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About the Department of Geography

The Department of Geography at the University of Otago is a vibrant community and we are one of the most successful Geography departments in New Zealand, with an excellent reputation for both our teaching and research. We continue to recruit world-leading academic staff at the forefront of their fields of research who are committed to bringing out the very best in our students. As a result, we attract high-quality, ambitious students from both New Zealand and abroad, who flourish in this inspirational environment.

Geography is one of the most exciting subjects to study at university. We live in an interdependent world caught up in chains of events which span the globe. We depend upon increasingly fragile human and physical environments, whose complex interactions require sophisticated analysis and sensitive management. These issues present intellectual and practical challenges of the first importance and they are amongst the central problems of modern geography.

The Department of Geography is recognised internationally for the quality of its graduates and its staff research. Geography has programmes leading to Arts or Science degrees at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. When complemented by selected papers from other disciplines Geography offers students an opportunity to develop a degree programme that contains a strong component focused on environmental concerns: from problem analysis to evaluation, planning and management. The Department strongly encourages students to major in Geography, and also to join the Department's fourth year programme and to consider enrolling for a Master's degree.

People and resources

There are eighteen academic staff ranging from lecturer to full professor. Teaching and research skills and interests include:

  • Resource Development
  • Inequality, identity, power and place
  • Sustainable communities
  • Meteorology
  • Climatology
  • Resource Management Planning
  • Geographies of Health and Wellbeing
  • Alpine Geomorphology
  • Environmental Planning
  • Rural Development
  • Management of Dunal Coasts
  • Hydroclimatology
  • Hydrology
  • Impact Assessment
  • Economic and Urban Geography
  • Biogegeography
  • Beach morphodynamics
  • Critical analysis of contemporary environmental management

Find out more about key research areas in the department.

The nine support staff include administration, computing support and technical officers. The Department has particularly well-equipped laboratories and extensive holdings of field equipment permitting a wide range of studies in environmental processes, and there are good facilities for data analysis. The department also has good collections of maps, aerial photographs and planning documents, as well as access to advanced computing facilities including GIS.

Visit the Our People page for information and contact details for our staff.

Teaching

The Department teaches a full undergraduate programme in Geography based on a mix of core (compulsory) and optional papers leading to BA, BSc or BAppSc. Undergraduate papers include both sole-taught and team-taught style approaches.

The Department currently has approximately 92 Honours, PGDip, Masters and PhD students from numerous countries including New Zealand, Australia, United States of America, Singapore, Germany, China, Barbados, Samoa, France, Iran, Nepal South Africa and a first-year intake of +100 students.

View more information about our undergraduate and/or postgraduate qualifications offered by the department.