The School of Geography

Prospective Students menu


MA ( 1 year Full-time / 2 years Part-time )


People and buildings reflected in the Cloud Gate sculpture, Chicago

The MA/MSc Geography programmes provide a strong grounding in current geographical theory, methods and issues by drawing on the expertise of our human geography staff. Combining core training in theory and practice with the opportunity for you to specialise in your chosen areas, you can choose the length of the dissertation. It is possible to develop your own area of research or to complete a dissertation on a subject advertised by the School (see below). Opportunities to work with institutions and groups beyond the university are provided through our close ties with museums, archives, community organisations and artists. Depending on options you choose, you can study key issues such as globalisation and development; cities, space and power; and collaborative cultural geographies.

Join this programme to:

  • explore geographical theory, methods and substantive issues at the cutting edge of human geography
  • design your own programme with help from our staff and take advantage of the flexibility of the length of dissertation and the number of option modules you study
  • develop advanced level research skills including project design, planning and management, as well as analytical and interpretive skills that are ideal for those looking to enhance their qualifications, broaden skills and knowledge specialisms, or to conduct further research.

Specialist topics for 2015/16

  • critical public health; global health; historical perspectives on urban environment and health (Dr Tim Brown)
  • Latin American transnational migration in European contexts; gender-based violence against women and girls in the Global South (Professor Cathy McIlwaine)
  • Knowledge infrastructure and regional innovation in the European South; Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and local economic development (Dr Konstantinos Melanchroinos)
  • Streets, parks and squares: space and sociability in 18th-Century London; New Spaces, New Publics?: inclusion and exclusion in London's public spaces (Professor Miles Ogborn)
  • Vital geographies; humanitarianism; historical geographies of development; democratic theory and public reason (Dr Simon Reid-Henry)
  • Macro-regional integration and uneven development: how integration impacts on development; Global value chains and development: evaluating the effectiveness of labour standards implementation; Free trade agreements and sustainable development: comparing the US and the EU's models (Professor Adrian Smith)
  • Food banks (Professor Jon May)

Become a part of QMUL Geography

  • We are recognised as an international centre for excellence in teaching and research. Our work is at the forefront of human geography, shaping debates and providing significant new insight and understanding
  • We are also known for our friendly, collegial and welcoming ethos and are home to many of contemporary human geography's best known scholars
  • Almost 80 per cent of our research outputs (books and articles) are rated as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) placing us 5th in the UK for this measure. Our research scores increased across all areas in the latest UK score of research excellence (REF 2014) and we're ranked joint 11th for geography in the UK overall. We're also proud to feature in the top 100 departments in the world to study geography (QS World University rankings 2015)
  • Funding: QMUL is offering bursaries of £10,000 for 2015 entry for UK/EU students who started their undergraduate degrees in 2012. Read more about masters fees and funding.
  • We're a School that cares about the world beyond the university, working with a range of community groups, artists, cultural and heritage institutions and policy makers, particularly here in East London. Our passion is to demonstrate through research and teaching the intellectual and political significance of geographical research and understanding. We encourage our students to become part of this vibrant intellectual culture
  • Optional modules include some opportunities to work with external organisations, such as the Geffrye Museum, with whom we have a partnership through our jointly directed Centre for Studies of Home.


  • Weekly research seminars: As a postgraduate student with us you will be invited to weekly research seminars as well as several research frameworks sessions with top-level academic researchers
  • Individual working space: Research students have individual desk and computing space in dedicated offices within the School of Geography and access to facilities for specialist statistical and Geographical Information System (GIS) analyses, desktop publishing and the processing of video and electronic images
  • University of London network: Queen Mary is a part of the University of London, so our students have access to the facilities, learning resources and libraries across the group's institutions. You can also use the first-rate resources of other libraries with London collections (e.g. the British Library).


The programme is made up of 180 credits.

