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The subject at Selwyn

Over recent years some of the best students in the Geography Department have come from Selwyn. The library in the College gives students easy access to a good range of relevant books. Supervisions are arranged by our Director of Studies and Selwyn students can expect to have supervisions with students from other Colleges, certainly in their second and third years and perhaps also in their first year.

Selwyn’s record of success in the Geography course is determined by the very good candidates that we attract, and the fact that they tend to form a cohesive group and enjoy strong support from the College. The fact that Selwyn is known to encourage smaller subjects is an advantage.

The Ball Travel Fund has been created to support Selwyn Geographers who wish to undertake course related travel or other projects. It has already been used to assist with research visits to Iceland and the United States.

The Teaching Fellow

Our Director of Studies for the Geography Tripos is Dr Alexander Cullen, who is a Bye-Fellow at Selwyn College and a Lecturer in the Geography Department. His research interests are primarily in Environmental Politics and Development Geography.

Qualities we are looking for

Students must be enthusiastic and independent. They must combine a love of Geography with an eagerness to develop and test their own opinions about a variety of topics concerning our physical and human worlds. A lot of the subject matter in Geography is quite contentious and students are expected to develop reasoned views about matters that many people treat only in a prejudiced or superficial way. The course requires students to read a lot and, certainly in the first and second years, it asks them to show competence across a very wide range of subject matter. People who do well in Geography at Cambridge retain the curiosity about environment and society which first interested them in Geography at school.

Subject requirements

To apply to study Geography you must be taking A-Level/IB Higher Level Geography.


There are two interviews. One is with the Director of Studies for about half an hour. In that interview, the Director of Studies talks to the student about their experience of Geography both inside and outside the classroom, but may also ask questions about a brief piece of literature viewed before the interview. Students may be asked about any self-directed reading they have done and may also be invited to talk about any project work they have undertaken. Successful candidates will be those who show independence, enthusiasm and intelligence in their answers.

You will also have a shorter general interview. This is intended to let us find out more about your motivation in applying for Geography at Cambridge. It is intended to give us a fuller sense of your aptitude for your chosen course, the maturity of your approach towards academic work, and your interests in and beyond Geography.

February 2024

Geography on the Cambridge YouTube channel