Studying geography opens up a wide range of careers. For information on career paths following an undergraduate degree in Geography please visit the Royal Geographical Society website. There are also options for further study at the School of Geography and the Environment once you have completed your undergraduate degree.

Alumni Profiles

Rebecca Busfield

Rebecca Busfield

BA Geography 1996-1999
Partner, Watt Busfield Tax Investigations LLP

I have always been fascinated by the world. I liked science but didn't want to be stuck in a lab doing small scale experiments. I chose Hertford because they had a large number of Geographers so thought it would be more sociable.

I didn't know what I wanted to do for my career. I had ruled out various things like medicine, veterinary, architecture, journalism through work experience. I tried a job in politics in Mayor of London but was made redundant following revelations about Jeffrey Archer in the press. I got a graduate job through an agency as a management accountant for Lloyd's of London. I realised I didn't suit the back office environment. I then got a place on Ernst & Young's graduation tax rotation course and moved around various teams until I found one where I did well. There is no rush to decide at university.

I like working with numbers and words. I like working with lots of people. Tax law is always changing so it keeps you interested. There is also lots of case law and political interest.

Rhys Edwards

Rhys Edwards

BA Geography 2008-2011
Trainee Solicitor

I originally chose to study Geography because I found the spatial and temporal diversity of its subject matter so appealing. What I found over 3 years was that it gave me a new perspective on the world around us. From island biogeography and historical evolutionary processes, to the global impact of the neoliberal economic expansion in the late twentieth century, the breadth of content was always fascinating.

As well as being a purely interesting degree, the nature of Geography, being a constantly changing discipline with no rigid canon, lent itself well to analytical arguments and probing questions with no "right" answer. The practice of dissecting information from various sources required a keen eye for detail and an ability to disentangle many lines of evidence. This reasoning process led me to pursue a career in law, where I could put in practice academic skills gained from studying Geography into a legal context.

Following my degree I completed the GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law) and the LPC (Legal Practice Course), in preparation for the commencement of a Training Contract with City law firm Travers Smith in September 2013.

Alex Cheesman © Simon Bryant

Alex Cheesman

BA Geography 2007-2010
Professional rugby player

Having gained my place at Oxford University during my final year at school, I was well aware that I would be joining not only one of the best academic institutions in the world, but also one of the finest and most historic sporting clubs too. The balancing of academics and sport became the defining feature of my time at university; my friends will testify to the fact that I had little time for anything else! However, I fell on my feet in joining the university and my many great tutors supported me throughout, helping me to prioritise, manage my time and achieve my goals in both fields. In particular, Dr Lorraine Wild and Professor Robert Whittaker were just incredible and made my whole experience one that was inspiring, challenging and extremely satisfying.

I chose to study special subjects in European integration and Biogeography in order to keep my interests spread across human and physical geography. This is one of the advantages of the Oxford Geography course since you can maintain a diversity of interests throughout the three years. I enjoyed the Biogeography option so much that I decided to stay in Oxford to study the MSc In Biodiversity, Conservation and Management. This course allowed me to further explore my interests in island ecosystem dynamics and regeneration, focusing especially on threatened groups of animals and plants and particular island ecosystems. For my Masters' dissertation, I went on to research the effects of trends in agricultural practices in Great Britain and the scope for more rigorous and comprehensive conservation efforts within this working landscape.

Although I am a professional sportsman now, and that is what I will focus on professionally for the foreseeable future, I have plans to one day delve back into the world of academia and become a Geography teacher, a goal towards which I am actively working by volunteering for coaching and teaching opportunities in my free time. The broad range of interests in human and physical geography that I obtained through my undergraduate and postgraduate courses will stand me in very good stead as a Geography teacher. The skills of balancing a range of commitments that I learned at Oxford have been invaluable in my professional career so far and my time at Oxford provided me with a whole range of experiences that I will cherish and be thankful for as long as I live.

Karoline Popp

Karoline Popp

BA Geography 2003-2006
Migration Policy Officer, International Organization for Migration (IOM)

I can trace it all back to a single, inspiring lecture on political geography in my first term at Oxford. With the support of my tutors and the department, I then developed my interest in political geography, border studies and migration in my various elected courses and in my dissertation, which involved a memorable month of surveys and interviews in a small Spanish town at the Mediterranean coast.

Following graduation I interned for six months at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Geneva, Switzerland, where I would end up working a few years later. Before that, however, I spent a few months with a small non-governmental organization in Quito, Ecuador, which specialized in community-level conflict resolution, and I completed a Masters degree in conflict resolution and international law at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Since 2008, I have been working at the IOM headquarters in Geneva where I have dealt with migration policy, programmes for international cooperation on migration, as well as institutional strategy and liaison.

"Thinking geographically" is still very much part of my work: migration is a matter which can only be properly understood from a multi-disciplinary perspective. When I was involved in developing my organization's position on the links between migration and environmental or climate change, it proved useful that I was as used to reading studies about migration dynamics as I was to understanding the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Last not but least, the very Oxfordian skill to be able to turn out concise written work in super-short timeframes is trained and tested on nearly a daily basis!

Christopher Kyriacou

Christopher Kyriacou

BA Geography 2002-2005

When I began at Oxford I hadn't the faintest clue what career path I wanted to follow. So I found the fantastic diversity of the Geography course at SoGE, almost uniquely spanning the humanities and sciences, the perfect crucible for exploring my interests. During my three years I continued to be fascinated by the physical world around us, particularly geology which had been one of my favourite A level subjects. But I soon discovered I was most passionate about the political, social and cultural aspects of geography.

