Field School 2019, Hydrology

Vancouver IslandUniversity

Geography Courses

Geography Courses

The Geography department offers courses required to complete a BA degree with a Major or a Minor in Geography and a BSc degree with a Minor in Geography.


  1. Please check with the Chair of the Geography department or the Advising Centre before planning your program.
  2. Field trips and off-campus research are part of any Geography program. Generally, the cost of field trips and research projects is the student's responsibility.
  3. Please check the Course Offerings Schedule

GEOG 100 (3) World Regional Geography

An introduction to physical and cultural regions of the world with an emphasis on inter-regional linkages that affect the lives of people around the world. Topics include changing environmental, demographic, political, economic and social processes and patterns, the impacts of globalization, and the unique issues facing each world region. GEOG 100 was formerly called GEOG 180; credit will not be granted for both courses. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

GEOG 101 (3) Environmental Geography

An introduction to the Earth's biophysical processes and systems at a variety of scales, and the impact of human population and land use activities. Topics include energy and biogeochemical cycles, air pollution and climate change, resource consumption and waste, limits to growth, and sustainable land use practices. Successful solutions for sustainability are also highlighted. Credit will only be granted for one of GEOG 110 or GEOG 101. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

GEOG 211 (3) Atmospheric Environments

An introduction to the Earth's atmosphere and biosphere through an examination of their structural components, processes, and variability through space and time. Topics include the global energy system, weather systems, urban climate, and biogeography. Lab exercises apply methods of measuring and analyzing meteorological phenomena on global and local scales. GEOG 211 was formerly called GEOG 111; credit will not be granted for both courses. (2:0:2)

Prerequisite: None.

GEOG 212 (3) Earth Environments

An introduction to the Earth's lithosphere and hydrosphere through an examination of their structural components, processes, and variability through space and time. Topics include the tectonic system, volcanic activity, the water cycle, landscape and landform development, and soils. Lab exercises apply methods of measuring and analyzing Earth-surface processes. GEOG 212 was formerly called GEOG 112; credit will not be granted for both courses. (2:0:2)

Prerequisite: None.

GEOG 221 (3) Statistical Methods in Geography (Effective Sep 2020)

An introduction to statistical methods used in geographic research. Topics include descriptive statistics, probability distributions, sampling, estimation, hypothesis testing, correlation and regression. Lab exercises apply methods of spreadsheet-based calculation, analysis, and presentation of statistics. Students with MATH 211 are exempt from GEOG 221. (2:0:2)

Prerequisite: Min. "C" in Pre-calculus 11 or Foundations of Mathematics 11.

GEOG 228 (3) Maps and Mapping (Effective Dec 2019)

A broad overview of spatial analysis tools and techniques used in geography. Topics include map making, map reading, surveying, GPS, air photo interpretation, satellite image analysis and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Lab exercises apply these tools to urban and natural resource management issues. This course involves some fieldwork. Credit will only be granted for one of GEOG 226,FRST 121 or GEOG 228. (2:0:2)

Prerequisite: None.

GEOG 240 (3) Economics, Society and Environment (Effective Sep 2020)

An examination of the interrelationships between environment, society and economics. Topics include cultural influences, ethics, economics, characteristics of primary, secondary, tertiary and quarternary activities; urban location and form; transportation and communication; globalization's transformative impacts across a wide range of spatial scales; decision-making processes and economic development. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

GEOG 290 (3) Regions of Canada (Effective Jan 2021)

A study of the people, places, and factors (both human and physical) that shape Canada. Topics include both human and physical geography, with a focus on regional differences, distinct landscapes, changing patterns of power and influence, and the impacts of globalization on the regions of Canada. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

GEOG 322 (3) Geographic Communication

A practical course in communicating geographic information. Topics include writing for professionals (expository, business, technical, and scientific writing), presentation skills, and using maps and graphics to present ideas and influence the perceptions of the reader. Oral presentations, including the use of multi-media technologies, are an integral part of this course. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

GEOG 324 (3) Research Methods in Geography

An introduction to quantitative and qualitative research methods related to Geography. Topics include ethics, constructing research proposals and reports, conducting research in the field, sampling and data collection, data analysis, and ways of presenting data. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: One of GEOG 221, MATH 161, or equivalent.

GEOG 326 (3) Remote Sensing

An examination of the principles of earth observation systems. Topics include satellite image interpretation, digital image processing, and thematic mapping. Lab exercises apply software-based methods for displaying and analyzing satellite images. Applications of remote sensing to natural resource and urban and regional management issues are assessed. (2:0:2)

Prerequisite: One of FRST 121, GEOG 226, or GEOG 228.

