Geography is the study of people, places and patterns on the Earth's surface. Students learn how to analyze the meaning of patterns formed on the Earth's surface by natural processes and human activity. Geographers apply these concepts and information to manage and use Earth's resources to advance human civilization in a sustainable manner. Geography has many facets, and undergraduates learn about all of them: human geography, physical geography, and techniques and methods. They also learn the basics of how to conduct research to answer the many unsolved questions in Geography. Because Geography is so broad in scope, geographers work in a wide variety of jobs. They are, above all, specialists in putting together information from a wide variety of disciplines to arrive at solutions to problems involving location and spatial relationships - such as planning (urban, transportation or tourism, for example), environmental impact, transportation or resource management.
Earth Science is the study of earth materials in addition to the natural and human processes that shape the landscape. Many of the environmental issues facing our planet are related to the interaction between natural systems and our society. The Earth Science Program integrates the strengths of four disciplines to better understand these interactions. Integrating theory and methods from each discipline gives a broader perspective and therefore more powerful problem-solving skills. The four disciplines that comprise the Earth Science Program are: Geography, which integrates the natural and the human (social) sciences by stressing how location influences both natural and human phenomenon on the Earth’s surface; Archaeology, which investigates past human activities by analyzing material remains and makes links between cultural changes associated with climate change; Geology, which is the study of the materials and processes that form the Earth; and Geophysics, which uses the laws and techniques of physics to acquire knowledge about the Earth’s dynamic systems and subsurface structures.
Earth Science and APEGA Regulations
The practice of geology and geophysics in Alberta is governed by Provincial law and regulated by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA). The Earth Science program is not designed to meet those requirements. Persons intending to pursue geology or geophysics as a profession should obtain a BSc or BSc Honours in Geology or Geophysics.
Urban Studies is a broad interdisciplinary program designed to provide an integrated understanding of the social, political, economic, cultural, and geographic processes that shape urban life. Cities are sites of great cultural and ethnic diversity, economic innovation, cultural expression, resource consumption, wealth generation, and political conflict and co-operation. Today most developed societies are predominantly urban, even as global processes increasingly shape them. The processes that shape urban life play a critical role in shaping the sustainability of societies. Indeed, it is impossible to understand sustainability issues without understanding the organization of cities. The Urban Studies program provides a strong background for students interested in working in public and private sector fields including urban and regional planning, architecture, environmental design, economic development, city administration, social services and policy, cultural programming, urban politics, and education.
Students should consult a program advisor in the Arts Students’ Centre for information and advice on their overall program requirements.
For more specific advice regarding course selection and requirements in the major field, students should consult the subject advisor located in their home Department (consult Department website for contact information).
Admission to the Major
Prospective students wishing to enter the BA or BSc (Geography) Program, the BSc (Earth Science) Program or the BA (Urban Studies) Program must meet the criteria listed in section A.5 Undergraduate Admission Requirements of this Calendar.
Admission to Honours
The Faculty of Arts procedures for admission to the BA or BSc Honours (Geography) and the BSc Honours (Earth Science) are established in section 3.3.2 Honours Degrees are applicable and provide the overall framework. Students wishing to apply to an Honours program must apply through their Student Centre for a change of program to Honours by February 1.
Programs in Geography cannot be taken in conjunction with programs in: Earth Science; Environmental Science or Urban Studies. This restriction applies to Major-plus-Minor combinations, Double Majors, Combined Degrees and Second Baccalaureate Degrees.
Programs in Earth Science can be taken in conjunction with Environmental Science, Geology, Applied and Environmental Geology or Geophysics with approval from the Faculty of Arts. Consent is required for Major-plus-Minor combinations, Double Majors, Combined Degrees and Second Baccalaureate Degrees.
Students admitted to the Architectural Studies minor may use Architecture 502 and 510. Up to 6 units from Geography Overseas Field Schools may be considered when content is Urban focused. Sociology 499 may also be considered when content is Urban focused.