Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Course Descriptions

1100  Global Perspectives on Land and Life (Group D)
3 credit hours

An introduction to the world and its major regions, focusing on traits, processes, and geographical patterns which give regions their distinctive character.  These elements are derived from the complex interrelationships between human activity and the environment.  Regional case studies may include: Europe, monsoon Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and others.


1200 People, Place and Environment (Group D)
3 credit hours

This course introduces environmental geography through an integrative approach that explores how humans have impacted and been impacted by earth’s physical systems.  Human linkages with the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and solid earth will be explored.  Emphasis will be placed on geographical problems and interaction between humans and environment of varying scales in order to better understand the complexity of our natural world.  Where appropriate, case studies will be used to highlight specific methods of geographical analysis.


2306 Geospatial Concepts (Group C)
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: at least eighteen (18) credit hours

Students will develop literacy in core geospatial concepts and reinforce skills in numeracy that are critical for understanding and developing knowledge in geography. This course will also be of interest to students in disciplines related to Geography such as Anthropology, Biology, Environmental Science, and Geology.


2310 Geography of Canada (Group D)
3 credit hours

This course provides an overview of the physical, social, cultural and economic geographical characteristics of Canada taken as a whole and within its distinct regions. How humans affect and are affected by the physical environment will be a recurrent theme.


2312 Urban Geography (Group A)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: GEOG 1100 or GEOG 1200.

Students are provided with an overview of the processes and patterns of urban development and change presented through traditional and contemporary models, underscoring the complex interaction of historical, morphological, environmental, technological, social, political, and economic landscapes occurring throughout urban areas.


2313 Geomorphology (Group B) [GEOL 2373]
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: GEOG 1100 or GEOL 1200 or GEOL 1201

is the scientific study of landforms and landscapes.  Students explore the basic principles of geomorphology, with an emphasis on Canadian landscapes. In lab exercises, students investigate and apply common techniques of geomorphological data collection and analysis.

Classes 2 hrs. and lab 2 hrs. a week.


2315 The Oceans (Group D)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite:  GEOG 1100 or GEOG 1200.

A geographic study of the physical, environmental, economic and societal aspects of the world’s oceans.  Examination of the development of traditional and new uses of the oceans will focus attention on management issues.  Regional case studies will be used to illustrate evolving concepts of oceanic management, including marine protected areas, territorial seas, and conflict of use issues.


2325 Sedimentology (Group B) [GEOL 2325]
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: GEOG 1200 or GEOL 1200 or GEOL 1201.


2332 Global Cities (Group A)
3 credit hours

With over half the global population now urbanized, cities play an increasingly important role in the contemporary world.  Comparisons are made of the structure and function of cities in each of the global regions, and the benefits and costs are considered for a rapidly urbanizing world.


2333 Biogeography (Group B)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: GEOG 1200

A study of the spatial and temporal distribution of plants and animals on Earth. Local to global scale patterns of species distribution in terrestrial and marine environments are explained by examining physical controls, ecological principles, and human impacts. Concepts of speciation, evolution, migration and extinction are explored to examine species changes over space and time.  Particular emphasis is placed on the role of humans as agents of change in biogeographical distributions. Examples are drawn from Atlantic Canada where possible.


2341 Economic Geography (Group A)
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: GEOG 1100 or 1200

The economy is continuously changing, serving as a catalyst for restructuring and reorganizing. Students will be introduced to the key foundations of economic geography, global-local connections of economic change, patterns and processes of economic change, and economic actors and their interactions. The course is taught from a sustainable development perspective, exploring interactions between interconnected economic, social and ecological systems.


2343 Weather and Climate (Group B)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: GEOG 1200

Students investigate weather and climate systems on Earth across a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. Topics include: the atmosphere, energy balances, microclimates, regional weather, and global climate processes. Applied meteorology and climatology will also be covered, including adaptation and mitigation strategies for severe events.

Classes 2 hrs. and lab 2 hrs. a week.


