Geography, Urban and Environmental Studies MSc
The normal requirements for admission into the MSc (Geography, Urban and Environmental Studies) are a minimum GPA of 3.30 in a BA or BSc in Geography, Planning, or Environmental Science, or an equivalent degree in a related field of study from a recognized university. Applicants are selected on the basis of a sound undergraduate academic record, strong letters of recommendation, and a convincing statement of purpose which clearly describes their academic interest in the program and intended area of research. In addition, admission is contingent on the availability of an appropriate faculty member in the Department to serve as supervisor. Some applicants with deficiencies in their undergraduate preparation may be required to take a qualifying program. Others may be required to complete certain prerequisite courses in addition to the regular graduate program.
Proficiency in English. Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate that their knowledge of English is sufficient to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field. Please refer to the Graduate Admission page for further information on the Language Proficiency requirements and exemptions.
Requirements for the Degree
- Courses. All students must take the following:
9 credits: HENV 605 or HENV 610, HENV 615, HENV 685.
6 credits in elective courses chosen from: GEOG 620, GEOG 625, HENV 620, HENV 625, HENV 630, HENV 635, HENV 640, HENV 645, HENV 650, HENV 655, HENV 660, HENV 665, HENV 670, HENV 675, HENV 680, HENV 690.
- Thesis. HENV 695 (30 credits)
- Academic Standing. Please refer to the Academic Standing section of the Calendar for a detailed review of the Academic Regulations.
- Residence. The minimum residence requirement is one year (three semesters) of full-time graduate study, or the equivalent in part-time study.
- Time Limit. Please refer to the Academic Regulation page for further details regarding the Time Limit requirements.
- Graduation Requirement. In order to graduate, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.70.
HENV 605 Advanced Qualitative Research Methods (3 credits)
This course considers some of the foundational theories that inform contemporary research in the fields of Human Geography and Urban Studies. It also explores a spectrum of qualitative research paradigms, theories and advanced methodologies relevant to social science. of qualitative research paradigms, theories and methodologies relevant to social science.
HENV 610 Advanced Quantitative Research Methods (3 credits)
This course considers experimental design and advanced data analysis methods in Geography and Environmental Sciences. The course focuses on statistical analysis of quantitative data, using the R programming environment. Specific topics include data exploration and plotting, advanced statistical tests, linear regression, statistical model selection, non-parametric tests and mixed effects models.
HENV 615 Research Proposal Seminar (3 credits)
This seminar provides an opportunity to extend, deepen, and apply the conceptual and methodological frameworks presented in the core and elective courses, through a combination of classroom discussions and attendance at departmental research seminars. Students are taught research and presentation skills and are guided through the process of preparing their thesis research proposal. Students need to submit a written research proposal to their thesis research supervisor(s) as a requirement for this course.
HENV 685 Thesis Proposal (3 credits)
Students are required to select their research topic and formulate a research proposal under the supervision of a thesis supervisor and with input from a thesis committee. The written proposal will include a sound rationale for the proposed research, a detailed description of the research design and methodology, and a comprehensive literature review. Students are also required to present an oral presentation of their proposal to the Department. The thesis proposal must be formally approved by the thesis committee and the Graduate Program Director before research activities can begin. The thesis proposal should be completed before the end of the second semester of residency in the Program and after a minimum of 6 credits in the Program have been taken.
HENV 695 Thesis (30 credits)
Students are required to demonstrate their ability to carry out original, independent research. The thesis, which will be researched and written under the direction of a supervisor and thesis committee, should normally not exceed 100 pages. Upon completion of the thesis, the student will be required to defend his/her thesis before an external examiner and his/her thesis committee.
GEOG 620 Special Topics in Geography (3 credits)
This course focuses on selected topics within the discipline. Topics vary to permit investigation of current and developing theories and research areas.
Note: The content will vary from term to term and from year to year. Students may re-register for this course, provided the course content has changed. Changes in content will be indicated by a letter following the course number, e.g. GEOG 620A, GEOG 620B, etc.
GEOG 625 Directed Studies (3 credits)
With written permission of the graduate program director, a student studies a particular field or topic relating to geography, urban or environment studies. A detailed outline of the proposed study, approved by a study supervisor is required.
HENV 620 Sustainable Transportation (3 credits)
This advanced seminar explores the different elements of what is broadly known as sustainable transportation. It considers the importance as well as the negative impacts of transport systems, and how these are described and captured methodologically. Of critical importance is the intimate link between land-use and transportation systems.
