Geographical Sciences

Study Geographical Sciences at UBC

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About Geographical Sciences

The program focuses on the fundamental interactions between life (including human societies) and the Earth's atmosphere, hydrosphere and geosphere. Students build on a broad base in the basic sciences by completing at least two of five upper-year 'concentrations' in biogeography, climatology, geographic information science, geomorphology or hydrology. With appropriately selected electives, this degree forms a suitable basis for completing the academic requirements for registration as a professional geoscientist, which is legally required of all people practicing geoscience in Canada. Students should also consider geoscience related electives in other departments.


Program details

Geography is divided into three fields: physical, human, and technical. The Department offers a wide range of courses leading to a B.Sc. degree in physical geography or a B.A. degree in human geography. Technical courses are incorporated into both the B.A. and B.Sc. degrees. Students wishing to pursue a B.Sc. degree can choose concentrations in any of the major subdisciplines: biogeography, climatology, or geomorphology. For those students whose interests lie in Physical Geography, the B.Sc. is the most appropriate, although students may also choose the B.A. program with the emphasis on environmental studies. The decision depends on students' high school preparation in science. For those students whose interests lie in Environmental, Cultural-Historical, Urban, Economic or Regional Geography, the B.A. program is most appropriate. This is the least structured program and provides flexibility in considering career options. Note 1: The B.Sc. program can be structured to fulfill many of the requirements for accreditation as a professional geoscientist (PGEO) in B.C. Note 2: Students considering a career in meteorology, especially with the Atmospheric Environment Service, should consult the section on Atmospheric Science.


Over the course of a four-year degree, this program could help you build the following skills:

  • Application of knowledge about physical environments and spatial relations
  • Geo-spatial data analysis
  • Designing and creating maps/graphs
  • Designing, planning and managing projects
  • Surveying and field sampling
  • Evidence-based approach to researching, consulting and advising
  • Technical report writing and accurate maintenance of field notebooks
  • Technical knowledge in using geographic information systems (GIS), cartography, statistics, remote sensing, MATLAB, Python, R, Jupyter Notebooks, and computer coding

Career options in Geographical Sciences

With an undergraduate degree

  • Environmental consultant
  • Field seismologist
  • Geological technician
  • Geophysical data processor
  • Geoscientist
  • Lab technician
  • Mineral surveyor
  • Surveyor

With additional study

  • Cartographer
  • Geobiologist
  • Geological engineer
  • Geologist
  • GIS specialist
  • Meterologist
  • Paleobiologist

UBC Science Geographical Sciences Graduates Work As

  • Master of Urban Planning Student, McGill University
  • Senior Technical Systems Analyst, Provincial Health Services Authority
  • Geospatial Analyst and Cartographer, Roy Northern Land and Environmental
  • GIS and Air Photograph Specialist, UBC Geographic Information Center
  • Geography Laboratory Technician, Douglas College
  • Air Quality Specialist, WSP in Canada

Related Professional Groups

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