Geographical studies

Geography impacts wellbeing, ecosystems, urban places and economic activity.

Discover Europe’s rich history & its complex present

Studying European studies at UNSW exposes you to the rich history and dynamics of contemporary Europe. As an interdisciplinary area of study and research, you’ll focus on European politics, societies and cultures of the past and present. You’ll cover topics such as concepts of Europe, Europe in the Age of Catastrophe, the European world 1500 – 1900, confronting the past in contemporary Europe, and contemporary Europe in crisis.

Our staff are experts on a range of European countries and regions spanning the entire continent, from Britain to Russia and the Mediterranean to Northern Europe. We specialise in diverse fields, including intellectual history, memory studies, religion, the history of minorities and transnational histories.

Enhance your study with a European language  

European studies at UNSW brings together the perspectives and approaches of disciplines such as history, philosophy, politics and international relations. We encourage you to combine this study with a European language to further expand the skillset and knowledge you’ll bring to future roles. We offer courses at various levels in French, German, Greek, Italian and Spanish.

Prepare yourself for the global job market  

European studies will prepare you for intellectual and professional engagement and success on a global scale. Our graduates pursue careers in politics and diplomacy, EU institutions, Australian Federal Government, international business, NGOs, media, trade, teaching and research.

Forge important links domestically & internationally 

Our staff are involved in research collaboration with numerous organisations and universities in Europe. We also actively cooperate with Australian-based organisations promoting the study of European languages and culture, including the Goethe Institute, the Instituto Cervantes, Alliance Française and the German Academic Exchange Service. 

You’ll have the opportunity for international exchange in over 32 countries, including Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. You may also be eligible to apply for external programs such as Encounter Europe, an intensive European studies course held in Germany and administered by the German Academic Exchange Service.


  • Our undergraduate courses offer a wide-ranging and coherent curriculum that emphasises the political, ideological, social and cultural forces that have shaped modern and contemporary Europe. 

    Knowledge of a language other than English is not required, but students who wish to specialise in European studies are encouraged to learn a relevant language. UNSW offers courses at various levels in French, German, Greek, Italian and Spanish.

    Our degree options:

  • Honours in European studies is available for high achieving students. With interdisciplinary and comparative projects in common, joint supervision may be arranged across disciplines and schools to ensure you benefit from the diverse expertise of our staff.

  • Our postgraduate research students undertake research through supervision with leading academics to produce an original body of work. Students can choose from a Doctor of Philosophy or a Masters by Research. To find an academic supervisor, visit Our people

Explore the relationship between society and the environment for a better future

Our society and our environment intersect and influence each other in many ways. Through a geographical studies major or minor at UNSW, you will explore the ways physical, social, cultural, economic and political factors shape places. In turn, you will examine how geographical factors impact on people and their wellbeing ecosystems, urban places and economic activity.

The relationship between people, our societies and the environment underpins many of our great global challenges. As a geographer, you will learn to analyse these dynamics by drawing insights from social and physical sciences. This will set you up to work in roles that address complex global issues across a broad range of organisations, including federal, state or local government, not-for-profit corporations, corporate entities, international organisations and educational institutions.

During your studies, you will be part of a passionate and engaged community of staff, students and alumni at UNSW who will engage, support and challenge you to work towards your goals. You will graduate with the passion to make an impact and the skills to work in a range of roles and professions, including urban management, regional planning, environmental assessment, advocacy, policy analysis and international development, and education.

Deepen your theoretical and scientific understanding of geography

Through geographical studies, you will develop your understanding of geography as an academic discipline, diving deep into the most recent theory and practice. As part of this process, you will discuss perspectives and controversies of people and organisations about a range of geographical issues and engage proactively with complex problems in professional practice and/or scholarship. 

Gain the practical experience for a career in geography

During your studies, you will gain hands-on skills and experience to support your deep theoretical knowledge of geography, preparing you for a number of roles, professions and industries.

You will learn to recognise the characteristics and spatial distribution of environments and urban places and report and debate geographic information, ideas and issues, in a range of different contexts using a variety of media.

Through your analysis and evaluation of the connections between people, places and the environment, you will gain experience in assessment of management strategies, supporting sustainable outcomes for organisations. To communicate your understanding, you’ll learn to report and debate geographic information, ideas and issues, in a range of different contexts using a variety of media. 

Our degree options

  • Honours consists of an additional year of study where you'll develop your research and practical skills. You'll be guided by staff who are passionate about research and work within a faculty that’s ranked above world standards in research excellence. Our research contributes to debate, informs policies and opinions, and creates new knowledge bases that are integral to the continued evolution of environmental understanding.

  • We currently offer the following postgraduate degrees related to geographical studies; Masters by Research (MA), Masters of Environmental Management (MEM) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). 

    Areas of research supervision include:

    • cultural geography
    • development geography 
    • environmental geography
    • historical geography
    • human geography 
    • legal geography
    • political ecology
    • political geography
    • science and technology studies 
    • urban geography.