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Graduate Admissions

Course closed:

Geographical Research is no longer accepting new applications.

The course is intended for students who have a substantial background in geography or a related discipline with a good first degree. It aims to provide: (i) broad-based training in geographical research, its philosophical backgrounds and debates, and interpretation of geographical literature, (ii) comprehensive training in research methods in human geography and the social sciences as a whole, and (iii) the opportunity to develop large-scale research management skills by completing a research thesis under academic supervision and guidance.

The course bridges the gap between first degree and PhD, and aims to develop general transferable skills for research employment in a wide range of walks of life, or as the first stage of a PhD thesis. The MPhil thesis element can be a freestanding project, but is usually used as a vehicle for developing plans and research design for subsequent doctoral research.

Students develop their skills of assessing contrasting theories, explanations and policies; collecting, critically judging, evaluating and interpreting varied forms of evidence; preparing maps and diagrams; employing various methods of collecting and analysing spatial and environmental information; combining and interpreting different types of evidence to tackle specific problems; and recognising the ethical and moral dimensions of study.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the 11 months, students taking the MPhil in Geographical Research will be expected to have:

  • Acquired a broad knowledge of qualitative research methods and general statistics
  • Acquired the skills to use library and internet resources independently
  • Acquired specialist knowledge of the relevant literature related to their thesis
  • Acquired skills to independently structure their research design
  • Given a presentation on their thesis to their peers and academic staff
  • Written three essays and one thesis


Students wishing to continue to a PhD in Geography must reapply for admission to a PhD before the end of their MPhil. To be accepted they must satisfy a good pass level in all the assessed units of their MPhil and achieve 70 per cent overall, with particular attention given to the level of performance in their thesis component. However, readmission is not automatic to high-performing MPhil students. In addition a student must demonstrate suitability to undertake a PhD and make a full specification of their research proposal which allows the suitability of the topic to assessed. They must also have the agreement of a supervisor to supervise, based on the appropriateness of the PhD proposal to the expertise of the academic staff in the department.

Key Information

11 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

Department of Geography and Scott Polar Research Institute


Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 3, 2018
Application deadline
March 29, 2019
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2019

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 3, 2019
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 10, 2018

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