Programmes

BA Geography

  • Undergraduate
  • Department of Geography and Environment
  • UCAS code L702
  • Starting 2020
  • UK/EU full-time: Open
  • Overseas full-time: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

As we attempt to improve human welfare and environmental quality, it is vital that we have a good understanding of the forces which shape development and social change in our interdependent world. To this end, geography at LSE focuses on understanding the social, economic, political and environmental aspects of geography with the objective of 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 analysis 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 topic of your choosing.

This degree aims to produce highly skilled geographers, trained in many of the discipline’s core areas of expertise (urban, economic, political, environmental, and social 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.

Students on this programme have the opportunity to receive a language specialism attached to their degree certificate and transcript. See the programme structure and courses section for details.

Watch a video about the BA Geography programme

Programme details

Key facts

BA Geography
Academic year (2020/21) 28 September 2020 to 18 June 2021
Application deadline 15 January 2020
Duration Three years full-time
Applications/offers/intake 2018 262/154/29
Tuition fee UK/EU fee: £9,250 for the first year
Overseas fee: £21,570 per year
Usual standard offer

A-level: grades A A A
International Baccalaureate: Diploma with 38 points including 7 6 6 at Higher level

Please see the ‘Assessing your application’ section below for detailed information and guidance on entry requirements.

English language requirements Proof of your English language proficiency may be required

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

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 page.

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 (or 7) and A* (or 8-9), or equivalent. Your GCSE (or equivalent) English Language and Mathematics grades should be no lower than B (or 6). 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.

Find out more about subject combinations.

Personal characteristics, skills and attributes

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

- an interest in contemporary geographical problems and their alleviation
- desire to understand the significance and impact of policy at all levels
- an ability to evaluate and challenge conventional views
- an ability to follow complex lines of reasoning and analyse data
- an 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 above in the preliminary reading section, 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. 

Programme structure and courses

The degree involves studying courses to the value of 12 units over three years, plus LSE100. Please note that the LSE100 course is under review.  You will undertake a dissertation in your final year. Fieldwork is an important component of the programme and there is the option of an international fieldtrip as part of the second-year course Field Methods in Geography (see Fees and Funding section for details of costs). You should be undertaking a minimum of 27 hours of independent study across all your courses.

Language specialism

Students who have taken and passed at least one language course in each year of their degree (i.e. 25% of their overall programme of study) will receive a language specialism attached to their degree certificate and transcript. Students must take all courses in the same language (French, Spanish, German, Mandarin or Russian) in order to qualify for the specialism. The three courses must also be consecutively harder in level, for example: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Students who choose language courses in each year according to these rules will receive a language specialism.  Degree certificates which include a language specialism will state the language in the title, for example: BA Geography with French.

First year

(* denotes a half unit)

You will take two compulsory courses, and choose one course from a choice of four. For your fourth course you can choose from a range of approved outside options, including a language course, or take one more of the four courses listed below. You will also take LSE100, which is taught in the Lent term only. Please note that the LSE100 course is under review.

Introduction to Geography 
This course provides students with an introduction to geography at LSE, including human, economic and environmental geography.

Introduction to Geographical Research
Introduces students to the production of geographical and environmental knowledge, and methodological approaches for conducting research.

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. Please note that the LSE100 course is under review.

Either
London's Geographies
Addresses the social, economic and political dimensions of urban geography by focusing on the intersection of people and place in London.
Or
Environmental Change: Past, Present and Future
Explores the forces responsible for our dynamic environment and the changes that shape all life on Earth, our species, and society.
Or
Contemporary Europe
Introduces students to some of the most important economic, social and political challenges the European Union overcame in the past, and currently faces.
Or
Sustainable Development
Examines how the natural world is affected by development decisions and how these decisions shape human development across geographical regions and socioeconomic groups.

Either
One approved outside option, including a language course
Or
One of the above courses not previously taken

Second year

The second year core courses provide a thorough grounding in geographical methods. You will also take further geography and environment options to the value of three units, one of which may be an approved language option, and will continue to take LSE100 in the Michaelmas Term only. Please note that the LSE100 course is under review.

Quantitative Methods in Geography*
Provides students with an introduction to quantitative methods for geographical analysis, specifically regression analysis and Geographical Information Systems 

Field Methods in Geography*
Examines methods used in field-based geographical research, and helps prepare students to undertake individual research projects.

Geography and environment options to the value of three units (one may be an approved language option)

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.Please note that the LSE100 course is under review.

Third year

In the third year you will undertake a dissertation and take further geography and environment options of your choice to the value of three units.

Dissertation
You will undertake your own independent research project from start to finish on a geography topic of your choice, with guidance from your academic mentor.

Geography and environment options to the value of three units

For the most up-to-date list of optional courses please visit the relevant School Calendar page

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 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 Assistant Professors, Associate Professors, Professors and LSE Fellows. Lectures are normally given by academic staff while classes are normally 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 mentor 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. Most full units are assessed through coursework and/or summer term exams. Michaelmas term half units are mostly (but not exclusively) assessed through coursework. Lent term half units are mostly assessed through either coursework or summer term exams. Please note that assessment methods vary by course, and therefore the above is only indicative. Information about 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. Feedback on formative tasks will normally be returned to students within 3 weeks of the submission deadline, where students submit their work on time. You will also receive feedback on summative coursework: for assessments set during Michaelmas or Lent Term, individual feedback will normally be provided within 4 weeks of the date of submission; for dissertations, you will normally receive feedback within 4 weeks of the beginning of the following term (School holidays excluded).

Find out more about LSE’s teaching and assessment methods

Preliminary reading

If you wish to gain further insight into the subject, 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

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.

You should expect to pay a contribution of approximately £500 towards your fieldtrip for the second year course Field Methods in Geography. There are fieldtrip bursaries available from the Department for students who can document financial need. An alternative field exercise will be undertaken by students who are unable to participate in the above one-week residential fieldtrip.

Tuition fees

UK/EU* students:

The 2020 tuition fee for new UK/EU students is £9,250 for the first year.

The UK/EU undergraduate fee may rise in line with inflation in subsequent years.

*The UK Government confirmed in May 2019 that the fee level for EU undergraduate new entrants in 2020/21 will be the same as Home UK for the duration of their undergraduate degree programme. Further information can be found on gov.uk website.

Overseas students:

The 2020 tuition fee for new overseas students is £21,570 per year.

The overseas tuition fee will remain at the same amount for each subsequent year of your full time study regardless of the length of your programme. This information applies to new overseas undergraduate entrants in 2020 only.

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.

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, UK Government support, in the form of loans, is available to UK and some EU students. Some overseas governments also offer funding.

Further information on tuition fees, cost of living, loans and scholarships.

UNISTATS data

Every undergraduate programme of more than one year duration will have UNISTATS data. The data allows you to compare 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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