Answers: Study Tours, Field Schools, and Field Placements
1. What do I need to do in order to go on a study tour or field school (AIG)?
All study tours and field schools entail an application process. Students should speak with the trip leaders for application information. See as well the Geography webpage on study tours and AIGs. Most AIG students complete GEOG 470, and therefore applicants will need to meet the pre-requisite for this course. Students who do not meet the pre-req may be able to take GEOG 270 instead (although this will not meet the GEOG 452 or 470 requirement for the major). Study tours usually involve 2-4 courses, and applicants need to meet the pre-reqs (if any) for these courses.
2. Can I take more than one field school (AIG) or study tour?
Yes. However, specific courses taken for the AIG or study tour (e.g GEOG 470j) cannot be repeated. Students taking GEOG 433 or GEOG 470 will have to ensure that the lettering is different for these courses.
3. Can I complete both an internship and a study tour or field school?
Absolutely. These experiences build on different courses and learning outcomes.
4. How many credits can I use from study tours, internships, and field schools towards my degree?
We do not currently have a limit on these. However, students still need to meet the other requirements of the geography credential and degree, and this be default will limit the practicality of taking too many courses within study tours, internships, and field schools. Many students have taken and continue to take multiple field experiences because they enjoy them!
5. How do I sign up fo a study tour or AIG field school?
All study tours and field schools entail an application process. Students should speak with the trip leaders for application information.
6. What is involved in arranging an internship?
Some internships are funded and pre-arranged, but in many cases, students are responsible for identifying a potential placement and paying for related expenses. Internships can be completed in many different settings, doing work in the sciences, development, cultural engagement, etc. Any Geography faculty member can supervise an internship. Students should speak with a faculty member with whom they would like to work to see if they would be available for supervision. (Students should plan a semester ahead for this.) For more information on internships, contact the Department Head, Michelle Rhodes (email@example.com), Dr. Garry Fehr (firstname.lastname@example.org), or the Department Assistant, Nicole Klassen (email@example.com).
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Answers: Cooperative Education and Work-Study Placements
1. Why should I enter the Co-op program?
Cooperative Education provides opportunity to gain valuable work experience that you will need when you go to look for work after your degree. Co-op also provide training for interviews, resume preparation, and job searching strategies.
Geography students are well-suited to take advantage of Co-op placements, because their program straddles Arts and Sciences. That can translate into many more opportunities, ranging from positions using GIS and doing soil sampling to doing work with municipal agencies doing social and library research. Students that complete three work placements as part of their BA or BSc will also receive a Cooperative Education designation on their degree. Students are strongly encouraged to consider applying to Co-op after their first year of university.
2. Why can't I find the jobs in Co-op on line?
Co-op placements are ones that have been arranged by UFV with the employers, and are not open to general application. Placing these job opportunities on-line would mean that co-op students would be competing with non-students or other UFV students not in co-op for these positions.
3. How will Co-op placements count towards my degree?
Students can earn up to 18, 100-level general Arts credits for their placements. While these do not meet specific degree requirements, they do count as electives. Students should meet with Arts Advice or Science Advice to review how Co-Op credits will work for them.
4. What do I need in order to apply for a Work-Study placement in Geography?
Each work-study placement requires different skills sets and experience, although many are entry-level. These placements are posted through the Career Centre, and are often announced in class by the faculty member looking for work-study students. Feel free to approach faculty members to see if they are looking for work-study students in the current or coming term.
5. I'd like to be a lab monitor. What is involved?
Geography usually hires lab monitors during the first and second week of classes in a term. Jobs are posted on the Career Centre board, and you can also contact Nicole Klassen (firstname.lastname@example.org), Department Assistant, if you are interested in being a lab monitor.
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Answers: Research and Conferences
1. Why should I seek out research opportunities outside of class? Don't I learn this stuff in class?
There really isn't such a thing as too much research experience, and thus, the more opportunities you pursue, the more this helps build up your resume and graduate school applications. Students planning on graduate school should look for opportunities for independent and advanced research, through the Honours program or directed studies.
2. I'm really interested in the research being done by one of the faculty members in your department. How do I get involved?
Just ask! A faculty member may be looking for research to work in their labs, on their projects, or just to supervise for independent, student-driven research. Not all faculty can take on new research students in any given semester, so it's best to start the search for opportunities early. Some students begin working in the research labs after only their first or second year!
3. Who is looking for research students?
This varies according to semester and the number of students a faculty member is already supervising. Listen for announcements in your classes, and if in doubt, approach your instructor to ask about opportunities.
4. What is required to get hired on to work in one of the research labs?
A keen interest in science, an ability to work well as part of a team, a demonstrable sense of curiosity, and promise in research. If the only goal is to get experience for the sake of putting something on the resume, it's not enough. Sit down with one of the lab directors--Dr. Jonathan Hughes of the Paleoecology Lab and Dr. Olav Lian of the Luminescence Dating Lab--and discuss why you would like to work in one of their labs.
5. What is a conference? Why should I attend?
A conference is a professional gathering of people doing research and practice in a particular field, e.g. Geography, Water Quality, Food Studies, etc. Some conferences are welcoming of undergraduate presentations, and most conferences are open to undergraduate student attendance. Going to a conference can be invaluable, allowing you to meet with others with the same professional or academic interest as you, and to find out what kind of projects are being done, and how.
