Human Geography: Spaces, Politics, Ecologies MRes

Human Geography Space, Politics & Power

This Masters in Human Geography: Spaces, Politics & Ecologies considers how geography has been used to actively engage with the world beyond the academy, focusing on social justice and social change, environment and development, and cultural and historical geographies.

Key facts

Why this programme

  • The School’s Human Geography Research Group has strong working collaborations with the Glasgow Centre for International Development, the Glasgow Refugee, Asylum & Migration Network (GRAMNET), Glasgow Life/Museums, NVA, The Royal Society.
  • If you are considering pursuing doctoral research in human geography and the social sciences or seeking to develop a career in research in public, private and voluntary sectors, this programme is designed for you.
  • Focusing upon the themes of spaces, politics and ecologies, the MRes in Human Geography offers a postgraduate training in research methodologies and techniques with reference to specific theories and literatures.
  • The University of Glasgow’s School of Geographical and Earth Sciences is proud to announce that it is ranked 32nd in the world (QS World Rankings 2014).
  • With a 95% overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2014, the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences continues to meet student expectations combining both teaching excellence and a supportive learning environment.

Programme structure

Modes of delivery of the MRes in Human Geography: Spaces, Politics & Ecologies include lectures, seminars and tutorials and allow students the opportunity to take part in workshops, project and team work.

Core courses

  • Conceptualising Human Geography 1: spaces, politics, ecologies
  • Conceptualising Human Geography 2: geographical engagements
  • Researching Human Geographies: design, methods, ethics.

You will also take two courses in qualitative and quantitative methods in the social sciences and undertake an independent piece of research on a topic chosen by you.


  • The course is taught primarily through small group teaching, involving lectures, but mainly through workshops, seminars and reading-based discussion groups. Students are encouraged to take an active part in these sessions and also to give short presentations on their proposed research topics during the year.
  • To complete the MRes degree you must undertake a dissertation project (worth 60 credits).
  • The dissertation is a piece of original research leading to a written document of up to 15,000 words. It is usually expected that this will involve empirical research, although in special cases it may be possible to undertake a more theoretical and/or literature-based piece of work.

Example dissertations

Here are some typical dissertation titles from recent years that are substantial pieces of guided but independent research:

  • Animal Geographies, Lived Veganism and Theorised Veganism
  • Collateral Damage? The Negotiation of Tenure Policy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • “One endless Day”: Performance, Memory and Landscape in a Traveller’s Tale
  • ‘It rips my knittin’: Girls and Young Women in the Scottish Criminal Justice System
  • ‘Are we there yet?’: Driving Malaria Control into a Human Rights Paradigm
  • The Geography of the Sex Trade in the Post-Industrial City
  • Deconstructing the Call of Duty: the Geopolitics of War Video Games
  • Geographical Representations of Asylum Seekers
  • Social Centres: Imperfect Experiments in Co-operation and Disruption
  • ‘Themselves but shadows of a shadow world: a Cultural Geography of Camouflage
  • Anti-Social Behaviour and Retailing in a Residential Neighbourhood
  • Producing from the Periphery: Collaboration and Short Food Supply Chains
  • Mental Health and Geographies of the Body
  • To Travel by Older Ways: a Cultural Geography of Driving and Drove Roads in Scotland
  • Militant Particularism and Anti-Rail Protests in Genoa

Furthermore, for students hoping to continue into doctoral research, we have an excellent track-record of student’s successfully progressing into funded PhD studentships. You can find details of our research opportunities at

Research environment

  • The Human Geography Research Group (HGRG) is an expanding community of academic staff, postdoctoral researchers and postgraduate students, with a well-established reputation for geographical research that is theoretically innovative, politically engaged, empirically diverse, and inclusive of a broad range of communities and partnerships.

There are four main threads running through HGRG research:

  • Knowing, Creativity and Experiment
  • Subaltern Globalisations
  • Exploring Vital Geographies
  • Stressed Environments and Communities
  • Collectively, HGRG researchers have sought to explore the workings of power in its myriad forms and the different places through which it flows. We engage with differing critical theories of feminism, postcolonialism, posthumanism, post-structuralism, political economy and historiography, enabling work that asks significant questions about the configuration of contemporary geographies, or that shapes knowledge of past communities and environments.
  • The HGRG is committed to engaging with local communities and broader publics, and to forging transnational solidarities between the Global North and South. Our research practice, whether operating through sustained fieldwork or deskwork, enables progressive forms of activism and intervention in daily struggles and public campaigns. Our critical analysis is designed to speak back constructively to user-groups, and differing policy fields (urban, alternative economic and health). Our commitment to creatively, engaging research takes shape through collaborations with artists, composers, and curators in exhibition settings, public spaces and contested landscapes.
  • This programme constitutes the obligatory element of the Economic & Social Research Council's '1+3' programme and is also recognised by the Arts & Humanities Research Council.
  • Our Human Geography Research Group has strong working collaborations with the Glasgow Centre for International Development and the Glasgow Refugee, Asylum & Migration Network (GRAMNET).

