Head's Welcome


‘Our mission as a department is to be a key node of geographical knowledge production and dissemination, through both teaching and research, within Asia and globally’

Geography at the National University of Singapore has a long and proud history dating back to 1928, when it became one of the first subjects offered in the Faculty of Arts at Raffles College. Some 90 years on, we are firmly established as Asia’s leading geography department and are consistently ranked among the top geography departments globally. This reputation is built upon research excellence in three key areas; tropical environmental change, social and cultural geographies (with a particular focus on Asian cities), and political and economic geography. This excellence is showcased by the wide range of high quality publications that we produce every year.

We are a vibrant community of some 50 people; 40 academics ably supported by 10 administrative and technical staff. We are home to a growing graduate community of approximately 75 students (encompassing taught Masters, Masters by research and PhD students) and have a thriving undergraduate programme that typically has 90-100 students in the final Honours year. The long-established NUS Geographical Society is a lively part of our community, organising several key events every year including the country wide Geography Challenge quiz for secondary schools. Each year we offer around 50 undergraduate modules in addition to advanced modules for our graduate students. These modules give a broad base with offerings in all key areas of contemporary geography, but also allow for specializing in topics that relate to the research strengths of the Department. Our teaching also reflects our commitments to understanding the region in which we are based (i.e. Southeast Asia but also Asia in general) and to fieldwork, as seen in the 6 week field studies module in Thailand which we run each year. We also offer Minor degrees in Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Urban Studies, Geosciences and Aquatic Ecology, and in collaboration with the Department of Biological Sciences we deliver the cross-Faculty Bachelor of Environmental Studies programme (BES). And in August 2016 we launched our inaugural taught Masters programme in Applied GIS.

For 65 years now the Department has been home to the Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography (published by Wiley-Blackwell), which we see as an important part of our international visibility and role. In addition to the long established and distinctive focus on tropical environments, the Journal has increasingly become a key forum for critical work on the histories of tropical geography, postcolonial perspectives and the rethinking of the geographies of development. This has been developed through a set of special issues and Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography lectures held at international conferences.

In short, Geography at the National University of Singapore is a long-established and thriving research and teaching hub. I hope you enjoy finding out about our activities from these webpages. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to know more.

Prof. Neil M. Coe
Head, Department of Geography