Concordia University

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Career options

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Geographic training prepares you for many types of careers with a wide variety of employers in the private, public and academic sectors such as, climatology environmental impact assessment, resource conservation, urban and regional planning, housing and community development, retail site location, teacher. Here are some of the careers that recent Concordia graduates have:

  • researcher with NAFTA Commission for Environmental Co-operation
  • researcher at the Secretariat for the UN Convention on Biodiversity
  • researcher for an engineering and consulting company
  • national parks planner
  • forest manager
  • teacher (primary, secondary, college and university)
  • city planner, regional planner
  • cartographer
  • geographic branch of Statistics Canada
  • transportation planner

Two areas are growing rapidly at the moment, creating hundreds of new jobs: Geographic Information Systems and Environmental Studies. Maps are the basic tools geographers use to present information. Computers have revolutionized mapmaking and placed geography on the forefront of research. Many employers are looking for people trained in high-tech sub-fields such as computer assisted cartography, remote sensing and GIS. Environmental problems have become the concern of government officials and citizens alike. Because of catastrophes involving toxic waste, air and water pollution, loss of biodiversity and habitat, and soil erosion, great care is now being taken to monitor the delicate balance between nature and the human use of the earth. Every major project now requires an assessment of its social and environmental impact, creating a large demand for geographers able to integrate the work of specialists in both the social and natural sciences.

For additional career information on Human Environment see also this document prepared by Career and Planning Services (CAPS) or visit The American Association of Geographers' website.

 

Most students completing the BA Specialization or Honours Urban Planning intend to work in some area of the planning field. Certain students upon graduation find employment with municipal, parapublic or private consulting agencies, generally in technical or support areas. Others continue at the Master's level at other universities; in these cases, the Specialization or Honours degree can be an additional advantage in the competition for the limited number of places in graduate schools and a sufficiently high GPA is a must. A double Major or Major-Minor combination can be useful in keeping one's options open after the Bachelor's degree or may simply offer a way of studying in several disciplines.

Planners work in municipal, regional and provincial planning departments as well as for school and medical services boards, public housing agencies and municipal administration. Planning in the private sector of the economy is done by real estate development firms, consulting firms working for development companies, retailing chains, industrial or office location firms. Opportunities also exist in institutional planning at the management level. While the purposes and subject areas vary widely, similar approaches and methods are found in all of these work environments.

Students who intend to work in the town planning field should take special note of the following legal restrictions: the Ordre des urbanistes du Québec (OUQ) will admit graduates of certain Québec and Canadian programmes of study, upon completion of a two-year supervised stage and an entry examination. Completion of the Bachelor's degree at Concordia cannot lead to membership in the OUQ, which confers the exclusive right in Québec to call oneself a "planner" or "urbaniste". Membership is rarely required by employers although it is sometimes said to be useful in setting up a consultancy. Elsewhere in Canada, the voluntary association is the Canadian Institute of Planners/Institut canadien des urbanistes and their provincial affiliates which also accredit programmes of study and admit members, although planners there are also not required to become members and may call themselves "planners" or "urbanistes" without membership. For a list of accredited planning programmes at the undergraduate and graduate level in Canada and the US, go towww.cip-icu.ca ("Student Zone" and then "University Programs"). The CIP-ICU website also has job listings under the heading "Employment Services"); for US jobs one place to look is http://www.planetizen.com/jobs. It is usual in the town planning field for formally trained planners to work alongside architects and landscape architects with little professional distinction.

Other planners do not have their own professional association and will be seen as technical advisors or administrators by their respective working organizations.

Other graduates will be interested in policy analysis and public administration, for which a broadly based background in Urban Studies can be seen as sound preparation. For these students it would be desirable to increase the number of 300- and 400-level courses in Economics, Political Science and Geography as part of the elective load. Private corporations also employ policy analysts, for which an understanding of finance, business practice and management is an asset.

Students wishing to fill technical positions in the private and public sectors involved with services provided to the public should acquire analytical skill using computer, computer mapping and geographical information systems (GIS). Technical positions in planning increasingly require knowledge of computer-assisted design and GIS. Environmental impact assessment where humans, landscapes, architectural heritage or esthetics are concerned will often be carried out by planners or allied professionals from architecture and geography.

The Urban Studies courses are intended to provide the theory, the historical and legal background required for application in the field. All courses involve the development of analytical skills useful in a great number of work areas not specially mentioned above.

The prospects for job placement change with economic cycles. There are niches of significantly greater demand that may not be lasting. Flexibility that comes from broad preparation is important but good analytical and communication skills are more important. Ultimately employers are most interested in the specific skills, interest and abilities you bring to their environment.

Environmental science training prepares you for many types of careers with a wide variety of employers in the private, public and academic sectors such as, climatology environmental impact assessment, resource conservation, urban and regional planning, housing and community development, environmental consultant, Geographic Information Systems analyst, water scientist, teaching.

Here are some of the careers that recent Concordia graduates have:

  • researcher with NAFTA Commission for Environmental Co-operation
  • researcher at the Secretariat for the UN Convention on Biodiversity
  • researcher for an engineering and consulting company
  • national parks planner
  • forest manager
  • teacher (primary, secondary, college and university)
  • city planner, regional planner
  • cartographer, GIS analyst
  • geographic branch of Statistics Canada
  • transportation planner

Two areas are growing rapidly at the moment, creating hundreds of new jobs: Geographic Information Systems and Environmental Studies. Maps are the basic tools geographers use to present information. Computers have revolutionized mapmaking and placed geography on the forefront of research. Many employers are looking for people trained in high-tech sub-fields such as computer assisted cartography, remote sensing and GIS. Environmental problems have become the concern of government officials and citizens alike. Because of catastrophes involving toxic waste, air and water pollution, loss of biodiversity and habitat, and soil erosion, great care is now being taken to monitor the delicate balance between nature and the human use of the earth. Every major project now requires an assessment of its social and environmental impact, creating a large demand for geographers able to integrate the work of specialists in both the social and natural sciences.

For additional career information on Environmental Sciences see also this document prepared by Career and Planning Services (CAPS)  or visit The American Association of Geographers' website.

Environmental geography training prepares you for many types of careers with a wide variety of employers in the private, public and academic sectors such as, climatology environmental impact assessment, resource conservation, urban and regional planning, housing and community development, environmental consultant, Geographic Information Systems analyst, water scientist, teaching.

Here are some of the careers that recent Concordia graduates have:

  • researcher with NAFTA Commission for Environmental Co-operation
  • researcher at the Secretariat for the UN Convention on Biodiversity
  • researcher for an engineering and consulting company
  • national parks planner
  • forest manager
  • teacher (primary, secondary, college and university)
  • city planner, regional planner
  • cartographer, GIS analyst
  • geographic branch of Statistics Canada
  • transportation planner

Two areas are growing rapidly at the moment, creating hundreds of new jobs: Geographic Information Systems and Environmental Studies. Maps are the basic tools geographers use to present information. Computers have revolutionized mapmaking and placed geography on the forefront of research. Many employers are looking for people trained in high-tech sub-fields such as computer assisted cartography, remote sensing and GIS. Environmental problems have become the concern of government officials and citizens alike. Because of catastrophes involving toxic waste, air and water pollution, loss of biodiversity and habitat, and soil erosion, great care is now being taken to monitor the delicate balance between nature and the human use of the earth. Every major project now requires an assessment of its social and environmental impact, creating a large demand for geographers able to integrate the work of specialists in both the social and natural sciences.

For additional career information on Environmental Geography see also this document prepared by Career and Planning Services (CAPS) or visit The American Association of Geographers' website.

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