School of Geography

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Exciting fieldwork opportunities

Fieldwork plays a vital role in both our geography and environmental science teaching programmes at QMUL. It takes learning from the classroom out into the world and turns it into a real and shared experience.

First year

Our research training modules in the first year are supported by numerous fieldwork projects conducted in a range of rural and urban settings, from Suffolk to Liverpool and the East End of London. The cost of all compulsory fieldwork in the School of Geography is covered through tuition fees.

Second and third year

Students can take part in specialist modules that involve longer, overseas field classes as their studies develop, including those also offered to our environmental scientists from the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences. Destinations currently include:

Mumbai, India: 8-day field trip as part of the third year module 'Development Futures: Mumbai Unbound', exploring: Mumbai's dual service economy; new worlds of work; middle class consumption; and poverty and hope in Mumbai’s slums. The fieldclass is unique amongst UK geography departments and includes visits to call centres in Malad; banking campuses in Santa Cruz and informal economy of Dhobi Ghat and Tiffin Wallas in Bandra; westernised malls and gated communities in Andheri, Parel and Bandra as well as a visit to one of the largest slums in Asia, Dharavi.

Los Angeles and Las Vegas, USA: 10-day field trip as part of the second/third year module 'Urban Futures', exploring economic change and new urban forms (Irvine, Orange County); de-industrialisation, low–paid work and community responses (South Central, East LA); residential segregation and the ethnic division of labour (Korea Town); the post-industrial city and changes to the politics of public space (Skid Row and Downtown LA); counter-cultural histories and civic space (Venice Beach); hyper-reality and the changing urban experience (Las Vegas)

Dublin fieldtrip

Dublin and Belfast: 6-day field trip as part of the second/third year module 'Geography, Identity and Belonging', exploring themes of national identity, diversity and belonging in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

South Florida, USA: 7-day field trip as part of the third year module 'Environmental Management Applications', exploring the physical, environmental, political and economic issues surrounding a range of restoration and management schemes in South Florida’s fluvial (Kissimmee River), terrestrial (the Everglades), estuarine (Tampa Bay), coastal (barrier Gulf Coast) and marine (Florida Bay and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary) environments.

Tagliamento River, Italy: 7-day field trip as part of our environmental science postgraduate programmes. Students examine the dynamic and near-natural Tagliamento River system in northern Italy to help them build a detailed picture of the relationship between a river and its surrounding environment – from observing the valley profile, sediment supply, sediment and vegetation characteristics and signs of human interaction, students develop key field research skills and methods.

Boston fieldtrip

Boston, USA: 7-day field trip as part of the second/third year module 'Boston Reworked: The Making of a North American City'. Students examine the changing historical geographies of Boston – a city at the forefront of American political, economic and social change that has undergone a series of dramatic transformations from the colonial period to the present day. Visiting museums, walking heritage trails, exploring localities and neighbourhoods and meeting with researchers, experts and heritage practitioners, students explore the key processes that have shaped the city today.

New Zealand fieldtrip

New Zealand: 10-day field trip as part of the third year module 'Alpine Environments: Physical Processes in the New Zealand Southern Alps'. Students explore this spectacular and geologically young environment, the Southern Alps, which provides a rich natural laboratory for the study of the physical environment. Particular emphasis is placed on investigating the processes and products of glacial and fluvial systems in order to understand how they might respond to tectonic and climate drivers. Locations include the Franz Josef and west-coast glaciers, the Queenstown Lake District and Mount Cook/Aoraki.

South Africa: 12-day field trip - open to our third year environmental scientists - run by the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences. Based in the Wits (University of Witwatersrand) Rural Facility, Johannesburg, the trip will have a strong emphasis on savannah ecology and include animal and plant diversity surveys (mammals, birds and invertebrates), work on the effects of land use on diversity, visits to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre and Blyde River Canyon and a two-day trip into the Kruger National Park.

Students can also choose to engage in overseas fieldwork as part of their final year Independent Geographical Study (IGS/dissertation). Some locations in which our recent undergraduates have undertaken primary data collection for their dissertation include: China, Russia, New Zealand, Madagascar, Iceland, India, Nepal, Austria, Portugal, Spain, the USA and Canada.

Fieldwork costs

  • All compulsory fieldwork in the first and second years is undertaken at no extra cost. 
  • Optional overseas fieldwork in the second and third years ranges from £400 to £1,400 approximately, some with additional flight costs (based on costs in the year 2017/18). 
  • Destinations can vary year-on-year, are subject to availability and are dependent on the module combinations chosen. 
  • Overseas field class modules run in alternate years. 
  • Places on some field class modules are limited and if modules are oversubscribed, places are allocated by ballot. 
  • Students participating in overseas field trips are responsible for securing their own visas, if required.
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