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Open for Clearing 2024

MA Geography, Society and Environment

Key information

We are ranked 5th in the UK for Town and Country Planning in the Complete University Guide 2021.

UCAS code
Delivery type
Full Time
Degree qualification
Mode of delivery
4 years
Start date

MA (Hons) Geography, Society and Environment will interest you if you want to specialise in human geography and related topics such as urban design, social policy and equity, sustainable cities, and sustainable development. Overall, this degree explores the ways in which people shape and are shaped by the places and environments in which they live.  

You’ll consider questions such as: 

  • How do cities change and how do the people involved shape those cities and neighbourhoods?  

  • How does the built environment shape our behaviour?  

  • What makes some places healthier or happier or more resilient? 

Our industry links and cross-disciplinary learning style ensures our teaching is relevant in the real world, and you’ll experience what it is like to be a professional geographer working in practice. Throughout your studies, you’ll hear from guest practitioners from industry to gain insight into current approaches to solving challenges.  

You’ll be taught through courses relevant to 21st century global challenges on topics such as aging populations, social inequalities, nature-based solutions and sustainable development, and you’ll gain employability skills such as digital mapping through geographical information systems and collaborative group working.  

In years one and two, you’ll cover a broad range of fundamental courses on human geography (social, economic, and urban), physical geography (earth systems, hydrology, and geomorphology), transferable and geography-specific skills and practical fieldwork. You’ll specialise in human geography in the later years of the degree, studying cities, place and place making, and urban development. 

You will develop field skills in surveying, mapping, and questionnaires, alongside important analytical and research skills. Through this cross-disciplinary, industry focussed, and problem-based degree, you’ll acquire the skills needed to work in multi-disciplinary teams and solve real-world problems. You’ll become flexible and creative with the ability to apply your skills and knowledge to a range of careers.  

Your student experience

Your learning will be informed by the expertise of our research-active geographers and academics from The Urban Institute which sits within the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS). 

EGIS is one of the United Kingdom’s leading institutions for multidisciplinary research and teaching in areas critical to economic development and societal equity. Our teams work closely and have links with industry, and practitioners are regularly invited as guest lecturers in most courses and advise on student research projects. 

Go Global

There are currently no Go Global opportunities for this particular programme. However, other Go Global opportunities may be available. Please contact for more information.

Course content

September Intake - Edinburgh

Providing introductory knowledge and understanding of subjects relevant to real-world issues across the globe such as human geography, geography in the city, our dynamic earth, Scottish geographies and Geography Today.

Mandatory September

  • Geography Today
  • Dynamic Earth 1
  • Introduction to Human Geography
  • Shaping Tomorrow Together A

Mandatory January

  • Dynamic Earth 2
  • Scottish Geographies: Fieldwork Observation
  • Human Geography & The City
  • Shaping Tomorrow Together B

Programme Video

The Natural World

Fees and funding

ScotlandPaid by SAAS
England / Wales / N Ireland / Rep of Ireland£9,250
  • Status: Your residency status is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course.
  • International: 'International' includes applicants from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in UK. (This does not include students from the Republic of Ireland - see above).

Scholarships and bursaries

Bursaries for students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales

In addition to government loans and grants towards the costs of fees and living costs, we are offering generous financial support to attract and support eligible undergraduate students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales:

  • Heriot-Watt University Bursary (up to £3,100 per year)
View details

Entry requirements

We have standard entry requirements for all of our courses that you will have to meet.

Standard entry requirements

  • Highers AABB
  • A-Levels BBC - ABB
  • Int. Baccalaureate 29 points
  • BTEC DMM (in a relevant subject)
  • HNC B in graded unit (in relevant HNC)

Minimum entry requirements*

  • Highers BBBC
  • A-Levels BBC - ABB

* Minimum: under our Fair Access Policy, we will relax our standard entry requirements for some Scottish students depending on their circumstances. Our minimum requirements will apply if you:

  • live in an area within the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation lowest 20% (SIMD20), or
  • are care experienced.

We can also make exceptions for some Scottish students with grades above minimum but below standard. Read more about our Minimum and standard entry requirements

Why Heriot-Watt

We're the top university in Scotland for graduate outcomes which means that more of our graduates are employed or in postgraduate education than any other institution in the country and we ranked 5th in the UK.

We're also rated number one in the UK for CEO or MD roles, meaning more of our graduates go on to become CEOs or MDs than any other university in the whole of the UK. On top of that, we have beautiful campuses, across the globe, so you'll get a truly international education. Our Edinburgh Campus is home to Oriam, Scotland's National Sports Performance Centre combined with plenty of wellbeing resources, prioritising fitness and mental health for all students. Our Global Research Institutes look at solving real world issues such as climate change and saving our oceans as well as working on the next medical technological breakthrough and the future of AI and robots.


Work and study

This is what our MA Geography, Society and Environment students are doing 15 months after graduating:
are working
are studying
are studying and working


The average salary of students 15 months after graduating
The average UK salary of students 15 months after graduating from a similar course

Potential career paths

  • Conservation and environment professionals
  • Teaching Professionals

Student life

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