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Geography at Sidney

Geography at Cambridge

Geography is one of the most exciting subjects to study at university. We live in an interdependent world caught up in chains of events which span the globe. We depend upon an increasingly fragile physical environment, whose complex interactions require sophisticated analysis and sensitive management. These issues present intellectual and practical challenges of the first importance and they are amongst the central problems of modern geography.



Geography at Sidney

Geography at Cambridge, and especially at Sidney, is a dynamic and vibrant subject. We are proud of our tradition of academic success in Geography, and are looking for passionate and motivated applicants who want to engage with the issues, processes and events that shape our world.

The hallmark of our community is the strength of the relationship between students across all three years of undergraduate study. Through the Chorley Society, our students arrange their own seminar series with invited speakers as well as other social events.

The Chorley Society

Named after Richard Chorley, who taught at Sidney for many years, the Chorley Society is the College’s Geography Society. It is run by a small committee of students.

The Society is a vital part of our Sidney Geography community, an important place to socialise and share ideas. Students across the different parts of the Tripos and stages of research come together and hear about some of the very latest work being done across the breadth of the subject.

Further Reading

Given that the Cambridge Geography course is so broad there are no ‘set’ texts. With the help of your teachers, your local library and the internet, you should follow up on the themes of your courses and geographical news stories that interest you. The journals Geography, Geographical, New  Scientist and The Economist are great places to start.

Hear from a student... 

    If you’re reading this, then you’ve overcome the first hurdle of studying at Sidney Sussex – knowing that it exists! Sidney is a modest college, but only by reputation. We’ve got excellent facilities, beautiful gardens and, of course, the best bar in Cambridge. What stands out most, though, is the welcoming atmosphere and friendly people. I feel the geographers here really demonstrate this. Across all three years, there is always someone to help. Whether it’s the subject dinner on the very first day, our regular Chorley dinners or anytime in between, the older years are always there for you. Of course, this is not just limited to the geography students, I’ve had so much help and support from a range of people across the years.

The main appeal of Geography at Cambridge is the course. I’m still in first year which means all my modules are compulsory. Initially, I was worried about the lack of choice but this has actually turned out to be a positive experience. I found myself engaging with topics I previously did not realise I would enjoy so much. The second and third year of the tripos are far more flexible; you can make what you want of the course. I now find myself incredibly excited about being able to go into greater depth in the topics I was introduced to in my first year.

I have so far thoroughly enjoyed my relatively short time at Sidney. It can be hard work at times but this makes it a far more rewarding experience. I feel my ability, knowledge and perception of the world has progressed hugely whilst I’ve been here. This would not have been possible without the boundless support from my friends, our excellent Director of Studies, the supervisors, and College staff at Sidney Sussex.

Paavan Sawjani, Sidney Geography undergraduate


Academics

Director of Studies (DoS)

Dr Catherine Sumnall (Admissions Director and Fellow)

College Research Associates

Dr Eszter Kovàcs

All of our undergraduate students are allocated a Director of Studies and learn from specialists in particular areas of their subject. From time to time, individual teaching staff may be away on leave.


Typical Intake

4 - 6

Standard Entry Requirements

A*AA at A Level, or 40-42 points in the IB, with 776 at Higher Level (please see the University website for standard entry requirements in other qualifications). Please note that offers are set on an individual basis using all of the information available to us in context of the entire field of applicants.

There are no essential subjects – at Sidney we do not require A level Geography – but many applicants have a balance of science / mathematics and humanities / social science subjects.

Admissions Process

Written work

We will not ask you to submit any written work as part of your application.

Admissions Assessments

2-hour pre-interview assessment, comprising: Thinking Skills Assessment section (40 minutes), Comprehension (40 minutes), Data response (40 minutes). Read more about the admissions assessment on the University website.

Interviews

Two interviews, both focused on Geography. You may be asked to study a short passage on a geographical topic, which will then be discussed during one of the interviews.

Find out more

Department of Geography

University website Geography course page