Geosciences is a broad discipline that ranges across science and humanities, drawing connections between them. However my experience of studying geography as a social science specifically, has further broadened my understanding of what geosciences can be, which is what makes the discipline so interesting.
I am currently a second year MA geography student. The first two years of the degree are highly flexible, allowing me to get a grasp of both the scientific and humanitarian aspects of geography. This is a valuable benefit as it provides a taste of both perspectives on geography. If you choose, the option is also open to switch your focus for honours. Although my preferred aspects of the course remain within human geography modules, having the opportunity to study both helps me grasp the significant ways they interact.
The program also dedicates time for students to explore outside subjects in first and second year. Personally, I selected modules in Sustainable Development and Sociology programs in my first semester and have continued to stick with both these subjects since. I found they reflected the aspects of human geography which I find particularly captivating. For example, an eye-opening geography lecture on the flow of global waste was complimented by a sustainable development lecture on diverse cultural attitudes to waste. This not only aided my ability to discuss the topic in essays and tutorials, but challenged me to think about issues with an inter-disciplinary perspective. The prevailing themes of sustainability and social justice between these courses challenged my lifestyle and equipped me with sufficient knowledge to respond in through daily decisions. The opportunity to study outside subjects, therefore, have has helped me find my interest in how cultural geography issues interacts with sustainable living, of which I wouldn’t have cultivated if it wasn’t for the flexibility of the degree program.
In addition to the benefits of studying multiple subjects and perspectives, focusing primarily on humanitarian geography over physical has further challenged my perspective of what geography, and thus geoscience, can be. Currently I am critically analysing singer Beyoncé’s “formation” music video through a theoretical geographic perspective, and in first year I conceptualised the presence of nature within Edinburgh’s shopping centers and what it signifies. Many of my friends are surprised when I explain this (they believe geography is a degree in coloring!), but I think the variety of geoscience study is something that should be emphasised, few other subjects are as unique in their diversity.
Studying geosciences at Edinburgh allows you to hone in on your interests and develop them in relation to other disciplines. Additionally the lecturers are world class in their specific fields, and the topics I have covered in my program have never failed to be eye-opening and thought-provoking. Additionally the diversity of geoscience, even simply within geography, is a really unique quality and is one of the reasons why studying it is so fascinating