Academic Calendar 2023/24


Physical Geography Honours (for BSc students)

Entrance requirements

Students can apply to the Physical Geography Honours program when they have met the following criteria:

  1. Completion of 90 credits that apply to the Bachelor of Science, including at least 26 credits in geography.
  2. A minimum GPA of 3.33 in all courses required for program completion.

Interested students are encouraged to seek out advice on the Physical Geography Honours program from Geography faculty or an Advisor as early as possible in their coursework, and to apply to the program at the earliest possible entry date.

How to apply

To apply, students will need to provide the following:

  1. An honours program application package (available from the department assistant).
  2. A portfolio that includes coursework (laboratory assignments, written papers, etc.) from select completed geography courses. The portfolio is a tool to be used by students, the Geography Honours Advisory Committee, and potential faculty project advisor to identify areas of improvement and potential project topics, as well as writing and research strengths and weaknesses. Portfolio guidelines are available from the department.

Students should submit application materials to the department assistant. The Geography Honours Advisory Committee will then arrange for a project supervisor. Interested students are encouraged to approach a departmental faculty member appropriate to their research interests who may serve as their honours supervisor.

Fees and additional costs

See the Fees and Other Costs section. Additional fees for course field trips and miscellaneous lab materials will apply to all students enrolled in Geography programs.

Program outline

This section specifies the honours requirements only. Please refer to the Bachelor of Science section for information on additional requirements.

Lower-level requirements: 44-45 credits

Course Title Credits
One of: 4
GEOG 103 The Physical Environment
GEOG 116 Earth Rocks
One of: 3
GDS 100/ GEOG 109 A World of Development  
GEOG 111 Environmental Issues and Strategies
GEOG 140 Introduction to Human Geography
Two of: 8
GEOG 201 Climate and People
GEOG 202 Understanding Your Earth: Landforms and Processes
GEOG 219/ BIO 219 Biogeography
GEOG 252 Explanation in Geography: Quantitative Methods 4
GEOG 253 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems 4
GEOG 257/ CMNS 257 Environment: Science and Communications 3
One pair of: 10
BIO 111 Introductory Biology I
and BIO 112 Introductory Biology II
or CHEM 113 Principles of Chemistry I
and CHEM 114 Principles of Chemistry II
One of: 5
PHYS 101 Introductory General Physics: Mechanics and Fluids  
PHYS 111 Mechanics
One of: 4
STAT 104 Introductory Statistics  
STAT 106 Statistics I
STAT 270 Introduction to Probability and Statistics

Upper-level requirements: 39–45 credits

Course Title Credits
GEOG 353 GIS Applications 4
GEOG 433 Advanced Geography of a Selected Region 4
GEOG 491 Honours Research Design and Data Collection 4
GEOG 493 Honours Research Project in Physical Geography/GIS 4
STAT 315 Applied Regression Analysis (see Note 1) 3
Five of (including at least one 400-level course): (see Note 3) 20
GEOG 302 River Geomorphology  
GEOG 303 Environmental Hydrology  
GEOG 304 Coasts and Climate Change  
GEOG 307 Climates of Cities  
GEOG 308 Climate Change and Variability  
GEOG 315 Soilscapes  
GEOG 318 Water Resources Management  
GEOG 319/ BIO 319 Swamps and Bogs  
GEOG 335/ BIO 335 Freshwater Ecology  
GEOG 402 Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology  
GEOG 410/ BIO 410 Plant Ecology  
GEOG 419 /BIO 419 Paleoecology  
GEOG 453 Remote Sensing of the Environment  
GEOG 454 Geospatial Data Analysis Modeling  
GEOG 458 GIS Project  
One of (professional competency in geography): 0–6
GEOG 396/ GDS 310/ SOC 396 Canada Internship
GEOG 398/ GDS 311/ SOC 398 International Internship
GEOG 412 Environmental Geography Practicum  
GEOG 460 Practicum in Planning
GEOG 470 Field Studies in Geography  
COOP 120 Co-op Work Term Performance and Report II  
At least 60 volunteer or work experience hours in a related geography field (see Note 3)  

Note 1: Students planning to apply for a Bachelor of Science, Physical Geography Honours, with a view to pursuing graduate studies should expect, in consultation with their honours supervisor, to take any additional Mathematics courses deemed applicable to their area of study.

Note 2: No more than eight credits may be in directed studies/directed readings (GEOG 480, 482, 483, 484).

Note 3: Students planning to complete this option should contact the program coordinator for information and the process for demonstrating their learning.

Program requirements

In addition to the requirements for the Bachelor of Science and for the Physical Geography major, Physical Geography Honours students will need to complete the following:

  1. 120 credits, including:
    • A minimum of 64 credits of Geography
    • STAT 315
  2. An original research project, completed as part of:
    • GEOG 491
    • GEOG 493
  3. Minimum CGPA of 3.33.

Research project

Successful completion of a research project is required prior to graduation. This project is developed in consultation with a faculty supervisor and demonstrates students' advanced skills and knowledge in a given area of physical geography.

Students will complete this project in two courses. In the first course, students will design and collect data for their projects. This will be completed as part of GEOG 491 (Honours Research Design and Data Collection), or an equivalent third-year internship or fourth-year research-intensive course approved by the department. Students will then register in GEOG 493 (Honours Research Project in Physical Geography/GIS) to complete the data analysis and project write-up.

Each honours student will disseminate their research findings in a presentation to an academic audience (e.g. professional conference or department seminar) as well as through an academic research poster or alternative. Following project completion and presentation, the honours supervisor in consultation with a second reader, will assign a grade for GEOG 493.

Graduation requirements

A minimum CGPA of 3.33, including the mark awarded for the final research project, must be attained in order for an honours designation to be awarded.

Course listings

For complete details on courses see the course descriptions section.

Current Students