What’s it like studying Geography?

Katie Garratt

Studying Geography at Durham is fascinating. From week to week, I study such an interesting range of topics. I’m currently in my second year, and this year I am taking modules in political geography, urban geography, climate change, geographical research methods, and theories in human geography. I love learning about different contemporary issues facing the world, and being challenged to think about them in different ways.

Why I chose to study Geography and why at Durham?

When I began looking at Universities, Durham stood out to me for its national ranking. It was clear that Durham was a top institution for studying Geography due to its learning, teaching, and research quality. But asides from the excellence of the degree, I also chose Durham for the college system as well as the beautiful town.

Fancy a placement year? or studying abroad?

I also chose Durham to study Geography due to the opportunities to partake in a placement year or a study abroad. This takes place between your 2nd and 3rd year and adds an extra year to your degree. Within the study abroad programme there are a multitude of incredible partner universities globally to choose from. I applied for a study abroad last term and have just been offered a place to study at Hong Kong University next academic year!

Research and Field Trips

Another key aspect of a Geography degree is not just the knowledge you obtain via lectures, but also practical research knowledge we develop in our practical sessions. Throughout my degree so far, I have developed skills on questionnaires, interviews, ethnographic research, and geographical spatial information systems. Within our practical sessions, we learn the theory behind these research methods, the ethical implications and how to conduct our own research. We then have opportunities throughout our degree to apply the skills learned in the field by conducting our own research.

In my first year, I spent a day conducting field work in Newcastle city centre. As a group, we had full range to conduct research on any topic of our choice. As a group we investigated spatial and cultural influences on levels of anti-social crime in the city centre. It was an enjoyable day, collecting data via questionnaires, interviews, and land use surveys as a group.

I’m now currently in my second year, and last term I completed a research project conducting ethnographic research based upon the University Strikes. Next term, I will be partaking in a field trip to Liverpool. Across the week, I’ll have the opportunity with peers on my course, to investigate and conduct research on a topic of our choice. Fieldwork is such an incredible part of the Geography degree at Durham, allowing you to have the freedom to study your specific interests and develop a versatile set of skills.

Discover more

Our Department of Geography is a world-leading centre of geographic education and is ranked 15th in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022.  

Our success as a department is a measure of the open, inclusive environment we foster for students. To be a member of Durham Geography is to be welcomed by a community that wants you to succeed and creates an environment to make it happen. 

Feeling inspired? Visit our Geography webpages to find out more about studying with us. 

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Katie Garratt

Hi, I’m Katie and I am currently a 2nd year Human Geography student at Trevelyan College. As well as my degree, I have a particular love for sport. I represent Durham in trampolining, but I also captain Trevelyan College netball team, Trevelyan college darts team and play for the Trevelyan/Grey college rugby team.

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