University of Calgary
UofC Navigation

Geography

Submitted by darmstro on Thu, 03/30/2017 - 2:19pm

Human, physical and technical geography; more than maps

Explore the interwoven human-environment relationships through the study of geography.

Geographers focus on places and spaces to understand the interrelated elements associated with environmental, economic, political, and cultural change, and to propose solutions to problems in these areas. Geography involves understanding the process of glaciers and rivers, how snow falls and how water runs through the ground; the way cities grow and why, fossil fuel development and environmental protection, how urbanization affects the way we live and how we go about our daily lives; and in what ways climate change impacts us and our environment.

  • Human geography: Human geographers study human activity including cultural and social conditions, demographics, consumption, sustainability, land use, settlement patterns, economics, food systems, tourism and cities.
  • Physical geography: Physical geographers study Earth processes and systems like climate, landforms, soils and water resources such as glaciers, rivers, vegetation and animals.
  • Geographic methods: Geographers that specialize in methods like Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing analyze patterns of human and physical phenomena, study satellite imagery and learn to create GIS maps.

A unique place to study

Our unique location in southern Alberta provides a diverse laboratory for studying human and physical geography. Our undergraduate geography program combines a broad range of related subjects in both the natural and social sciences. You will develop skills in research, geospatial methods, logical and abstract reasoning and in-depth knowledge of the different regions and cultures that make up our global community.

Many of our courses combine traditional classroom learning with hands on experience, through local and international field studies, computer mapping and analysis, laboratories and individualized research courses.

Our technical program includes remote sensing, GIS, computer cartography, digital image analysis, and both qualitative and quantitative analysis.

Methods courses are supported by department-based access to state-of-the-art software and hardware that is continually updated to keep pace with rapidly changing technology.

You will have the opportunity to focus in on one of five streams:

  • Earth system science
  • Environmental governance and management
  • Geospatial science
  • Urban, regional and global political economy
  • Development, power and justice.

Enhance your degree

Submitted by darmstro on Thu, 03/30/2017 - 3:40pm

Learn more about taking a minor, double major, or combined degree

You can combine your geography degree with a Major or Minor in:

  • Anthropology; Archaeology; Development Studies; International Indigenous Studies; Sociology (from the Faculty of Arts)

or

  • Biological Sciences; Geology (from the Faculty of Science)

The Honours BA and BSc programs will further enhance your understanding of Geography, further develop your competencies in field work techniques, research methods and presentation skills and help prepare you for an advanced degree program.

Programs in Geography cannot be taken in conjunction with programs in: Earth Science; Environmental Science or Urban Studies. This restriction applies to Major-plus-Minor combinations, Double Majors, Combined Degrees and Second Baccalaureate Degrees because each of these programs integrates a substantial geography component

Collaborative programs

You may also wish to take your degree in collaboration with a program in African studies, Environmental Science, International Relations, or Development Studies. See your advisor for information:

Study/course streams

A stream is a collection of courses and research around a particular subject within geography. Taking courses in a stream can help develop your expertise in that area.

Development, Power and Justice focuses on the sophisticated and complex processes and linkages between economic and social development, power relations and justice issues in the Global South and Global North.
Engage in a diverse range of research in:

  • international development in theory and practice;
  • urban food security and HIV/AIDS;
  • health in Aboriginal communities, indigenous land rights, environmental and indigenous movements;
  • public policy issues around regional growth and change;
  • natural resource development;
  • community-based resource rights;
  • mining conflict and local resistance;
  • liberation theology and ecology;
  • political ecology;
  • neoliberalism and its critiques;
  • and social justice issues from the local to the global.

Geospatial Science includes the disciplines of remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), quantitative analysis and geovisualization. Being able to use these systems revolutionalizes the way we interact with the world. You will be empowered to work with others to address our most pressing social and environmental challenges. You will develop core competencies in remote sensing, GIS and quantitative analysis and will be encouraged to explore advanced topics in geovisualization, customization, and spatial analysis to deepen your geographic interest and prepare for many possible careers.

Earth System Science will provide you with a fundamental understanding of the operation of environmental systems, the skills to conduct meaningful scientific inquiry and the tools to communicate effectively. You will be prepared for a career that requires understanding about the broader interactions between human activities and Earth's water resources, climate and biological systems. You will gain a solid background using state-of-the-art technologies to measure, analyze and map the Earth.

Urban, Regional and Global Political Economy concerns the spatial processes and power relations that shape cities and regions. This is where a wide range of processes intersect:

  • capital investment and disinvestment;
  • state power and policy making;
  • planning, governance and government mentality;
  • political struggle; and more.

You will conduct research regarding many locations around the world, linking processes from the local to the global.

Environmental Governance and Management focuses on the complex linkages between human-environment systems and their socio-political realities. You will seek to understand the reasons of socio-environmental conflict behind local and global environmental issues, and learn to find solutions for a more sustainable use of natural resources. You’ll have the chance to address a wide range of topics from local environmental issues in  the management of national parks and other forms of protected areas to global environmental policy  and environment-development conflicts in the Global South.

Put your degree to work

What can you do with a geography degree? As a geography graduate you will have an excellent background in communication, research methods, analytical skills, statistics, GIS and remote sensing. Geographers are employed by industry, government and education.

The Geography program will prepare you for work in public and private sector fields including environmental consulting, sustainability development, GIS, cartography, climatology, city administration and education.

With an advanced degree or further specialized training, geography graduates can work as a(n): sustainable development planner, environmental consultant, geographic information systems specialist, biogeographer, agricultural planner, digital imaging technician, disaster relief planner, field researcher, forestry technician, health services planner, hydrologist or climatologist.

Course listings

Course descriptions

Student life/student clubs

Degrees offered

Want to focus on the social sciences and humanities in your program?

  • Register for a BA degree

Want to focus on the environmental and natural sciences?

  • Register for a BSc degree

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Geography
  • BA Honours in Geography
  • BA in Geography with Co-operative Education
  • BA Honours in Geography with Co-operative Education
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Geography
  • BSc Honours in Geography
  • BSc in Geography with Co-operative Education
  • BSc Honours in Geography with Co-operative Education
  • Concurrent BA in Geography and Bachelor of Education
  • Concurrent BSc in Geography and Bachelor of Education

Note: Minors are offered in Geography, Earth Science and Urban Studies

Degree requirements

Questions?

Undergraduate Program Advisor
geograph@ucalgary.ca

Apply

Apply to the Faculty of Arts through the general admissions office. 

Questions? Contact the Department of Geography program advisor or an advisor at the Arts Students' Centre.

Student advising

Here to help you:

The Department of Geography has advisors who can help you navigate your program. Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions as your answer may be there.

Contact Information

Undergraduate Program Advisor
Earth Sciences 356
Phone: 403.220.5588

Twitter Geography Field School UofC