Dr Baigent is the University Reader in the History of Geography. She was educated at the universities of Oxford and Münster. She has held research fellowships at the universities of Oxford and Stockholm and a visiting professorship at Johns Hopkins University, with funding from bodies such as the British Academy and the Fulbright Commission.
From 1993 to 2003 she was Research Director of the Oxford dictionary of national biography, and Research Lecturer in the history faculty. She has 541 scholarly publications including a (co-authored) book which won an international prize. She is fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, the Royal Historical Society, the Royal Geographical Society, and the Higher Education Academy.