Masters study in Cultural Geography at Royal Holloway was founded in 1995 as one of the first masters programmes in the world to offer students focused engagement with the then emerging sub-discipline of Cultural Geography. Twenty five years later and Cultural Geography is one of the most dynamic sub-disciplines in contemporary geography. Our course reflects this dynamism, exploring the relationships between our physical world, human identity and mobility.
The MRes in Cultural Geography is especially suited for students looking to progress to PhD study. Since 1995 about half of all the graduands of our Masters in Cultural Geography have progressed to funded PhD research, many becoming leading academics in the field. In this MRes we combine core concepts with intensive research methods training in the form of a long-form dissertation that is ideal preparation for further postgraduate study including PhD programs. Reflecting the collaborative and outward facing nature of our research culture, the curriculum also includes the potential for innovative placements and research engagements with some of the world’s top cultural institutions and creative organisations, located on our doorstep in London.
In the Department of Geography you’ll join a vibrant research community (ranked 2nd in the UK for research excellence in the most recent REF2014 assessment) and contribute to our renowned research culture with your own independent dissertation project. In particular, you will work with the leading researchers based in our Social, Cultural and Historical Geography (SCHG) research group, and benefit from their links to the interdisciplinary Royal Holloway Centre for the GeoHumanities.
Thematically cultural geography focuses on the interconnections between place, landscape, environment, mobilities and identity, and thus has profound relevance for the contemporary world. As well as progressing to doctoral study, our graduates go on to work in a range of sectors, including the arts and cultural sector, publishing, planning and urban policy, private and public sector research and insight.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the key ideas in cultural geography. You will look at themes such as place, space, body, landscape, time, mobilities, economy, nature, mapping and exploration. You will consider the history of key ideas within culutral geography and their current state, examining the intersections between substantive themes and their future development. You will be supported by an advisor who will help you to criticically reflect on your intellectual interests.
In this module you will develop an understanding of contemporay debates in cultural geography. You will look core ideas and research interests of academics within the department, such as phenomenology and landscape, heritage and memory, urban subversions, geographies of knowledge, material geographies, and artful geographies.
In this module you will develop an understanding of research methods used for exploring the social sciences. You will look at the key methods used by social scientists, with teaching delivered by those who have practical experience in their field. You will look at the research process and explore research beyond the field, becoming familiar with the practical considerations of a range of methods, their benefits and challenges, their epistemological basis, and their ethics.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the geohumanities research methods used by cultural geographers. You will look broadly at the research process and consider how to write and present cultural geography. You will become familiar with the practical considerations of these methods, their benefits and challenges, their epistemological basis and their ethics.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the practices of research design and training crucial to the practice of contemporary cultural geography. You will consider how you can take your research skills out into the world beyond the academy, with social social media training in blog writing and podcasting to communicate your research and facilitate knowledge exchange. You will reflect on the transferrable skills you have learned and consider how you may use these in your future career. You will also learn how to prepare your CV, write grant applications, and prepare a PhD proposal.
You will write a 15,000 word dissertation on a topic of your choice. Guided by an advisor, you will develop your research topic over the course of the year and will design and conduct original research in order to produce an original research report.
There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.
In this module you will develop an understanding of how your cultural geography learning is relevant beyond the academy. You will critically reflect on the role of impact and knowledge exchange in the contemporary academy, examining how you may put your cultural geographic ideas into practice. You will consider the benefits and challenges of working as a researcher, developing an activity for the Science Open Day, curating a Passenger Films session, and producing a podast or video targetted at the wider audience.
In this module you will develop an understanding of how your cultural geography learning is relevant beyond the academy. You will undertake a placement with one of a number of cultural institutions across London, spending a minimum of 20 hours working with you chosen organisation. You will be allocated a member of staff as an academic tutor to help support your experience and learning.
Teaching & assessment
Assessment is by coursework only. Formative feedback and detailed ongoing discussion of work before final submission is a central part of the teaching ethos of the course. Students also have significant autonomy in the selection of topics for coursework and dissertation allowing them to develop particular interests and specialisms.
Essay 1 and Essay 2 - 5000 words each (20 credits each)
Workshop Report 1 and Workshop Report 2 - 5000 words each (20 credits each)
Research proposal - 2000 words (20 credits)
Dissertation presentation - 20 minutes
Dissertation Viva - 1 hour - (0 credits)
Blog post (s) - 4000 words - (20 credits)
Video/podcast - 10 mins/30 mins
Placement Reflection - 5000 words (20 credits)
Dissertation - 15000 words (60 credits)
This programme is delivered in a single stage, equating to either one-year of full-time study or up to five years of part-time study.
Cultural Studies, Drama, English Literature, Geography, History, History of Art, Media Studies, Music, Sociology, Theatre Performance.
Normally we require a UK 2:1 (Honours) or equivalent in relevant subjects but we will consider high 2:2 or relevant work experience. Candidates with professional qualifications in an associated area may be considered. Where a ‘good 2:2’ is considered, we would normally define this as reflecting a profile of 57% or above.
International & EU requirements
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 6.5 overall. No subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 54. No subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements please see here.
Your future career
Study MRes Cultural Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London and you’ll be well placed to progress to PhD study or to a rewarding career in your chosen field. This research-based programme sees more than 50% of graduates progress to doctoral study.
This programme is structured to maximise graduate employability and further education prospects, with transferable skills sessions, career development sessions and workshops taking place to help graduates you achieve your career ambitions. We help our students to work on their PhD applications, and also help to arrange placements with some of the world’s top cultural institutions – including the V&A Museum, the Museum of London, the British Library, the Natural History Museum, the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the Royal Geographical Society.
- 90% of Royal Holloway graduates in work or further education within six months of graduating.
- More than 50% of Cultural Geography students progress to PhD study.
- Transferable skills sessions, career development sessions and workshops help you to achieve your career ambitions.
Fees & funding
Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £7900
International students tuition fee per year**: £16800
Other essential costs***: You must attend three research days in London, with transport cost for these dependent on departure point.
* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying on the standard part-time course structure over two years are charged 50% of the full-time applicable fee for each study year. All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. This means that the overall cost of studying the programme via part-time mode is slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees see our terms and conditions.
Please note that for research programmes, we adopt the minimum fee level recommended by the UK Research Councils for the Home/EU tuition fee. Each year, the fee level is adjusted in line with inflation (currently, the measure used is the Treasury GDP deflator). Fees displayed here are therefore subject to change and are usually confirmed in the spring of the year of entry. For more information on the Research Council Indicative Fee please see the RCUK website.
*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.