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Department of Geography


Nature of the Program

Geography is concerned with both the natural and human environment, studying how it has been shaped according to human need, how patterns of human activities are structured over space, and how these are influenced by environmental factors. Geography is considered both a natural and social science and flourishes in an academic organization where the multi-disciplinary approach is emphasized. The Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) programs in Geography (Honours and General) provide students with considerable freedom to choose supporting electives from any department in the University. Students can develop programs to suit their particular interests. Joint Honours programs with a number of other departments are listed in "Joint Honours Programs". The formal admission requirements of the program are listed "Admissions" of this Calendar. Six OAC credits including English and Geography are required. The Regular Honours Geography program provides a sound foundation in the discipline, and prepares the student for specialization at the graduate level in almost any aspect of Geography. The mandatory content courses include a series of integrated courses in both physical and human geography. Although the Honours program is broad in scope, students may concentrate their courses in one or more of the major areas of specialization available in the Department which include: Applied Physical Geography, Canadian Geography, Environmental and Resource Management, Regional Development, Regional Geography, Methods and Techniques, Urban-Economic Geography and UW/WLU Business Option.The fourth year includes a research project, the Senior Honours Thesis.

The Honours Co-op program provides for alternate terms of practical work experience and academic study. Students may be admitted to the Co-op program in the first or second year. The first work term is in the Winter of the second year. Co-op Geography students must normally follow the work and study-term sequence outlined on "Co-op Course Scheduling Recommendation". Students must complete five work terms. A work-term report is required upon completion of each work term and four of these must be approved for the Co-op degree. Inquiries for additional information regarding Co-operative studies should be directed to the Co-op Undergraduate Officer.

The three-year General Geography program provides a liberal education in environmental studies, with less specialization in Geography than in the Honours program. This program can also be completed by distance education. In addition to the BES (Bachelor of Environmental Studies) program in Geography a BA (Bachelor of Arts) degree program is also available in Geography (see the Faculty of Arts).

In all programs there is emphasis on the development of both theory and methodology and on the practical application of geographical concepts to the environmental, economic, social and political problems of Canada and other parts of the world. The "applied geography" aspects of the program are enhanced by the availability in the Faculty of elective courses in Architecture, Urban and Regional Planning and Environment and Resource Studies. Graduating students acquire a variety of jobs in education, government, industry and planning agencies; more information on employment possibilities is provided in a Department of Geography publication, Jobs in Geography.

The Department of Geography offers both Master's (MA and MES) and Doctoral (PhD) graduate programs as part of the joint Waterloo-Wilfrid Laurier Graduate Program in Geography. At the graduate level course work and research are concentrated on a specific subfield of Geography. Areas of research specialization include physical geography, spatial data handling, urban and economic geography, resources management, cultural, historical and regional geography.

The Faculty of Environmental Studies expects that students enrolled in any of its programs should be able to demonstrate competence in writing. Accordingly, all students newly admitted to the Faculty (except those who have passed OAC 1 English with a final grade of 80% or higher) are required to write the English Language Proficiency Examination during their first term of registration (normally scheduled during registration week in September). The English Language Proficiency Program is recorded on the student's academic record as ARTS 000Y.

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Bachelor of Environmental Studies
(Geography Program)

Three-Year Program Requirements


Year One
GEOG 101 Geography and Human Habitat
GEOG 102 Geography and Our Planetary Environment
GEOG 160 Introduction to Cartography and Map Analysis

Electives (see notes below)


Year Two
GEOG 201 Geomorphology and Soils
GEOG 202A Location of Economic Activities
ENV S 200 Field Ecology

One of:
GEOG 208 Applied Climatology
GEOG 303 Geographical Hydrology
GEOG 309 Physical Climatology

One of:
GEOG 204 Geography of the Post Soviet Union
GEOG 205 Africa
GEOG 206 The World Regions and World Issues
GEOG 221 The United States
GEOG 223 The Geography of Indonesia
GEOG 226 Rural Resources and Development in the Third World
GEOG 227 Regional Problems of Europe
and additional courses so that by the end of the second year a student should have completed 20 term courses. One of these term courses should be ENGL 109, 129R, 140R, 150 taken in Year One or ENGL 209, 210A, 210C taken in Year Two. A term course in English is a requirement.


