Writing a Personal Statement for a Geography Degree

There are two main areas in the field of geography: human geography, which involves looking at people and cities, and physical geography, which is more scientific.

As well as there being plenty of more general Geography degree courses available, many universities offer more specialised courses

Most general geography courses cover both areas in the first year before allowing students to specialise in the second and third years, culminating with a dissertation in the final year.

Geography is also a popular course to combine with other subjects – such as History, Politics, or Economics – so this could be a good option if you want to widen your career prospects after graduation.

Here’s more about Geography degrees and writing the perfect personal statement to make your application successful.

What can I expect from a Geography degree?

You can expect to look at people and places, culture in different regions, the way society and nature interact, and the vast array of different landscapes on planet Earth.

Field trips are a common feature of all Geography degree courses. Several universities offer a year abroad and nearly all universities offer shorter residential trips to explore the physical and social geography of towns and cities across the world.

While human geography degrees are tied closely to politics, economics and cultural studies, physical geography is classed as an environmental science and is linked to the likes of geology and ecology.

Most universities also offer students the chance to focus even more specifically when it comes to specialised degrees such as Coastal Geography and Marine Geography.

Where can I study Geography?

Universities across the UK offer Geography degree courses, with some being more specialist than others.

Here are some of the universities you could consider if you want to study a Geography degree:

  • University of Brighton
  • University of Manchester
  • University of East Anglia
  • Liverpool Hope University
  • University of Gloucestershire
  • Canterbury Christ Church University
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Winchester
  • University of Chester
  • Bath Spa University

Dos and Don’ts for a brilliant personal statement

These personal statement tips are useful no matter what degree course you’re applying for:

Do research your subject thoroughly –there’s nothing worse for an admissions tutor than reading a personal statement from someone who has clearly applied for the wrong course because they haven’t researched it properly.

Don’t try and force topics together –if there isn’t an obvious link between two topics – such as your part time job at McDonalds and Geography – then don’t try to make one!

Do evaluate and explain the things you’ve done –avoid simply saying “I’ve done this” or “I did that” – explain exactly what you did and evaluate what you learnt from that experience.

Don’t overcomplicate things –too many complicated ideas in a personal statement can make it seem frenzied and rushed. Choose one or two academic ideas and write about them clearly and concisely.

Do make the most of the space you’ve got –we admit there isn’t a huge word count for a personal statement, but if you use the character limit wisely you’ll have plenty of room to express yourself.

Don’t forget to proofread –triple check your spelling and grammar. Silly mistakes could cost you your place at university if you don’t take the time to read through what you’ve written thoroughly.

Writing a personal statement for a Geography degree

As well as the top tips we’ve given you above, there are also some subject specific advice we can give if you’re applying for a Geography degree.

Talk about your wider reading

Universities want to see what’s motivated you to apply for their Geography course and what you’ve been doing to further your knowledge.

Discuss the books, journals, magazines, and websites that you regularly read as evidence that you have an extended interest in the subject beyond what you’ve learnt at school and college.

Talk about your particular areas of interest

For example, if you’re really interested in glaciology, tourism areas, tropical savannas, coastal zones, or geopolitics – talk about!

The whole point of a personal statement is to stand out from the other applicants so take the opportunity to say more than just “I enjoy geography”.

Talk about specialist areas if you’re applying for a more specialised course

If your UCAS choices include some more specialised Geography courses then talk about these areas in your personal statement to show your interest and experience.

For example, you could discuss the social conditions of places you’ve travelled to, interesting things you’ve read about a particular area within the field of geography, or environmental debates and policies.