This course introduces key concepts in contemporary Human Geography. The course applies a spatial perspective in exploring a wide ranging series of processes and issues in society. Topics include population growth and migration, models and challenges of urban and rural development, interpretation of cultural landscapes and selected issues relating to social welfare.
A global overview of the changing relationships among society, technology and the environment. This course emphasizes the major stages of human use of resources and the environmental consequences of global changes in production systems. It contrasts Third and First World experiences, focusing on core-periphery relationships.
This course provides an introduction to physical geography, focusing on the principles and processes governing climate, landforms, and vegetation systems and their interrelationships and will examine natural and human-induced changes to environmental systems. Laboratories will address techniques of measurement, representation and analysis of environmental systems using maps and satellite imagery, laboratory techniques, and field observation.
This course investigates physical aspects of natural hazards that affect people and society and will focus on the natural systems and processes that cause climate variability and change, floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters.
This is an introduction to geomorphology emphasizing weathering, slope and fluvial processes within drainage basins, and glacial and periglacial processes. Field and laboratory techniques will be applied.
This course examines the ways in which power shapes human-environment relationships at local, regional and global scales. Key topics include environmental justice, colonialism, development, knowledge claims, conflict and cooperation, inequality, and environmental movements. Concepts will be illustrated using cases from the Global South and experiences of racialized communities and Indigenous peoples.
The interrelationships between the atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere to produce distinct physical landscapes (climates, soils, vegetation). Emphasis on the role of climate and the flows of energy, water, and biogeochemicals.
This course examines the interrelationships between people and biophysical processes. The main themes are: 1) characteristics of natural resources and processes through which they are developed and used and 2) human response to environmental conditions, including natural hazards and global change. Contemporary Canadian case studies will be presented at the regional and national scales.
An introduction to the spatial distribution of economic activity. The course examines patterns, processes and problems in extractive activities, manufacturing, marketing and the service sector, including the transportation of commodities and people. The principles of economic location are applied to regional economic analysis and development.
This course introduces students to the geographical research process, guiding them through key methodological issues and techniques in human geography. The lab component of the course focuses on data collection using secondary documents, surveys, interviews, and participant observation, as well as both quantitative and qualitative analysis techniques. Lab assignments and class illustrations draw on a range of topics in human geography.
Students will explore the nature and acquisition of remotely sensed data, including aerial photography and satellite imagery. Various Earth Observation (EO) platforms are introduced, including drones, piloted aircraft and orbital platforms. Students learn about the capabilities and applications of common EO sensors, such as multispectral sensors, radar systems, thermal imaging and scanning LiDAR, and gain practical experience using these data in the lab component.
The application of modern techniques to geographic study. The interpretation of geographic phenomena by objective methods. Major honours students in Geography must complete this course by the end of semester 4.
An introduction to the theory and techniques of manipulating and displaying spatial data in a GIS (Geographic Information System). Mapping concepts such as scale, co-ordinate systems, map projections, symbolization and vector data encoding are introduced. Major honours students in Geography must complete this course by the end of semester 4.
In this course, students consider Canada through a regional lens. It begins by introducing physical landscapes, Indigenous histories, and then settler arrival, colonialism and nation-building. The core of the course explores the country region-by-region, focusing on key human, resource and social-economic geographies. To conclude, students reflect on present-day regional politics and different approaches that may be used to evaluate regional well-being.
This course examines processes and landforms associated with rivers. Particular emphasis is placed on the interaction between water and sediment movement and channel morphology. Case studies of human impact on river systems are presented.
This course studies the social drivers of global environmental change and examines how influential governance organizations work in response. The course explores interactions among socio-economic systems, governance institutions, and biophysical processes. Specific attention is given to the causes of climate change and its implications for people and the places they call home.
This course examines contemporary transformations in how human-environment relations are monitored and communicated. In particular, it will explore how media firms, digital technologies, and technology users shape responses to challenges like climate change and biodiversity loss. Topics may include media representations of nature, social media and digital devices in environmental campaigns, and new technologies for environmental assessment. Students will develop skills in areas such as discourse analysis, data visualization, and/or social media analytics.
This course examines different theoretical and policy perspectives of urbanization and urban development, as well as social, economic and environmental living conditions in cities of the global "south". It refers to concrete examples of cities in their national and international context, paying due attention to diversity and the fluidity of urban-rural boundaries. Specific urban development issues, including migration, housing, employment, health and environment are also addressed.
This course introduces feminist scholarship and perspectives to explore men and women's experiences with both the natural and built environment. The course draws on case studies from developing and developed countries to demonstrate the importance of gender difference in understanding human interactions with the environment. Students will observe gendered use, access, knowledge, responsibility and control in rural and urban landscapes.
This course focuses on the ecological basis for resource management through the study of the distribution of plants and animals across the Earth's surface. Biogeography expands upon principles from Ecology, Biology, and Physical Geography. Students in this course will learn about ecosystem processes that impact both fauna and flora. Topics may include succession, disturbance, old-growth forests, biodiversity, island biogeography, habitat fragmentation, species introductions, biological control, and climatic change. For each topic, past and current theories, controversies, empirical evidence and implications for resource management are examined.
