Geography and the Environment

Course List

Code Course Description
GEOG 1100

Introduction to Human Geography

Human geography examines the spatial organization of our interactions with each other and with the non-human environment. It focuses on intersections and connections as well as differences and divisions among people and places. GEOG 1100 introduces students to major traditions, themes, and theories of human geography by focusing on the patterns and processes of globalization and the interdependence of people and places around the world. While the emergence of global trade and transport networks, financial systems, and the internet are connecting us across great distances, we can also see growing income inequality, food insecurity, border nationalism, and the varied impacts of climate change dividing us more and more. In this course, students will investigate the processes that shape the spatial patterns in our world to ‘tell the story behind the map,’ examining the links between the global and local, the unevenness of political and economic development, the spatiality of cultural and social identities, the relationships between nature and society, and the material impacts of our ideas about - and representations of - the world. Topics may include economic and cultural globalization, political geographies, population dynamics and migration, human impacts on the environment, cultural landscapes, economic development, agriculture, and urbanization, among others.

GEOG 1110

Weather and Climate

This Earth Environments course explores Earth's atmosphere and biosphere by examining topics ranging from day-to-day weather variations to global climate change and the distribution of plants and animals on Earth. Using an Earth-systems approach and the concepts of energy balances and radiation laws, this course seeks to answer questions such as why do certain places have particular kinds of weather? How do forecasters predict the weather? What are the causes of global climate change? Human impacts on the atmosphere and biosphere are also examined.

GEOG 1120

Introduction to Earth Sciences

This Earth Environments course focuses on land and water. It is a Physical Geography course examining the processes and materials that shape the land surface. Topics include rivers, glaciers, coasts, permafrost, landslides, plate tectonics, rocks and minerals. Human impacts on systems are also examined. Practical and theoretical concepts will be explored through lectures, labs, and field trips.

GEOG 1130

Human Impact on the Environment

This course examines global environmental change through the lens of geography and social science from historical and current perspectives. Issues such as sustainable development, population growth, resource consumption and an increasing ecological footprint are critically reviewed, along with changes in ideology, social/economic organization and technology. The course introduces different ways of thinking in natural and social science in relation to issues such as climate change, biodiversity, food, energy, deforestation, pollution (of air, land and water), water resources, oceans, fisheries and urban environmental management. Not only are the root causes of human impacts on natural systems critically examined but also a range of solutions at global, national and local scales.

GEOG 1140

Environment and Media: Geographies of Nature, Climate Change, and Natural Hazards

This course introduces students to the field of geography by integrating approaches and concepts from both human and physical geography in order to examine the role that media play in shaping our understandings of - and reactions to - nature and natural processes. In particular, it focuses on the role of maps, popular visual media such as movies and television, print and web-based news media, and social media – in representations of nature, climate change, and natural hazards. In addressing these topics, the course will provide students with a foundational understanding of key geographic concepts such as spatial analysis, interactions of the human and physical landscapes, and the influence of human populations on natural processes.

GEOG 1150

Geographies of Metro Vancouver

This course introduces students to the geographies of Metro Vancouver with particular attention to the ways in which urban space is shaped by both local and global processes. The course examines the natural and human landscapes of the Lower Mainland, focusing on key contemporary issues related to urbanization, including urban development and the built environment, urban planning and policy, urban space and social identities, and human-environment relations in the city. In addressing these topics, students will gain an understanding of core geographic concepts such as place, landscape, scale, and region, as well as relevant approaches to spatial analysis.

GEOG 1160

The Geography of British Columbia

British Columbia is one of the most diverse and richly endowed provinces in Canada, but how much do you know about this province? Do you know that BC’s physical and human resources have always been part of a ‘Pacific Rim’ region? Why has the southwest corner of the province developed so differently than the rest of BC? Why are coastal BC winters so mild and wet while the interior is cold and dry? How have tectonic processes shaped the landscape and how do those processes put the region at risk of natural hazards like earthquakes? How did European resettlement impact BC's human geography and how are ongoing questions of sovereignty, Indigenous rights, and treaties reshaping the cultural and economic landscapes of the province? How has BC's resource-based economy been transformed by economic globalization and what are its long-term prospects? Learn more about the province in Geography 1160, an introduction to the regional geography of British Columbia. This course will include a general study of physical, environmental, and human geographies in BC, with a focus on issues such as historical resettlement, economic development, resource conservation, urbanization, social and demographic transformations, and life in rural and remote areas. BC’s present and future role in Canada’s development will also be considered.