2349 Cultural Geography (Group A)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite:  GEOG 1100 or 1200.

Students are introduced to the core geographic concept of place and critically examine its role in shaping (while in turn being shaped by) significant dimensions of cultural identity, including nationalism, heritage, religion, language, race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, fashion, food, music and dance.


2356 Inquiry and Explanation in Physical Geography (Group C)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite:  GEOG 1100 or 1200.

Students consider the design, conduct, evaluations, explanation, and dissemination of geographic research. Topics include: formulating research plans, conducting literature reviews, developing hypotheses, planning data collection, presenting results, evaluating evidence, and drawing valid conclusions.

Classes 2 hrs. and seminars 2 hrs. a week.


2386 Introduction to Mapping and Geographical information Systems (GIS) (Group C)
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: GEOG 2306 

Students will be introduced to the critical design, compilation and construction of maps as a medium for communication and research. Issues surrounding data acquisition, online data sources and data quality will be explored.  Fundamental concepts and components of geographical information systems (GIS) will be introduced using an experiential learning framework, merging theory and practice. 

Classes 2 hrs. and lab 2 hrs. a week.


2390 Geography of Ireland (Group D) [IRST 2391]
3 credit hours

Students examine the physical, social, cultural, economic, and political geography. Special emphasis will be given to the nature of past and present internal population movements and emigration patterns, regional variations in economic development, and the effects of membership in the European Union.


3004 Geography Practicum (Group D)
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: Registered major or honours students in Geography, B.E.S. or GEOL/GEOG combined program, and GEOG 2356.

Students explore how geography and environmental studies is practiced and applied beyond the classroom.  This course is based on the principle of experiential learning while examining how our discipline is applied in the real world. In addition to class discussions and guest lectures, practicum hours outside the classroom will be required with non-profit, for-profit, private sector or government agencies.


3100 Geography Field School (Group D)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: GEOG 1100 and 1200, and 24 credit-hours, plus permission of the Department Chairperson.

The physical and human geography of a selected Canadian and international regions will be studied primarily in the field in this experiential learning course.  Trip destinations may vary in different years according to faculty interests and collaborative opportunities that may arise.  An integrative regional geography perspective will be taken.  Students will be required to attend orientation and preparation classes before the trip, and to complete assigned course work after the trip. 


3213 Applied Geomorphology (Group B)
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: GEOG 2313 [GEOL 2373] or GEOG 2333.

Students consider geomorphological processes that are of societal significance, including habitat loss and hazards such as flooding, landslides, slope failure and coastal erosion. Approaches to mitigating and adapting to natural and human induced geomorphic changes will be explored using global case studies and local hands-on examples.

Classes 2 hrs. and lab 2 hrs. a week.


3304 Environmental Management (Group D)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: GEOG 1100 or 1200, and at least 6 credit hours in GEOG courses at the 2000-level or above.

This course provides a framework for effective identification, analysis, and management of environmental systems at different scales. It introduces concepts and methods designed to address real-world problems characterized by complexity, uncertainty, and change. Specific geographical environments and selected management issues (such as water pollution, soil erosion, and waste management), are examined, together with methods of environmental planning and impact assessment, including practical aspects of environmental management standards.


3311 Rural Geography (Group A)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: One of GEOG 2312, GEOG 2341 or GEOG 2349.

Examines the nature of rural settlement and land use in various cultural and technological settings.  Emphasis is placed on agricultural patterns, and the changing organization of the countryside in modern societies.  Topics include frontier settlement; land surveys; village morphology; land abandonment; farm enlargement and fragmentation; forestry, mining, and recreational uses; commuting; and conflicts over multiple land use and scenic preservation.


3320 Geography of the North (Group D)
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: 24 credit hours

The North has become increasingly important in the globalized world. Students will identify and explore the Provincial North, the Territorial North, and international northern regions. Perspectives on major geographical challenges in the North are explored, such as the interactions of growing demand for natural resources, migration and mobility, globalization, and the influences of climate change.


3321 Economic Globalization: Geography of Manufacturing (Group A)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Two of: GEOG 2312, GEOG 2341 or GEOG 2349.

