UCL Department of Geography


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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  Study  /  Student Testimonials  /  Alex Curtis

Alex Curtis

BSc Geography

Alex Curtis 1.pngAlex Curtis studied for a BSc Geography degree. He says the opportunity to explore both physical and human Geography before specialising was one of the attractions of UCL’s Geography Department. He has enjoyed his studies so much, he has already applied to stay and study an MSc Climate Change.

"Although I started the course as a human geographer, over the first year it became apparent that I preferred the physical geography modules on offer. Last year I took two human modules (Urban geography and environment and society) keeping up with areas of human geography that most interested me. This year I am focusing entirely on physical geography modules: Global Environmental Change; Palaeoclimatology; Water and Development within Africa; and an Independent study module.

"My decision to focus on physical geography highlights one of the most appealing elements of the UCL Geography Programme. In the first year you must complete both physical and human modules, allowing you to decide which aspects of geography really appeal to you, enabling you to make informed decisions as to what you want to specialise in.

World-leading research

"Another big factor in my decision to study geography at UCL was the world-leading research. For instance, whilst at UCL I have been taught and supervised by academics who are contributing to and shaping current debates in the understanding of past climates, recent environmental change and environmental modelling and observation. Their research often forms the basis for teaching and it is fascinating to learn the very latest in the area that you chose to specialise in. The academics at UCL really care about their research and I think this makes the learning experience much more fascinating and enjoyable.

"The Programme consists of lectures, small group seminars and workshops in addition to small group and individual tutorials and supervisions. I particularly enjoyed tutorials and supervisions, and these increase in the final year in line with the amount of independent work. When coming to UCL I wanted to satisfy my desire and passion for studying Geography whilst developing transferable skills that I can use in my future career. I believe that BSc Geography has satisfied both of these requirements.


"I have been able to specialise in areas of Physical Geography that really appeal to me with a large choice of available modules. My lecture sizes are very small with only about 10 people in Palaeoclimatology making it really easy to ask questions. UCL Geography has also greatly increased the number of seminars this year which are great environments to consolidate you understanding of more challenging topic areas and engage in highly topical and relevant discussions with your lecturers.

"Although the prospect of a dissertation can seem quite daunting the whole experience has been incredibly rewarding. My dissertation modelled the impacts of climate change on the Orange River Basin in South Africa, assessing the ecological risks and implications for water scarcity within the basin. The dissertation provided me with the opportunity to undertake my own original and independent research under the guidance and support of your supervisor. In addition, all the academics with department have office hours each week where you can go along and discuss your dissertation or modules one to one.

"This year two of my modules (Water and Development within Africa & Global Environmental Change) were assessed though public weekly blogs over the course of the term. I really enjoyed developing my writing style for a wider audience and developing and sharing my personal opinions on the topics of research.

Fieldwork in Mallorca

"Other highlights for me were the methods-based field classes to Mallorca and the Island of Lesvos. The latter, in the final year, provided the perfect opportunity to integrate everything we had learnt over the course of our undergraduate degree, culminating in a holistic understanding of the interaction of geology, climate, vegetation and humans in shaping the current Mediterranean landscape. The fieldtrip also provides a great escape from the library a day or two after your dissertation deadline!

"BSc Geography has taught me to be highly analytical both in terms of literature and statistical analyses and has developed my critical thinking to assess different ideas and debates in order to build coherent arguments, communicated through writing. My dissertation has helped me develop my complex problem solving and innovative thinking and there have been plenty of opportunities to enhance formal presentation skills.

"Geography at university level is significantly different from GCSE and A-level, in terms of course content and the way that it is taught. Yet, this is highly refreshing and should be embraced. Once you get your head round the course content and get to grips with the reading and demands of the Programme, BSc Geography at UCL is both fascinating and rewarding."