In particular, SoGE's Political Geography of European Integration option gave me a tremendous appreciation for the continually evolving concept of the nation state as the great organisers of our societies, and the human consequences when these systems break down - for example through war, famine, or political upheaval. That helped me decide that I wanted to pursue a career in international affairs, with a focus on conflict resolution.

Immediately after Oxford I went to the London School of Economics to study their MSc in International Relations, and before I knew it was en route to Nepal with Service Civil International to participate in a peace camp!

From there I have been fortunate to work for several great organisations in the UK and US. Independent Diplomat, a unique diplomatic advisory group helping marginalised states and political groups; Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future, who let me loose around the UN building in New York for the 15th UN Commission on Sustainable Development, before I served as their Policy Co-ordinator and acting Head of Office in London; and since 2007 I have been with the AMAR International Charitable Foundation which works to rebuild lives and communities in conflict and post-conflict zones in the Middle East. Initially I worked as a Projects Officer in London managing programmes in Iraq and Lebanon, and then in 2010 I moved to Washington D.C. to set up and run their new American affiliate, AMAR U.S.

Lisa-Marie Shillito

Lisa-Marie Shillito

BA Geography 2000-2003
Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh

I was always fascinated by the natural world, and the dynamic relationships between people and their environments. For my dissertation I joined an archaeological excavation in Fiji, looking at the impacts of environmental change and human activity on shellfish size over time. Through this I learned of the sub-discipline of geoarchaeology, and by the time I graduated I knew that I wanted to continue with my studies, so completed an MSc followed by a PhD in Geoarchaeology.

My work has taken me all over the world. My first job after my PhD was as a research assistant for 2 archaeological projects in Turkey and Iran, and after that I worked on the AHRC 'Feeding Stonehenge' project and the European Research Council funded 'Ecology of Crusading' project as a geoarchaeology specialist. I now work as a research fellow in archaeology at the University of Edinburgh. In my research I investigate how humans have used natural resources in the past, how this has changed over time, and how this varies in different geographic settings. My work is highly interdisciplinary, bringing together themes from geography, environmental archaeology and anthropology.

My Geography course at Oxford still influences my research. Having this background gives me a different perspective on archaeology, and enables me to build links between the study of the past and how this can inform issues of modern day environmental sustainability.

Caroline Shaw (Barraclough)

Caroline Shaw (Barraclough)

BA Geography 1998-2001
Head of Marketing and Communications, WHEB / Yoga Teacher, London

I had always loved Geography at school and being able to relate geographical theory to things I saw in everyday life.

I chose the course mainly because of the tutorial system - but ended up really appreciating its emphasis on breadth (i.e. having to do human, social and historical geog alongside physical).

I had an internship with the SRI investment team at a major institutional investor, then worked for a start-up raising money for small environmental businesses, then worked in marketing at the UK's leading environmental asset manager for several years. I now combine my marketing and communications role with work as a yoga teacher and find this brings essential balance to a busy London life.

Rev Joanna Seabourne

Rev Joanna Seabourne

BA Geography 1994-1997
Associate Rector of St George's Church, Leeds and Priest in Charge of St Augustine's Church, Leeds

Having gained my geography degree I trained as a teacher and enjoyed five fantastic years of teaching in a secondary school in Harrogate. I greatly enjoyed passing on my love of Geography and broadening the horizons of students from this unique town in Yorkshire. In 2003 I left teaching to do a theology degree at the University of Durham and to train as a minister within the Church of England. My love of Geography has always been about a concern for the people of the world and the environment within which we live and interact. Leading a church therefore seems a natural progression of this love as I teach about the God of all nations, care for people from all walks of life, teach about our interactions with one another and how to be wise stewards of the environment which I believe God has given us to care for. My current role includes being the Associate Rector of a large city centre church in Leeds, overseeing about 20 networks of approximately 30 people each, of all ages and all nationalities, alongside leading a smaller local church too.

Justin Jenk

Justin Jenk

BA Geography 1976-1979
Managing Director, Raktas, London

Geography was a reinforcing choice. I had an affinity for the subject. The holistic nature of the course, reinforced by the quality of the dons, faculty and fellow students brought out the best of my academic and personal qualities.

An Oxford Geography degree has been the well-spring of my professional career. It gave me the organising framework to realise there was always a solution; invariably it required lateral thinking and having the confidence to move forwards, even in opaque and data-poor settings. Geography blended quantitative and qualitative disciplines as well as the importance of collaboration and team-work. Geography has proven to be an excellent discipline for a career the world-over, as a: manager, consultant, banker, advisor, investor and entrepreneur.

Thus I went from practical hands-on management with Swires in Asia to an MBA at Harvard and then partnerships at both McKinsey & Co and Accenture, a CEO position at Vivartia and currently Raktas (offering advisory-investment- interim support). You can find the details at LinkedIn - Justin Jenk. Feel free to contact me at

Further Study at our International Graduate School

The School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford also offers MSc by Coursework programmes, and MPhil and D.Phil. research degree programmes. Many of our undergraduate students choose to study further within the School after completing their degree.

To find out more information about our graduate degrees please visit our International Graduate School.