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Geography

Geography

Location

  • Department of Geography
  • Burnside Hall
  • 805 Sherbrooke Street West, Room 705
  • Montreal QC H3A 0B9
  • Canada
  • Telephone: 514-398-4111
  • Fax: 514-398-7437
  • Email: grad [dot] geog [at] mcgill [dot] ca
  • Website: www.mcgill.ca/geography

About Geography

The Department of Geography offers research and thesis-based graduate programs leading to a Master of Arts (M.A.), a Master of Science (M.Sc.), or a doctorate (Ph.D.). In its scope, our program includes the opportunity to conduct field-based studies in both the natural (i.e., biophysical) and the social sciences. Thematic areas of study include:

  • Political, Urban, Economic, and Health Geography;
  • Environment and Human Development;
  • Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing;
  • Land Surface Processes;
  • Earth Systems Science;
  • Environmental Management.

Geography houses the Hitschfield Geographic Information Centre, maintains the McGill High Arctic Research Station (Axel Heiburg Island, Nunavut Territory) and the McGill Sub-Arctic Research Station (Schefferville, Quebec), and has strong ties with McGill’s School of Environment. Faculty and students conduct research in fields as diverse as climate change impacts, periglacial geomorphology, and forest resource history in regions ranging from the Arctic to Southeast Asia and Latin America.

Being both a natural and a social science, geography provides a unique opportunity to obtain a broad exposure to modes of analyzing the many environmental and situational problems of contemporary society. Because of this, a geography degree is a fantastic opportunity to obtain a career in one of a diverse range of fields. Our students have gone on to become United Nations field researchers in Laos, environmental consultants in Toronto, science teachers in the U.S., geography professors in many parts of the world, UNHCR volunteers in Malaysia, and policy analysts, as well as health and social policy researchers in Montreal…the list goes on! If you're on Facebook, look for McGill Geography Alumni or visit our website to learn more about the advantages of having a geography degree from McGill!

Master’s degrees in both the physical (M.Sc.) and social (M.A.) sciences are offered by Geography. The core of both programs for all students is field-based research supervised by a faculty member, culminating in a thesis. The core program consists of the thesis component, required, and complementary graduate (500- or 600-level) courses.

Geography also offers in association with other McGill departments and programs a number of M.A. and M.Sc. options that students may choose to follow. Students must pass the courses specified for their program, attend such additional courses as the Chair and the student's thesis supervisor think fit, and submit a thesis in an appropriate area of geographical inquiry approved by the adviser.

McGill Northern Research Stations

The McGill Sub-Arctic Research Station is located in Schefferville, in the centre of Quebec-Labrador. Facilities exist for research in most areas of physical and some areas of human geography in the subarctic.

McGill University also operates a field station at Expedition Fiord on Axel Heiberg Island in the High Arctic. Facilities are limited to a small lab, dorm building, and cookhouse. Research activities focus on the glacial and geological. For additional information on these stations, contact the Scientific Director, wayne [dot] pollard [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Wayne Pollard), Department of Geography.

Master of Arts (M.A.) Programs in Geography

Detailed program requirements for the following M.A. programs are found in Faculty of Arts > Graduate > Academic Programs > Geography.

Master of Arts (M.A.); Geography (Thesis) (45 credits)

Master’s degrees in both the physical (M.Sc.) and social (M.A.) sciences are offered by Geography. The core of both programs for all students is field-based research, supervised by a faculty member, culminating in a thesis. The core program consists of the thesis component, required, and complementary graduate (500- or 600-level) courses. Geography also offers a number of M.A. and M.Sc. options in association with other McGill departments and programs that students may choose to follow.

Master of Arts (M.A.); Geography (Thesis) — Development Studies (45 credits)

The Development Studies Option (DSO) is cross-disciplinary in scope within existing master’s programs in Geography, Anthropology, History, Political Science, Economics, and Sociology. Its components include the thesis; required International Development and Geography courses; and complementary courses from the participating departments. This thesis option is open to master's students specializing in development studies. Students enter through one of the participating departments and must meet the M.A. requirements of that unit. Students will take an interdisciplinary seminar and a variety of graduate-level courses on international development issues. The M.A. thesis must be on a topic relating to development studies, approved by the DSO coordinating committee.

