Skip to main content
Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster logo

Geography & Environmental Studies

Home to our Geography & Environmental programs, McMaster’s School of Geography & Earth Sciences is an internationally recognized centre for research, education and training. It’s recognized by its award-winning researchers and teaching excellence.

These programs are critical for understanding: environmental change, globalization, urbanization, transportation, health and social inequalities. During the programs, students explore how to solve the human challenges.

Students will have the flexibility to select a program of study in geography, environmental studies or a combination of both.

photo of Aysha Akhtar

Aysha Akhtar

Combined Honours Health & Society and Geography BA, Minor in Mental Health, Addictions & Society and Concurrent Certificate in Applied Social Sciences Research, McMaster University2019

“I love my program because of the smaller class sizes. These gave me the opportunity to get to know my professors and build stronger relationships with my peers. McMaster may seem like a big school, but it doesn’t feel that way because you are a part of a community.”

What is Human Geography?

The discipline of Human Geography examines the spatial organization of people, their activities and the environments in which they occur. An undergraduate degree in Geography & Environmental Studies equips students with an ability to:

  • appreciate the physical and cultural characteristics of places in an increasingly globalized world
  • understand the evolution of people, their ideas, activities, their places and their environments over time
  • understand the spatial distributions and complex connectivity of people and places

Focus of Study

  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Spatial Analysis
  • Urban Geography & Planning
  • Geographies of Health and Population Studies
  • Environmental Issues
  • Economic Geography and Transportation Studies

Geography & Environmental Studies Degree Options

All Social Sciences students start off in Level I. At the end of first-year, students who meet the requirements outlined below can pursue one of the following degree options in Geography & Environmental Studies:

  • Honours B.A. Geography
    Grade Point Average of 5.0 (C) including an average of at least 5.0 (C) in one of GEOG 1HA3, 1HB3.
  • Honours B.A. Geography & Environmental Studies
    Grade Point Average of 5.0 (C) including an average of at least 5.0 (C) in one of GEOG 1HA3, 1HB3.
  • Combined Honours in Geography & Another Subject
    Grade Point Average of 5.0 (C) including an average of at least 5.0 (C) in one of GEOG 1HA3, 1HB3. Satisfaction of admission requirements for the Honours program in the other B.A. subject.
  • B.A. in Geography
    Grade Point Average of 3.5 including an average of at least 4.0 (C-) in one of GEOG 1HA3, 1HB3.


The School of Geography & Earth Sciences also offers the following Minors that can be taken alongside another degree program:

  • Minor in Geography
  • Minor in Environmental Studies
  • Minor in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Geography & Environmental Studies Program Details

Build Your Skills

Experiential Opportunities

The inquiry components of courses complement lectures to provide students with a richer understanding of course material. These include small group tutorials, hands-on labs and problem-based assignments. Students can also take advantage of a variety of field courses and trips throughout their programs in Geography.
Level I students have many opportunities to explore neighbourhoods, urban development projects and sites of interest across HamiltonBetween Levels II and III, students can choose from one of two field camp courses, one is focused on the changing urban geography of Toronto and the other is focused around understanding environmental issues in the local Dundas Valley
Students in Level IV can experience further opportunities, including travelling to various metropolitan areas to conduct supervised urban field research. These have focused on exploring the linkages between the city, population, economy, politics, culture, which has shaped the urban development. Locations of study have included, New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and Montreal.

Our graduates have been successful at finding interesting and rewarding careers in a range of fields in both the public and private sectors

Examples of career paths include:

  • Transportation Management

  • Environmental Impact Assessment

  • Environmental Analyst

  • GIS Analyst

  • Urban Planner

  • Tourism
  • Policy Analyst

  • Civil Servant
  • Data Analyst

  • Education/ Teaching

  • Lawyer

  • Conservation Officer
  • Demographer
  • Humanitarian Organizations

  • Administration/ Management

  • Emergency Management 

  • Outdoor Recreation Management

Book a Campus Tour