The objectives of the Department are to foster awareness of the field of Geography, and to add to the body of geographic knowledge and methodology through teaching and research. The Department also endeavors to prepare specialized teachers and researchers to meet the demands of the teaching profession and of various public and private agencies. The Department of Geography offers a master of arts (with thesis), a master of science (with thesis), and a PhD in geography. In certain cases, students may be admitted to the master's in geography on a part-time basis.**

The MA in Geography and MSc in Geography are two programs participating in the collaborative program in Environmental Sustainability as well as in the collaborative program in Science, Society and Policy (at the master's level only). The Department participates in a collaborative program in Canadian Studies at the PhD level. For more information on this program, see “Admission Requirements.”

The guiding objective of the collaborative program in Environmental Sustainability is to provide graduate students with the knowledge and skills needed to identify and analyze the economic, legal, policy and scientific dimensions of environmental problems, and to employ an evidence-based approach to develop rational policy options for addressing those problems.

The programs are governed by the general regulations in effect for graduate studies. 

**Part-time students must normally complete course requirements, except the thesis, within a period of not more than 24 months. For more information, consult the Department.

For the most accurate and up to date information on application deadlines, language tests and other admission requirements, please visit the specific requirements webpage.

To be admissible to the master's program, the student must hold an BA with honours in geography or in a related discipline with an academic record indicating at least (B+) or the equivalent. Candidates whose bachelor's degree with honours (or the equivalent) is in an area other than geography may be admitted for a qualifying period, during which they must take selected courses required in the department's BA with honours program.

Additional Coursework

The Admissions Committee may, depending on the candidates’ background, require them to successfully complete additional courses, including language courses, beyond the basic MA degree requirements.

Collaborative Programs

The Department of Geography is one of the units participating in the collaborative programs in Canadian Studies (PhD level only), in Science, Society and Policy (master’s level only) and in Environmental Sustainability (master’s level only). Students should indicate in their initial application for admission that they wish to be accepted into one of the collaborative programs. 

Admission to the Collaborative Program in Environmental Sustainability is governed by the general regulations in effect for graduate studies. 

Applications for admission to the collaborative program in environmental sustainability at the master's level are normally submitted at the same time as the application for admission to the relevant participating master's program. In exceptional cases, students could commence their specialization in environmental sustainability at the beginning of the second term of enrollment.

To be accepted into the collaborative program candidates must:

  • Be admitted to one of the programs participating in the collaborative program;
  • Submit the collaborative program enrollment form;
  • Provide, in the case of thesis-based programs, a letter of recommendation from a professor confirming that he or she is willing to act as thesis supervisor;
  • Submit a cover letter along with the application form indicating what research topic or area the student would like to pursue, and why the student wishes to do so as part of the collaborative program.

Additional Information

For additional information, refer to the Department of Geography's website.

MSc with Thesis

Compulsory Courses:
9 course units from: 19 Units
Selected Topics in Physical Geography
Environmental Change in Cold Regions
Milieux nordiques
Data Analysis and Modelling
Advanced Geomatics
Spatial Data Analysis
Directed Readings
Second Language Proficiency Test 2
Thesis Project:
GEG 7996Preparation and Presentation of the MSc Thesis Project3 Units
Thesis:
GEG 7999Master's Thesis0 Unit

Note(s) 

1

Three course units may be replaced by three other units approved by the Department of Geography. Recommended courses from other departments include GEO 5139, GEO 5142 and GEO 5143.

2

In the course of their studies, students are required to demonstrate at least a passive knowledge of the second official language of Canada. Students must write the second language proficiency test in the fall or winter term of their first year of graduate studies. Passing this test satisfies the language requirement for the master's and PhD degrees. This test consists of translating a text (600-1000 words) chosen by the supervisor, in the research field of the candidate. The text chosen will not be made known in advance to the candidate. A French-English dictionary will be permitted. This test should precede the MA Thesis Proposal Presentation of the PhD Comprehensive Examination. A candidate who fails the test will have to successfully complete a course at the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute approved by the department. This requirement applies only to students whose mother tongue is either English or French.

