School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

MSc Human Geography Research

Explore the diverse and exciting subject of human geography. Geographers are fascinated by society and environment and examine how places are understood, imagined, used, shared and contested by different peoples. Geographers study the world at a range of scales, from the local to the global, and have a keen appreciation of how places are connected.

Be part of a rich discipline that engages with a vast range of philosophies and methodologies in its quest to understand people’s diverse relationships with the world.

Careers with this subject

With an onus on independent, supervised study you'll be prepared for the nature of independent PhD research and will be able to develop your own indepth research interests which will prime you for further study. The key skills and knowledge gained in this course will prime you for jobs in market research, local government and consultancy.

There are opportunities to apply for PhD funding from the South West Doctoral Training Partnership.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • The aim of this MSc programme is to offer a high quality and distinctive course that develops students into critical and effective researchers in human geography. The programme provides training in qualitative and quantitative research techniques and develops a critical knowledge of human geography research. It is delivered in an environment underpinned by research excellence. Working with a supervisor you'll benefit from high levels of contact time and support as you produce your extended dissertation and immerse yourself in to a real world issue.

    Core modules
    • GEES520 MSc Dissertation

      The student will complete an independent research project that they have designed in semester 1 as part of their research skills development. The record of the research will communicate the project aims, research problem, methodology, data analysis, interpretation, discussion/synthesis and conclusions in the format specified and to a professional standard.

    • GEES522 Research in Human Geography Philosophies and Design

      This module provides a thematic synopsis of research design in human geography. This module provides an overview of research theories, philosophies and methodologies used in contemporary human geography. It provides a paradigmatic outline of research in the discipline, emphasising current thinking and debates.

    • GEES523 Quantitative Research in Human Geography

      This module introduces quantitative research, data collection and analysis in human geography. It teaches key quantitative methods employed by professional geographers and provides opportunities for students to gather, analyse and present primary and secondary data. Introduction is given on the use statistical software in this process. The importance of research design and the formation of research questions are emphasised.

    • GEES524 Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography

      This module provides an introduction to qualitative research methods in contemporary human geography and provides opportunities for students to experience and apply different research techniques.

    • GEES525 Applied Research in Human Geography

      This module offers the opportunity to apply research skills in a practical context. It provides training on the writing of research proposals. It also encourages students to work critically and reflexively in the context of an academic research project.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MScHumanGeographyResearch ProgrammeSpecification September2017 6275

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

  • Normally an honours degree (Upper Second class or better) in a relevant discipline OR overseas equivalent.
  • A minimum grade C in English Language or a minimum score of 6.5, with 5.5 in each of listening, reading, speaking and writing in IELTS.
  • A minimum Grade C Mathematics at GCSE level or equivalent.

Overseas applicants must have proficiency in English that is in accordance with the current University regulations. Completion of an English language course prior to commencing the programme may be recommended to students for whom English is not their first language.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU £9,500 £9,500
International £14,000 £14,400
Part time (Home/EU) £550 £550
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students who wish to study postgraduate taught (PGT) degree programmes.

Find out about the postgraduate scholarships available to you as an international student

How to apply

When to apply

Most of our taught programmes begin in September, with some January starts also available. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full. 

Before you apply

Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance.

Disability services

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website. 

International students

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Submitting an application

Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).

What happens after I apply?

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail.

If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858
Email: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk 

Admissions policy

More information and advice for applicants can be referenced by downloading our Student Admissions Policy Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

“With an emphasis on small group teaching via tutorials and seminars, you'll engage actively with staff to foster critical thinking and communication; skills invaluable to a career in research."


Professor Richard Yarwood
Professor of Human Geography 

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