Physical Geography

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Program Details

Explore the natural environment, from the smallest grain of sand to the entire planet. Gain an understanding of the complex interactions among Earth’s environmental systems: the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and lithosphere. Learn to analyze and manage human-environment interactions and impacts that integrate elements from chemistry, mathematics and physics, soil science, hydrology, geomorphology, glaciology, meteorology and biogeography.

A Bachelor of Arts in Geography with a concentration in Physical Geography is also available.

Study What Interests You

Courses cover topics such as climate change, water resource analysis, natural resource management, ecosystem science, quantitative methods using geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing, statistical analysis and environmental models.

Unparalleled Learning Opportunities and Resources

Explore Carleton’s MacOdrum Library, housing extensive resource materials for geographers, including a collection of over 166,000 digital and paper maps. The Department of Geography and Environmental Studies also houses a state-of-the-art computing lab for GIS analysis, and our faculty members conduct research using cutting-edge research tools and instruments for land surveying, environmental monitoring, laboratory analysis and environmental computation.

Capital Advantage

Ottawa is rich in study resources vital to the geographer, such as Library and Archives Canada, the Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation, Statistics Canada, and other federal government departments.

Work Experience

Both fieldwork and laboratory techniques are emphasized with opportunities to participate in Co-op and work placements.

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Physical Geography students conducting fieldwork in the winter.

Career Outcomes

Explore your passions, refine new skills and discover the career that’s right for you.

As a geographer, you will have a strong social and natural science base that makes a range of career possibilities available to you.

Physical Geography students conduct soil tests in the lab.

Sample Courses

GEOG 1010 - Global Environmental Systems

Principles, processes and interactions in the Earth's environment emphasizing the flow of energy and matter within global systems. Atmospheric and oceanic processes, earth surface processes and biogeochemical cycling. Case studies on the interaction between human activity and the natural environment.

GEOG 4017 - Global Biogeochemical Cycles

Processes that control the fluxes and reservoirs of biologically active chemical constituents on land, in the atmosphere, and in the oceans. Interactions between biogeochemical cycles and the Earth's climate; impact of land use and fossil fuel emissions on biogeochemical cycles and global change.

Visit the Undergraduate Calendar to view a comprehensive list of course offerings for this program and discover the exciting things Carleton students are learning in the classroom!

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