Collaborative Program in Environmental Sustainability

The requirements of both the primary program and of the collaborative program must be met. The units completed for the specialization count also towards the primary degree. Additional units are not required.

The requirements specific to the collaborative program are as follows:

  • Satisfactory completion of the Environmental Sustainability seminar (EVD 5100 or EVD 5500, 3 units).
  • Presentation and defense of a thesis on a topic in environmental sustainability based on research carried out under the supervision of a professor who is a member of the student's primary program and/or of the collaborative program. The Collaborative Program Committee determines whether or not the topic of the thesis is appropriate for the designation “Specialization in Environmental Sustainability.” At least one of the thesis examiners must be a member of the Environmental Sustainability collaborative program.

Fast-track from Master’s to PhD

Students enrolled in the MSc program may be allowed to transfer to the PhD program without being required to write a master’s thesis. For additional information, please consult the “Admission Requirements” section of the PhD program.

Duration of Program

Students are expected to complete all requirements within two years. The thesis must be submitted within four years of the date of initial enrollment in the program.

Minimum Standards

The passing grade in all courses is C+. A student who has incurred two failures is withdrawn from the program.

Research Fields & Facilities

Located in the heart of Canada’s capital, a few steps away from Parliament Hill, the University of Ottawa is among Canada’s top 10 research universities.

uOttawa focuses research strengths and efforts in four Strategic Areas of Development in Research (SADRs):

  • Canada and the World
  • Health
  • e-Society
  • Molecular and Environmental Sciences

With cutting-edge research, our graduate students, researchers and educators strongly influence national and international priorities.

Research at the Faculty of Arts

The Faculty of Arts is proud of the state of the art research conducted by its professors. In the spirit of showcasing its research to the university community as well as to the general public, the Faculty has created three activities: Dean's Lecture Series, Treasures of the Library, and Excellence Lectures.

Facilities, Research Centres and Institutes at the Faculty of Arts

Centre de recherche en civilisation canadienne-française, Institute of Canadian and Aboriginal Studies, Institute for Science, Society and Policy, Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute (OLBI) and Morisset Library.

For more information, refer to the list of faculty members and their research fields on Uniweb.

Not all of the listed courses are given each year. The course is offered in the language in which it is described. Please verify with the Environment Institute.

GEG 5105 Selected Topics in Human Geography (3 units)

In-depth examination of a question or topic linked to new trends or research areas in human geography.

Course Component: Seminar

GEG 5109 Place and Social Transformations (3 units)

Interplay between social and spatial transformations and its implications for meanings and representations from global to local scales.

Course Component: Seminar

GEG 5310 Selected Topics in Physical Geography (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

GEG 5311 Environmental Change in Cold Regions (3 units)

Dynamics of cold environments with particular emphasis on their sensitivity to climate variability and climate change, natural and anthropogenically induced.

Course Component: Seminar

GEG 5505 Thèmes choisis en géographie humaine (3 crédits)

Volet : Séminaire

GEG 5510 Espaces et lieux entre société et culture (3 crédits)

Espaces de référence, lieux d'appartenance et territoire dans le contexte des mutations sociales contemporaines et de la fragmentation des identités culturelles.

Volet : Séminaire

GEG 5707 Milieux nordiques (3 crédits)

Les milieux glaciaires ou périglaciaires, anciens ou actuels. Approches géomorphologique, hydrologique et paléobotanique.

Volet : Séminaire

GEG 5710 Thèmes choisis en géographie physique (3 crédits)

Volet : Séminaire

GEG 5914 Problèmes géographiques du Canada de l'Est / Geographical Problems of Eastern Canada (2 crédits / 2 units)

Volet / Course Component: Séminaire / Seminar

GEG 5970 Lectures dirigées / Directed Readings I (3 crédits / 3 units)

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

GEG 5973 Élaboration du projet de thèse (3 crédits / 3 units)

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

GEG 6101 Data Analysis and Modelling (3 units)

Techniques of analysis of empirical data: quantitative, semi-quantitative and qualitative. Multivariate and time-series data analysis.

