A reputation - 125 years in the making
Our School – whose history dates back to 1894 – is one of the oldest Schools of Geography in the UK. We have an excellent reputation for teaching and research across human and physical geography as well as environmental science. Students and researchers come to study from all over the world to work side-by-side in a strong, supportive and forward-thinking School with some of the most prominent researchers in the field. Our home in east London – positioned between the historic City of London, Docklands and Canary Wharf, the ever-changing East End and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford –, make Mile End an inspiring place in which to live, study and work.
We collaborate with a wide range of organisations, including Citizens UK, V&A Museum of Childhood, The Geffrye Museum of the Home, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), Natural History Museum and many more. The calibre of our researchers also brings collaborations with many national and international organisations from the Environment Agency to UNESCO. One of our key strengths is our ability to apply a geographical perspective to problem-solving from local to global scales. We are committed to research and research-led teaching that focuses on solutions to some of the biggest challenges affecting societies and the environment today.
Geography at Queen Mary is positioned fifth in the UK for the quality of its research outputs (books and articles) according to the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) – the nation-wide assessment of the quality of research across UK higher education institutions. Eighty per cent of our research outputs are rated as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*). The latest QS World University Rankings by Subject (2018) places us in the top 100 geography departments in the world.
Since 2008, the School has gone from strength to strength attracting an 80 per cent increase in total external research grant awards. Two new interdisciplinary research centres – the Centre for Studies of Home and the Centre for the Study of Global Security and Development – have launched since, and we attract AHRC, ESRC and NERC funding for full- and part-time PhD studentships. QMUL Geography is a partner institution in the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctoral programme (SMART) which focuses on the core areas of natural and engineering sciences relevant to the sustainable management of river systems.
Research in the School of Geography is pursued through the following themes:
- Culture, Space and Power
- Earth Surface Science
- Economy, Development and Social Justice
- Health, Biosciences and Security
Regular research activities are also hosted by our interdisciplinary research centres:
- City Centre: researching city lives and connections
- Centre for Studies of Home
- Centre for the Study of Migration
- Centre for the Study of Global Security and Development
- Centre on Labour and Global Production
We pride ourselves on our teaching and have a particularly good record of working with students to achieve their highest potential. Our undergraduate students across geography programmes share a common first year to establish a necessary grounding in the discipline. Second and third year teaching allows them to focus more as their interests develop, culminating in a third year independent study that can be focused anywhere in the world. Fieldwork in both human and physical geography and environmental science is a core aspect of teaching here in the School of Geography and sees students applying what they learn in the classroom to real world situations in destinations as diverse as India, Malaysia or the USA. Graduate destinations from geography and environmental science are diverse and include careers from teaching to law, environmental consultancy to banking, media to government, community organising to project management.
The School of Geography offers students and researchers access to industry-leading laboratory equipment for both physical geography and environmental science research. The River Lab opened in the autumn of 2014 and adds to the already excellent facilities for the analysis of water, soil and sediment. An analytical suite allows students and researchers to explore a range of environmental problems and change. We also have Microtomography (CT) equipment which focuses on the description, interpretation and measurement of components, features and fabrics of soils and sediments at a microscopic level.
A thriving postgraduate school
Our Graduate School is large and vibrant. We offer an attractive range of masters programmes that reflect the distinctive research strengths of the School. Our human geography programmes have all been recognised under the ESRC’s 1+3 funding regime for which we receive quota studentship funding. These enable students who wish to continue on to doctoral research to apply for funding to cover both their MA/MSc and PhD. Our PhD students are also funded by AHRC (including Collaborative Doctoral Award studentships), NERC and the LISS-DTP doctoral programme.
Working with schools
The School of Geography has been home to the Geographical Association’s East London branch since its launch in January 2014. We hold free events for students and teachers, and provide subject updates and opportunities for networking. Our students work with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) to act as ambassadors in schools to promote geography. A student mentoring scheme called Stepping Stones launched in January 2015 which involves current students working with three local schools to share their enthusiasm for the study of geography and environmental science. Some pupils who participated in the scheme in the past few years have successfully applied to, and are now studying with us.
We aim to ease the transition from home to university life even before students arrive at Queen Mary. Our Springboards team of current undergraduates are availabe during Welcome Week to answer any questions that new students might have. We also place an academic tutorial system at the centre of our teaching so that, in addition to lectures and seminars, students meet regularly in small groups with a personal academic tutor.
The School of Geography engages with a wide range of research users, policy makers and the public to ensure that our research has major impact – in scope and significance – from the local (often in east London) to the international. Our approach involves establishing and sustaining collaborative frameworks for research; applying research in practice through committee membership and engagement with policy makers and practitioners; and broadening the audiences that engage with our research. Our public engagement work has been funded by QMUL’s Centre for Public Engagement, AHRC Creativeworks London and other funding bodies.
Queen Mary University of London
Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is one of the UK’s leading research-focused higher education institutions. With more than 25,000 students, 4,000 staff and an annual turnover of £400m, it is one of the biggest University of London colleges. QMUL is one of 24 leading UK universities represented by the Russell Group and is therefore committed to maintaining the very best research, an outstanding teaching and learning experience, excellent graduate employability and unrivalled links with business and the public sector. The university is ranked in the top ten in the UK for multi-faculty universities for the quality of its research (REF 2014).
Based in a creative and culturally diverse area of east London, Queen Mary's friendly, self-contained Mile End campus is one of the largest in the capital. The 2012 Olympic Games transformed our local area forever – as a student with us, you will be placed at the heart of this ongoing development, which provides the perfect backdrop for your studies. Students and staff are attracted to the university from more than 160 countries globally – a diversity that contributes to a lively and welcoming community.