This course seeks to understand the rationales for, and evolution of, the changing relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the Canadian state in environmental governance. Case studies cover different approaches to management including command and control, co-management, co-governance, biocultural and a variety of legislative and policy tools such as endangered species legislation, environmental impact assessments, and as Indigenous stewardship of traditional territories under natural law. Cases will be drawn from different resource management sectors, from governance to intra-community disputes and legal precedents. Traditional ecological knowledge, as well as our understandings of knowledge systems, will provide an analytical frame for assessing conflict as it arises in environmental governance.
Many argue that current food systems are unsustainable and will be unable to provide adequate and appropriate nutrition for the global society in the 21st century. This course will explore this issue by taking a global and historic perspective to understand the structure and functioning of agriculture and food systems. We will pay particular attention to the interaction of farms with social, economic, institutional and environmental forces that combine to shape patterns of agricultural activity. In particular, we will explore ways of assessing the extent to which different kinds of food systems are "sustainable" as well as assess how resilient and robust these food systems are to environmental problems (such as climate change) and economic upheaval.
This course provides students with the concepts and technical expertise used to analyze satellite imagery in the field of remote sensing. Students will gain hands-on experience processing multispectral, thermal, and radar images and LiDAR 3D point clouds using advanced analytical software to study environmental processes and systems. The integration of remote sensing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) is emphasized.
This course enables students to explore the theory and techniques of GIS and remote sensing in applications related to the study of environmental processes. Focus will be on geomorphometry, spatial hydrology and catchment process modelling. Students reflect on the impacts of uncertainty in source data and the role of digital elevation model data processing techniques in geomatics-based analysis. Students will be trained in application areas including catchment mapping, stream network analysis, soil moisture modelling, automated soils mapping techniques, among other applications.
This course trains students to use geomatics techniques as part of a decision-making process, and to critically reflect on the relationship between geospatial analysis and policy decisions in government, community, and corporate settings. Topics may include: public and participatory GIS; webmapping and data visualization; database design; multi-criteria evaluation; scenario mapping. Students will gain familiarity with open and industry mapping software, apply these in practice to issues such as habitat conservation and sea level rise, and reflect on subjects such as uncertainty that challenge spatial data-driven decision-making.
This course focuses on the use of raster and vector-based geographic information systems to analyze spatial data. Topics include map digitizing, data query and overlay, spatial interpolation, multi-criteria evaluation, least cost pathway determination and digital elevation models. This course requires some familiarity with numerical methods and computer operations.
An integrative perspective on tourism as a multi-scalar phenomenon, addressing diverse interactions between people and places. Emphasis is on the environmental, economic and cultural impacts of various types of tourism, and approaches to managing these impacts, drawing on geographical theories.
The study of an area which will include topics in physical, economic, social and historical aspects of geography.
An introductory course in hydrology, the study of water in the environment. Emphasis is placed on understanding and modeling the hydrologic cycle. Topics include hydrologic processes, water resources, and case studies of freshwater systems.
An integrated systems approach to solving issues of environmental evaluation, impact and development. Focus will be on the biophysical components of the environment.
This course examines and applies advanced geomorphology concepts and theories that are used to explain and understand how water shapes the Earth's surface. Fluid mechanics in fluvial environments are evaluated through discussions, computational modeling, and lab experiments.
Many of the traditional features of cities are changing in light of powerful forces of globalization. The course examines spatial patterns and processes of economic restructuring, social dynamics and political change in Canadian and non-Canadian cities. Students discuss and interpret evolving urban forms from a geographical perspective.
This course provides an opportunity for advanced studies in resource and environmental governance. A central aim is developing an understanding of principles, practices and emerging issues relating to environmental governance.
This course explores local environmental management from two perspectives: state-driven (where local government agencies or forums created by governments are used) and non-state driven (where local actors come together in new governance arrangements to undertake environmental management). Through comparing and contrasting these broad perspectives in an experiential learning setting, the course builds understanding of a key trend in environmental governance.
This course examines environmental impact assessment (EIA) from philosophical, methodological and institutional perspectives. The evolution of EIA in Canada will be the focus. Case studies illustrating major issues and applications will be presented at a variety of geographical scales. The preparation and presentation of a research project is an integral component.
This course surveys themes and issues in contemporary rural geography. Specific attention is given to the processes of restructuring and change in rural systems in Canada and other developed economies. Themes include transformations in the use of rural land, the new rural economy, restructuring in service delivery, and the sustainability of rural communities and systems.
This course adopts a project-oriented approach to the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing in spatial analysis. Students will have the opportunity to design and implement a research project using geomatics techniques to investigate a problem in any area of Geography.
This course provides an opportunity for senior students to develop skills in the design, implementation and presentation of a field research project. The course involves a field trip of about 10-14 days, either in Canada or abroad. This component of the course takes place between the end of the summer session and the start of classes in the fall semester. Classes during the fall semester focus on the analysis and interpretation of data and incorporate student research seminars. Information on the location and cost of the field research course is available from the department in the winter semester prior to each fall offering.
A critical overview of the evolution and current status of Geography. Particular emphasis will be given to the variety of approaches and convergence and divergence within the discipline. The interaction between human and physical geographers and their approaches to issues and the subject will be analyzed.
The independent study option is designed to provide senior undergraduate students with an opportunity to pursue library or field research under faculty supervision and to prepare a research report. Formal agreement between the student and the faculty supervisor is required, as is approval of the department chair.