GEOG 328 (3) Geographic Information Systems

An introduction to geographic information systems, including spatial data theory and analysis. Topics include spatial and attribute data, analytical operations and modeling. Lab exercises apply software-based methods for displaying and analyzing vector and raster spatial data. Applications of GIS to natural resource and urban and regional management issues are assessed. Credit will only be granted for one of FRST 328 or GEOG 328. (2:0:2)

Prerequisite: One of GEOG 226, GEOG 228, or FRST 121.

GEOG 330 (3) Cultural Geography

An exploration of people and the places they live with a focus on place-making, the environment, cultural identities, inequalities and cultural landscapes across a range of spatial scales. GEOG 330 was formerly called GEOG 230; credit will not be granted for both courses. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

GEOG 340 (3) Urban Systems

An examination of urban theory and the evolution of North American urban systems. Topics include the history of urbanization; industrial and post-industrial city models, their functional specialization, spatial interactions, selected aspects of their built environments and the motivations and behaviours of their makers. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

GEOG 342 (3) Urban and Regional Planning

An examination of the concepts, theories, models, principles and practices of urban and regional planning with a particular focus in the Canadian experience. Topics include the history of planning in Canada, the development of planning legislation, and policies at the municipal, regional and provincial levels. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

GEOG 344 (3) Urban Social Geography

An assessment of the inter-relationships between urban economics, urban spaces and urban lifestyles focusing on the connections between people and their social and geopolitical environments. Topics include the concepts of communities and neighbourhoods, the impacts of social segregation and economic hierarchies, influences of governance systems and politics, infrastructural problems, prospective urban futures. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

GEOG 346 (3) Urban Change Management

An examination of the theory and practice of managing urban change and emerging issues within local and regional contexts. Topics include peak oil, climate change, energy, food and water, demographic change, arts and culture, and a changing economy. The course will also review practical techniques for assessing urban land use. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

GEOG 350 (3) Natural Resource Management

An introduction to the major principles, basic concepts, and main approaches of managing natural resources. Topics include the fundamentals of ecosystems and climate, as well as a thorough investigation of natural resources important to western Canada (water, agriculture, forests, fish, mining, energy, and recreation) from a geographic perspective. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

GEOG 352 (3) Managing Natural and Social Capital

An examination of the role economic activity plays in enhancing or degrading natural, social, and human capital. The course offers theory and practical examples of models of alternative economic activity, with a strong focus on case studies. In addition, indicators for measuring the health of ecosystems and communities are reviewed. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: GEOG 240.

GEOG 356 (3) Policy, Resources and Sustainability

A study of environmental policy and human dimensions of resource management from local to global scales. Topics include current socio-political context, policy development, regulations, participatory processes, communities, western and Indigenous perspectives, institutions, governance and the role of science. Cases will address climate, water, biodiversity, energy, oil, and food security. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: GEOG 240.

GEOG 372 (3) Climatology

An investigation of the principles and processes involved in climatology, with emphasis on global distributions and change. Topics include the global energy system, atmospheric dynamics, spatial distributions and variations of temperature and moisture, and climate change. Lab exercises apply methods for examining Earth's climate from global to local scales. (2:0:2)

Prerequisite: GEOG 211.

GEOG 373 (3) Biogeography

An examination of the spatial patterns of biological diversity, and its causes, both in the present and in the past. Topics include environmental, biological, and historical factors that control the distribution and abundance of plants and animal communities. Lab exercises apply methods for researching, mapping, and analyzing biodiversity. (2:0:2)

Prerequisite: One of GEOG 211, BIOL 202, FRST 235, or FRST 256.

GEOG 374 (3) Hydrology

An examination of the terrestrial part of the hydrological cycle. Topics focus on the various factors (climate, physical and human) that influence the distribution of water resources over time and space. Lab exercises apply methods for collecting, summarizing, and analyzing hydrologic data. (2:0:2)

Prerequisite: GEOG 212.

GEOG 376 (3) Geomorphology

An examination of the formation and evolution of landforms in different climate zones with an emphasis on the Canadian landscape. Topics include erosional and depositional processes, and the landforms they produce. Lab exercises apply methods for investigating and analyzing landforms. This course involves some fieldwork. (2:0:2)

Prerequisite: GEOG 212.

GEOG 428 (3) GIScience Applications

An examination of GIS or Remote Sensing as a decision-making tool in such areas as municipal planning, natural resource management, and geoscience. Topics may include data models, cost surfaces, managing uncertainty, image classification, and web-based mapping. Labs assist in developing marketable skills in analytical procedures and cartographic output. (2:0:2)

Prerequisite: GEOG 326 or GEOG 328 or FRST 328.

GEOG 433 (3) Special Topics in Geography

A thorough examination of an important present-day issue, trend, or concept in the discipline of geography. Topics will vary by offering but will focus on a subject of significance to human geography, physical geography, or geographical techniques. May be repeated for credit up to three times for different topic. (0:3:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

GEOG 442 (3) Urban Land Assessment

An examination of the efficient and effective use of land and buildings in an urban environment. Topics include the identification of development opportunities and the evaluation of properties from an economic and social perspective, urban land markets, land use regulation, and zoning, taxation, and housing. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: GEOG 340.

