New Options, New Program Requirements!

Geography and Physical Geography majors have recently undergone significant changes that will go into effect in September 2014. These changes include:

  1. Changes in the BA, Major in Geography, Concentrations
  2. Introduction of Geography 103: The Physical Environment
  3. Introduction of Geography 111: Environmental Issues and Strategies
  4. Introduction of Geography 219: Biogeography
  5. Changes in Lower-Level Requirements
  6. Increased Flexibility in Upper Level Programming
  7. Changes in Honours Program Requirements

Changes in the BA, Major in Geography, Concentrations

We've continued to streamline the number of concentrations within the BA major, and the requirements within them. Starting in September 2014, Geography and the Environment will offer three concentrations as part of its BA:

  • Environmental Science
  • Global Studies
  • Urban Studies

This change means the program can better tailor its offerings to allow students to complete concentrations in one of these three areas. Program requirements for each concentration will be available in the Fall 2014 calendar. In the meantime, please email or the Department Head - Lynn Kirkland Harvey at  if you'd like more information on concentration requirements.

Students who entered the program by or before Winter 2014 can continue to complete one of the 4 concentrations in place until September 2014 (Environmental Studies, International Studies, Physical Geography, and Urban Studies).  

New First-Year Physical Geography Programming, and GEOG 103

Geography 103: The Physical Environment will run for the first time in September 2014. This course is designed to introduce students to the different fields of physical geography, namely climatology, geomorphology, and biogeography. GEOG 103 will meet the lab science requirement in Arts and Business programs.

GEOG 103 will replace most sections of GEOG 101: Weather and Climate and GEOG 102: Evolution of the Earth's Surface. Students will be able to use GEOG 103 to enter into any 200-level Physical Geography course (GEOG 201, 202, 219). 

GEOG 116: Introduction to Geology will still be offered in winter terms. GEOG 101 and GEOG 102 will likely be phased out in 2-3 years. Students needing to repeat GEOG 101 or GEOG 102 are strongly encouraged to do so in summer 2014 or during the 2014-15 academic year.

Planning on going into Education? 

GEOG 103 and GEOG 116 can be individually used to meet the lab science requirement for entrance into elementary education programs at UFV, SFU, and UBC. UFV and UBC also accept GEOG 101 and 102 individually to meet the lab science requirement. 

Students planning on applying to SFU's PDP program and who have not already completed GEOG 101 or 102 are strongly encouraged to enrol in either GEOG 103 or GEOG 116 starting in September. If you are planning on applying to SFU, and already have GEOG 101, you should complete GEOG 102 or GEOG 116 in the 2014-15 academic year if possible. 

New First-Year Environmental Programming, and GEOG 111

Geography 111 has returned! This course was taught in the earliest days of the program, and subsequently replaced. Starting this September, we're bringing it back. GEOG 111: Environmental Issues and Strategies introduces students to many of the pressing environmental challenges that we face at a local, regional, national, and global scale. It is designed as well to get students thinking about how we might go about finding solutions to some of these issues.

GEOG 111 will work in lieu of or in addition to GEOG 140 for all Geography major and minor programming.

GEOG 111 will also meet the Social Science breadth requirement in Arts.

New Lower-Level Requirements, and GEOG 219

With changes in the first-year Physical Geography programming (see #1) above, we've made it easier to move into the 2nd year. Starting in September 2014, students who have completed any one of: GEOG 101, 102, 103, or 116 will be able to take any 2nd year Physical Geography course (GEOG 201, 202, 219). 

Requirements for the majors reflect this change as well. Students will be required to complete:

  • One 100-level Physical Geography course (GEOG 101, 102, 103, or 116)
  • Two 200-level Physical Geography courses (GEOG 201, 202, 219)

This way, students can delve deeper into each of the different areas of physical geography earlier in their program!

We've also moved Biogeography (formerly GEOG 317) to the 2nd year. It's now GEOG 219, and will run for the first time in winter 2015. Students who have previously completed GEOG 317 will not be able to take GEOG 219 for further credit.

Increased Flexibility in Upper-Level Programming

We've opened up many of our upper-level courses to accept a larger number of lower-level pre-requisites, making it easier or more flexible for students to begin taking upper-level courses once they're ready to. We've also simplified the requirements for the BSc, Physical Geography major. Students completing this major will be required to take:

  • GEOG 353
  • GEOG 433
  • One of: GEOG 396, 398, 452, or 470
  • Any 20 credits of upper-level Physical Geography

These changes have already taken effect, and students graduating using the Winter 2014 calendar can already use these requirements. 

New Honours Program Requirements

As of September, the Honours program will be 120 credits! We've eliminated the additional 12-credit breadth requirement in order to better serve students wanting to complete their programs in four years and without additional cost. 

Program requirements include:

  • CGPA of 3.33
  • Completion of GEOG 354
  • Completion of an original research project, completed through GEOG 491 (or approved substitute course) and GEOG 492/493
  • for BSc students, completion of STAT 315

Applications for the Honours program can be requested from the Department Assistant or Department Head or by emailing


We know there might be lots of questions around some of these changes. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions! You can use our general information email at, or contact the Department Head or Department Assistant with questions. Better yet--just stop in and see us, or make an appointment! 

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