Promoting Science in Universities

Geography is a unique discipline that connects the sciences, humanities and arts.  As a consequence, it teaches us the art of joined-up thinking like no other subject can.  Geography and the Earth sciences are essentially the way of joining the dots between the physical and the human worlds: you can’t fully understand the way the world works if you don’t understand how people interact with it, and you can’t fully consider human activities and policies if you don’t also take account of the finite nature of resources and the Earth’s own complex and powerful natural processes.

So, in this age of globalised markets and communications, it is critical that geographical sciences are promoted and pursued, to encourage joined-up thinking and to give people the skills to make sense of this complex world.

Geography in Scotland

With arguably the greatest geological diversity of any country in the world, and a rich tradition of exploring and settling new lands, Scotland has played a strong and inspirational role in the development of geographical sciences.

Geography in Scottish Universities

Geography was one of the founding subjects listed in the charter for Edinburgh University in 1583, but it was not taught as a degree subject until 1908, when RSGS Secretary George Chisholm was appointed as the first Lecturer in Geography at Edinburgh.

Geographical or Earth sciences can now be studied to degree and post-graduate level at eight Scottish universities:

ž   University of Aberdeen: Department of Geography and Environment

ž   University of Dundee: Department of Geography

ž   University of Edinburgh: Institute of Geography

ž   University of Glasgow: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences

ž   Heriot-Watt University: Geography, Society and Environment

ž   University of the Highlands and Islands: Geography

ž   University of St Andrews: School of Geography and Sustainable Development

ž   University of Stirling: School of Biological and Environmental Sciences

A further three Scottish universities include some elements of geographical teaching within related subjects:

ž   Edinburgh Napier University: Faculty of Health, Life & Social Sciences

ž   Glasgow Caledonian University: Glasgow School for Business and Society

ž   University of Strathclyde: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

RRSGS - University MedalSGS University Medal

Since 1909, the RSGS has offered a silver University Medal, which is now awarded to the outstanding graduating honours geography student in each of the Scottish universities as recommended by heads of department.

Knowledge Exchange

Part of the RSGS’s role is to help interpret academic geography for non-academic audiences, through various media including public talks, published articles, school activities, public displays, and electronic communications.  If you are a researcher interested in developing a ‘knowledge exchange’ programme with the RSGS, please contact us on or 01738 455050.

ScottishGeographerJournalScottish Geographical Journal

The Scottish Geographical Journal (SGJ) is the RSGS’s peer-reviewed academic journal.  International in outlook, the SGJ publishes scholarly articles of original research from any branch of geography and on any part of the world, while at the same time maintaining a distinctive interest in and concern with issues relating to Scotland.

The SGJ is published by Routledge (Taylor and Francis), and is available on-line or in hard copy.  All RSGS members are entitled to receive the SGJ for free.  Join us now to start receiving your copies, and for free access to digital copies on-line.