The course concerns the identification of key factors, and a discussion of their influence, in the geographical distribution and location of manufacturing industries. Both location theory and case studies are used to analyze the location of these industries. Examples include iron and steel, motor vehicles, and oil refining.


3326 Statistical Methods in Geography (Group C)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: GEOG 2306

Students are introduced to methods and problems in the collection, description, and analysis of geographic data. Included are descriptive and inferential statistics for spatial data, regression and correlation, analysis of patterns, and use of statistical software.

Classes 2 hrs. and lab 2 hrs. a week.


3329 Geographic Perspectives on Nature (Group A)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: GEOG 1200 and one of GEOG 2315, GEOG 2333 or GEOG 2349.

Students explore historical and contemporary conceptions of nature to assess how they shape and are shaped by culturally produced ‘natural’ landscapes.  Landscapes to be analyzed will include: wilderness reserves, rural countryside, suburban yards, city parks, urban gardens, and zoos.


3340 Geography of Nova Scotia (Group D) [ACST 3340]
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: at least twenty-four (24) credit-hours

This course explores the geographical diversity of the province, with particular emphasis on interrelationships between physical and human patterns. A section on the physical environment is followed by a discussion of settlement, cultural patterns, and economic development. Current issues of resource development, industrial reorganization, environmental management, and land use planning are addressed.


3350 Geography of Sub-Saharan Africa (Group D)
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: GEOG 1100 or 1200

Students are introduced to the geography of Africa south of the Sahara. Economic, historical, political, social, cultural and environmental issues will be examined in the large, diverse region. Students will gain an understanding of the spatial distribution of geographic and environmental phenomena both from a human, economic and physical perspective.


3351 Demography and Migration (Group A)
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: One of: GEOG 2312, GEOG 2341 or GEOG 2349.

Changes in populations over time have dramatic implications for society and the environment. Students learn the key concepts, theories, and methods of demography. Students examine the current Canadian and international demographic trends, utilizing data from agencies such as Statistics Canada and the OECD.


3356 Remote Sensing of the Environment (Group C)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: GEOG 2306

Students study the acquisition, storage, manipulation, analysis, interpretation, and applications of remotely sensed digital imagery with an emphasis on remote sensing of terrestrial surfaces.  A range of sensors and spatial scales of imagery are introduced.  Image interpretation and processing skills are developed using current image processing software in the lab.

Classes 2 hrs. and lab 2 hrs. a week.


3380 Climate Change: Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation (Group D)
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: GEOG 1200 and one of  GEOG 2312, GEOG 2341 or GEOG 2349.

Students examine global, regional and sectoral impacts of climate change with an emphasis on geographical, bio-physical and socio-economic factors influencing risk and vulnerability. Students explore how individuals and communities can increase resilience through adaptation using regional and international examples. 


3386 Concepts in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Analysis (Group C)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite:  GEOG 2386 or GEOL 3305.

Students focus on applied geospatial analyses using ArcGIS and associated extensions.. Topics include spatial analysis and geostatistics, 3D surface modelling, visualization,. network analysis, predictive modelling and multiple criteria evaluations. Examples will be drawn from earth and environment science, geography, environmental studies, anthropology and business.

Classes 2 hrs. and lab 2 hrs. a week.


3416 Qualitative Research Methods in Geography (Group C)
3 credit hours
Prerequisites:  GEOG 2356.

Students are introduced to major qualitative research methods utilized by geographers. Topics include: data collection (interviewing, participant observation, textual analysis, focus groups, photovoice) and data analysis.


3433 Fluvial Geomorphology  (Group B)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite:  GEOG 2313 [GEOL 2373] or GEOL 2325 [GEOG 2325]

Students examine processes and landforms associated with rivers.  Topics include drainage basin controls, channel processes and morphology, erosional and depositional fluvial landforms, and evolution of fluvial landscapes.

Classes 2 hrs. and lab 2 hrs. a week.


