From climate change and biodiversity to geopolitics and international development, studying Geography at Hertford will allow you to immerse yourself in a diverse subject and grapple with many pressing contemporary issues. You will work across the social and the natural sciences to develop your critical and scientific thinking.
Hertford is one of the largest Geography colleges – both in terms of academic fellows and of students. At Hertford, you will be part of a lively and supportive community. We believe in the value of teamwork and will encourage you to work together with your peers. We’ll encourage you to find your academic voice, whether that’s helping you to develop ideas and arguments in a tutorial or giving you the opportunity to chair a seminar for your year group.
We organise academic and social events where all three year groups gather to contemporary geographic issues, allowing you to broaden your academic horizons within a supportive setting. At Hertford we work together and help each other – everybody has passions as well as weak spots, so working alongside your peer group is a beneficial experience for everyone.
Teaching and learning
Our teaching team at Hertford will teach you the compulsory elements of the course. Dr Louise Slater teaches Physical Geography, while Dr Jamie Lorimer teaches Human and Environmental Geography. We’re also assisted by a number of expert lecturers, including Dr Janet Banfield, as well the Professor of Geography, David Thomas.
Every Geography student at Oxford studies the same core subjects in their first year. You will be taught these in lectures and classes organised by the University’s School of Geography and the Environment, as well as in college tutorials. You will also participate in laboratory and field work, enabling you to enhance your practical skills throughout your degree.
Your tutorials will be in groups of two or three with a tutor, giving us the opportunity to comment widely and in detail on the written work you’ll have completed beforehand. We encourage you to work together with your tutorial group, sharing reading and discussing the topic in advance, so that you’re prepared to push your ideas and understanding in the tutorial itself. Discussion can range across many fields and disciplines – we value this diversity of approaches, as do our students, for whom tutorials are often the highlight of the week.
You can choose to specialise in a wide variety of options in second and third year, as well as researching your own original dissertation. Many of our students choose dissertation topics which take them overseas and all around the UK but there are also plentiful resources in Oxford if you choose to work on a more theoretical topic.
The Radcliffe Science Library is just a five minute walk from Hertford and has an incredible range of historic and contemporary resources. The independent research skills you can build are fantastic stepping stones to doctoral research, and some of our students continue their dissertation research at this level or publish their findings.
Careers for geographers are many and varied – many of our students follow vocational routes in teaching, research or further study, while others use the skills they have developed to secure jobs in fields such as accountancy, management or the law. Employers value the literacy and numeracy displayed by our graduates and we will support you in pursuing your chosen career.
Making an application
We will use all the information in your UCAS form to decide who to shortlist for interview. If you are invited to Hertford you will have an interview here, and possibly at a second college too. We want to see your potential for independent critical thinking and problem-solving, along with the ability to follow an argument and a spirit of enquiry. We’re not here to catch you out or conduct a test of your knowledge out of context. We are here to make you feel comfortable and to find out how your interest in Geography has inspired and pushed you beyond the school curriculum.
As part of your application, you will also have to sit the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA), for which you can download past papers online. For the full and most up-to-date admissions criteria, see the School of Geography and the Environment website.