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School of Geography

How to apply

Applications to degree programmes in the School of Geography should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). The institution code for Queen Mary is Q50.

If you have any queries about applying, please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below or contact us:

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the deadline for making an application to Queen Mary through UCAS?

The main deadline for submitting an application is the 15 January of the academic year before you wish to begin your studies. Remember, your referee (usually your teacher or tutor) will need some time to complete their parts of the form. To ensure your form is submitted by the deadline, you will need to make sure you complete your parts of the form – and submit it to the referee – in plenty of time (at least 2 weeks before the UCAS deadline). Applications submitted after 15 January may still be considered.

What do I do if I’ve missed the deadline for applications?

If you miss the deadline, don't panic. You can submit a Late Application up until the 30 June of the academic year before you wish to begin your studies. We usually accept Late Applications for all of our degree programmes in the School, but you should always check the UCAS website for updates. If you have not applied by the 30 June you can only apply in Clearing once the exam results have been announced.

Who is the Admissions Tutor and what are they looking for?

The Admissions Tutor is a member of academic staff who spends their time teaching and carrying out research, as well as doing the job of Admissions Tutor. They understand the academic requirements and content of all the degree programmes and can give you detailed expert advice should you have any questions. They will receive your application from UCAS and decide whether to make you an offer. We make decision based on your predicted grades, personal statement, reference and, where necessary, performance at interview.

What if my predicted grades are below your standard offer?

We will generally make an offer if your predicted grades fall within or near to our standard offer (currently 300–340 points). You may be invited for an interview before we make our decision. For example, if we feel that you have the ability to perform better than your predicted grades, or if we feel you have additional qualities that would make you a good student, we may still make you an offer even though your predicted grades are a little below our standard entry requirements.

What if I already have qualifications, but they fall below your standard offer?

If you have already completed your A Levels (or other qualifications), whether you have taken a gap year or been in the workplace for a number of years, but your grades are below our normal entry requirements we can still consider your application. You may be asked to attend an interview, which will enable you to demonstrate your subject knowledge, your commitment to study for a degree and the relevant skills and experience that you have gained since completing your secondary education. If you have been out of formal education for a long time you should consider taking an appropriate Access to Higher Education course.

Can I transfer to Queen Mary from a different university?

Occasionally we accept direct transfers from students in Year 2 of our degree programmes and you must apply to us through UCAS. We do not recommend students change institution part way through their degree, although we do recognise that occasionally students may need to relocate for personal or financial reasons. Your A2 subjects and grades must meet our general entrance requirements. We will also need to ensure that the subjects you have studied at your current institution prepare you in terms of skills and knowledge for your chosen degree programme at Queen Mary. Therefore, you are advised to contact the Admissions Tutor prior to application, informing us of the title and content of all courses you are currently studying and indicating your reasons for transfer. We will expect you to pass all your first year courses and demonstrate clear academic ability. You may be restricted from taking some of our modules. We do not accept transfers on to Year 3 of our degree programmes.

What if my GCSE and AS performance was poor?

We recognise that sometimes people under-perform in exams, for example, due to illness or personal difficulties, and that occasionally a college may struggle to provide teaching for a particular subject. If you feel that this is the case, or that your predicted grades do not reflect your potential, it is important that this is communicated clearly in the UCAS application form.

What should I write in my personal statement?

When writing your personal statement, consider the following:

  1. Establish your commitment and motivation to study. Show enthusiasm and demonstrate your knowledge. Say what particularly interests you about your chosen areas of study and mention your career aspirations.
  2. Emphasise your academic interests. Write about your current studies and talk about the skills you have developed. Be warned: it is quite likely that you will be asked about whatever you write about in this part of the statement if you are invited for interview.
  3. Detail any work or voluntary experience. Explain what you learnt from that experience and describe how this may help you in your proposed studies.
  4. Show your awareness of the broader subject. Demonstrate an understanding of current affairs, especially where relevant to your chosen subject.
  5. Write about your outside interests and achievements. Think about the skills involved and how they might be relevant to studying for a degree
  6. Presentation. Make sure that your personal statement is clearly expressed (good grammar), correctly spelt and well presented. Your personal statement should demonstrate that you are a careful and diligent student who cares about the quality of your work.

Do you interview applicants at Queen Mary?

Our decision to offer you a place will be based on your UCAS application. However, in certain circumstances, such as a mature student returning to higher education, an applicant with non-standard qualifications, or with grades below our normal entrance requirements, we will invite you for an interview before making an offer decision. In these cases the interview is important as we are looking for students who can demonstrate not only good academic achievement, but also a real commitment to and enthusiasm for geography or environmental science. If an offer is made following your interview, you will be invited to an Offer Holder Day. The Festivals of Geography, as these days are known, enable offer holders to get a much more detailed insight into studying in the School of Geography at Queen Mary, meet staff and students, and see the facilities. While not compulsory, it is advisable to attend these open days in the event that you miss your target offer grades – admissions staff will consider your level of commitment to the School when making final admissions decisions. Applicants may also be asked to attend an interview in certain cases, such as if they meet the criteria for consideration for the School of Geography's Outstanding Potential Award Scheme [PDF 587KB], or if they have alternative qualifications other than A-levels.

How many offers can I accept?

You will not be able to accept or decline any of the offers you have received until ALL the universities you have applied to have confirmed their decision with UCAS. You must make a FIRM acceptance of one of your offers, an INSURANCE acceptance of one other offer, and decline any other offers you have been made. Typically, students will choose to hold the course they most want to do as their FIRM offer, and then hold a slightly lower offer as their INSURANCE. If you achieve the grades needed for your FIRM offer, your place on that course will be confirmed in August when the exam results are published. If you are rejected by your firm choice because you did meet the conditions of the offer, but DO achieve the grades for your Insurance choice, you will be placed with your Insurance course.

Do you have a contextual admissions policy?

As part of our commitment to ensuring that students with the potential to excel in a challenging university environment, regardless of background, are encouraged to apply to study with us, we are able to take ‘contextual data’ into consideration when making an offer. This involves considering, alongside the academic strengths of your application, the level of participation in Higher Education in your neighbourhood (based on HEFCE POLAR3 data), the performance of the school(s) or college(s) where you took your GCSEs and A Levels and whether you have spent time in care.