Geography Study Focus Areas

UVic's Geography program offers four study focus areas: physical geography, human geography, environment & sustainability, and geomatics. We have defined these categories to give students a guide to course selections, especially for the last two years of study – these are not program requirements, and you will not see any sort of designation on your earned degree. See the course planning flowchart linked in each section for an overview of which Geography courses fit under each category.



Environment & Sustainability


Human Geography





The following courses are Geography courses that do not fit into one of our four identified study focus areas. These courses can be taken as complementary to any of the study focus areas, should you choose to use this guide to focus your studies on a specific area.

GEOG100 - Geography for Today

GEOG306 - Geography of Canada

GEOG309 - Geography of British Columbia

GEOG315 - Geocaching

GEOG324 - Directions in Geography

GEOG388 - Topics in Regional Studies


Course planning flowchart

Physical geographers are trained to recognize and explain patterns of climates, land forms, vegetation, and water and to understand how they interact. Topics include geomorphology, climatology, hydrology, biogeography, and ecology.

Department specializations: UVic has particular expertise in climate change modelling and impacts, as well as geomorphological studies, particularly in coastal and Arctic environments.

Upper level course topics:

GEOG313 - Field Studies in Mountain Meteorology

GEOG358 - Landscape Ecology

GEOG370 - Hydrology

GEOG371 - Water Resources Management

GEOG373 - Applied Climatology

GEOG376 - Process Geomorphology

GEOG391 - Topics in Geography: Karst Geomorphology

GEOG405 - Dynamics of the Cryosphere

GEOG424 - Field Studies in Coastal Geomorphology

GEOG474 - Field Studies in Biogeography

GEOG476 - Advanced Studies in Geomorphology

GEOG477 - Field Studies in Physical Geography

GEOG484 - Advanced Studies in Weather and Climate

GEOG487 - Advanced Landscape Ecology

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Course planning flowchart

Human geographers seek to understand how people make places, how we organize space and society, how we interact with each other in places and across space, and how we make sense of others and ourselves in our locality, region, and planet.  Explore the world through the lenses of social, political, cultural, and economic geography.

Department specializations: Social justice represents the main overriding concern of UVic’s human geography program, as it applies to such fields as urban planning, community health and resilience, immigration and anti-racism, development in the global South, and navigating personal space.

Upper level course topics:

GEOG310 - Global Migration

GEOG316 - Field Studies in Human Geography: Food and the City

GEOG317 - Field Studies in Sustainable Communities

GEOG332 - Urban Development in the Global South

GEOG339 - Disaster Management and Community Resilience

GEOG340 - Cities and Planning

GEOG346 - Health, Environment and Community

GEOG347B - Geographies of Development

GEOG380 - Community Mapping

GEOG386 - Contemporary Geopolitics

GEOG391 - Topics in Geography: Indigenous Geographies

GEOG391 - Topics in Geography: Landscapes of the Heart

GEOG404 - Space and Power

GEOG406 - Sustainable Cities

GEOG407 - Activism and Community-Based Planning

GEOG409 - Personal Space

GEOG491 - Advanced Topics in Geography: Urban Mobility

GEOG491 - Advanced Topics in Geography: Community-Based Participatory Research

GEOG491 - Advanced Topics in Geography: Anti-Racism and Geography

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Course planning flowchart

The field of environment & sustainability is all about better understanding and improving human-environment relationships. Topics include environmental governance, sustainability, biogeography, conservation, ecology, resource management, and coastal studies.

Department specializations: At UVic, the sustainability and environment stream has a strong focus on innovative socio-ecological governance, resource management, conservation, and activism in the context of intersecting global crises, ongoing colonialism, and Indigenous resurgence in Canada (particularly Coastal BC), the United States, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Upper level course topics:

GEOG301 - Environmental Impact Assessment

GEOG303 - Conservation and Ecology of Whales

GEOG304 - Coastal Conservation

GEOG314 - Global Environment Change and Human Response

GEOG325 - Field Surveying

GEOG353 - Coastal and Marine Management

GEOG357 - Parks and Protected Areas

GEOG358 - Landscape Ecology

GEOG371 - Water Resources Management

GEOG438 - Aquaculture in British Columbia

GEOG450 - Environment and Sustainability in Practice

GEOG453 - Field Studies in Coastal and Marine Management

GEOG456 - Wildlife Conservation

GEOG457 - Marine Protected Areas

GEOG474 - Field Studies in Biogeography

GEOG487 - Advanced Landscape Ecology

GEOG491 - Advanced Topics in Geography: Indigenous Environmental Activism

GEOG491 - Advanced Topics in Geography: Ecology and Politics of the Killer Whale

GEOG491 - Advanced Topics in Geography: Whale Geography

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Course planning flowchart

Combine geography and computer science into a field known as geomatics. This includes learning how GPS (global positioning system), satellite imagery, remotely-sensed data (e.g. drone-gathered), and spatial mapping are integrated within GIS (geographic information systems) and visualization tools. Learn how to collect, process, analyze and display data and use maps to improve our world.

Department specializations: The Geomatics stream at UVic emphasizes training in technical geographic tools, such as GIS and remote sensing, and their useful application to problems in such fields as climate change, urban planning, forest fire surveillance, and resource management.

Upper level course topics:

GEOG319 - Remote Sensing of the Environment using Passive Sensors

GEOG322 - Digital Remote Sensing of the Environment using Active Sensors

GEOG323 - Cartography

GEOG325 - Field Surveying

GEOG328 - GIS Analysis

GEOG329 - GIS Applications and Tools

GEOG418 - Advanced Spatial Analysis and Geo

GEOG420 - Field Studies in Coastal Geomatics

GEOG422 - Advanced Topics in Remote Sensing

GEOG428 - Advanced Topics in Geographic Information Sciences

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