HENV 625 Sustainable Resource Management (3 credits)
This seminar examines the impact of human activities on natural resources. Topics such as integrated management and exploitation practices, biodiversity and conservation, focusing particularly on forest and water resources from physical, chemical, biological, socio-economic, and technological perspectives are investigated.
HENV 630 Theories of Society and Space (3 credits)
Human Geography is informed by a range of theories that have developed inside and outside the discipline. This course introduces students to some of the most influential of these theories as well as to theoretically-informed geographical literature. While students are exposed to foundational theories, the course focuses on critical geographical work that seeks to interpret the present moment.
HENV 635 Spatial Analysis (3 credits)
This course examines analytical methods for handling specifically spatial data, where the arrangement of observations in space is thought to be of significance. The emphasis is on the choice and application of appropriate methods for the analysis of various types of data that are encountered in Geography, Planning and Environmental Studies. Procedures for analyzing spatial distributions of phenomena, temporal dynamics and change are examined in relation to Geographical Information Systems (GIS) tools and statistical techniques.
HENV 640 (Re)shaping the City (3 credits)
By relying on an array of theoretical formulations informed by political economy, economic geography, urban morphology, urban sociology, anthropology and ecology, this seminar explores various social processes that contribute to the shaping and reshaping of our cities’ material and spatial forms.
HENV 645 Behaviour and the Urban Environment (3 credits)
This course provides a basic understanding of the relationship between people and the urban environment. The focus is on the collective and individual responses of people to the built or designed environment, and the way in which these responses can be used to guide projects, plans and policies. The basic studies for the location of commercial facilities and the modelling of human spatial behaviour are introduced.
HENV 650 The Political Economy of the City (3 credits)
This course explores the implications of economic globalization and neoliberalism for urban life in late capitalist (post-1970s) period. Drawing on literatures from the fields of planning, geography, and political economy, it focuses on how urban policies and services are being restructured and how these changes affect different social groups.
HENV 655 Environmental Modelling (3 credits)
The different approaches to modelling the bio-physical, built or human environment are examined. The conceptualization of simple models to examine how human interventions affect the environment is investigated. Different modelling approaches such as system models, computer visualization and simulation are covered. Students develop a model scheme related to their thesis topic. Lectures and laboratory.
HENV 660 Climate Change and Sustainability (3 credits)
This seminar examines the interface between climate science, and the demands and challenges of developing sustainable human societies. Class discussions are oriented around current literature on topics such as the potential impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities, strategies to enhance resilience and increase global equity in climate mitigation efforts, and opportunities to develop sustainable energy systems. The course also includes quantitative analysis and visualization of spatial change datasets.
HENV 665 Special Topics Seminar (3 credits)
This course is designed to meet the special needs of individual graduate students. Topics vary to permit investigation of current and developing theories and research areas. Content involves presentation, discussion, and critical analysis of information from relevant scientific literature. The course will also take advantage of visiting expertise.
HENV 670 Environmental Governance (3 credits)
This course examines the principles, practices and institutions involved in environmental conservation and management as well as the sustainable exploitation of natural resources. Topics include sustainability, the precautionary principle, social capital, adaptive capacity, common property resource theories, deliberative democracy, environmental justice and environmental conflict resolution. Attention is given to issues of scale, particularly the mismatch of spatial, temporal and functional scales that characterize unsustainable management and use practices.
HENV 675 Community-Based Conservation (3 credits)
This course addresses the question of community participation in conservation and development initiatives. Focusing on the particular experience of local communities, it presents participatory concepts, principles, tools, and processes that have practical application to a broad range of contexts and settings.
Note: Students who have received credit for GEOG 607 may not take this course for credit.
HENV 680 Advanced Seminar in Environmental Science (3 credits)
This course provides an overview of current research in environmental and related scientific disciplines. The course involves seminars, presentations, and critical analysis of scientific literature, including discussion of cutting-edge research topics in fields such as ecological restoration, biodiversity, climate change, renewable energy, food and water security, and natural resource conservation.
HENV 690 Seminar in Social and Cultural Geography (3 credits)
This seminar introduces students to some important contemporary geographical approaches and topics in the study of society and culture. Specific themes may include globalization, migration, multiculturalism and diaspora, marginality, policing and imprisonment, and social movements. To provide a broad understanding of these themes, the course emphasizes analyses that draw upon geographical concepts of space, place, identity, and power.