About the Department of Geography
The Department of Geography was founded in 1961 when the institution was part of the University of Alberta. Geography was one of the first subjects taught at the new Calgary campus. The undergraduate and graduate programs were formed in those early years, and have continued to grow and develop through the change to an autonomous University in 1966. The first degree was awarded in 1963. Since then, over 267 Masters degrees, 46 Phd degrees and 52 MGIS degrees have been granted. As well, over 1700 undergraduate degrees in Geography have been awarded.
In 1972, the department moved into the present Earth Sciences building. The steady enlargement and development of several related departments, their laboratories, the Academic Computing Services, and the Library provided excellent support. The Arctic Institute of North America with its excellent library and northern field stations at Kluane (Yukon) and Devon Island (NWT) were added in 1977. The Kananaskis Field Stations (Barrier Lake and R. B. Miller field stations in southwestern Alberta) and the campus—based Environmental Research Institute were re—organized in 1992. In addition, the department has endeavored to make full use of the fact that many western regional offices of Canadian government departments are located in Calgary. These, together with the large concentration of oil, high—technology and consulting industries, have provided external contacts, examiners, sources of surplus equipment, aerial photographs and other remote sensing data, summer jobs and potential jobs that have greatly helped in the development of the program.
The geography department plays a major role within the university in the pursuit of the integration and synthesis of human and physical processes related to the earth’s surface at appropriate local, regional, national and international scales and focuses its attention on those specific environments which best reflect its human resources and the growth of the discipline’s areas of relevance. One very important function of the department is to provide coordinated integrated instruction and training in physical and human geography concomitant with its guiding vision and key objectives.
The department utilizes its unique location in southern Alberta as a specific laboratory for training human and physical geographers, and for coordinating their understanding of the linkages between components of the local/regional environment and those occurring globally or in major world regions.