This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Romola Sanyal STC.3.19a

Other teachers responsible: Student's academic mentor in the Department of Geography and Environment


This course is compulsory on the BA in Geography. This course is available on the BSc in Environment and Development, BSc in Environmental Policy with Economics and BSc in Geography with Economics. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

For students required to, or choosing to, submit an independent research project ('IRP') as part of a Bachelor's degree within the programmes' listed above.


GY245, GY246, GY247 or GY248 are a pre-requisite.

Course content

Students plan their own independent research project from start to finish on a geography topic of their choice. Carrying out the project generally includes reviewing the literature in their chosen topic area, formulating a viable and geography-relevant research question, analysing primary or secondary evidence or other material appropriate to the investigation (often a case study, data set, archival source, fieldwork observation, survey results or interviews, but also other material), and drafting the findings from their investigation into a final, polished submission. Students are expected to deal with the many procedural and analytical decisions that arise in independent research themselves, with guidance from Academic Advisers and others.


In the Department of Geography and Environment, teaching will be delivered through a combination of classes/seminars, pre-recorded lectures, live online lectures, in-person lectures and other supplementary interactive live activities.

This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures across Michaelmas and Lent Term 

This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Michaelmas and Week 6 of Lent Term. 

Formative coursework

Students are required to produce an extended proposal which they must submit during the MT. They will be expected to report regularly to their Academic Adviser on the progress they are making on their dissertation, at least during regular termly Advisee meetings, if not more frequently. Students may also choose to arrange additional oversight and update arrangements with either their Academic Adviser or PhD Adviser.

Students are also required to deliver a presentation on their dissertation project as part of the GY350 conference during the LT.


Research project (100%) in the ST.

Dissertations should not exceed 10,000 words, exclusive of appendices and other supportive material. Appendices may be used for supporting documentation and evidence, but not for discussion and analysis. 

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
First 40.4
2:1 49
2:2 5.8
Third 1.9
Fail 2.9

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2019/20: 46

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Capped 2019/20: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills