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The Geography of British Columbia

Course Code: GEOG 1160
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Hybrid
Typically Offered: Fall, Summer, Winter
course overview

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.

Course Content

  1. Introduction
    • Definition of area
    • Regional concepts as applied to British Columbia
    • Core-Periphery Model
  2. Physical setting
    • Tectonic processes
    • Geomorphology and physiographic regions
    • Climate
    • Biogeography
  3. Colonialism and resettlement
    • Indigenous experiences
    • European exploration
    • Settler colonialism and dispossession
    • Asian immigration and institutional racism
  4. Resources and economic geographies
    • BC’s changing economy in the context of globalization
    • Resource development, management, and conservation
      • Forestry
      • Fishing
      • Mining
      • Agriculture
      • Energy
      • Water
    • Manufacturing
    • Tertiary and quaternary industries
    • Indigenous rights and title and treaty negotiations
    • Tourism and recreation
  5. Urban and social issues
    • Urban development
    • Reconciliation
    • Rural settlement
    • Demographic studies
    • Cultural and ethnic diversity
    • Environmental challenges
  6. British Columbia and Canada
  7. Future issues

Methods of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following: lecture, labs, field work, DVDs/videos and animations, individual and/or team projects, small group discussions and map and air photo analysis.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific criteria during the first week of classes.

An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

Assignments  40%
Class preparation and participation      10%
Mid-term exam  25%
Final exam  25%
Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Synthesize the concepts and techniques of regional geography.
  2. Communicate effectively orally, graphically, in writing, and using quantitative methods.
  3. Create, interpret, analyze and utilize maps.
  4. Evaluate and make informed decisions about contemporary British Columbia issues using the methodologies, concepts and techniques of regional geography.

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.