3454 Bay of Fundy: Environments and Issues (Group D)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite:  GEOG 1100 and GEOG 1200 and 24 credit-hours, plus permission of the Department Chairperson

In this interdisciplinary field course students examine physical, biological and human environments, processes and issues in the Bay of Fundy region from both a historical and a contemporary view.  Topics include physical and biological processes such as tides and biological productivity, ecosystems such as tidal flats and salt marshes, settlement patterns, and resource use.  Emphasis is placed on current issues and solutions.


3553 Arctic and Alpine Landscapes (Group B)
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: GEOG 2313 [GEOL 2373] or GEOG 2333

The physical geography of Arctic and alpine landscapes will be investigated from an integrated perspective. The objective will be to understand controls on biophysical processes and patterns in these environments including sensitivities to, and the effects of, changing climates. Selected Canadian and global locations will be studied.

Classes 2 hrs. and lab 2 hrs. a week.


4406 Capstone Seminar in Geography (Group D)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Registered major or honours students in Geography, the Bachelor of Environmental Studies program, or the Geology/Geography combined program, with at least sixty (60) university credit-hours

Students analyze major philosophical and methodological developments that have shaped modern geography in order to explore areas of common ground and divergence within our broad-ranging discipline. Throughout the term students address two fundamental questions: what defines the academic discipline of geography and how is geographical expertise applied beyond academia?


4412 Urban History and Preservation (Group A)
3 credit hours|
Prerequisite: Two of: GEOG 2312, GEOG 2341 or GEOG 2349

Students examine the evolution of cities from antiquity through the middle-twentieth century, including their morphological and functional characteristics.  A focus is placed on the value of historical landscapes in today’s urban fabric, and techniques for their protection and revitalization.


4413 Coastal Geomorphology (Group B) [GEOL 4476]
3 credit hours
Prerequisite:  GEOG 2313 [GEOL 2373] or GEOL 2325 [GEOG 2325]

Students examine both the physical processes that operate in the coastal zone, at a range of spatial and temporal scales, and the resulting landforms.  The actions of waves, tides, currents, wind, sea level changes and humans in the formation of coastal features are considered.  Additional topics include the long-term development and classification of coasts.

Classes 2 hrs. and lab 2 hrs. a week.  Some field work may be required.


4423 Glaciers and Glaciation(Group B) [GEOL 4475]
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: GEOG 2313 [GEOL 2373] or GEOL 2325 [GEOG 2325]

Glaciers have profound effects on landscapes and are an important component of global physical systems.  Glaciology, causes and records of fluctuations in glacial coverage, glacial processes, glacial landforms, and the legacy of past glacial activity on earth will be examined.  Broader impacts of glacial activity and changes on humans and the environment will also be investigated.

Classes 2 hrs. and lab 2 hrs. a week.


4424 Natural Resource Management (Group D) [ENVS 4450]
3 credit hours
Prerequisite:  GEOG 3304 or ENVS 2300 and one of GEOG 3326 or BIOL 3308



4431 Community and Regional Development (Group A)
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: Two of: GEOG 2312, GEOG 2341 or GEOG 2349.

Students are introduced to community and regional development theories, techniques, and approaches. Geographical perspectives of space, place, and scale will guide the discussions of community and regional development in the Canadian context. The course will blend lectures and applied research initiatives to provide students the opportunities to apply their knowledge to ‘real-world’ situations.


4432 Social Geography of the City (Group A)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite:  Two of: GEOG 2312, GEOG 2341 or GEOG 2349

The location of residential areas in cities, and the differentiation and segregation of those areas by income, occupation, race, ethnic status, and religion are examined.  Emphasis is placed on the historical evolution of social patterns, on the link between social areas and the physical fabric of the city, on competition between groups for amenity locations and facilities, and on the conflicts over noxious facilities.


4434 Watershed Management (Group D)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: GEOG 3304 and  GEOG 2313 [GEOL 2373] or GEOL 3340.

Students explore the concept of integrated watershed management.  This will include assessments of biophysical freshwater systems, implications for natural resource development and land use on water quality and quantity, as well as institutional arrangements and the role of stakeholder involvement in watershed-scale decision-making.  Field trips to local watersheds will be incorporated into the course syllabus.