Year Three
Additional courses so that a student should have completed at least 30 term courses.
Notes on Three-Year Program
  1. Minimum Required Credits
    Total: 30 term courses. Geography: 12 term courses. Outside of Faculty of Environmental Studies: eight term courses. All Environmental Studies courses are included in the cumulative Geography average but only four can be counted in meeting the minimum required credits of Geography courses.
  2. Term Course Load
    No more than five courses may be taken in a term without the approval of the Associate Chair (Undergraduate Studies). Normally, approval for a sixth course will be considered only if the cumulative Geography average is B+ or higher.
  3. Average Requirements
    Students must maintain an overall cumulative average of 60.0% and a Major cumulative average of 65.0%. All required courses must be passed.
  4. First-Year Term Courses
    For a three-year General degree, a student must have at least 17 term courses above the 100-level.
  5. Other Comments
    See notes 4, 5 and 6 on four-year programs.

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Four-Year Honours Program Requirements
(Regular and Co-op)


Year One
GEOG 101 Geography and Human Habitat
GEOG 102 Geography and Our Planetary Environment
GEOG 160 ntroduction to Cartography and Map Analysis
ENV S 178 Introduction to Environmental Research Methods

Electives including a term course in English, either one of ENGL 109, 129R, 140R, 150 taken in Year One or ENGL 209, 210A, 210C taken in Year Two. A term course in English is a requirement.


Year Two
GEOG 201 Geomorphology and Soils
GEOG 202A Location of Economic Activities
GEOG 202B The Geography of Economic Development
GEOG 275 Introductory Air Photo Analysis and Remote Sensing
ENV S 200 Field Ecology
ENV S 278 Advanced Environmental Research Methods

One of:
GEOG 208 Applied Climatology
GEOG 303 Geographical Hydrology
GEOG 309 Physical Climatology

One of:
GEOG 204 Geography of the Post Soviet Union
GEOG 205 Africa
GEOG 206 The World Region and World Issues
GEOG 221 The United States
GEOG 223 The Geography of Indonesia
GEOG 226 Rural Resources and Development in the Third World
GEOG 227 Regional Problems of Europe

If desired, two of the required courses above may be taken in Year Three.

Electives (see notes below)


Year Three
GEOG 381 The Nature of Geography
GEOG 391 Field Research (not required for Co-op)
GEOG 393 Professional and Scholarly Practice in Geography

Electives (see notes below)


Year Four
GEOG 490A/B Senior Honours Thesis
Electives to fulfill degree requirements.
(see notes below) (Co-op students, see note 7)

Notes on Four-Year Programs

  1. Minimum Required Credits
    Total: 40 term courses. Geography: 20 term courses. All term courses for which 1.0 credit is awarded will count as the equivalent of two term courses. Outside of Faculty of Environmental Studies: ten term courses. Only four term courses designated Environmental Studies may be counted as Geography courses but all courses designated Environmental Studies are included in the cumulative Geography average.
  2. Term Course Load
    No more than five courses may be taken in a term without the approval of the Associate Chair (Undergraduate Studies). Normally, approval for a sixth course will be considered only if the cumulative Geography average is B+ or higher.
  3. Average Requirements
    Students in the Honours programs must maintain an overall cumulative average of 65.0% and a Major cumulative average of 70.0%. All required courses must be passed.
  4. Secondary School Teaching
    Students intending to teach in Secondary Schools should take at least four term courses of Regional Geography and at least four term courses in another teachable school subject.
  5. Materials and Costs
    For some courses, extra fees may be required to defray heavy equipment/travel costs, e.g. GEOG 391 (Field Research). Statements on extra costs, where required, will be found with the course description.
  6. Independent Study
    Up to three independent study courses (GEOG 475A, B, C) may be taken.
  7. Honours Co-operative Program
    Honours Geography Co-op is a five work-term program in which four work-term reports have to be written. The first work term occurs in the Winter term of the second year and a work report is required at the end of this placement.
    Honours Geography Co-op is a limited enrolment program. Students are admitted to the Co-op program in first year based on secondary school grades. Interested students enrolled in first year Regular Geography at the University of Waterloo may be considered for admission to any remaining Co-op positions at the end of first year based on university academic performance and work experience related to Geography.
    The Honours Geography Co-op program has the same academic requirements as the Honours Regular program with the exception that GEOG 391 need not be taken by Co-op students. In addition, Honours Co-op students may elect to submit a work term report to be evaluated in lieu of GEOG 490 A/B. If the report is considered to be of comparable academic quality, the student will take additional courses to meet the requirement of 40 term courses. The additional 1.5 credit courses must be selected from the Third and Fourth year offerings with the approval of the Undergraduate Officer.
  8. First-Year Term Courses
    For a four-year Honours degree a student must have at least 27 term courses above the 100-level.

