Geography at Oxford

For me geography is the most intereting subject I could do for two main reasons. The first is that it involves so many other things; rather than being focused on one discipline like say, history or physics. Geography involves bits of many other subjects, especially at degree level, with sections of chemistry, physics, biology, politics, history, business, economics, sociology, pyschology and maths. But whilst it gives a general view of the most pertinent bits of these subjects, it doesn't get bogged down in detail about calculus or the decline of the liberal party like maths or history might. It picks out the bits which are most relevant to the world we live in and are studying and leaves out the rest. So the first good thing about geography for me is that it allows a broad awareness of other subjects and allows me a wider knowledge of all manner of interesting things, rather than concentrating on one specific subject in huge detail.

This leads onto the second reason I would recommend geography to anyone with a general interest in the world and what they see around them; namely that the study of geography allows a better understanding of what we see. Taking a look at today's news; in the course of a geography degree we had studied the top four items; racial tension and riots, late trains, the single European currency and the Koyoto Summit. As an option I had also looked at the global trade in drugs, and asylum seekers, both of which I uderstood with greater awareness when they appeared in the same news. Even specialising in physical gepgraphy is closely related to current issues such as flooding, climate change and pollution. So, in summary I like geography because it really is about the world around me. I can travel through Birmingham and see geography in action, similarly I can wander the wilds of Scotland and see it there too. For anyone interested in their world, then this is a subject well worth considering.

Oxford University is, for me, a particularly good place to apply to for geography. Whilst not the biggest, or supposedly best, geography department in the country, it does benefit enourmously from being at the heart of a world-renowned university. The facilities are second to none, with literally every book every published in the UK kept in the Bodleian Library, a Geography library bigger than any other, a collection of maps unrivalled in the world; lots of funding for fieldtrips and research work, ample computers with access to information which other universities can only dream of; tutors and lecturers who are specialists involved at the cutting edge of research in many fields; smaller lecture and class groups than anywhere else. Also, there are the general Oxford advantages, such tutorials with one other student and a specialist tutor; lots of money for hardship funds, books, trips and research; the "wow, that's good" effect on relatives and employers alike when you mention the Oxford word; a wonderfully old and atmospheric student city and some great speakers for free at the famous Oxford Union.

It is defintely worth giving it a go; there are only three applicants to every one place in Oxford which is better odds than many red-brick universities. If you are thinking of applying and want some advice on college choice, interviews, geography generally and Oxford as a whole, then the links and contacts below are well worth a look. You are also welcome to e-mail me, david.bradford@geog.ox.ac.uk, and I will be happy to answer any questions you have.

Oxford University official prospectus:
http://aisuwww2.offices.ox.ac.uk/prospectus/

The geography section of the student union's unoffical prospectus:
http://www.ousu.org/prospective/ap/index.html

School of Geography and the Environment
http://www.geog.ox.ac.uk

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