Drawing on the breadth of expertise in the Department across Physical and Human Geography, we aim to deliver intellectually demanding and academically rigorous degrees in a supportive environment. We set out to enthuse and stimulate our students about Geography from the lecture hall to the coast, stretching them to realise their potential.
Department of Geography
A short film highlighting what it is like to study Geography at undergraduate level at Durham University
The Department of Geography is located in a cathedral city, which has been given World Heritage status. In the late nineteenth century the philosopher and artist John Ruskin described the site as one of the wonders of the world. A radio poll recently voted Durham Cathedral Britain's most loved building. The city is well connected on the east coast mainline, being less than three hours from London and less than two from Edinburgh. Newcastle International Airport and Durham Tees Valley Airport are about a half hour drive. The city is small enough for everywhere to be in walking distance but the urban experience of Newcastle is only 15 minutes away by train. The spectacular scenery of the Northumberland coast, North York Moors and North Pennines is close at hand while the Lake District can be reached in less than two hours.
The Department is housed in its own building on the Lower Mountjoy site with a suite of laboratories, lecture rooms and computer classrooms. It is adjacent to the main University Library, conveniently situated between the older Colleges in the vicinity of the cathedral and the newer Colleges on the gentle wooded slopes to the south.
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Four Key Principles
The key attribute about geography is its sheer diversity. Just as there are many Geographies, so the Department in Durham embodies many approaches to Geography. We hope that by the end of your third year you will have developed your own unique and personal Geography which draws on this diversity - but which is not dictated by it.
From this recognition of diversity four key aspects of the subject emerge:
- We believe that Geography must be informed by the interplay of theory and practice - that the "real" world must enter the scholarly world. This is why we value the acquisition of skills and the role of fieldwork and why we endeavour to bring our own research interests and experiences into teaching.
- We acknowledge and stress the importance of diversity and dynamism. While accepting the value of generalisation, people, places, and times are often more different than they are alike. Identifying threads of unity in varied human and physical landscapes is a key skill.
- In addition to exciting undergraduates about the world of Geography, we also endeavour to provide students with the skills that are necessary to describe, interpret, analyse and make sense of the world. These skills extend from literacy and numeracy, from the field and laboratory to the computer terminal and the seminar room.
- We believe in the power and relevance of Geography and in the ability to make your three years in the Department a lasting impression.
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