GEOG 1170

Introductory Cartography

Would you like to create a map using just a compass? Are you interested in learning how to interpret a topographic map or aerial photograph for geography or environmental studies classes? Do you need to know how to design effective maps to communicate spatial information? This course introduces a range of topics in the field of cartography, the art, science and technology of map making. Topics include map projections,
elementary field surveying, interpretation of aerial photography and satellite imagery, cartographic methods and design, thematic mapping, and an introduction to computer mapping and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

GEOG 1180

The Geography of Canada

What it means to be Canadian and/or live in a place called Canada is not always entirely clear and may depend on where, when, and who you ask. GEOG 1180 explores Canada’s identities, regions, and natural and cultural landscapes. Using the concepts and methods of regional geography, this course examines Canada both as a world region and as a country with distinct regions. A central focus is comparing and contrasting Canada’s regions when it comes to key geographic issues. Topics may include the colonial present, place-based identities and regionalism, resource mega-developments, physiography and biogeography, climate change, fisheries collapse, immigration and multiculturalism, urban Indigeneities, reconciliation movements, demographic changes, and/or urbanization and urban change.

GEOG 1190

Selected Regions

This course introduces the physical, historical, social and economic geographies of a selected region of the world. Topics may include the concepts and methods of regional geography, the physical environment, indigenous peoples, history of occupation, cultural characteristics, demographic change, place-based identities, nationalism, use of resources, urban-industrial characteristics, current issues and future challenges. This course is often suitable for use in Douglas College field schools.

GEOG 2210

Atmospheric Environments: Climatology

This physical geography lab course follows GEOG 1110 and examines climatological and meteorological processes of the atmospheric environment. Exchange and transformation of energy and moisture are explored in topics such as daily weather variations (e.g. temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, and severe weather) and environmental issues (e.g. air pollution, urban heat islands, ozone depletion and global climate change). Field work, data collection, and data analysis are emphasized.

GEOG 2212

Economic Geography

Wander through a shopping mall, walk down a main street, or drive through the city. Why are only certain stores present in the mall? Why do the types of businesses vary as you move along the street? These and other questions are addressed in Geography 2212. Whether you are interested in business, planning or just curious, this course will clarify the reasons behind the current pattern of economic activity. This course is an introduction to the theories, concepts, methods and data used by geographers to analyze the location of economic activities, the spatial organization of economic systems, the human use of the earth’s resources and environmental issues. Topics studied include agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, retailing, urban structure, spatial diffusion and economic development.

GEOG 2213

Social Geography

Social geographers study the ways that space and place mediate the production and reproduction of social categories such as class, race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexuality, and disability. Social geography is the study of how society and space are mutually constituted. This course will discuss issues such as homelessness, sexualities, youth mobilities, and inclusion/exclusion, and key social institutions and places like the home, street, public park, internet, school, and nation that (re)produce social norms and inequalities in our everyday lives. The course is grounded in feminist critiques and theories of intersectionality and examines how feminist geographers have engaged with queer theory, Marxism, anti-racist practices, anarchical thinking, more-than-human geographies, and other frameworks.

GEOG 2220


Geomorphology is the study of systems that transform the surface of the earth, such as rivers, glaciers, slopes, coasts and permafrost. Understanding these systems and the processes acting on them is crucial for comprehending our dynamic environment, particularly as climates around the world continue to change. Through lectures, labs, and field work, this course explores the forces acting on the landscape and the resulting landforms using both qualitative and quantitative methods.

GEOG 2230

The Geography of Biodiversity

How have so many different living organisms developed? What factors limit their growth and geographic spread? How is human activity affecting biodiversity locally and globally? Biogeography examines the geographic distribution of plants and animals and the causes of these patterns. It focuses on the physical and biological factors that control species, community and ecosystem distribution and development over space and over time. A variety of climatic, tectonic, soil, biological and anthropogenic controls on patterns of life are examined. A Saturday field trip to a local estuary introduces biophysical sampling techniques and measurements, and provides data for laboratory assignments.