Course Component: Seminar

GEG 6102 Advanced Geomatics (3 units)

Concepts and themes in advanced geomatics: geographical information systems, computer cartography and remote sensing.

Course Component: Seminar

GEG 6103 Spatial Data Analysis (3 units)

Visualisation and analysis of spatial data: point-pattern analysis, spatial interpolation and estimation, spatial autocorrelation. Analysis of spatial interaction and spatio-temporal dynamics.

Course Component: Seminar

GEG 6501 Analyse de données et modélisation (3 crédits)

Modes de traitement appropriés à différents types de données empiriques : quantitatives, semi-quantitatives et qualitatives. Examen des méthodes d'analyse multivariées et temporelles.

Volet : Séminaire

GEG 6502 Géomatique avancée (3 crédits)

Concepts et thèmes en géomatique avancée : systèmes d'information géographique, cartographie digitale et télédétection.

Volet : Séminaire

GEG 6503 Analyse des données spatiales (3 crédits)

Visualisation et analyse de données spatiales : analyse de configurations spatiales, interpolation et estimation spatiales, autocorrélation spatiale. Analyse des interactions dans l'espace et de la dynamique spatiotemporelle.

Volet : Séminaire

GEG 7906 Recherche dirigée / Directed Research (6 crédits / 6 units)

Recherche dirigée pendant une session, évaluée par trois membres de la Faculté des études supérieures et postdoctorales. L'inscription à temps plein est obligatoire. La note donnée sera S (satisfaisant) ou NS (non satisfaisant). N.B. Inscription limitée aux étudiants désirant transférer de la maîtrise au doctorat. / One session of directed research, evaluated by three members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. The student must be enrolled full-time for this session. The course will be graded S (satisfactory) / NS (Not satisfactory). NOTE: Restricted to students intending to transfer from master's to PhD.

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

GEG 7910 Lectures dirigées / Directed Readings (3 crédits / 3 units)

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

GEG 7996 Élaboration et présentation du projet de thèse de maîtrise ès sciences / Preparation and Presentation of the MSc Thesis Project (3 crédits / 3 units)

Le projet de recherche doit normalement s'inscrire dans un champ d'études reconnu par le CRSNG. / The research project must normally be in a research field recognized by NSERC.

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

GEG 7998 Élaboration et présentation du projet de thèse de maîtrise ès arts / Preparation and Presentation of the M.A. Thesis Project (3 crédits / 3 units)

Le projet de recherche doit normalement s'inscrire dans un champ d'études reconnu par le CRSHC. / The research project must normally be in a research field recognized by SSRHC.

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

GEG 7999 Thèse de maîtrise / Master's Thesis

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

GEG 8900 Lectures dirigées / Directed Readings (3 crédits / 3 units)

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

GEG 9001 Élaboration du projet de thèse de doctorat / Preparation of Ph.D. Thesis Project (6 crédits / 6 units)

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

GEG 9998 Examen de synthèse / Comprehensive Examination

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

GEG 9999 Thèse de doctorat / Ph.D. Thesis Research

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

EVD 5100 Seminar in Environmental Sustainability (3 units)

Overview of environmental sustainability issues using climate change as an example. Application of integrated analyses based on concepts in science, law, economics and policy to devise policy solutions. The debate about the scientific evidence for climate change and international efforts to negotiate an agreement. The economic, political and social dimensions of climate change and measures taken both nationally and internationally to mitigate its effects.