GEOG 446 (3) Applications in Urban and Regional Management

An examination of contemporary urban and regional management issues from an urban planning and land development perspective. Topics include public consultation techniques, ecological and political implications of urban land use conflicts, and assessment methods of resolving conflicts within the context of public policy and political realities. Not offered every year. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: GEOG 342.

GEOG 452 (3) Applications in Natural Resource Management

An advanced study of the management of land and water resources. Topics include the principles of natural resource assessment and how they can be used to aid multiple land-use management. Project-based assignments are used to explore some of the contemporary issues in natural resources management. Not offered every year. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: GEOG 350.

GEOG 454 (3) Decision-making in Natural Resource Management

An examination of the basic theories and concepts underlying the management of natural resources, including their application in practice at the policy and field levels. Topics include the decision making process, the current context of resource management issues, management strategies, and implementation of resource decisions. Case studies are used. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: GEOG 350.

GEOG 456 (3) Issues in Natural Resource Management

An examination of the integrated nature of issues that affect resource management, and potential solutions at the local, regional, national, and global levels. Issues include pressures on terrestrial, atmospheric, and marine ecosystems; the dilemma of stock resources, etc. Local professionals will provide guest lectures on contemporary issues. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: GEOG 350.

GEOG 465 (3) Special Field Studies in Geography

An intensive field-based study of a specific region of geographic significance. Topics will vary, but will typically include human and physical landscapes, geographical history, socio-economic pressures, environmental aesthetics, and natural processes. International travel may be required. May be repeated once for credit. (0:0:0 -60 for 1 weeks)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

GEOG 466 (3) Regional Studies

A study of a selected region in the world. Topics include physical and human landscapes; settlement patterns; economic development; political and social structures and patterns; impact of globalization processes on the region. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

GEOG 467 (3) Field Studies in Geography I

An opportunity to apply geographic perspectives, methods and techniques in a field-based research setting. Emphasizes qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis of physical and/or cultural landscapes. The course may include pre-field school sessions and readings to provide background knowledge of the field study area. (6:6:0 -30 for 3 weeks)

Prerequisite: GEOG 324.

GEOG 468 (3) Field Studies in Geography II

A continuation of GEOG 467. Provides an opportunity to apply geographic knowledge, research findings, and geographic skills to a practical field-based issue or problem. (0:0:0 -60 for 3 weeks)

Prerequisite: GEOG 467.

GEOG 474 (3) GIS Applications in Natural Resource Management

An advanced course in GIS applications that focuses on using GIS as a tool in addressing a range of issues associated with managing natural resource bases. Topics include land use allocation, modeling the movement and spread of a phenomenon, visual analysis of resource development, and hydrologic and watershed modeling. (1:0:3)

Prerequisite: GEOG 328 or FRST 328.

GEOG 488 (3) Environmental Aesthetics

An examination of the appearance, meaning and value of landscape from a geographic perspective. Topics include aesthetic satisfactions derived from natural and human-induced environments and a review of contemporary environmental theory and its application by geographers, architects and planners. (0:3:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

GEOG 490 (3) Directed Studies in Geography

A research project designed to address individual student interest in some aspect of geography. Projects will typically include some combination of library research, spatial analysis, and fieldwork. Content must be demonstrated to be independent of the GEOG 491 research topic. May be repeated once for credit. (0:3:0)

Prerequisite: GEOG 324.

GEOG 491 (6) Research Project

A research project designed to address individual student interest in some aspect of geography. Projects usually include the development of a proposal and some combination of library research, spatial analysis, fieldwork, and a seminar/conference presentation to peers. Arrangements are subject to approval by the faculty supervisor, department Chair and Dean. (0:0:3)

Prerequisite: GEOG 324 and GEOG 328.

GEOG 501 (3) Foundations of Geographic Information Systems

Introduction to geographic information systems (GIS) theory and applications. Learn how geo-referenced data are captured, stored, analyzed, retrieved and produced using industry-standard software. Topics include: spatial data, data quality, vector and raster data models, map projections, coordinate systems, cartographic design principles, and sources of spatial data, including remotely-sensed data. (8:0:16 for 2 weeks)

Prerequisite: Introductory level course in GIS.

GEOG 511 (3) Geodatabases

An introduction to the structure and use of geodatabases. Topics include general database theory, instruction and practical exercises relating to the geodatabase structure, and the use of versioning to control multi-user access to large spatial databases. Students will also explore the personal geodatabase, coverage, and shapefile structures. (8:0:16 for 2 weeks)

Prerequisite: Introductory level course in GIS.