There are three programme options based on different lengths of dissertation:

Option A - MA/MSc Geography (Research)

Core modules

  • A dissertation of 30,000-words (120 credits)
  • Plus ONE option module (30 credits)

Compulsory module

  • Geographical thought and practice (30 credits)

Option B - MA/MSc (Named Specialism)

Core modules

  • A dissertation of 22,500-words (90 credits)
  • Plus TWO option modules (30 credits each)

Compulsory module

  • Geographical thought and practice (30 credits)

Option C - MA/MSc Geography

Core modules

  • A dissertation of 15,000-words ( 60 credits)
  • Plus THREE option modules (30 credits each)

Compulsory module

  • Geographical thought and practice (30 credits)

Option modules include (30 credits unless stated)

  • Advanced Readings in Geography
  • Art, performance and the city
  • Empire, race and immigration
  • Cultural geography in practice
  • Cities, space and power
  • Researching development in practice: Mumbai unbound
  • Migration and Mobilities (15 credits)
  • Global working lives (15 credits)
  • Re-theorising development futures
  • The Theory and History of Community Organising Paused for 2015-16
  • Democracy, rights and citizenship  (15 credits) Paused for 2015-16

You may also substitute one module option from this list with another approved module offered by another School.


Entry requirements

An upper second class honours degree or higher in a humanities or social science subject from a UK university (or an equivalent international qualification) together with two supportive references is required. Candidates are expected to have good English language ability and to meet the standard of the IELTS, or equivalent, at a level of 7.0. Read more about English language requirements. If you do not meet language or scholarly requirements it might be possible for you to undertake foundation or pre-sessional programmes that will prepare you for the masters programme. For more information, please contact the Admissions Office on +44 (0) 7882 5533 or email

It is not necessary to have a first degree in geography and we welcome applicants from different backgrounds in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

For detailed country-specific entry requirements please visit the International section of our website.

Learning and teaching

As a student at Queen Mary, you will play an active part in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. Teaching is by a mixture of formal lectures and small group seminars. The seminars are designed to generate informed discussion around set topics, and may involve student presentations, group exercises and role-plays as well as open discussion. We take pride in the close and friendly working relationship we have with our students. You are assigned an Academic Adviser who will guide you in both academic and pastoral matters throughout your time at Queen Mary.

Independent Study

For every hour spent in formal classes you will be expected to complete further hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work and completing projects.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning requirements and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.


The compulsory module, Geographical Thought and Practice, is assessed by coursework; the dissertations are of an elective length; and the optional modules are assessed through a mix of coursework assignments ranging from extended essays to project summaries and practical reports.


You will also complete a dissertation of 15,000 - 30,000 words, depending on the path you choose (see structure).

You will be assigned an academic supervisor from the School of Geography at Queen Mary, University of London. Your supervisor will provide guidance and advice on your dissertation research. Students will meet with the supervisor at least six times from January through to June in order to ensure that your work is on track for completion.

Academic lead

This programme is led by Professor Alison Blunt, Professor of Geography and Head of School.


Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2015 entry

Tuition fees for International students

2015 entry


There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.

Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships

We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.

Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.

Alternative sources of funding

Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.

Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country on our country web pages.

Download our Postgraduate Funding Guide [PDF] for detailed information about postgraduate funding options for Home/EU students.

Read more about alternative sources of funding for Home/EU students and for Overseas students.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717

Graduate Employment


Nick Owen
Class of 2013

Currently working as: Research and Joint Programme Manager, Queen Mary University of London

Photo of Nick Owen

"I chose the programme for a number of reasons, not least the School's reputation for world-leading research and my enthusiasm for a number of the modules, such as 'Art, Performance and the City' and 'Cities, Culture and Power'. I liked that the MA Geography programme provided flexibility in the number and variety of optional modules and a choice in the prominence of the dissertation module, allowing me to tailor the programme towards my personal interests.

"My research interests led me to explore the relationship between artistic walking practices and private-public musical listening habits. The research project attempted to highlight alternative, playful and innovative ways of considering urban public space, drawing on the artistic walking practices of Francis Alÿs, and the urban audio walks of Janet Cardiff, Graeme Miller and Toby Butler.

"I'd recommend the programme to prospective students for the quality and variety of teaching. I felt seminars were inclusive yet challenging, with guest speakers from diverse fields leading classes and encouraging debate. Dissertation supervision was also excellent, my supervisor provided expert guidance throughout the process, and I felt able to discuss any issues I had with the research. The School values progressive and innovative thought, which undoubtedly contributes to its standing as one of the leading geography departments in the UK."


Bookmark and Share
Return to top