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Chair's Welcome Message

Dr. Claus Rinner, Professor and Chair

Welcome to the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Ryerson University. We are located in the downtown core of Toronto, one of the World’s most diverse cities. Please explore our knowledgeable people, broad range of programs of study, and exciting research activities.

The Department of Geography and Environmental Studies has been at the forefront of Ryerson’s development from a technical training institute to a comprehensive public university. Our BA in Geographic Analysis was the first stand-alone degree granted at the university, starting as a BAA in Applied Geography in the early 1970s. Our MSA in Spatial Analysis was the first Department-based graduate degree offered at Ryerson, and we were also heavily involved in another one of Ryerson’s first three graduate degrees, the MASc in Environmental Applied Science and Management (now also offering a PhD degree). With the recent introduction of our BA in Environment and Urban Sustainability, we are one of the largest departments in the Faculty of Arts and one of the largest Geography departments in Canada by undergraduate specialist and Master's student enrolments. Our contributions to interdisciplinary graduate degrees, liberal studies and professionally related courses, as well as continuing education certificates are also continuously expanding.

Innovation in higher education and research is a tradition @RyersonGeo. We have introduced real world-focused, hands-on education with a strong academic foundation decades before experiential learning and zone education became fashionable. We are dealing with big data since the 1980s. Our teaching has always been informed by research and professional practice. Undergraduate and graduate students are involved in exciting research and consulting projects with close ties to local government, business, and non-profit organizations. Mandatory co-op internship placements and course projects with external clients are another approach to early and deep professional networking that shows its results in the excellent employment rates of our graduates. We have over 1,000 alumni from the BA programs and over 300 MSA graduates working in their field of study – the vast majority in the Toronto region.

Our research spans the breadth of Geography, from human-social to physical-environmental themes. We are widely known for our expertise in developing and using geospatial data and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Our toolkit includes a wide range of commercial and open-source GIS software as well as remote sensing, GPS, graphics, and statistical packages. Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research @RyersonGeo contributes to better government decision-making and planning; more efficient business operations; and more effective non-profit activities. The goal of our research and teaching is no less than making this World a better place!