6. When are conferences held?
Conferences are held year-round, although the majority held March-June or August-October. See our Conferences page for information on upcoming conferences of interest to Geography students.
7. Will the department pay for me to attend a conference?
If a student is presenting a poster or paper at a conference, then the department will subsidize or fully cover the costs of the student attending--depending on location and time away, and provided the student is presenting research they did under the supervision of a Geography faculty member. In some instances, students attending but not presenting may be eligible for some funding, depending on the conference.
8. What types of awards or competitions are available to research students?
Students conducting original research are eligible to present their findings as part of the UFV Undergraduate Research Day, held every spring. Posters and presentations are judged and the best ones presented with awards.
Departments may also nominate a student or team of students for the Undergraduate Research Excellence Award, presented annually. This prestigious award, which is handed out at a formal dinner, comes with a $1000 stipend (for a single student; shared if multiple students).
Students may also be eligible for awards when presenting at conferences. UFV Geography students have over the years one many awards at regional, national, and international conference for their work.
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Answers: Fees and Paperwork
1. How much does it cost to go on field trips? Does my tuition cover this?
Tuition paid for a course does not cover the cost of field trips. However, the department subsidizes and often fully covers the costs of field trips. Generally, first year field trips have only a nominal cost, if any, associated with them (usually for lunch or fuel), as the department will cover most fees. Starting at the second year, student costs increase slightly to account for longer-distance travel. GEOG 202 and multiple 300- and 400-level courses do have field trips with overnight stays that entail a small accommodation cost (for shared hotel or motel rooms). Local trips and trips to Vancouver typically have nominal costs (e.g. meals and transit tickets).
2. What types of travel expenses will I encounter with field schools and placements? Is there assistance for this?
For field study courses that are part of AIGs and study tours, costs vary according to destination. We do not currently have funding available to provide financial assistance to students. This is because every effort is made to reduce the costs of these trips to the most affordable level for all students, and this provides little surplus funding for assistance. On these trips, students can be expected to pay for a certain number of meals (with most meals wholly or partially covered otherwise) and supplies.
Internships may require that the student pay for all travel to and from the location, and stay within the location.
3. What equipment costs do I need to take coursework in Geography?
For the most part, your equipment costs are minimal, particularly if you are taking primarily human geography courses. You may be required to obtain journals for courses. Physical Geography and field study courses (including GEOG 470) often require sturdy footware, such as hiking boots, and waterproof outerwear. Technical equipment is provided by the department.
4. What is needed for travel to the US?
All UFV students traveling to the US and elsewhere are required to have a current passport. If you are unable to travel to the US for legal reasons, and are in a course that has a field trip to the US, please speak with the instructor. GEOG 421: Borderlands require that all students be able to travel to and from the US.
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Answers: Thinking Ahead: What to do with my degree?
1.Why would I choose a Geography major over other programs?
What's most important is that you pick a major or minor field that fits your interests and goals. You'll remain more committed to excellence in your studies if you're truly invested in the material you're studying. Geography students should have an interest in thinking about human-environment relationships, scientific and/or social scientific problem solving, and an interest in thinking about how the places in which we live have evolved and will continue to evolve over time. [Read more]
If you're considering Geography, consider that geographers are highly flexible and employable, particularly when they've combined their academic work with applied training, research, and/or co-op experience. UFV Geography also has a strong track record of preparing students for graduate schools in a large number of programs. The Geography program exposes students to many different sub-fields of interest that they may not have thought of before (be it tourism or paleoecology). Finally, Geographers are well-suited for careers that are involved in supporting healthy, sustainable communities.
2. What would I do with a Geography major once I'm out of school?
Please visit our Careers in Geography� page for lots of information on job boards, areas of employment, and strategies for finding work.
3. Will I have all the training I need to get a job in planning?
Planning is a highly competitive field. If you are interested in pursuing a career in planning, you may want to pick up some additional skills--in the use of AutoCAD for instance, or in working with zoning regulation and by-laws. You can do this by taking additional courses in Trades or through Directed Studies, or by engaging in independent learning, job shadowing, or volunteer work.
4. What's the best way to prepare for getting a job once I'm done?
The best strategy is start early--well before you graduate. Please visit our Careers in Geography page for lots of information on job boards, areas of employment, and strategies for finding work.
5. Do Geography majors go on to grad school? If so, where?
Many Geography students continue on into grad school, and not just in Geography. In the past several years, our graduates have entered graduate programs in Architecture, Earth Sciences, Biology, Environmental Sciences, Rural Development, Geography and Economics, GIS, and Planning. They've found placements in universities across Canada and in the US, Australia, and the UK.
What's the best way to prepare now for graduate school?
Complete the Honours program. Engage in research projects. Keep your scores and GPA up. Take a breadth of courses. Begin looking at the publications of people with whom you'd like to work. Talk to your instructors to find out about possibilities and opportunities. Look for grad school advertisements and postings in the Geography department. Hone your writing and library research skills. Be flexible about where you might like to go, as UFV Geography takes students all over the map.
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