Course Component: Seminar

EVD 5101 Economics of Environmental Law and Policy (3 units)

Environmental issues and the environmental policy framework from an economics perspective. Review of the underlying theory in relation to economic concepts such as efficiency, market failure, externalities, cost-benefit, and valuation. Overview of macroeconomic topics such as economic growth and green accounting, and their relation to law and policy. Application of these theoretical concepts to various environmental challenges, from climate change and energy regulation to managing ecosystem services and conserving biodiversity. Policy options for managing environmental challenges, from traditional “command and control” regulation to economic instruments such as environmental taxation, and cap and trade programs. Evaluation of the environmental, social, and economic effectiveness of the various policy options, and integration of economic theory into environmental policy development.

Course Component: Lecture

EVD 5106 Foundations of Environmental Law (1.5 units)

Foundations of environmental law, including theory of sustainability, constitutional division of powers, approaches to regulation of environmental issues, including examples of legal frameworks for different environmental problems, and access to justice.

Course Component: Seminar

EVD 5109 Applied Environmental Sustainability (3 units)

Uses an environmental sustainability case study, such as climate change, to learn how to synthesize information about a problem from multiple disciplinary perspectives, to critically evaluate such information using rigorous methodological approaches, and to design and evaluate policy or regulatory solutions.

Course Component: Seminar

Prerequisites: EVD 5106, EVD 5121, EVD 5122.

EVD 5111 Capstone Seminar in Environmental Sustainability (3 units)

Involves partnering with organization(s) working on a sustainability issue. Students work in interdisciplinary teams to identify the scientific, economic, legal and social dimensions of a particular environmental problem, evaluate a set of candidate solutions, and recommend an approach.

Course Component: Seminar

EVD 5113 Foundations of Environmental Policy (3 units)

Study of the key political and administrative factors affecting the formulation and implementation of environmental policy, including democratic institutions, various methods for citizen and stakeholder engagement and their influence on the decision-making process in government, public opinion and the framing of policy problems, values and the use of scientific evidence in policy-making, lobbying and the role of interest representation, federalism and multi-level environmental governance, and the international governance of environmental problems. Case studies will place Canada in a comparative context and explore the importance of political factors across areas of environmental policy.

Course Component: Seminar

EVD 5114 Professional Skills for Environmental Sustainability (1.5 units)

Oral and written communications skills, including presenting to parliamentary committees, preparing memos to cabinet, writing editorials, doing media interviews, and producing interdisciplinary public policy reports. Project and process management skills, including multi-stakeholder processes.

Course Component: Seminar

EVD 5121 Foundations of Environmental Science (3 units)

Provides students with a thematic understanding of the current state of environmental science. Major themes include: the set of environmental issues that are currently of major concern in Canada and abroad; the range of scientific approaches currently employed to understand and predict the effects of human activities on ecosystems; the nature of environmental science evidence; and how environmental sustainability is characterized from the perspective of environmental science.

Course Component: Seminar

EVD 5122 Foundations of Environmental Economics (3 units)

Key elements of economics including formal models and their underlying assumptions as they relate to the development of sustainability policy. Covers concepts such as public goods, market failure, non-market valuation, incentives, welfare economics, regulation, the equity-efficiency trade-off and market-based instruments. The course explains how fundamental economic concepts, particularly their advantages and limitations, are used to analyze issues at the interface of the economy and the environment. Examines renewable (e.g., fisheries, forests) and non-renewable (e.g., oil, gas, minerals) resource management and other topics (e.g., climate change, ozone depletion, cap and trade) in applied environmental economics. Explores the institutions and trade-offs that individuals and governments face in the context of sustainability policy.

Course Component: Seminar

EVD 5123 Evidence Synthesis and Evaluation (3 units)

Reviews different understandings of what constitutes research, both as it pertains to the production of evidence and to the evaluation of existing evidence relating to policy, to regulatory and statutory interventions and to identifying evidence gaps. Students learn research methodologies to design research so as to maximize its evidentiary value (given existing constraints); they will also learn to synthesize and assess the evidentiary value of existing research.

