the first year (provisional pending final approval by Parliament)
Overseas students £18,408 for the first year

UK/EU undergraduate fees may rise in line with inflation in subsequent years and the overseas fee usually rises by between 2.5 per cent and 4 per cent each year.

*The UK Government confirmed in October 2016 that the fee level listed for EU undergraduate new entrants in 2017/18 will be the same as Home UK for the subsequent years of their undergraduate degree programme.

The amount of tuition fees you will need to pay, and any financial support you are eligible for, will depend on whether you are classified as a home (UK/EU) or overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education. 

Further information about fee status classification
Further information about tuition fees

Scholarships, bursaries and loans

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country. LSE provides generous financial support, in the form of bursaries and scholarships to UK, EU and overseas students. 

In addition, Government support, in the form of loans, is available to UK and some EU students.

Find out more about tuition fee loans.

Key Information Set

From September 2012, every undergraduate programme of more than one year's duration will have a Key Information Set (KIS). The KIS allows you to compare 17 pieces of information about individual programmes at different higher education institutions.

Please note that programmes offered by different institutions with similar names can vary quite significantly. We recommend researching the programmes you are interested in and taking into account the programme structure, teaching and assessment methods, and support services available.

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