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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  Study  /  Undergraduate  /  Dissertation Projects

Dissertation Projects


All of our staff here in UCL Geography are passionate about doing great geography research and we want to give you the chance to do some of your own whilst you are here. So we place considerable emphasis on dissertation projects. Your dissertation will be a significant piece of research that you’ll devise over the course of your second year, then collect material on over the summer months, and write-up as a final project report in your third year.

Independent research

In the second year, you’ll take a course that helps you to identify how you can take the interests you have been developing with us forward through a piece of work that is original and feasible. Then, with plenty of support from us, you’ll spend a significant chunk of time really getting to grips with it. During the third year, you’ll regularly meet with an academic who shares your interests to help you in preparing what is, in many instances, ends up being a really valuable and interesting contribution to knowledge.

This is also a chance for you to fully develop some of the skills that employers are looking for, including project management, personal tenacity, critical thinking skills and report writing. Saying you've done an excellent dissertation looks really great on a CV.

Learning from you

As well as giving you the chance to research a topic you are really interested in, we really enjoy the dissertation because staff get to explore their areas of interest from angles they may never have considered before. Our staff are genuinely excited to see what students come up with and proud of the excellent projects students often produce whilst they are here with us. Many of our students have won prizes for the best undergraduate dissertation projects in the UK. You’ll find some examples of these below:

Daphne Lee Ageing-environment relationships: public neighbourhood spaces in Singapore Development Geography Group Winner and Urban Geography Group Winner.

Joon Ting
. Modelling the Hydrological Impacts of Climate Change on the Tocantins-Araguaia River Basin (Brazil) Climate Change Research Group Winner.

Emma Colven:
A neoliberal political agenda? The debate surrounding outdoor service provision for the homeless in Westminster. Urban Geography Research Group Winner.

Amanda Green
: Quantifying uncertainty in projections of river discharge in the Mekong River Basin under climate change. British Hydrological Society, Winner.

Katariina Makela:
Modern urban women: a study of Signe Brander's photography in early 20th-century Helsinki. Historical Geography Research Group Winner

Ravi Soni:
Urban regeneration and the effect on small established businesses: the case of Eastside. Urban Geography Research Winner

Catherine van de Dries:
The Visual Construction of Femininity in Britain During World War Two Women in Geography Research Group Winner


Another way of getting a sense of the real diversity of things that we do, is to look at the results of our dissertation images competition. We asked our students to take photos of their fieldwork. This is what they came up with:

Dissertation Images Competition 2017

You'll see from the above list and all those different images that, depending on what you become most interested in, you could end up studying any number of topics! You could find yourself exploring representations of gender and national identity in photographs from the past, understanding how older people live with public space in Singapore, or analysing the flow of South American rivers or the Mekong. Whatever you choose, we’ll be there to help keep you on track as you produce a piece of work that our students often tell us they are very proud of. And so they should be – it’s a significant achievement!