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Geography and the Environment

Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Credits: 60.0
Length: Four semesters
Credential: Associate Degree
Admission Type: Open Enrolment - General Admission Requirements
program overview

Take the first step to a career as an environmental consultant, urban planner, meteorologist, park ranger, development worker, geoscientist, cartographer, real estate developer, statistician and much more with an Associate of Arts Degree in Geography.

In this program, you’ll study the physical and social features of the earth, and examine people’s relationships with natural and human-built environments. Geography bridges the natural and social sciences, spanning a variety of fields, such as economics, urban studies, policing and law, earth sciences, biology and environmental studies. Thus, geographers are well-equipped to study and help tackle contemporary challenges, including climate change, natural hazards, habitat destruction, food security, waste and resource management, rapid urbanization and refugee movements, to name a few.

Get hands-on experience – before you graduate

Many geography courses include experiential learning opportunities inside our classrooms and open labs, as well as off campus with field trips to local natural and human-built environments. This field work gives you the chance to conduct research, collect data and observe phenomena out in the field using specialized equipment.

Transfer your credits to university

A Geography Associate of Arts Degree can lead into a Geography Major or Minor Bachelor of Arts Degree program at a university. Many universities prefer candidates with an Associate Degree and will accept students at a lower grade point average. In most cases, this degree will allow you to transfer to the third year of a four-year bachelor's degree program at other universities.

Geography majors can complete degrees in Human Geography, Physical Geography, Environmental Studies, Resource Management, Earth Sciences, Urban Studies, Habitat Restoration, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Spatial Information Systems, Community Development and Sustainability Planning at most universities.
curriculum framework

Graduation Requirements:

  • Successful completion of 60 University Transfer (UT) credits as listed below
  • A minimum GPA of 2.00 is required
  • All courses must be University Transferable - a University Transferable course is a course that transfers to one of the five Research Universities - SFU, UBCV, UBCO, UNBC, UVIC - according to the BC Transfer Guide
  • 50% (30 credits) of all coursework must be completed at Douglas College
  • Specializations are not noted on credentials but will be noted on the transcript

Course Requirements:

To complete an Associate of Arts Degree with a Specialization in Geography, students must complete:

  • 18 or more credits (of the 60 credits required for their associate degree) in Geography
  • nine of those 18 credits must be considered second-year courses. To qualify as a second-year course, a course must transfer to one of the Research Universities (SFU, UBCV, UBCO, UVIC, or UNBC) at the second-year level.

The following are the general requirements for an Associate of Arts Degree at any BC college:

  • 6 credits first-year English* electives
  • 6 credits Humanities** electives
  • 6 credits Social Sciences** electives
  • 6 credits Arts** electives
  • 18 credits second-year Arts** electives in 2 or more subject areas
  • 3 credits Lab Science elective
  • 3 credits Math, Statistics or Computing Science elective
  • 3 credits Math, Statistics or Science elective
  • 9 credits other University Transfer electives

English courses include courses in written Communications and Creative Writing that transfer to one of the BC Research Universities (SFU, UBCV, UBCO, UVIC or UNBC) as English credit. A maximum of 3 credits can come from such an equivalent; at least 3 credits must be earned in an actual ENGL course so-named. For purposes of the Associate of Arts degree, English courses cannot be counted as Humanities courses.

** Arts courses are available in the Faculty of Languages, Literature, and Performing Arts, and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. To confirm whether a course is designated as "humanities" or "social sciences," check the Associate of Arts degree graduation checklist. Economics courses are Arts courses. Arts courses may also include Mathematics courses.


A course is defined by the subject for which it is granted transfer credit at one of the research universities (SFU, UBCV, UBCO, UNBC, or UVIC).

  • An Arts course is defined as any course in a subject area for which there is a Baccalaureate of Arts Degree at one of the research universities.
  • A Science course is defined as any course in a subject area for which there is a Baccalaureate of Science Degree or Baccalaureate of Applied Science Degree at one of the research universities. 
  • The requirements specified above are intended to provide breadth of exposure to a variety of disciplines in both Arts and Sciences. In some instances there may be some ambiguity as to whether a course is in the Humanities or Social Sciences and is an Arts course or a Science course. Most Physical Geography and Mathematics would be designated as Science courses.
  • A course in an "other" area is defined as any course in a subject area for which there is a Baccalaureate Degree other than in Arts, Science or Applied Science at one of the research universities.
  • first-year course is defined as a course that has assigned or unassigned transfer credit at the 100-level at one of the research universities.
  • second-year course is defined as a course that has assigned or unassigned transfer credit at the 200-level or higher level at one of the research universities.
  • laboratory science course is one in which a substantial component of instruction involves the study of natural phenomena, either in the laboratory or in the field.

For detailed information you should meet with an Academic Advisor.

Co-operative Education Option:

Students enrolled in this program may be eligible for a Co-operative Education designation. Co-operative Education involves alternating full-time academic and work terms. For information contact the Co-operative Education Office.

admission requirements

Applicants must meet the admission requirements listed below:

program cost

You can get an average cost for your program - tuition and student fees, books, uniforms, lab fees etc - on the Program Cost page. 

Only programs approved for student loan funding are listed on the Program Cost page. For all other programs, refer to the Tuition Fee page.

curriculum guidelines

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

Why would I take a geography course in the first place?

Geography courses meet requirements for many programs, including the Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Future Teachers, Sports Science and general lab science credits.

This sounds great! How do I enrol?

This is how you become a student at Douglas College.

Which courses transfer to university?

All geography courses transfer to university. For specific course information, see the BC Transfer Guide

What courses are available?

We offer a range of arts and lab science courses.

Will there be overseas trips next semester?

Check out our latest study abroad opportunities

Who can I ask for help?

We're so glad you asked! We're here to help - we want you to succeed! Drop into one of our "open labs" where you can work with other students and ask lab technicians questions. You can also contact your instructors directly.

What is available in the labs?

We offer many services and resources in our open labs.

Where are the labs and when are they open?

Labs are located on both campuses:

David Lam: B2230
New Westminster: 3467

Hours vary - check the online schedule

What happens if I miss a class?

While we understand that this does occasionally happen due to illness or other unavoidable life events, we strongly encourage you to make class attendance a priority. Information presented in class builds upon previous material, so your attendance is crucial to a thorough understanding of concepts.

If missing a class is unavoidable, email your instructor immediately, as you would do in any work situation. Be sure to get class notes from other student(s) in your class, and make up any missed work as soon as possible.

Where do I hand in late assignments?

What?! Late assignment? We've never heard of such a thing!

Important Note:
Drop-off conditions and procedures vary among instructors. Be sure to check with your instructor first!

In the unlikely event that this occurs, your assignment can be dropped off in New West at the Humanities and Social Sciences drop box located across the hall from open lab (3467).

At David Lam, your assignment can be dropped off in room A3030 with the Departmental Assistant. Any assignments dropped off after the office is closed will be time-stamped the following day. Assignments can also be dropped off in the David Lam library after 4:30 PM on weekdays.

Late assignments MUST be labelled with ALL of the following information or they will NOT be processed:

Your name, the course name, course number, section number and name of instructor.