What our students say

Below are testimonials from some of our recent graduates:

“Undertaking the MRes has provided me with the perfect foundation for a career in research. The course connected with my research interests and broadened my knowledge by introducing new theories and concepts from numerous different areas of Human Geography. It was great to to be studying in a School that housed a wide range of research interests and had a culture of innovative and exciting research.”

Olivia Mason, former MRes Human Geography student, University of Glasgow, cohort 2012-13.

“I found the MRes an enjoyable and thought-provoking course. It helped me develop critical and analytical skills. I wholly recommend it!”

Adam Florence, former MRes Human Geography student, University of Glasgow, cohort 2012-13.

Funding and scholarship opportunities

The School of Geographical and Earth Sciences (GES) offers several scholarships to outstanding applicants for this programme, as follows:

(i) 2 individual GES “tuition fees-paid” scholarships (equivalent to £6800) to be awarded for 2015-16, competitively on the basis of undergraduate degree performance, and references supplied. Eligibility extends to UK and EU applicants.

(ii) 2 individual GES 'tuition fees contribution" scholarships (equivalent to £1000) to be awarded for 2015-16, competitively on the basis of undergraduate degree performance, and references supplied. Eligibility extends to UK and EU applicants.

To be considered for GES “tuition fees-paid” and "tuition fees contribution" scholarships, applicants are required to submit a standard application for postgraduate study at the University of Glasgow, by Friday 26th June 2015. There is no further application required, all applicants who meet the eligibility criteria will be reviewed, and successful candidates notified by mid-July.

Entry requirements

for entry in 2016

Entry requirements for postgraduate taught programmes are normally a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent (eg GPA of 3.0 or above) in a relevant subject unless otherwise specified.

International students with academic qualifications below those required should contact our partner institution, Glasgow International College, who offer a range of pre-Masters courses.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 20
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English):  176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Person Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's English for Academic Study Unit offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office:


For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office:

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2016-17


Home and EU
Full time fee£6950
Part time 20 credits£772
Full time fee£15250

Fees are subject to change and for guidance only


The University requires a deposit of £1000 to be paid by International (beyond the EU) applicants in receipt of an offer to this programme.

Funding opportunities

Career prospects

Career opportunities include positions in non-governmental organisations (eg, Oxfam, Barnardos, SEPA, Scottish Natural Heritage), teaching, and PhD study.

How to apply

We ask that you apply online for a postgraduate taught degree. Our system allows you to fill out the standard application form online and submit this to the University within 42 days of starting your application.

You need to read the guide to applying online before starting your application. It will ensure you are ready to proceed, as well as answer many common questions about the process.

Guide to applying online

Do I have to apply online for a postgraduate taught degree?

Yes. To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We are unable to accept your application by any other means than online.

Do I need to complete and submit the application in a single session?

No. You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload additional documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

What documents do I need to provide to make an application?

As well as completing your online application fully, it is essential that you submit the following documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • Two supporting reference letters on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

If you do not have all of these documents at the time of submitting your application then it is still possible to make an application and provide any further documents at a later date, as long as you include a full current transcript (and an English translation if required) with your application. See the ‘Your References, Transcripts and English Qualification’ sections of our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

Yes, where possible, please upload the supporting documents with your application.

How do I provide my references?

You must either upload the required references to your online application or ask your referees to send the references to the University as we do not contact referees directly. There is two main ways that you can provide references: you can either upload references on headed paper when you are making an application using the Online Application (or through Applicant Self-Service after you have submitted your application) or you can ask your referee to email the reference directly to See the 'Your References, Transcripts and English Qualifications' section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

What if I am unable to submit all of my supporting documents online?

If you cannot upload an electronic copy of a document and need to send it in by post, please attach a cover sheet to it that includes your name, the programme you are applying for, and your application reference number.

You may send them to:

Recruitment & International Office
71 Southpark Avenue
G12 8QQ
Fax: +44 141 330 4045

Can I email my supporting documents?

No. We cannot accept email submissions of your supporting documents.

What entry requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

You should check that you have met (or are likely to have met prior to the start of the programme) the individual entry requirements for the degree programme you are applying for. This information can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab on each individual programme page, such as the one you are viewing now.

What English Language requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

If you are an international student, you should also check that you have met the English Language requirements specific to the programme you are applying for. These can also be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab for each specific programme.

Further Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on applying to a postgraduate taught programme.

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately, they are also available within the help section of the online application form. If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.
  • References: Please provide the names and contact details of two academic references. Where applicable one of these references may be from your current employer. References should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Standard application deadlines

  • International applications (non-EU): 22 July 2016 
  • UK and EU applications: 26 August 2016

Classes start September 2016 and you may be expected to attend induction sessions the week before.

Apply now