Bachelor of Science Physical Geography

What is Physical Geography?

Physical geography includes the study of the environment through aspects of atmospheric science, geomorphology, biogeography, and hydrology. All of which draw upon the natural and applied sciences to understand the natural environment. Atmospheric sciences examine the physical and biophysical processes at and near the earth’s surface shaping climate and determining the weather. These processes are examined over cascading scales, local to global.

Areas of Study

Atmospheric Sciencein the broadest sense, is the study of the Earth's atmosphere (and other planetary atmospheres). The atmospheric science program in the Department of Environment and Geography mainly focuses on processes and phenomena associated with the Earth's troposphere (lowest portion of the atmosphere closest to the surface, where all weather occurs) with connections to the Earth's surface (heat, water, carbon dioxide transfers and other biophysical processes). The program offers undergraduates a range of career options in government, university, and private sectors requiring knowledge of the Earth's atmosphere. This includes careers in weather forecasting/meteorologist, broadcast meteorology (media), power utilities (hydro, wind, solar),  environmental or weather consulting companies, aviation industry, provincial and federal departments (forestry, agriculture, environment, transportation), emergency preparedness, weather modification companies, to name a few. 

Hydrology studies the flow of water between the Earth’s surface and the atmosphere, including the quantity and quality of water resources as well as the spatial variability in the hydrologic cycle.

Geomorphology, is the examination of processes at the earth’s surface and the associated landforms. Various sub-disciplines in geomorphology include weathering and erosion processes, volcanoes, glacial and river systems.

Biogeography studies the interrelationships between the biospheric environment and the physical environment. Formation of soils, ecosystem and biome cycles and components, as well as human interaction with the physical environment are all topical areas in biogeography.

Geomatics is an emerging field referring to the techniques of spatial data acquisition, handling, and analysis. Included within this field have been geographic applications of computer analysis and spatial modeling, spatial statistics, remote sensing technology, and geographic information systems. Many of these techniques have their origins in the applied sciences, but both physical and human geographers have contributed greatly to their development and application. The application of such methodologies in geographic fields, such as resource management, urban geography, climate change, and applied geography has also provided closer co-operation between human and physical geography, as well as promoting considerable interdisciplinary research with other University disciplines.

Degrees Offered

B.Sc. - Major

  • Minimum time to graduation: Four years (University 1, plus three years).
  • There is no time limit to complete the degree.

B.Sc. - Major Co-op

  • Minimum time to graduation: Four years (University 1, plus three years).
  • There is no time limit to complete the degree. Participation in the Coop
  • Option may extend the degree by an additional year.

B.Sc. - Honours

  • Minimum time to graduation: Four years (University 1, plus three years).
  • There is no time limit to complete the degree.

B.Sc. - Honours Co-op

  • Minimum time to graduation: Four years (University 1, plus three years).
  • There is no time limit to complete the degree. Participation in the Coop
  • Option may extend the degree by an additional year.

The Major and Honours B.Sc. degree programs in Physical Geography serve students who desire advanced study in the academic subject matter of various themes contained within Physical Geography. The Honours program in particular is intended for students interested in the opportunity for exposure to advanced geographic research. As such, the Honours program demands higher academic performance. Students who are ineligible to enter Honours in their second year may establish this in the following year on the basis of their improved scholastic performance. The degree programs may be pursued on a full or part-time basis.

Please visit the Academic Calendar for detailed program information:
B.Sc. Physical Geography Program Chart

Contact Information
For any additional information please contact a Student Advisor in the Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources . Student Advisors are located in the Dean's office, 440 Wallace Building. All students are advised to examine their interests and future goals carefully to make appropriate program choices.


Co-operative Education Option

What is Coop?

Co-operative education is a structured educational program whereby students spend alternating periods in university and employment. The Cooperative Education Option is available to students registered in either the Major or Honours degree programs in Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, or Physical Geography.

Why do Coop?

  • Acquire theoretical knowledge and practical work experience.
  • Focus your education, and select areas of specialization for choosing senior courses and selecting a Focus Area.
  • Improve your professional development by engaging in networking opportunities, and participating in conferences and workshops.
  • Develop mentoring relationships with employers.
  • Explore many career options without a long-term commitment.
  • Help finance your education through relevant work experience.
  • Create an impressive resume that sets you apart from other students.
  • Develop workplace skills that provide you hands-on experience with the latest tools and equipment

Please contact the coordinator for more information on enrolling in the program:

Leslie Goodman, Coordinator
Cooperative Education Option       
440 Wallace Bldg.
Phone: (204) 474-7252
FAX: (204) 275-314

Jodena Baertsoen, Assistant
Cooperative Education Option
440 Wallace Bldg.
Phone: (204) 474-6225
FAX: (204) 275-3147