Master of Arts (M.A.); Geography (Thesis) — Environment (45 credits)

The Environment option is offered in association with the McGill School of Environment (MSE) and is composed of a thesis component, required, and complementary Geography and Environment courses. The graduate option in Environment provides students with an appreciation for the role of science in informed decision-making in the environmental sector, and its influence on political, socio-economic, and ethical judgments. Students who have been admitted through their home department or Faculty may apply for admission to the option. Option requirements are consistent across academic units. The option is coordinated by the MSE, in partnership with participating academic units.

Master of Arts (M.A.); Geography (Thesis) — Gender and Women's Studies (45 credits)

This is an interdisciplinary program for Geography students wishing to focus on gender and women’s studies and issues in feminist research and methods. Included within it are a thesis on gender and women’s studies, required, and complementary courses from Geography and Women’s Studies.

Master of Arts (M.A.); Geography (Thesis) — Neotropical Environment (45 credits)

The McGill-STRI Neotropical Environment Option (NEO) is a research-based option for master's or Ph.D. students offered in association with several University departments, the McGill School of Environment, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI-Panama). The option includes a thesis; required courses in Geography, Environment, and Biology; and complementary courses chosen from Geography, Agriculture Sciences, Biology, Sociology, Environment, and Political Science. NEO is aimed at students who wish to focus their graduate research on environmental issues relevant to the Neotropics and Latin American countries. NEO favours interdisciplinary approaches to research and learning through the participation of researchers from McGill and from STRI. Students will complete their research in Latin America and NEO's core and complementary courses will be taught in Panama. NEO's educational approach seeks to facilitate a broader understanding of tropical environmental issues and the development of skills relevant to working in the tropics.

Master of Arts (M.A.); Geography (Thesis) — Social Statistics (45 credits)

This program is currently not offered.

Master of Science (M.Sc.) Programs in Geography

Detailed program requirements for the following M.Sc. programs are found in Faculty of Science > Graduate > Academic Programs > Geography.

Master of Science (M.Sc.); Geography (Thesis) (45 credits)

Master’s degrees in both the physical (M.Sc.) and social (M.A.) sciences are offered by Geography. The core of both programs for all students is field-based research, supervised by a faculty member, culminating in a thesis. The core program consists of the thesis component, required, and complementary graduate (500- or 600-level) courses. Geography also offers a number of M.A. and M.Sc. options in association with other McGill departments and programs that students may choose to follow.

Master of Science (M.Sc.); Geography (Thesis) — Environment (45 credits)

The Environment option is offered in association with the McGill School of Environment (MSE) and is composed of a thesis component; required Geography and Environment courses; and complementary Geography and Environment courses. The graduate option in Environment provides students with an appreciation for the role of science in informed decision-making in the environmental sector, and its influence on political, socio-economic, and ethical judgments. Students who have been admitted through their home department or Faculty may apply for admission to the option. Option requirements are consistent across academic units. The option is coordinated by the MSE, in partnership with participating academic units.

Master of Science (M.Sc.); Geography (Thesis) — Neotropical Environment (45 credits)

The McGill-STRI Neotropical Environment Option (NEO) is a research-based option for master's students is offered in association with several university departments, the McGill School of Environment, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI-Panama). The option includes a thesis; required courses in Geography, Environment, and Biology; and complementary courses chosen from Geography, Agriculture Sciences, Biology, Sociology, Environment, and Political Science. NEO is aimed at students who wish to focus their graduate research on environmental issues relevant to the Neotropics and Latin American countries. NEO favours interdisciplinary approaches to research and learning through the participation of researchers from McGill and from STRI. Students will complete their research in Latin America and NEO's core and complementary courses will be taught in Panama. NEO's educational approach seeks to facilitate a broader understanding of tropical environmental issues and the development of skills relevant to working in the tropics.

