Geography is an exciting and distinctive discipline at the interface between Science and Arts. Its focus is on putting various types of knowledge together to find innovative solutions to problems faced by society such as climate change, poverty, sustainability, health, and inequality. We aim to provide courses and learning that will enable you to make a difference in your chosen career path after university.
Studying Geography will allow you to take an informed and analytical view of our changing world, and of your place in it. The relationship between people and their environment is a key geographical theme, as is the way in which this relationship can be made more sustainable for the future.
This puts Geography at the core of many important current debates. For example, geographers are able to examine the issue of climate change holistically by looking at both the physical factors that affect the problem and also the human responses to the challenges created.
- UC is rated in the top 150 universities in the world for Geography (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2019).
- Our world-class research in Geography and related fields attracts students from all over the world, with PhD and master's students coming from across Asia, Africa, the Pacific, and Aotearoa New Zealand.
- Postgraduate students are able to shape their own study and research questions (see GEOG 401 Well-Being, Community and Place) and we facilitate strong community engagement through programmes such as GEOG 402 Resilient Cities and GEOG 415 Geography Internship.
- We have excellent supervisors and postgraduate courses are small and often discussion based.
- Fieldwork is an integral part of many courses. UC operates climate stations in Kā Tiritiri-o-te-moana Southern Alps and elsewhere in Te Waipounamu South Island, and utilises the University's field stations at Cass and Kawatiri Westport.
- The Department hosts both the Te Tai Whenua o te Hauora | GeoHealth Laboratory and the University Centre for Atmospheric Research. It also has close links with Gateway Antarctica, with staff and graduate students often making summer visits to Scott Base in Antarctica.
Students should have a bachelor's degree which is relevant to Geography, normally with a B Grade Point Average or higher in the final year.
For entry to the PhD, students must normally have obtained a Bachelor of Science with Honours, a Bachelor of Arts with Honours, a Master of Science, or a Master of Arts of high standard.
UC offers the following postgraduate programmes in Geography:
- Graduate Diploma in Arts
- Graduate Diploma in Science
- Bachelor of Arts with Honours
- Bachelor of Science with Honours
- Postgraduate Certificate in Arts
- Postgraduate Certificate in Science
- Postgraduate Diploma in Arts
- Postgraduate Diploma in Science
- Master of Arts
- Master of Science
- Doctor of Philosophy
See the individual qualification pages for more information on degree requirements.
Bachelor of Arts with Honours and Bachelor of Science with Honours majoring in Geography
Graduate Diploma in Arts and Graduate Diploma in Science specialising in Geography
To complete a GradDipArts or GradDipSc with a Geography focus, students will need to complete at least 60 points in 100-300 level GEOG courses throughout their degree. In total 90 points must be at 300-level in the diploma from Geography and/or other Arts or Science courses.
Postgraduate Certificate in Arts and Postgraduate Certificate in Science majoring in Geography
For the PGCertSc, students need to complete at least 45 points in GEOG 400-level courses for the major. In total 60 points must be completed for the PGCertSc from Geography and/or other Science courses.
Students need to complete all 60 points in the PGCertArts in GEOG 400-level courses for the major. With approval, they may substitute 30 points in their certificate with either PACE 495 Professional and Community Engagement Internship or DIGI 403 Digital Project with a Geography focus.
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts and Postgraduate Diploma in Science majoring in Geography
In the PGDipSc, the 120 points in the diploma are chosen from 400-level GEOG and GISC courses (GEOG 420 Research Project is recommended). With approval, up to 60 points in the diploma may be chosen from other Science subjects.
All 120 points in the PGDipArts are chosen from GEOG 400-level courses. With approval, 30 points in the diploma may be substituted with either PACE 495 Professional and Community Engagement Internship or DIGI 403 Digital Project with a Geography focus.
Master of Arts and Master of Science majoring in Geography
Part I of both the MA and MSc in Geography is made up of 120 points from 400-level GEOG and GISC courses. With approval, up to 60 points in the degrees may be chosen from other Arts or Science subjects.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Geography
In the PhD, students need to pass a thesis of original research in the Geography field (GEOG 790 Geography PhD).
UC also offers specialised postgraduate programmes in related areas to Geography:
- Postgraduate Certificate in Geospatial Science and Technology
- Postgraduate Diploma in Geographic Information Science
- Postgraduate Diploma in Geospatial Science and Technology
- Professional Master of Geospatial Science and Technology
- Master of Bicultural Co-Governance of Natural Resources
- Master of Geographic Information Science
- Master of Spatial Analysis for Public Health
- Master of Urban Resilience and Renewal
Recent graduates have found work all over Aotearoa New Zealand and the world, from Tāmaki-makaurau Auckland to Melbourne, California to Antarctica. Many have found careers in the public service, the tourism industry, private companies dealing with geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS), the police, local authorities, and in education.
The Resource Management Act has created a lively market for geographers in consultancy and in regional and local government. Those who gain technical expertise in areas such as GIS and remote sensing are also in demand from both the public and private sectors. In addition, research and policy positions in central, regional, and local government are popular.
Some graduates find work overseas for Manatū Aorere | Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, development agencies, and the United Nations, or in positions that are particularly people-focused, like the union movement, teaching, or personnel, where communication skills are critical.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Geography.
See the Department's website for up-to-date location details.
College of Science | Te Rāngai Pūtaiao
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800