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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
October 22, 2014
Canadian Excellence


Geography at Laurier 

At Laurier, Geography students may study

  • pollution, transportation or population issues related to urbanization
  • community resource development and tourism
  • physical processes and natural systems
  • cultural and historical geographies

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.

Program highlights

  • Field work is a feature of many geography courses. Some examples include: 
    • a faculty-led field course that requires small groups of students to tackle “real-life” problems faced by communities in Ontario
    • an optional field course on ecosystem-based management that takes place in the Yukon.
    • a fourth-year international field course (past locations include Peru, Morocco, Costa Rica and the Azores) 
  • Facilities available in the department include:
    • a micro-computer lab for GIS and other graphics applications
    • cartographic software
    • labs for work in geology, geomorphology and sedimentology. 
  • Qualified senior geography students may apply for lab demonstratorships which not only provide financial assistance, but also offer the student a unique learning and teaching experience.
  • A “Greening the Campus” course allows students to assess the “state of the environment” on campus and propose improvements to infrastructure and operations

Courses offered 

First year

  • The Anatomy of Earth
  • The Surface of the Earth
  • Intro to Programming 

Popular courses

  • Environmental Thought
  • Greening the Campus
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • World Water & Development Issues

Admission requirements 

Program 4U Requirements  IB Requirements  Admission Range 

Honours BA Geography, Geography and Geomatics, Environmental Studies

English @ 60%  HL or SL English at 4 

Mid 70s

IB Minimum score 28 

Honours BSc Geography;

Honours BSc Geography and Geomatics

Honours BSc Geography with Environmental Science option; 

English at 60%; Advanced Functions at 60%; two of Biology, Chemistry or Physics each at 60% 

A combined minimum average of 70% is required in the math and science courses 

HL or SL English at 4;

Two of HL or SL sciences at 4;

HL or SL Mathematics at 4

Mid 70s

IB Minimum score: 28

Honours BSc Physical Geography and Biology

English at 60%; 

Advanced Functions at 60%;

Biology at 70%

A combined minimum average of 70% is required in the math and science courses 

HL or SL English at 4;

HL or Sl Biology at 4;

HL or SL Mathematics at 4;  

Mid to high 70s

IB Minimum score: 28 

Faculty experience 

000_Walton_Roberts_headshot.jpgSome 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.

In 1857-58, the British in India faced a general rebellion against their rule. 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. 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.’ ”

Alumni experience 

000_Houston_headshot.jpgGeography 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.