Course Component: Seminar

EVD 5500 Séminaire en durabilité de l'environnement (3 crédits)

Survol des enjeux en durabilité de l'environnement en se servant du changement climatique comme exemple. Application d'analyses intégrant des concepts en sciences, en droit, en science économique et en études politiques. Le débat au sujet de la preuve scientifique du changement climatique et les efforts sur le plan international pour négocier une entente. Les dimensions économiques, sociales et politiques du changement climatique et les mesures à ce jour pour atténuer ses effets, au niveau international et au niveau national.

Volet : Séminaire

EVD 5501 Approche économique et le droit de l'environnement (3 crédits)

Les enjeux environnementaux et le système de réglementation du point de vue de la science économique. Étude de la théorie qui sous-tend certains concepts économiques, tels l'efficacité, la défaillance du marché, les externalités et la valuation. Survol des concepts macroéconomiques, tels la croissance économique et la comptabilité environnementale. Application de ces concepts théoriques aux défis environnementaux tels le changement climatique, la réglementation de l'énergie, la gestion des services écologiques et la conservation de la biodiversité. Les divers outils de réglementation pour la gestion des défis liés à l'environnement, incluant la réglementation traditionnelle de type « commande et contrôle », les moyens économiques tels que la taxation environnementale et les systèmes de droits d'échanges. Évaluation de l'efficacité environnementale, sociale et économique des diverses approches, et intégration de la théorie économique dans le développement de la réglementation environnementale.

Volet : Cours magistral

EVD 5506 Rudiments du droit de l'environnement (1.5 crédits)

Rudiments du droit de l'environnement, y compris la théorie du développement durable, la division constitutionnelle des pouvoirs, les démarches visant à réglementer les questions environnementales, avec exemples de cadres légaux pour différents problèmes environnementaux et accès à la justice.

Volet : Cours magistral

EVD 5509 Développement durable appliqué (3 crédits)

Étude de cas en développement durable (changements climatiques, par exemple) pour apprendre à synthétiser l'information sur un problème à partir de plusieurs perspectives disciplinaires, pour évaluer l'information selon un schéma critique, en faisant usage de méthodes rigoureuses, et pour concevoir et évaluer des politiques ou règlements.

Volet : Cours magistral

Préalables : EVD 5506, EVD 5507, EVD 5521, EVD 5522.

EVD 5511 Séminaire d'intégration sur le développement durable (3 crédits)

Partenariat avec des organisations travaillant en développement durable. Les étudiants forment des équipes multidisciplinaires pour étudier les dimensions scientifiques, économiques, juridiques et sociales d'un problème environnemental particulier, pour évaluer un éventail de solutions possibles et pour recommander les mesures à prendre.

Volet : Cours magistral

EVD 5513 Rudiments des politiques environnementales (3 crédits)

Étude des principaux facteurs politiques et administratifs influençant la formulation et la mise en oeuvre des politiques environnementales, y compris les institutions démocratiques, les méthodes de participation des citoyens et des parties prenantes et leur influence sur les processus décisionnels des gouvernements, l'opinion publique et la définition des problèmes, le rôle des valeurs et de la science dans la formulation des politiques, le lobbying et la représentation des intérêts, le fédéralisme et la gouvernance multi-niveaux des enjeux environnementaux, et la politique internationale de l'environnement. Des études de cas situeront le Canada dans une perspective comparée et exploreront l'importance de ces facteurs politiques dans divers secteurs des politiques environnementales.

Volet : Cours magistral

EVD 5514 Compétences professionnelles pour le développement durable (1.5 crédits)

Compétences orales et écrites en communication, notamment les présentations aux comités parlementaires, la préparation de mémoires au cabinet, la rédaction d'éditoriaux, les entrevues médiatiques et la production de rapports multidisciplinaires sur les politiques publiques. Gestion de projet et de processus faisant intervenir de nombreux joueurs.