Ph.D. Programs in Geography

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.); Geography

The doctoral degree in Geography includes the successful completion of the comprehensive examination, a thesis based on original research, and coursework chosen in collaboration with the student’s supervisor and/or research committee. The main elements of the Ph.D. are the thesis and comprehensive examination, a required Methods of Geographical Research course, and a minimum of two complementary courses.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.); Geography — Environment

The Environment option consists of the thesis and comprehensive examination; required courses from Geography and Environment; and complementary courses in Environment or other fields recommended by the research committee and approved by the Environment Option Committee. The graduate option in Environment provides students with an appreciation for the role of science in informed decision-making in the environmental sector, and its influence on political, socio-economic, and ethical judgments. Students who have been admitted through their home department or faculty may apply for admission to the option. Option requirements are consistent across academic units. The option is coordinated by the MSE, in partnership with participating academic units.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.); Geography — Gender and Women's Studies

This doctoral option is an interdisciplinary program for students who meet the degree requirements in Geography and who wish to earn 9 credits of approved coursework on gender and women’s studies and issues in feminist research and methods. It includes a thesis centrally related to gender and/or women’s studies; the comprehensive examination; required courses in Geography and Women’s Studies; and complementary courses, one of which must pertain to gender and/or women’s issues.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.); Geography — Neotropical Environment

The McGill-STRI Neotropical Environment Option (NEO) is a research-based option for Ph.D. students offered in association with several university departments, the McGill School of Environment, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI-Panama) and includes the thesis; comprehensive examination; required courses in Geography, Environment and Biology; and complementary courses chosen from Geography, Agriculture Sciences, Biology, Sociology, Environment, and Political Science. NEO is aimed at students who wish to focus their graduate research on environmental issues relevant to the Neotropics and Latin American countries. NEO favours interdisciplinary approaches to research and learning through the participation of researchers from McGill and from STRI. Students will complete their research in Latin America and NEO's core and complementary courses will be taught in Panama. NEO's educational approach seeks to facilitate a broader understanding of tropical environmental issues and the development of skills relevant to working in the tropics.

Taken from Programs, Courses and University Regulations 2015-2016 (last updated Jul. 24, 2015).

Geography Admission Requirements and Application Procedures

Admission Requirements

M.A. and M.Sc. Degrees

Applicants not satisfying the conditions in Graduate Admissions and Application Procedures, but with primary undergraduate specialization in a cognate field, may be admitted to the M.A. or M.Sc. degree in Geography in certain circumstances. In general, they, and others who have deficiencies in their preparation but are otherwise judged to be acceptable, will be required to register for a Qualifying program or to undertake additional courses.

Ph.D. Degree

Students who have completed a master's degree in Geography (with high standing) may be admitted at the Ph.D. 2 level.

On rare occasions, a student may be admitted to the Ph.D. degree without having first taken the master's degree. They, and others who have deficiencies in their preparation but are otherwise acceptable, will be required to register for a year of coursework and/or be required to take extra courses. The normal duration of a program, including field work where required, is three years.

Normally, the Department will restrict admission to the Ph.D. program to students prepared to work in one of the fields of human or physical geography in which specialized supervision is offered. These, which cover a wide range of systematic areas, are listed in documents available from the Department.

Application Procedures

McGill’s online application form for graduate program candidates is available at www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/apply.

See Application Procedures for detailed application procedures.

Further departmental application information is listed at www.mcgill.ca/geography/graduate.

Additional Requirements

The items and clarifications below are additional requirements set by this department:

  • Research Proposal
  • Letters of Reference – two references required for M.A. and M.Sc. programs; three references required for Ph.D. program
  • Curriculum Vitae

Application Deadlines

The application deadlines listed here are set by the Geography Department and may be revised at any time. Applicants must verify all deadlines and documentation requirements well in advance on the appropriate McGill departmental website; please consult the list at www.mcgill.ca/gps/contact/graduate-program.

Canadian International Special/Exchange/Visiting
Fall: Jan. 31 Fall: Jan. 31 Fall: Jan. 31
Winter: N/A Winter: N/A Winter: N/A
Summer: N/A Summer: N/A Summer: N/A

Admission to graduate studies is competitive; accordingly, late and/or incomplete applications are considered only as time and space permit.

Taken from Programs, Courses and University Regulations 2015-2016 (last updated Jul. 14, 2015).