History of the Department 1917-2017

From there to here

Geography began at Aberystwyth in 1872 with The University College of Wales offering Geography as a general degree; however, it was not until 1917 with the appointment of H. J. Fleure as the Gregynog Professor of Geography and Anthropology that The Department of Geography was officially established. Following this, the university saw its first Geography Single Honours students register for study in the year 1918. At the time Aberystwyth was only the third university in Britain to offer such a degree following Liverpool and Glasgow Universities in the same decade, but it was the first to offer both BA and BSc degree schemes.

The century has seen Geography grow to become one of the largest departments at the university and, for periods, the largest Geography Department in Britain. It moved from Marine Terrace to Alexander Road and finally into the iconic Llandinam Building on the Penglais Campus. In 1988 the department merged with the Department of Geology to form The Institute of Earth Sciences, renamed as The Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences (IGES) in 1997 and The Department of Geography and Earth Sciences (DGES) in 2012.

From its early days, Geography at Aberystwyth played a significant role in shaping the development of the discipline, both in Britain and around the world. It was the first headquarters for the Geographical Association and was the first place outside of London to host The Institute of British Geographers annual conference. Alumni from the department have become lecturers and professors in universities across Britain and internationally; helping to pioneer and craft the discipline of geography worldwide.

Today the DGES is in the top 100 Geography Departments worldwide (QS University Rankings), we hope to remain here whilst continuing to develop all subject fields within the department, including; Human Geography, Physical Geography, Environmental Science, Environmental Earth Science, and Geology. Come and see for yourselves; learn of our department, celebrate our history, and become part of our boundless future.


Timeline‌‌ Photo Gallery