The School of Geography

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


People and buildings reflected in the Cloud Gate sculpture, Chicago

The MA/MSc Geography programme provides a strong grounding in current geographical theory, methods and issues by drawing on the expertise of the human geography staff from across the research themes of the School. The programme is designed to be flexible, combining core training in theory and practice with the opportunity for you to specialise in your chosen areas, and you can choose to graduate with a MA or MSc. You can also choose the length of your dissertation. Opportunities to work with institutions and groups beyond the university are provided through our close ties with numerous museums, archives, community organisations and artists. Those opting for the longer dissertation may graduate with a named specialism, chosen in conjunction with the Programme Convenor.

This programme:

  • provides an advanced understanding of geographical theory, methods and substantive issues at the cutting edge of the discipline
  • promotes flexibility, allowing you to choose the length of your dissertation and the number of option modules you study
  • equips you with 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)

Why study MA/MSc in Geography at Queen Mary?

Our work is at the forefront of human geography, shaping debates and providing significant new insight and understanding. The School of Geography at Queen Mary University of London is recognised as an international centre for excellence in teaching and research. Almost 80 per cent of the School’s research outputs (books and articles) are rated as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) placing it 5th in the UK for this measure. Scores increased across all areas and the School is ranked joint 11th for geography in the UK overall. This success is underpinned by a clear and effective research structure, and a strong record in attracting high quality staff and students, as well as research income.

Funding: QMUL is offering 86 bursaries of £10,000 for entry into a masters programme for UK/EU students who started their undergraduate degrees in 2012. Read more about funding a masters.

We're a School that cares about the world beyond the university working with a range of community groups, cultural and heritage institutions and policy makers, particularly here in East London. We are also known for our friendly, collegial and welcoming ethos and are home to many of contemporary human geography's best known scholars. We are a School that 'engages' with the wider world and demonstrates, through research and teaching, the intellectual and political significance of geographical research and understanding. Our students become part of this culture.

  • Our curriculum is research-led and reflects some of the latest research developments in geography.
  • Depending on options you choose, you can study key issues such as globalisation and development; cities, space and power; and collaborative cultural geographies.
  • 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.


As a postgraduate student in the School of Geography you will be invited to weekly research seminars as well as several research frameworks sessions with top-level academic researchers. 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.

Queen Mary is a part of the University of London, so students have access to the facilities, learning resources and libraries across the group's institutions. Students can also use the first-rate resources of other libraries with London collections (e.g. the British Library).

Work on a new Graduate Centre is underway and, once complete in 2016, will provide 24-hour access to work areas tailored specifically to the needs and working patterns of postgraduates. A 200-seat lecture theatre, seminar rooms, reception area with terrace, student enterprise hub, landscaped courtyard and office space will be among the building's features.


There is a Student Village on the Mile End campus with more than 2,000 rooms available to students. Many of them are en-suite with great facilities close by from a launderette to shops and cafes. Living on campus makes it easy to get to the Library and lectures only a short walk away. Read more on the Residences website.


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
  • Introduction to Social Science Research: Qualitative Methods
  • Introduction to Social Science Research: Quantitative Methods
  • Researching Development in Practice: Mumbai Unbound
  • Migration and Mobilities  - 15 credits
  • Global working lives  - 15 credits
  • Retheorising development futures
  • 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. Read more about modules in our module directory.

For more information, visit the School of Geography website. For enquiries, contact the Postgraduate Studies Manager: 020 7882 8165 or email

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 currently led by Dr Kavita Datta, Reader in Geography. Enquiries until Easter 2015 can be directed to


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."


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