Centenary of the Department of Geography, University of Aberdeen

Lorna Jennifer Philip* (Corresponding Author), Kevin J Edwards

*Corresponding author for this work

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1 Citation (Scopus)
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Prior to the amalgamation of Aberdeen’s two medieval universities in 1860, Geography had been taught to undergraduate students at both King’s and Marischal Colleges since at least the late 16th Century. First mooted in the early 1900s, it was not until 1919 that a lectureship in Geography at Aberdeen was created and a ‘Department of Geography’ came into being. In this contribution we chronicle how, over a century, the Geography department has evolved, highlighting developments in the curriculum and research-related activities. The early decades of the Department were shaped by John McFarlane, the first and only full-time appointee in Geography until his retirement in 1945. The post-World War II period, led by Andrew O’Dell, saw Geography develop into a large and influential Department. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Department (and University) experienced unprecedented levels of growth. Student numbers, research output and income accelerated apace. In the recent past national assessments of research and teaching quality and institutional restructuring have prompted further change. As the Department enters a second century it remains committed to delivering a high quality education to undergraduate and postgraduate students and to the pursuit of excellent geographical research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-212
Number of pages57
JournalScottish Geographical Journal
Issue number3-4
Early online date12 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Geography
  • University of Aberdeen


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