Geographers study how places are different from one another, how social and physical processes vary with context, and how actions that seem logical and reasonable in one place can be irrational or dangerous in other places.
Students in the Department of Geography can choose from a wide range of particular topics to study, using methods ranging from historical, archival, and literary research to quantitative methods and mapping techniques.
Common to nearly all geographers is a distinctive way of looking at the world, and asking questions about human-environment relations, context, and scale. How do physical processes influence societies, and how do societies reshape the physical environment? How do theories of politics, social relations, and economics change when we account for the fundamental importance of context and local contingency? How are local events bound up with processes at national and global scales?
Most geographers dislike borders and boundaries, and often cross them whenever it seems appropriate. As a result, geographers often find themselves in interdisciplinary settings, working closely with others in the physical sciences or humanities and social sciences.
Undergraduate geography majors can pursue graduate work in preparation for academic research and teaching, as well as work in the public, nonprofit, or private sectors as policy analysts, cartographers, community organizers and within international trade relations or urban and regional development planning.
Geography majors develop a range of skills that support a variety of occupations. Visit Career Services for career possibilities to consider.
The major in Geography (focus on Environment and Sustainability or Human Geography) or minor can be declared on the Student Service Centre (SSC) when you have second-year standing. Admission to the honours program requires an application. If you have any questions regarding applications, please contact the department.
Recipient of the Dean's Outstanding Leader in the UBC Community, Thilini Leitan is a fifth-year human geography major who has demonstrated a strong commitment to helping students transition into UBC and build connections on campus.
Alex Pysklywec, graduating Geography student and recipient of an Arts Undergraduate Research Award (AURA), currently works with Geography professor Dr. Juanita Sundberg to examine the implications of militarization along the U.S.-Mexico border. In addition to conducting internet based research, Pysklywec traveled to Brownsville, Texas three times to observe the border wall, to carry out archival research at local institutions, as well as to interview policymakers and local citizens.
Karen Bakker, associate geography professor and director of the Program of Water Governance at UBC, has been named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40. She is also the founder and director of the Program of Water Governance at UBC, which examines issues ranging from water security to water in developing countries to water privatization.
Geography professor Derek Gregory has been conferred the title of Peter Wall Distinguished Professor, effective starting July 1, 2011. This distinction is reserved for scholars who are expected to have major research impact at UBC.
The Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) allows foreign caregivers with a temporary work visa to apply for permanent residence status after completing 24 months as a live-in caregiver. But for many women taking advantage of this program the trade-offs are enormous. “They come to Canada with the best intentions of making a better life for themselves and their families,” says UBC Geography professor and researcher Dr. Geraldine Pratt. “But the dream and the reality are often not one and the same.”
Geography Students Association