Volet : Cours magistral

EVD 5521 Rudiments des sciences de l'environnement (3 crédits)

Donne aux étudiants une compréhension thématique de l'état actuel des sciences environnementales. Principaux thèmes : éventail des enjeux environnementaux d'importance au Canada et à l'étranger; les démarches scientifiques déployées pour comprendre et prédire les conséquences des activités humaines pour les écosystèmes; la nature des preuves apportées par les sciences de l'environnement; la perspective des sciences de l'environnement sur le développement durable.

Volet : Cours magistral

EVD 5522 Rudiments de l'économie de l'environnement (3 crédits)

Principaux éléments de l'économie, y compris les modèles économiques officiels et les présuppositions afférentes à l'élaboration de politiques de développement durable. Étude de divers concepts : patrimoine commun; échec des marchés; non évaluation des valeurs courantes; mesures incitatives; économie du bien-être; réglementation; équilibre entre équité et efficience; instruments reposant sur les mécanismes de marché. On examinera plus en détail les concepts fondamentaux de l'économie et leurs avantages et inconvénients pour l'examen des enjeux au carrefour de l'économie et de l'environnement. Étude de la gestion des ressources renouvelables (pêches, forêts, etc.) et non renouvelables (pétrole, gaz, minerai, etc.) et d'autres sujets en économie de l'environnement appliquée (ex. changements climatiques, destruction de la couche d'ozone, programmes de plafonnement et d'échange). Étude des institutions et programmes de compensation auxquels sont confrontés les individus et les gouvernements dans le contexte des politiques de développement durable.

Volet : Cours magistral

EVD 6112 Selected Topics in Environmental Sustainability (3 units)

In-depth examination of a question or topic linked to new trends or research areas in environmental sustainability.

Course Component: Lecture

EVD 6512 Thèmes choisis en durabilité de l'environnement (3 crédits)

Analyse approfondie d'une problématique ou d'une question liée aux nouvelles tendances en recherche ou aux nouveaux thèmes de recherche en durabilité de l'environnement.

Volet : Cours magistral

EVD 6912 Thèmes choisis en durabilité de l'environnement / Selected Topics in Environmental Sustainability (3 crédits / 3 units)

Analyse approfondie d'une problématique ou d'une question liée aux nouvelles tendances en recherche ou aux nouveaux thèmes de recherche en durabilité de l'environnement. / In-depth examination of a question or topic linked to new trends or research areas in environmental sustainability.

Volet / Course Component: Cours magistral / Lecture

Préalable : connaissance passive de l'anglais. / Prerequisite: passive knowledge of French

EVD 6932 Lectures dirigées en durabilité de l'environnement / Directed Readings in Environmental Sustainability (3 crédits / 3 units)

Cours individuel ayant pour objectif d'approfondir les connaissances de l'étudiant dans un domaine particulier ou de lui permettre de se familiariser avec un nouveau domaine. Le sujet est déterminé et développé en consultation avec le professeur responsable et en conformité avec les directives de l'Institut de l'environnement. Le travail remis dans ce cours doit être différent de ce qui a pu être soumis dans d'autres cours, y compris le projet de recherche, la thèse ou le mémoire. On permet un maximum d'un cours de lectures dirigées par étudiant et la permission n'est accordée que dans des circonstances exceptionnelles. / Individual course aimed at deepening a student's knowledge of a particular area or at gaining knowledge of a new area. The topic is selected and developed in consultation with the supervising professor in accordance with institute guidelines. The work submitted for this course must be different from that submitted for other courses, including the research proposal, the thesis or the research paper. Maximum of one directed readings course per student, and permission is granted only under exceptional circumstances.

Volet / Course Component: Cours magistral / Lecture

Préalable: Connaissance passive de l'anglais. / Prerequisite: Passive knowledge of French.

EVD 6999 Mémoire / Research Paper (6 crédits / 6 units)

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

EVD 7997 Projet de thèse / Thesis Proposal

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

EVD 7999 Thèse de maîtrise / Master's Thesis

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research