Why study Geography at Trinity?

Trinity has a thriving community of Geographers. We currently have seven Geography undergraduates and typically make three or four offers to Geographers every year. Trinity is a large college with excellent facilities, notably a well-stocked library that contains an extensive collection of geographical texts. The College is located close to the centre of Cambridge and is only a 10-minute walk from the Geography Department. The Trinity College Geography Society, which is run by our undergraduates, organises geographical talks and social events.


The Director of Studies, Nick Cutler, is a physical geographer specialising in long-term ecosystem development.  He is currently researching the microbial diversity of volcanic soils in Iceland and and boreal forests in Sweden. Nick contributes lectures to the second and third year Biogeography course. He also runs the physical geography supervisions for the first year Geographers at Trinity. Supervisions in first year human geography are arranged with expert colleagues in other colleges. In the second and third years, Trinity Geographers attend supervisions with the most qualified member of staff (usually a world-leading expert in their field) within the Collegiate University.

The Geography Course

Geography is a broad subject that addresses many of the most pressing issues facing contemporary societies. Details of the structure and content of the course can be found on the Geography Department webpage. First-year geographers study a broad range of human and physical topics as well as receiving training in geographical skills and methods. In the second year, students select four topics drawn from human and physical geography to study in depth and attend a week-long overseas field course. Students in the third year can specialise in either human or physical geography, although many choose to maintain a broad base. Final year students also prepare a dissertation project. Most students find the dissertation, which can be on any relevant topic, the most stimulating and rewarding part of the Geography course. Many students conduct dissertation research overseas. Recent topics tackled by Trinity Geographers have included conservation management in Mexico, the importance of sport in the construction of Jamaican national identity and the role of the urban environment in shaping the identities of Muslim women in Brussels.


We welcome applicants with a strong interest in geography and keen intellectual ability, regardless of background. We do not specify which subjects you should have studied; many of our applicants have qualifications in geography but this is not essential. We believe that past performance in public examinations is the best indicator of an applicant’s potential. We know that not all applicants have been able to benefit from the same educational opportunities, so we view exam results in the context of educational history. If you are among the very ablest students in your school or college, you have an excellent record in public examinations and if your teachers or lecturers support your application, we strongly urge you to consider applying.

The deadline for applying to Cambridge is 15 October. If you do apply to Trinity, we ask you supply us with two pieces of written work (essays of around 1,500 words) after submitting your application. Interviews are held in early December and we interview most applicants. Candidates attend a single, 40-minute interview. Before the interview you will be asked to read a short article and a discussion of this article will form part of the interview. Typically, you will also be asked to interpret graphical data. We expect our candidates to show an interest in, and awareness of, contemporary geographical issues, so you may find it useful to read around the subject as preparation for the interview. You should also re-read your submitted work and personal statement in case these are discussed. Most importantly: don’t panic!

Most offers will be at A*AA for A-level candidates (42 points in the IB, with 776 in the Higher Level subjects, or the equivalent under other examination systems), although this may vary according to the individual circumstances of the applicant. We do not usually specify which subject the A* grade should be in.

Finding out more

If you would like to find out more about reading Geography at Trinity, please contact Nick Cutler. The best way to find out about the College is to come to an Open Day. The College hosts an Arts Open Day in June – which includes Geography. Open Days are a great way to view our facilities, meet our students and get detailed information on the admissions process.

Excellent general information on the Cambridge application process is available from the Cambridge Admissions Office. Guidance is also available on the Geography Department web page.

Teaching Staff

  • Dr Nick Cutler

Admissions Assessment

All applicants are required to take the pre-interview written assessment for Geography at an authorised centre local to them (for a lot of applicants, this will be their school/college).

Assessment format

  • TSA section (40 minutes)
  • Comprehension (40 minutes)
  • Data response (40 minutes)

PDF icon Geography Admissions Assessment Specification

You must be registered in advance (separately to your UCAS application) to take the assessment – the registration deadline is 15 October 2016. Your assessment centre must register you for the pre-interview assessment; you’re not able to register yourself. See the written assessments page for information about assessment centres and registration.

The pre-interview written assessment for Geography will be taken on 2 November 2016.

Please note that your performance in the pre-interview assessment will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.


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