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The Undergraduate Calendar

Faculty of Environment

Department of Geography & Environmental Management

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Geography and Environmental Management is concerned with both the natural and human environments, studying how it has been shaped according to human need, how patterns of human activities are structured over space, and how these are influenced by environmental factors.

At the University of Waterloo, we stress the study of environmental change at a variety of scales from local to global. Our courses are highly integrated to encourage the study of the environment from many perspectives. These include the practical application of geographical studies, the role of field work, and the use of computer techniques such as model building, geographical information systems, and digital remote sensing.

Geography and Environmental Management is considered both a natural and social science and flourishes in an academic organization where a multidisciplinary approach is emphasized. The Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) in Geography and Environmental Management (Honours and General) provides students with considerable freedom to choose supporting electives from many departments in the University. Students may develop plans to suit their particular interests, including Joint Honours Plans with other departments (see Joint Honours Academic Plans).

Regular Honours Geography and Environmental Management provides a sound foundation and prepares the student for specialization at the graduate level in almost any aspect of Geography and Environmental Management. Both the Regular and Co-op plans mandate a series of integrated courses in both physical and human geography. Although the Honours plan is broad in scope, students may concentrate their courses in one area of specialization offered in the Department: Earth Systems Science; Geomatics; Development and Environment; and Climate Change. The fourth year includes the option of completing a Senior Honours Thesis.

Honours Co-op provides for alternate terms of practical work experience and academic study. Students may be admitted to Co-op in the first or second year. The first work term is in the winter of the second year. Co-op Geography and Environmental Management students must normally follow the work and study-term sequence outlined by Co-operative Education & Career Action

Three-year General Geography and Environmental Management provides a liberal education in environmental studies, with less specialization in Geography and Environmental Management than in the Honours plan. This is not a direct entry plan, although students may request transfer to this plan at any time during their academic career.

In all Academic Plans there is emphasis on the development of both theory and methodology and on the practical application of geographical concepts to the environmental, economic, social, and political problems in Canada and other parts of the world. The "applied geography" aspects of the plan are enhanced by the availability in the Faculty of elective courses in Environment and Resource Studies, Environment and Business, International Development, and Planning. Graduating students acquire a variety of jobs in education, government, industry, and non-profit agencies.

The Department of Geography and Environmental Management offers both Master's (Master of Arts, Master of Environmental Studies, and Master of Science) and Doctoral graduate programs as part of the joint Waterloo-Wilfrid Laurier Graduate Program in Geography. A Master of Climate Change is also available. At the graduate level, course work and research are concentrated on specific subfields including Environment and Resource Management; Environmental Science; Human Geography; and Geomatics. Graduate programs in Integrated Water Management and Tourism are also available in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management. 

The formal admission requirements are listed in the Admissions section of this calendar.


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