GEOG 521 (3) General Spatial Analysis

An introduction to spatial analysis techniques that addresses effective uses of GIS in solving real-world problems. Topics include analyzing tabular data, creating useful information from GIS data, displaying spatial information, editing vector and raster data, designing raster or vector models, and selecting overlay tools to obtain desired information from geographic data. (8:0:16 for 2 weeks)

Prerequisite: Introductory level course in GIS.

GEOG 523 (3) Advanced Applied Spatial Analysis

An advanced course in spatial analysis and GIS modeling that examines a range of techniques for different spatial applications. Topics include 3D terrain and hydrological analysis, geo-statistical analysis, network analysis, working with remote sensing and GPS data, and GIS modeling. Case studies are examined and assessed. (8:0:16 for 2 weeks)

Prerequisite: Introductory level course in GIS.

GEOG 524 (3) Remote Sensing and Digital Image Processing

Develops skills and techniques to acquire, enhance, interpret, and analyze aerial-photography and digital imagery using visual and computer-based methods for a wide range of applications. Topics include basics of electromagnetic radiation, imaging systems (with special attention to satellites), digital data, landscape interpretation, and digital image processing techniques. (8:0:16 for 2 weeks)

Prerequisite: Introductory level course in GIS.

GEOG 525 (3) Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Survey Analysis

An introduction to global positioning systems (GPS) and survey analysis designed to develop an understanding of the theoretical and practical aspects of the use of GPS receivers as tools for data entry into GIS. Topics include basic procedures of surveying and how COGO can be used to precisely enter survey data into GIS. (8:0:16 for 2 weeks)

Prerequisite: Introductory level course in GIS.

GEOG 530 (3) Programming Foundations

An introduction to programming techniques for GIS applications, including programming using conditional execution structures, looping mechanisms, and class modules in the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) environment. (8:0:16 for 2 weeks)

Prerequisite: Introductory level course in GIS.

GEOG 531 (3) Visual Programming for GIS

Develops skills and techniques in GIS customization and development. Topics include extending ArcGIS functionality using ArcObjects; an introduction to Visual Basic.NET; writing applications with ArcGIS Engine; and writing geoprocessing scripts with Python. (8:0:16 for 2 weeks)

Prerequisite: Introductory level course in GIS.

GEOG 581 (3) Management Issues In GIS

Explores the planning, design, and execution of a GIS-based project. Students will define objectives, identify data sources, and outline analytical procedures to be used in a selected project. Additional topics include management of GIS projects in progress and issues surrounding data quality and error propagation. (8:0:16 for 2 weeks)

Prerequisite: Introductory level course in GIS.

GEOG 582 (3) GIS Infrastructure

This course focuses on the technical and organizational infrastructure necessary for the successful design, development, administration, and maintenance of GIS. It will provide a comprehensive understanding of GIS infrastructure, with emphasis on structures, interoperability, sharing and distribution of spatial data, and geospatial standards relating to spatial data and procedures. (1:2:0 for 13 weeks)

Prerequisite: Admission to the MGISA program and permission of department.

GEOG 583 (3) Advanced Techniques in GIS

This course introduces students to fundamental GIScience concepts related to the collection, representation, evaluation and analysis of spatial data. This includes examining issues related to data representation and modeling, spatial data quality and uncertainty, geovisualization techniques, and a range of advanced spatial data analysis techniques. (1:2:0 for 13 weeks)

Prerequisite: Admission to the MGISA program and permission of department.

GEOG 591 (9) GIS Applications Project: Practicum

A nine-week GIS applications project undertaken independently or under the auspices of a sponsor. Implementation of the project designed in GEOG 581. Project intended to strengthen a student's technical, communication, interpersonal skills and employment opportunities. Presentation of project findings is delivered as part of GEOG 593 course. (0:0:0 -135 for 9 weeks)

Prerequisite: GEOG 581

GEOG 593 (3) Internet GIS

Explores the impact the Internet has had on the display of GIS information. Examines different ways to display geographical data and analyzes different Internet mapping systems. GIS-like web applications are designed, including the production of animations. HTML, XML, and JavaScript programming languages are used to build and customize Internet mapping sites. (8:0:16 for 2 weeks)

Prerequisite: GEOG 581.

GEOG 598 (6) Research Project Development

In this course, students will develop a proposal for their Master's research project. This course will enhance students' communication, research and writing skills, deepening their ability to apply and share their knowledge, and bring awareness of the limits of existing knowledge in the chosen field of application. (0:3:3 for 13 weeks)

Prerequisite: Admission to the MGISA program and permission of department.

GEOG 599 (18) Master's Research Project

As the final part of the requirements for the completion of the MGISA program, students will complete a substantial research project with GIS at its core. The project will be largely self-directed, under the supervision of a faculty supervisor and in some cases an external consultant. (0:0:0 for 32 weeks)

Prerequisite: Admission to the MGISA program and permission of department.