Program courses offer students flexibility and depth by familiarizing them with both physical and human aspects of geography and their inter-relationships, and with various spatial methodologies and research designs. In particular, students are encouraged to become competent in the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), which employ computer-based software to collect, manage, analyze, and map spatial data, and which provide a conceptual and technical foundation for geographic analysis.
There are three broad areas of study:
- Location analysis which focuses on the issues that must be considered in determining the location and development of retail activities at local, regional, national and international levels;
- Urban analysis, which examines the factors that combine to create the structure of an urban environment (including residential patterns, business and industrial developments, transportation systems, and social services), and the dynamics of these factors in the state and growth of an urban centre, and;
- Environmental analysis, which emphasizes the study of management and planning policies of natural resources that address issues involving conflicts between society's economic and environmental goals.
To these broad areas of study, students can add specialties in health and demography, locational analysis, recreation and tourism, resource management, spatial analytical techniques and geotechnologies. Two fully equipped state-of-the-art computer laboratories ensure that students are able to receive practical training on major statistical, database, GIS and remote sensing software using real world data.
Semesters 1 and 2: The overall structure of the first year of the program is common to the other programs in the Faculty of Arts (i.e., Criminology, English, Geographic Analysis, History, Language and Intercultural Relations, Politics and Governance, Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology). Students in Geographic Analysis take three Geography courses, which show how geographers approach current issues in the physical and human environments and how geographers use GIS in their analysis. Like other students in the Faculty of Arts, students also take Social Science and Humanities courses to broaden their understanding and approaches, courses in critical thinking and writing, and a non-Arts elective which may be the basis of a Minor if so desired.
Semesters 3 to 8: In second year, students are able to select courses which focus on their areas of interest in retail location, urban and/or environmental analysis. They develop their knowledge and skills about the tools and methods of professional geographers through required courses on statistics, cartography and Geographic Information Science.
In third and fourth years, students select advanced professional courses to build on their expertise in one or more of the three broad areas, to add to their understanding with courses in areas such as physical, economic, health, rural or recreation geography, and to enhance their competencies in analytical and spatial methods. They are able to apply their knowledge in the workplace through an internship between third and fourth years (see Required Practicum section below). In their final year, students take capstone courses to solidify their expertise before going out into the workplace or on to graduate study. In their course of study, students also select Professionally-Related courses and liberal studies courses.
Possibilities for a Minor exist with the careful planning of Professionally-Related courses. In particular, Geographic Analysis students participate in Minors in Law, Marketing, Environment and Urban Sustainability, Politics, Public Administration, Criminal Justice, Economics, Sociology, Human Resources, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Psychology.