Welcome to the Centre

We live in an era – widely known as the ‘Anthropocene’ – where human beings are acknowledged to have become the prime driver of global environmental change. Understanding the social and scientific causes and consequences of such profound environmental change is one of the greatest contemporary challenges. The Centre for Geography, Environment and Society on the Penryn Campus in Cornwall focuses on innovative teaching and cutting-edge research on humans’ impact on the natural world at a range of geographical scales, from local landscapes to global climate systems.

Our degrees and learning environment

We offer several degrees, with undergraduate curricula in Geography, Environmental Science, and Human Sciences. Our undergraduate degrees are available with Study Abroad and we also offer an MSci Environmental Science. In addition we offer several MSc degrees, including MSc Conservation Science and Policy; MSc Sustainable Development; MRes Sustainable Futures. We have PhD programmes in Human and Physical Geography, with particular strengths in sustainable development, conservation and policy, energy policy, social and cultural geography, quaternary science, ocean science, and remote sensing. Our teaching and learning is underpinned by a philosophy of critical geographical thinking, which stresses the importance of trained geographical observation, the value of working with others and across disciplinary boundaries, and the transformative power of knowledge.

Our location and our research

The Centre resides on the Penryn Campus of the University of Exeter, surrounded by areas rich in cultural heritage and natural beauty. Cornwall is an exceptional place in which to study issues of environment and society; a living laboratory with a range of marine and terrestrial environments, a wealth of natural resources, as well as creative and resilient communities. Some of our research responds to our unique regional geography, with staff leading locally based research projects on issues such as sustainability, conservation, social cohesion and wellbeing. Equally, our staff also lead large international, interdisciplinary research projects studying global environment and climate. Staff undertake research in a range of places, from local libraries and laboratories, to field sites worldwide as far afield as Iceland and Patagonia. Research is funded by a range of organisations, including UK research councils, government organisations, the European Union, and charities.

Our staff and our outlook

Staff at the Centre are internationally known researchers and teachers. Together with our students, we make up a friendly and collegiate community dedicated to discovering and sharing geographical knowledge about how social and natural environments relate to each other. We celebrate and encourage interdisciplinary thinking in all our activities; our teaching and research draws on geographical approaches and methods that span the sciences, social sciences and humanities. In so doing our aim is to better understand and explain the complex geographical relationships between societies and the natural environment in the past and present, as well as predict their possible transformation in the future.