Membership – general questions
1. What category of membership should I apply for?
Our membership page gives a brief overview of all the membership categories. If you are still unsure about what membership category is best for you, please do not hesitate to contact the Membership Office for advice at email@example.com
2. How do I renew my membership?
Further details on how to renew your membership are available here
3. Can I pay by Direct Debit?
Yes, you can pay by Direct Debit. Direct Debit mandates are included on the online and hard copy membership forms.
4. Can I join online?
At the moment you cannot join online, although we hope to improve this in the future.
5. Can I give membership as a gift?
Ordinary Membership, Young Geographer are available to give as gifts. Fellowship and Postgraduate Fellowship cannot be given as a gift due to the nature of the application process.
6. How can I update my personal details?
You can update your personal details in the MySociety pages, if you unable to do this please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Membership Office on +44 (0)20 7591 3080.
7. I’ve lost/have not received my membership card
Please contact the membership office either by email email@example.com or on +44 (0)207 591 3080 for more information.
8. Who can become a Fellow and how?
Anyone who is over 21 and meets the eligibility criteria can become a Fellow.
Briefly, this requires either
- being able to demonstrate using geographical skills and/or knowledge in the workplace or
- having relevant education/qualifications in geography (or related subject) or
- being an Ordinary Member for five years
The Membership Office will also be able to answer any eligibility queries on +44 (0)20 7591 3080.
9. Can I buy Fellowship as a gift?
Fellowship cannot be purchased as a gift due to the nature of the application process Young Geographer and Ordinary Membership can be purchased as gifts.
10. What if I do not know another Fellow to propose and second my application?
If you are an academic working in a higher education institution, your application does not need to be proposed, although a CV is still required.
For non-academics, if you meet the eligibility criteria of Fellowship then the Society can help you to arrange proposers and seconders for your application. We will still require a completed Fellowship application form, a CV and a short covering letter explaining how you feel you meet the criteria required for Fellowship.
11. Can I still apply if I do not live in the UK?
Yes. We have Fellows of the Society based all over the world.
12. How long does it take to become a Fellow?
From start to finish, the process can take up to six weeks.
13. Do I need to have been an Ordinary Member for five years before applying for Fellowship?
No. If you meet the other criteria you can apply directly for Fellowship.
14. How is School membership different to Fellowship?
School membership is an organisational membership predominantly based on access to our full range of teaching resources.
Both Fellows and School Members can receive discounts on our CPD events for teachers and students.
Fellowship is an individual membership and Fellows are able to attend member-only events. Fellows are able to apply for Chartered Geographer (Teacher) status, and are eligible for the £50 application fee for this to be waived if they are also employed in a school that has an active membership.
15. Are international schools able to join?
We welcome applications from international schools. Details of how to pay from abroad are on the invoice we will provide you.
16. How can I pay for School membership?
School membership costs £85 for 12 month's membership. If your school requires an invoice, we will send it when you submit your membership application. Your school can pay by BACS, cheque or credit card and we ask that you send a remittance advice to us for BACS payments. Your membership will start after we process your payment. You will receive a welcome email with login instructions for the main contact and a separate login for pupils and colleagues.
17. Does it run for an academic year or calendar year?
School membership starts when your payment has been processed and runs for 12 months from the 1st of the month after we have received your payment.
18. What if I change schools?
If you change schools, you will not be able to use your existing login at your new school. If your new school is not a member, please suggest that they consider joining. Please ensure that you let us know who the new membership contact will be at the school you are leaving. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
19. Can I bring students to Monday night lectures?
Unfortunately our group memberships, including School Membership, do not allow access in person to our Monday night lecture series. School members are able to buy tickets for ticketed lectures at the Society, usually with a discount. School members can login to view our Monday night lecture series online and we also provide teaching materials to accompany curriculum-related talks.
Visiting the Society
20. When can I visit and do I need to book in advance?
Opening hours are 10.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays and the period between Christmas and New Year).
Fellows and members do not need to book to come to the Society, unless you wish to use a meeting room in the Members’ Room.
If you are attending an event, you may need to book your place in advance.
21. How can Fellows and members use the Society building?
Fellows and members are welcome to visit the Society in South Kensington.
Fellows and members can use the Members’ Room – an elegant, informal working space for Fellows and members only. Wi-Fi and tea and coffee are available. Meeting rooms can be booked in advance for £10 for a two hour slot. Fellows and members are also welcome to use the Foyle Reading Room where they can research the Society's collections.
22. Is food and drink available if I visit the Society?
The Tea Room is open to Fellows and members for lunch from 12.30pm to 1.45pm. Tea and coffee are available throughout the day, both in the Tea Room and the Members’ Room.
23. Is there Wi-Fi available?
Free Wi-Fi is available at the Society.
24. Can I bring guests to the Society?
Please contact the Society either by email email@example.com or on +44 (0) 207 591 3000 for more information.
