UCL Department of Geography


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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  Study  /  Undergraduate  /  Undergraduate Applications 2017-18

Undergraduate Applications 2017-18


October 2017

Hello there,

So this part of our site is for those of you who are currently thinking of applying to join us as undergraduates in 2018. We hope that you do! We’ve an excellent group of 130 or so new first years who are currently bedding down into University life and getting their heads around all the new skills that they’ll be developing with us. They seem pretty excited about the prospect in the below group photo, and we think they are quite right to be so!

We are hoping to have a similar number of excellent young scholars joining us again next year. With that in mind, the idea behind this section of the site is that, over the course of the year, I'll post some different bits and pieces that could be of interest to you and might help you make up your mind about us. It’s a big decision deciding what and where to study, after all.

Open Days

First up, I should mention our open days. If you apply to us and you look like an excellent candidate for UCL Geography, we'll probably invite you to one of our open days (well afternoons, really). You should definitely come. We invite all those candidates who look like they could fit in well here to come and see us for an afternoon. The aim of these events is to give you a flavour of our course, our ethos, and our approach. You'll get to meet some of our staff and current students, you'll be taken on a short tour of our very nice Gower street campus and you'll also get to take part in some different activities linked to the kind of research that we do here.

Meet your professors

I'll also be posting some videos of our staff here. In these, you'll hear them talking about what they do in their research and how that feeds through into their teaching. I've chosen some of the guys you'll be working with in your first year of study with us because I thought it would be nice for you to hear from them first. Here's two to get us started.

In the below, we have Helen Bennion. Helen will be taking you on the Catalonia Field-class (see the above obligatory group photo of the first year group in the sun) in the first term of your studies with us. Everyone goes on this. The aim is for the whole year group to have a good time getting to know each other and to start testing testing out a range of advanced geography techniques in Barcelona and Sitges). In the below, she talks about what she does in her research and how she teaches. She's collected and analysed data from lakes all around the world - pretty interesting stuff that’s pretty important for understanding environmental change too.

Next up we have James Kneale who would be involved with the London section of the ‘Geography in the Field’ course you’d take. In that, you'll start to explore the ways in which geographers have sought to understand global cities such as ours. The fact that UCL is right in the heart of things is something we are increasingly putting centre stage in our undergraduate teaching because London is such an interesting place in which to explore how geographers can respond to global challenges such as climate change, urbanization, human wellbeing and many others. In his research, James has contributed to that by looking at how, why, and where people drink alcohol in the city and why that has changed through history. You might not initially think of this as traditional 'geography' - but our geographers do very many things and his geographical perspective has something quite valuable to say to current public health policies.

More from me as the admissions cycle goes along.

Best wishes,

Russell Hitchings (Admissions Tutor)

December 2017

So we've now had the first of our Open Days. Thanks to all of you who came along - it was a pretty full house. The staff and students said they had a good time meeting those of you who came along. Hopefully those who attended also got a pretty good sense of what we are all about in Geography here at UCL.

Since my last update we've also found out that we've won another dissertation prize (these are awarded for the best undergraduate dissertation each year in different areas of geography). Holly Campbell won the Economic Geography Research Group’s Undergraduate Dissertation Award for 2016-17 with her dissertation on ‘Moments of progress: An exploration of the interaction between female enterprise and patriarchal norms in Selçuk, Turkey’. It's pretty amazing the diversity of things you can end up doing if you study geography here and pleasing to see that we are producing some of the very best undergraduate work across all areas of the discipline.

On that matter, last year we decided to establish a 'dissertation images' competition. The idea for this was to celebrate the variety of really interesting things that our finalists end up focusing on in their time with us. This year we had another crop of excellent entries. You can see the results for that here:

Dissertation Images Competition 2017

Finally I thought I'd introduce you to two more of our academics. Below we have Caroline Bressey, one of our 'historical geographers', talking about the important work shes does on the 'Black Presence' in British history. For some academics, 'geography' all about how different cultural groups come to think about other groups and what that means for how we deal with really pressing issues like contemporary racism. Caroline's research is part of this agenda. She takes it forward by looking at how that has featured in the way in which the history of London is presented - how public discourse has often claimed that there were no Black people here at certain points in the past, but also how, were we only to make the effort to look for them, this clearly wasn't the case.

Turning to the physical side of geography, there's Jonathan Holmes who currently teaches environmental geography to the first years, amongst other things. Here he talks about how he goes about collecting his data from different sites around the world and how he draws on this data, and his wider research work, in his teaching.


More from me as the cycle goes on but, for the moment, have a good Christmas!

Russell Hitchings (Admissions Tutor)