Clare College Cambridge


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Geography at Cambridge has one of the largest annual single-honours intakes in the country and accepts about one hundred students annually to read the three-year course.

As with nearly all subjects in Cambridge, the first year of the Geography course is broadly-based and compulsory. In the second year some specialisation is possible, whilst in the third and final year you are required to select four courses from about three times that number and submit a dissertation on a geographical subject of your own choice. Many students carry out their dissertation research abroad. Courses during the first year introduce a broad range of ideas within both human and physical geography, including on Globalisation, Cultural Geography, Development, Urban Geography, Economics, Geopolitics, Volcanoes, The Cryosphere, Oceans and Coasts, The Atmosphere, Environmental Change during the Quaternary, Life on Earth, and Current Issues in Human and Physical Geography. In the second year students choose three courses from a choice of six, plus compulsory diverse courses on 'Living with Global Change'. Students will also take compulsory research methods and data analysis skills training. Fieldwork fot the dissertation is undertaken during the summer before the final year. 

Fuller details of the individual courses are available on the internet (, in the Cambridge University Guide to Courses, and in the booklet available from the Department of Geography, Downing Place, Cambridge, CB2 3EN.

A typical formal workload for a student reading Geography consists of around five lectures and two laboratory or practical classes per week, together with three supervisions a fortnight. For many supervisions, an essay requiring a significant amount of background reading has to be prepared. Several one-day field courses form an essential part of the course in the first year, and in the second year there is a compulsory one-week residential field course, with the current choice being between Copenhagen, the Swiss Alps, Mallorca, Morocco, or Tenerife. Expeditions are also undertaken by geography students, not as part of the formal course, but organised by the students themselves, usually under the auspices of the Explorers and Travellers Club. Some departmental and college funds are available to assist with the cost of field courses and expeditions.

The Cambridge Geography Department has an excellent reputation and good facilities. After graduation, many students undertake further study in Cambridge or at other universities, or move straight into a wide range of occupations.


Admissions Requirements

A typical offer to read Geography at Clare would be A*AA at A-level or 7,7,6 (40+ overall) in the IB or the equivalent in other educational systems. Although it is not essential, most applicants take Geography as one of their A-level subjects, but the possible supporting subjects cover almost the entire range of core A-level courses. The Geography course welcomes people with a wide variety of A-level choices, including those with a strong mathematical and scientific focus, those centred in the humanities, and every combination in between.

Written Assessment

All applicants are required to take the university-wide pre-interview written assessment for Geography. Further information about this is available here.


Applicants who are selected for interview will be interviewed in the second or third week of December. Each applicant will normally have two interviews. 

Teaching Fellows

Dr Andrew Friend Reader in Earth Systems Science. His research interests primarily concern the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems (vegetation and soils) and how they interact with their physical environment.