4442 Urban Planning (Group A)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Two of: GEOG 2312, GEOG 2341 or GEOG 2349

The physical and environmental planning of urban areas, with special reference to current practice in Nova Scotia are examined. Topics include the emergence of modern town planning, the Planning Act, planning process, structure plans, general and partial urban allocation models, municipal plans, zoning, subdivision control, site planning, urban renewal, and new towns. The costs and benefits of planning are appraised.

4443 Natural Hazards (Group B)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite:  GEOG 2313 [GEOL 2373] or GEOG 2343 and at least 6 credits hours in GEOG courses at 3000 level or above.

Natural hazards as a part of human-environment relations characterized by changing geographical patterns are examined.  Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, severe weather, floods, coastal hazards, extraterrestrial body impacts are analyzed in a multi-scale perspective, along with their functional relationships.  The human impact of natural hazards is discussed, with an emphasis on environmental perception, public awareness and action.  Possibilities of forecasting are examined, as well as risk assessment and mitigation strategies.


4444 Environmental Pattern Analysis and Modeling [ENVS 4460]
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: 60 credit hours, including one of ENVS 1203, 2300, 2310, or GEOG 3304, and one of MATH 1216, GEOG 3326, MGSC 2207 or BIOL 3308.

The focus of this course is on theory and practical methods for characterizing and modeling environmental systems, which are complex and often strongly variable in space and/or time. It includes approaches to patterns and pattern change evaluation, data mining, and dynamic system modeling. Geoscience and life science applications are studied, such as rivers, coastal areas, fisheries, forests, mineral distribution, geomorphologic features, geohazards, ecosystem dynamics, and atmospheric variables

Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. a week.


4449  Tourist Geographies (Group A)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite:  Two of: GEOG 2312, GEOG 2341 or GEOG 2349.

Students investigate why and how people travel, in the past and today, before examining several prominent tourist landscapes to understand the particular geographies that both shape and are shaped by the tourist imagination.  Students will also address ethical questions associated with tourism.


4459 The Power of Maps: A Social History of Cartography (Group A)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: GEOG 2386

Maps reveal a great deal about the worlds of their makers, communicating the technical proficiencies, economic structures, social relations, political objectives and prevailing belief systems of the societies that call them forth. Students critically examine the map-society relationship in selected historical contexts, as well as in our contemporary society.


4465 Advanced Sedimentology (Group B) [GEOL 4465]
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: GEOL 2325 [GEOG 2325] and GEOL 3326



4496 Applications in Geomatics (Group C)
3 credit hours
Prerequisite:  GEOG 3356 or GEOG 3386

This course allows students to develop further their understanding of geomatics and its applications.  Students focus on the use of either geographic information systems (GIS) or remote sensing to address practical problems in areas such as resource management, marketing, regional planning, natural hazards and geomorphology.  Students will undertake a major research project using various GIS analytical functions, and develop skills relating to data creation, manipulation, quality assessment and presentation.

Classes 2 hrs. and lab 2 hrs. a week.


4526 Honours Thesis (Group D)
6 credit hours
Prerequisite: Honours standing in Geography

The Honours thesis requires an independent research project to be completed under the supervision of a faculty advisor.  The advisor will guide the student in the formulation of the research proposal, methodology to be followed, the collection and analysis of data, and in the writing of the thesis.


4800 – 4825 Selected Topics in Geography
6 credit hours
Prerequisite: Vary depending on the nature of the Selected Topic

These courses will cover topics not represented by other courses in Geography.  The subject matter will be selected by the instructor.  If appropriate to the material, a class and lab mode of presentation may be used instead of classes alone.


4826 – 4849 Selected Topics in Geography
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Vary depending on the nature of the Selected Topic

These courses will cover topics not represented by other courses in Geography.  The subject matter will be selected by the instructor.  If appropriate to the material, a class and lab mode of presentation may be used instead of classes alone.


4850 – 4875  Directed Study (Group D)
3 credit hours


4876 - 4899  Directed Study (Group D)
6 credit hours