The focus of geography at LSE is on the spatial dimensions of economic, social and environmental processes and problems. 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.
Features of LSE courses
The Geography and Environment Department brings together specialists from a number of different countries and disciplines. We are concerned primarily with improving understanding of the social, economic and environmental aspects of geography and informing policy processes worldwide. Many staff have specific regional interests – for example, in Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and South East Asia.
Geography degree courses are structured to help you understand the uneven nature of economic and social development and the varying characteristics of people's lives in different locations, as well as to develop skills in the manipulation and evaluation of geographical information. As part of your learning you will develop the analytical and communication skills necessary for many occupations and careers.
The BA Geography degree is a specialist degree designed for students who wish to focus on human geography either on its own or with some exposure to other social sciences taught at the School. The degree seeks to produce highly trained geographers, skilled in economic, social and environmental geography with reference to developed and developing countries.
The BSc Geography with Economics degree offers a particular focus on economic geography and spatial economics. This programme combines courses in geography with courses offered by the Department of Economics, to provide a deeper understanding of formal economic analysis.
If you are particularly interested in environmental issues, please also see the BSc Environment and Development and BSc Environmental Policy with Economics degrees listed under Environment.
There is a wide range of course units taught within our degree, focusing especially on the environmental, social and economic aspects of geographical enquiry.
You can specialise in geography in a BA single honours degree or in a BSc with economics as a minor subject. The main characteristics of these degrees are shown on the following pages. Both degrees involve studying 12 courses over the three years, plus LSE100. The BA Geography programme has an Independent Research Project in the final year. This allows you to apply your knowledge to a small research exercise in your own chosen field of interest. This is optional in the case of BSc Geography with Economics. However, the internal structures of each degree are quite different, as are the levels of choice.
Fieldwork is an important component of the BA Geography and can be part of the BSc Geography with Economics. Students on these programmes should expect to pay a fee to contribute to the costs of fieldwork. Further detail on the nature of any fieldwork and any associated costs will be made available upon induction.
What the selectors are looking for in an application
The selectors are looking for 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 one or more social science subjects in the sixth form, with geography and economics being the most common.
If you are applying for the Geography with Economics programme you must have studied, or be studying, Mathematics as one of your A level (or equivalent) subjects.
For Geography, we are looking for an original and interesting personal statement which demonstrates your awareness of and interest in contemporary geographical problems and their alleviation. We are interested in your views and opinions; and/or the experiences that you have had which have resulted in your interest in this field of study.
For the combined degree an equal interest in both subjects is essential, and you should demonstrate this through your personal statement.
You should also mention whether there are any aspects of particular interest to you, how they relate to your current academic programme and what additional reading or experiences you have had which have led you to apply. You could also include information on any relevant work experience and extra-curricular activities.
Personal characteristics and skills that will be useful to students in their study of Geography (as a single or combined programme) include the abilities to evaluate and challenge conventional views, read widely, think independently, show initiative, follow complex lines of reasoning and analyse data. In addition, you should possess intellectual curiosity and have the motivation and capacity for hard work.
Please visit lse.ac.uk/ug/apply/env for further information about admissions criteria.
Teaching and assessment
For each course you will have a combination of lectures and classes (12 to 15 hours per week in the first year). 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 will have an academic adviser who will meet you at regular intervals to help you to gain the most from your studies.
You will usually have assessments for most courses 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.
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)
Recent graduates have gone on to work in the areas of financial services, planning, consultancy, administration, marketing, development, teaching and further study.