Geography at UNBC
UNBC offers undergraduate degrees in Human (BA) and Physical (BSc) Geography. Cartography and GIScience are offered as integral components of both degrees. We offer Minors in Human Geography, Geomorphology, Geographic Information Systems, and Physical Geography.out.
The Geography Program also administers a BA in Public Administration and Community Development, which is an interdisciplinary degree for those interested in community-based governance, planning and social policy.
Why Study at UNBC?
There are many good reasons to study Geography at UNBC, but here are four that stand out:
- We put ideas to the test of practical experience. So much of what is written in text books or policy documents looks one way on paper, but appears as something different on the ground. Geographers are especially interested in understanding and explaining how things are situated in place and time as the result of the interaction of general and particular (i.e., contingent) processes.
What is the Study of Geography?
The physical and human landscapes we occupy are complex and constantly changing. Making sense of these dynamic landscapes is what geography is all about.
Geographers offer a spatial perspective on the events, ideas and processes that shape our world. Geography is an integrative discipline, drawing upon and synthesizing a wide range of specialized knowledge in order to make sense of phenomena as it occurs on the ground.
Geography is comprised of three major sub-groups: physical geography, human geography and cartography. Physical geography is an earth science that seeks to explain the interactions of the atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere in shaping physical landscapes. Human geography is a social science that seeks to explain the influence of humans on the landscape; in other words, the spatial organization of cultural, political and economic activity. Cartography is the science of map making and spatial representation, which more recently includes the use of digital technology and geographic information science (GIScience).
- We offer innovative and high quality learning experiences. The Geography Program at UNBC regularly offers Field Schools to intriguing places (e.g., Guatemala and South Africa). We recently offered a unique and highly successful Block Course Delivery Pilot in Human Geography that allowed students to take one course at a time in condensed three week format, rather than five courses at a time spread out over 13 weeks. Students in Physical Geography learn in a wide variety of settings, including lecture and seminar rooms, dry labs, wet labs, and by capturing data out in the field, including such places as the Quesnel River Research Centre in Likely, BC.
- Our faculty bring their internationally-recognized research and expertise to the classroom. UNBC Geography places a high priority on faculty research. Our faculty are nationally and internationally recognized for research in things as diverse as glacial dynamics, critical development, remote sensing, Indigenous land rights, fluvial geomorphology, ecotourism, rural health care delivery, and community development. This does not mean that we treat our programs of research as something separate from our undergraduate teaching. Instead we bring the findings of our own work, as well as the latest developments in our respective fields, into our undergraduate courses. There are even opportunities in some senior level undergraduate courses for students to undertake research of their own, under the supervision of expert faculty researchers.
- We prepare our students to understand the world around them, and to adapt and succeed in an ever-changing world. Our curricula place a high priority in providing students with a wide set of skills they can apply in an ever-changing employment market. This includes analytical methods (e.g., GIS, statistics, qualitative inquiry, research design, field measurement techniques), oral and written communication skills, critical thinking, and time management. Just as importantly, we prepare students to assemble and integrate a wide range of specialized expertise into practical knowledge that is of value to employers and clients. In an age where job titles and specializations can disappear in a flash, it is good to have a skill set that adapts well!
- Albers, S.J. and Petticrew, E.L. 2013. Biogeomorphic impacts of migration and disturbance: implications of salmon spawning and decay. Geomorphology http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2013.02.002
- Hall, K. 2013. Weathering and landforms in cold regions. In .F.Shroder (ed.)Treatise on Geomorphology, 4, 258-276. San Diego, Academic Press.
- Owens, P.N., Giles, T.R., Petticrew, E.L., Leggat, M., Moore, R.D., and Eaton, B.C. (2013). Muted responses of streamflow and suspended sediment flux in a wildfire-affected watershed. Geomorphology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2013.01.001
- Ryser, L., Markey, S., and Halseth, G. 2013. Developing the next generation of community-based researchers: Tips for undergraduate students. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 37(1), 11–27.