25. Do Fellows and members get a discount if they wish to hire the building?
A discount is available for personal use. Please contact the Venue Hire team on +44 (0)20 7591 3090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
26. How do Fellows and members find out about Society events?
The Society runs three seasons of events: autumn (September-December); spring (January-March); and summer (April-August). Alongside ticketed public events, we offer a number of events for members and Fellows only, such as our weekly Monday night lecture programme. Our Kensington Gore premises are also used by a number of other organisations for their events, many of which are advertised on our website and in our printed Bulletin. We also offer a range of events outside London, including our Regional Theatres Programme and local events organised by regional committees.
Prior to each season, all members and Fellows are sent a printed Bulletin featuring news from the Society and the full events programme for that term. You will also receive a monthly e-update including event highlights, and if your main address is within one of our nine UK regions or Singapore and Hong Kong, periodic e-updates with information on events and activities local to you. You can request updates from additional regions, or to be removed from these mailing lists by email email@example.com
Unavoidable changes to events do sometimes occur, so we encourage members and Fellows to also check What’s On page of our website for the most up to date information.
27. What events can Fellows and members attend for free?
Many Society events are free for Fellows and members, including Monday night lectures, City lectures, Be Inspired afternoon talks and exhibitions in the Pavilion, and many regional events. We offer a discounted rate to our members for most other events, including public events in London and the Regional Theatres Programme. Some non-Society events held at our Kensington Gore premises also offer a discount for talks. Details and prices of all events are available on the What’s On page of our website.
28. Do I need to book for events?
Booking is required for all of our ticketed public events in London, Regional Theatres events, and some others, including Be Inspired afternoon talks and On View displays. We do often sell tickets on the door, but advance booking is recommended as spaces for these events are limited. All events that require booking are marked with a B in the printed bulletin, with details of how to book.
All our London events can be booked online at www.rgs.org/whatson or over the phone on 020 7591 3100. Regional bookings are made through the local committee or through the venue. Please note: external events hosted at the Society must be booked through their respective organisers. Although we do advertise some non-Society events, we are not the ticket vendors.
Booking is not required for Monday night and City lectures, for which spaces are allocated on a first-come first-served basis. You just need to show your membership card on the door, and donations are appreciated but not required for guests.
Very occasionally, if a lecture is anticipated to be extremely popular, we may run a balloted ticket system, which does require Fellows and members to apply in advance for a space. All applications are then sorted electronically at random, and successful applicants notified prior to the lecture.
29. Can I bring guests to events?
Many of our events are open to the public, and members and Fellows are welcome to book additional tickets although these will be charged at the non-member rate.
For most members’ only events, including Monday night and City lectures, members are welcome to bring a guest, indicated with M+G in the printed bulletin. A few lectures, which are anticipated to be extremely popular, will be designated members only and will be labelled M in the Bulletin and ‘members only’ online.
Guests cannot attend the lecture without a member. Please arrive together or meet in the foyer of the venue and show your membership card to Society staff as you come in.
30. I want to go to an event but it is open to ‘members only’ or has a special discounted rate for members. If I join now, will my membership be processed in time?
Membership is open to all. If you wish to join as an Ordinary Member or Young Geographer, as long as we have a completed application form and payment we can usually process one-off requests on the same day. We cannot process a new membership application by telephone, but you may present the form in person, or the completed form could be sent to us by email, with a follow-up telephone call to provide your payment details.
On receipt of completed forms and payment we can send an email confirmation with your membership number, and you can use this to access events or apply for discounted rates until you receive your membership card through the post. Please note that it will not be possible to access discounted rates through online booking until your online account has been set up.
Our membership team are available between 9.30am and 5.30pm Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays and the period between Christmas Eve and New Year. In addition, they are present until 6.30pm before Monday night lectures at the Society and can accept completed Ordinary Membership and Young Geographer applications delivered by hand before a Monday night lecture.
Unfortunately due to the nature of the application, we cannot process Fellowship or Postgraduate Fellowship application forms on the same day.
31. Do I need to bring my membership card to Society events?
You will need to show your membership card at Monday night and City lectures, and other members’ only events. We recommend bringing your membership card to all Society events.
If you have forgotten or lost your card, we will be able to look up your details. Please follow the sign for ‘forgotten cards’ and report to the membership desk.
32. I am attending an event at the Society that I can’t find on your website or in the members’ Bulletin. Where can I find the details for that event?
The Society’s building is a popular events space and is frequently hired by third parties. If the event in question is not listed as an RGS-IBG event on our website or in the Bulletin, please get in touch with the event organisers directly
33. How can I propose a lecture?
To propose a lecture please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Details of what to include are available here.
34. I am a wheelchair user. Is there step-free access to the event venue?
There is step-free access to the Society’s building in Kensington via the Exhibition Road entrance, and the Kensington Gore entrance (via a ramp). The Ondaatje Theatre has a limited number of wheelchair spaces, but more can be made available if needed and a personal assistant or carer can usually be accommodated. Please email the Events Office in advance on email@example.com to book a carer place or if you have any further access requirements.
As a variety of venues are used for our events outside London, it is best to contact the venue directly for queries on accessibility and other facilities.