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Students graduating from an accredited geography degree programme will have been exposed to a range of learning opportunities over the course of their degree, aligned with the QAA subject benchmark statement, and should be able to demonstrate a wide range of knowledge, understanding, skills and approaches valued in the world beyond higher education.

Accreditation is one of the ways for a university to receive independent recognition that the knowledge, skills and other attributes expected of high quality geography graduates are being delivered.  The QAA subject benchmark statement for geography defines the geographical knowledge, understanding, skills and approaches obtained in the course of a geography degree.

Geography is a broad subject, and its core constituents may be approached and delivered through a number of routes. Providers offering degree programmes are free to decide upon the details of content and organisation in their courses, because a valued characteristic of the subject is its plurality of ways of knowing and understanding the world, including via individual specialisms. Students graduating from accredited degree programmes should be able to demonstrate:

  • Proven practical experience, from the field and other experiential learning opportunities
  • Skills in, and knowledge of, a range of methodological approaches
  • The capacity for independent study and research
  • Substantive depth of knowledge in a sub-field of the discipline, including appropriate skills to support that knowledge
  • Effective communication to a range of audiences
  • A range of academic and transferable skills, such as the ability to find and interpret information, and make use of a range of information and communication technologies
  • The development of a range of personal attributes and qualities relevant to the world beyond higher education.

During the accreditation process, the course’s content and delivery is independently assessed by a peer review panel (of academics and professionals using geography in their careers) in terms of the geographical knowledge, understanding, skills, approaches and other attributes graduates will acquire.

Geography graduates consistently report rates of unemployment six months after graduation, consistently below the average for all subjects (HECSU). For graduates, an accredited course may be a foundation for a career path leading to professional registration or recognition, for example Chartered Geographer.

Remember: The Society's programme accreditation scheme is voluntary and optional. This means that some UK geography programmes aren’t accredited even if they meet the criteria, or they may be accredited by other organisations. There are many excellent degree programmes delivered by UK universities which do not have accreditation.

Please note that information about RGS-IBG course accreditation will be shown on the UniStats website from 2017. In the meantime, you can check our list of accredited programmes or look for our accredited course logo on the programme’s web page or brochure.


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