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Co-op Course Scheduling Recommendations


Year One
GEOG 101, 102, 160
ENV S 178

Year Two
Fall Term 2A

GEOG 201 Geomorphology and Soils
GEOG 275 Introductory Air Photo Analysis and Remote Sensing
ENV S 200 Field Ecology

One of:
GEOG 208 Applied Climatology
GEOG 303 Geographical Hydrology
GEOG 309 Physical Climatology

Electives, one of which must be ENGL 109, 129R, 140R, 150 taken in Year One or ENGL 209, 210A, 210C preferably taken in Spring term 2B

Winter Work Term 1
Spring Term 2B
GEOG 202A, and one of: 204, 205, 206, 221, 223 226, 227
Electives

Fall Work Term 2


Year Three
Winter Term 3A

GEOG 202B, 381
Electives

Spring Work Term 3

Fall Term 3B
GEOG 393
Electives


Year Four
Winter Work Term 4
GEOG 490A
Electives

Spring Term 4A

Fall Work Term 5

Winter Term 4B
GEOG 490B


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Geography Minor for Honours Students in Other Departments

A total of ten term courses in Geography among which can be included ENV S 195 and ENV S 200, and a cumulative Geography average of at least 65% (C).

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Joint Honours Programs

Joint Honours programs have been arranged between Geography and other disciplines in the University. Detailed programs have been worked out with Anthropology, Biology, Earth Sciences, Economics, English, Environment and Resource Studies, Fine Arts, French, German, History, Management Studies, Mathematics, Music, Political Science, Philosophy, Psychology, Recreation, Russian, and Sociology. The program "Geography with Canadian Studies," is available only as an Option. These programs lead to degrees in the Faculty in which the student is registered.

The Department of Geography is prepared to work out other programs not listed for Honours students.

Geography core requirements in Joint programs are similar to those of the Geography Honours program but equivalent courses in the home department to ENV S 178, 278 and GEOG 393 and 490A, 490B are accepted. Required courses are GEOG 101, 102, 160, 201, 202A, 202B, 208 or 309, 275, a 200-level Regional course, 381 and ENV S 200. If scheduling difficulties arise in meeting required courses, contact the Associate Chair (Undergraduate Studies) in Geography for possible substitute courses.

Notes on Joint Honours Programs

  1. Admission to Joint Honours Programs
    Admission to a Joint Honours program will occur no earlier than Year Two.
  2. Minimum Required Credits
    The minimum number of term courses in Geography/Environmental Studies for students registered in Joint Honours programs is 14. If both majors are taken in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, and the student's first declared major is geography, a minimum of ten term courses must be taken outside of the Faculty of Environmental Studies. The total number of term courses required is 40.
  3. Average Requirements
    Geography students taking Joint Honours with another department must achieve Honours standing as required by the Geography Department (65.0% overall, 70.0% in Geography). The average required in the second major is the minimum Honours standing set by that department. Students in other departments taking Joint Honours with Geography must achieve a cumulative average of 70.0% in Geography and Environmental Studies courses. Environmental Studies courses are included with Geography courses in the calculation of the Geography average.
  4. Canadian Studies
    Students choosing the program Geography with Canadian Studies are referred to the regulations of that program. In addition, the Department of Geography recommends that course selections include at least six courses from those listed for Areas of Specialization under Canadian Geography (see Associate Chair, Undergraduate Affairs).

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UW/WLU Business Option

A Business Option, offered jointly with Wilfrid Laurier University, is available. The requirements of the Business Option are outlined in "Academic Programs".

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