School of Geography

Training, supervision and support

Masters students are an integral part of the School of Geography’s research environment and are fully represented as decision-making members on all of the School’s key committees. In addition to a comprehensive programme of research skills training, a unique mentoring system helps guide students through the School and encourages them to become actively involved in school events. 

Training is an important part of developing future researchers, and for furnishing more general, transferable skills necessary for successful careers in a range of fields. Each of our masters degrees incorporates a carefully designed training programme. Students on our Environmental Science programmes receive training in cutting-edge ground-based and aerial data collection methods, statistical analysis and GIS (GEG7319 Environmental Data Acquisition and Analysis), and engage with a wide network of organisations and events in the water and environment sector (GEG7318 Catchment Science in Practice). Students taking Environmental Science by Research MSc also receive bespoke training appropriate to their specialist topic. Such training is greatly enhanced by our state-of-the art equipment in the School’s own laboratories which support geochemical analysis, advanced geospatial survey technology, a micromorphology and micropalaeontology suite and a River Lab with two experimental flumes.

Students taking Cities and Cultures MRes, Geography MRes, Global Development Futures MRes, and Global Health Geographies MRes complete the School’s own qualitative research training module Geographical Thought and Practice (GEG7120) and gain further training in quantitative methods in Introduction to Social Science 2: Quantitative Methods and Data (POLM083) (taught at the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary). This highly innovative and well-regarded research training programme enables access to a very wide range of research expertise and facilitates the rapid establishment of an extensive research network consisting of other postgraduate students and staff across QMUL and the broader Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded London Interdisciplinary Social Science DTP (LISS DTP). It also provides students with an ESRC-recognised research training award which enables them to satisfy ESRC training requirements should they wish to proceed to an ESRC-funded PhD.

More specialist advice and support for the masters dissertation is provided by a dedicated supervisor with whom they will meet on a regular, one-to-one basis throughout the module. Supervisors will have some expertise in the student’s proposed area of dissertation research and may be drawn from across the School of Geography. Each student will receive individual supervisions, lasting at least 30 minutes, four times each semester and four times in the summer term and vacation. While primarily supporting the student in their dissertation research, the supervisor will also provide more general academic help, guidance and feedback. A ‘Supervision Record Sheet’ will be completed after each meeting and the student and supervisor will jointly fill in a ‘Progress Report’ at the end of each semester, identifying key achievements as well as any problems that need resolving.

Comprehensive programme induction is delivered via an induction day in the School of Geography that is provided for all incoming students during Welcome Week (the week before formal teaching commences). This is used as an opportunity to acquaint new students with the format of the programme and expectations of them. Students also receive an induction talk from the library, Careers, Student Union and other central university departments. All students meet with the Programme Convenor during the induction day to discuss the programme in detail and module selection process. Students with special educational needs have the opportunity to talk to their adviser about how the university can best support them, and to agree with the students how to communicate those needs to appropriate members of staff.

The Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC) provides a formal means of communication and discussion between the School of Geography and its students. The role of the SSLC is to address matters relating to students' learning experiences, ranging from teaching and learning to assessment and feedback and learning resources. The SSLC consists of undergraduate and postgraduate student representatives and members of staff (including Head of School, Senior Tutors, Director of Masters Programmes and Programme Convenors) and is designed to respond to the needs of students and meets regularly throughout the year. There are elections for postgraduate members at the start of each academic year. Matters raised at the SSLC are reported to the rest of the School (via the Teaching and Learning Committee, the School Quality Enhancement Committee or the School Board Meeting) so that they can take action as appropriate.

Further training in personal and professional development is provided through Queen Mary’s Academic Development department. Our student’s personal and professional development is carefully monitored by their supervisors, ensuring that they are well equipped for life after their studies – whether in academia or beyond.