GEOG 2251

Quantitative Methods in Geography

This course in an introduction to statistics and the use of quantitative information in geography, including data collection, management, and analysis. Analytical procedures include graphical presentation of data, descriptive statistics, application of probability and sampling theory, inferential statistics, and spatial statistics. Examples will be taken from both physical and human geography. Computers and data analysis software will be used.

GEOG 2270

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are a set of powerful computerized tools designed to store, retrieve, analyze and display geographically referenced information. GIS are used to explore complex geographic relationships and discover patterns that were previously undetectable through conventional methods. GIS analysis has become important in many industries and provides students with employable skills in several fields of study. This hands-on course examines the components and functions of GIS, the characteristics of spatial data, and spatial analysis and display. Students will be introduced to GIS theory which will be reinforced with hands-on lab exercises.

GEOG 2281

Contemporary Geographies of Monsoon Asia

This course examines the contemporary geographies of Monsoon Asia (South Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia) with both a regional and thematic approach. Students will explore the physical and human geographies of countries and subregions within the area in order to compare and contrast major geographic trends. Emphasis will be placed on key thematic issues including current environmental challenges, population and migration, urbanization and urban forms, economic and development policies, and geopolitics, along with an analysis of ever-changing cultural identities and competing nationalisms in order to consider the similarities and differences within and across countries in this region. Using concepts and methods of human geography, students will consider Monsoon Asia in global context and how different places in this area are changing as a result of ongoing globalization.

GEOG 2290

Selected Topics in Geography

This course will provide an 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.

GEOG 2311

Urban Environmental Sustainability

What are the ecological footprints of urban areas? How will climate change and sea level rise affect cities? How can planning and design assist in creating environmentally sustainable cities? This course examines the impact that urban development has on the natural environment and explores concepts and tools for creating more environmentally sustainable urban areas using global and local case studies.

GEOG 3311


This Earth Environments course explores hydrology, the scientific study of earth’s water resources. Students will be introduced to the physical and chemical properties of water and the processes responsible for its occurrence, distribution and cycling, with emphasis on the terrestrial phase of the hydrologic cycle. Field and lab work will involve measurement techniques and the analysis of hydrologic data. Emphasis will be placed on Canadian and western North American water resources and their management, including the impacts of urbanization and climate change.

GEOG 3327

Tourism and Recreation Geographies

Using geographical perspectives, this course will examine historic and contemporary demand for leisure and other tourism places, spaces, and activities, and examine linkages with wilderness environments, urban planning, parks formation, national or local identities, patterns of consumption, and both real and imagined landscapes. Students will consider how tourism and recreation are not simply physically enacted but also ideologically shaped and shaping. This course will question the role of tourism and recreation in economic and community development and evaluate planning policies that seek to effectively and sustainably manage leisure activities. An emphasis will be placed on how different people and places around the world are affected in unequal and uneven ways.

GEOG 3361

Introduction to Urban Geography

Cities are the largest human artifacts, but how do they emerge and evolve? What are the similarities and differences between cities? Why is the Central Business District of some cities thriving while others decline? These and many other questions are examined by urban geographers. Geography 3361 will explore and analyze the various aspects, concepts and approaches of urban geography. The course will cover topics such as historic and contemporary urban development; spatial dimensions of the city; social and economic patterns; images of the city; inequality and the development of urban built environment. Canadian and global urban patterns and future developments will be explored.

GEOG 3382

Population Geographies

Population geographers apply a spatial lens to the study of demographic characteristics and trends. Students will consider core demographic tools and perspectives in population geography, examine factors that affect population change, map the movement and mobility of people across time and space, and think critically about the relationships between populations, their characteristics, and both the human and physical environments they live in. The course will cover topics such as global population growth and distribution, fertility and mortality determinants, migration and urbanization, family planning and population control programs, methods of gathering and evaluating population data, population-environment debates, and the predictability of future trends.