Geography 1911-2011 | Wilfrid Laurier University
1911-2011 | Wilfrid Laurier University
Geography at Laurier
eographers seek to understand the distribution of human and natural phenomena, the interaction between the two, and the processes that shape their development. As such, geography is a discipline that encourages a merging of the natural and social sciences in order to construct a fuller understanding of how people, places and the environment are connected and influence each other. At Laurier, geography students may study pollution, transportation or population issues related to urbanization; community resource development and tourism; physical processes and natural systems; or cultural and historical geographies. Because geography is a broad discipline, it allows us to synthesize many aspects of a problem into our interpretations, expanding our knowledge about the global challenges that we face. Students are exposed to all themes of geography and the environment in their first year and take required courses in all the main areas in their second year. In third and fourth years, students can specialize and develop advanced skills in research methods and techniques. All third-year honours students are required to participate in a field course
led by faculty members. Students design a field project, collect and analyze field data, and make oral and written presentations of their work. Field destinations have included the Bruce Peninsula, Montreal, Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, Essex County and Muskoka. Fourth-year honours students may also participate in a two-week international field course. Previous locations include Peru, Morocco, Costa Rica and the Azores.
About the programs
This is only a brief description of program requirements. For full information, consult the Undergraduate Calendar at www.wlu.ca/calendars or the Geography and Environmental Studies Department website. Honours BA Geography: The program consists of 20 credits, normally taken over four years, of which 10.5 must be in geography and at least eight in non-geography disciplines. Honours BSc Geography: This program consists of 20 credits of which 10.5 must be in geography and at least eight are in non-geography disciplines, including one from mathematics and 3.5 from biology, chemistry, mathematics or physics.
Honours BSc Geography with Environmental Science Option: Requirements are the same as for the Honours BSc Geography, plus electives must include at least one senior-level credit from biology and one senior-level credit from chemistry. Honours BA Geography & Geomatics: This program consists of 20 credits of which 11 must be in geography, including a concentration of courses from a geomatics stream such as GIS, remote sensing, cartography and spatial statistics. At least one elective credit from computer science is required. Honours BSc Geography & Geomatics: This program consists of 20 credits of which 11.5 must be in geography, including courses from a geomatics stream. This program is designed for students with a strong interest in science and requires additional credits in mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics and computer science. Honours BSc Physical Geography & Biology: This program consists of 20 credits. In addition to the required courses in geography, six senior biology credits are required.
Education for today’s world
Co-op at Laurier Honours arts and science students in co-op complete two work terms of at least 10 weeks each, usually in the summers following their second and third years. Participants receive training in job search techniques and assistance in finding employment related to their studies or career goals.
Why should you consider co-op? • • • • •
Put theory into action Apply your technical skills Clarify your career goals Develop marketable skills Gain valuable contacts
Recent employers of Geography co-op students include: • County of Bruce, Cambridge • County of Oxford Public Health & Emergency Services, Woodstock
• Grand River Conservation Authority, Cambridge • Wilfrid Laurier University, Geography Department, Waterloo
The Management Option
Students enrolled in honours arts, science or music programs are eligible for the Management Option, consisting of ten half-credit courses, six required and four electives. This option will give you fundamental training in key areas of business such as business organization, accounting, marketing, management skills, operations and the fundamentals of finance, macroeconomics and microeconomics, interpersonal communications, business law, personal finance and business management.
For more information, consult the Undergraduate Calendar at www.wlu.ca/ calendars.
Sample courses offered Introduction to Physical Geography Introduction to Human Geography The Anatomy of Earth Global Food Systems Population Geography Geography of Tourism Landscapes of the Great Lakes Basin Risks and Disasters Local Canadian Communities Geography of Energy Geography of Transportation Globalization
In 1857-58, the British in India faced I like to get students interested in the subject; I like to a general rebellion against their rule. challenge them but make them feel comfortable. The rebellion did not spread to Punjab, however, where the dominant Sikh population remained loyal to the British. The Sikhs were rewarded for their loyalty with preferential treatment in appointments to the British army and civil service. Some of the first emigrants from India to Canada were Sikhs who had served in the British army, and studying their links to their Punjabi homeland is Dr. Margaret Walton-Roberts’ area of expertise. Many towns and villages in Punjab (which now lies in Pakistan and India) have received community halls, parks, hospitals, clinics, nursing colleges and sewage systems thanks to their highly organized expatriate populations. “People, places and movement across spaces” is how Walton-Roberts describes population geography, the area she teaches in. “I like to get students interested in the subject; I like to challenge them but make them feel comfortable,” she says. “I also have to make it relevant to peoples’ lives. I like to hear them say, ‘I’ve never thought of things that way,’ or ‘I never saw it like that.’ ”
Carving out your career
Recent career examples • Assistant Professor, St. Mary’s University • Vice-President Technology, Real Estate Integration • Geographer, Tetrad Computer Application Inc. • Climate Impact Researcher, Environment Canada • Senior Hydrogeologist, Monoenco Consultants Ltd. • Cartographer, Simon Fraser University • GIS Analyst, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture • Housing Development Officer, Region of Peel • Mine Rehabilitation Specialist, Northern Development and Mines
Geography at work
Geography always interested Connor Houston. “It covers so many facets of our world that a background in geography can be useful in most jobs and in life.” For Houston, coming to Laurier was an obvious choice. “Its small class sizes and interdisciplinary approach gave me the chance to combine geography and business disciplines to gain a broader perspective of the world,” he says. Coming to Laurier also meant continuing another passion: playing varsity volleyball. Houston graduated in 2004 from the Geography and Environmental Studies program and says it is a great program for those with a keen interest in geography. He cites the openness and accessibility of the professors and small class sizes as key factors in making geography one of the best programs at Laurier. “The best part of the program was the individual feedback from professors in first year and subsequent years,” he says. “The professors’ doors were always open and questions were always met with a friendly response.” Houston now works as a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Support Analyst for Orion Technology Inc., assisting clients with a variety of technical inquiries.
For the most up-to-date information about admission to Laurier, go to www.wlu.ca/admissions.
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