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Study Geography at Otago

People, places and the environment.

Geography is a blend of social and environmental sciences concerned with the study of the physical features of the earth and its atmosphere, and of human activity as it affects and is affected by these.

By studying Geography you could, for example, become involved in anything from designing new parks and gardens to monitoring changes in glaciers, mapping natural hazards and developing strategies for the tourism industry.

A Geography degree at Otago will equip you with sought-after skills in information gathering, data analysis and critical assessment, which will serve you well no matter the career you choose.

Apply for the Bachelor of Arts (BA) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Science (BSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Master of Arts (Coursework) (MA(Coursework)) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Why study Geography?

Geography provides a bridge between the arts and the sciences, addressing issues at the regional, national and global scale. With a Geography degree at Otago you’re out in the field from the very start, getting practical experience in the environments you study.

Geography papers fit well into almost any degree and we have strong links with many other disciplines including; geology, surveying, tourism and sustainability research (Centre for Sustainability).

The mix of analytical and communication skills combined with practical experience make Otago Geography graduates highly sought-after in a wide range of industries.

Career opportunities

Geography graduates enjoy an unusually large number of career options.

For example:

  • There are opportunities in Central Government for Geography graduates across a wide range of ministries and departments, including researching and writing reports and developing and monitoring policy in areas such as environment, agriculture, tourism and the economy
  • Roles in Local Government in areas such as planning and conservation, environmental monitoring, natural hazards or identifying new areas for business development
  • Private sector jobs in marketing, tourism and transport, planning and resource consultancy

Background required

There are no subjects you have to have done in order to study Geography – you don’t even need to have studied it at school.

Geography at Otago

The undergraduate programme provides a firm grounding in the social, economic and physical aspects of the environment.

The study of Geography falls into three main areas:

  • Human Geography in which students study theoretical frameworks and contemporary issues surrounding economic, social, cultural and political geography, as shown in urban, rural development and regional contexts
  • Physical Geography in which students study various environmental topics, which together make up the fundamentals of this branch of the discipline: geomorphology, climatology, biogeography, hydrology and soil science. Each is investigated in terms of process, resource potential and sensitivity to human interference
  • Environmental Management in which students gain a theoretical and practical understanding of environmental processes such as climatology, geomorphology, biogeography, hydrology and soil science. This area incorporates sustainable development, integrated resource management and environmental planning and policy

Teaching style

Geography papers are taught in a range of ways. Students attend lectures, tutorials and labs, and also gain hands-on experience through fieldwork and practical courses in research methods.

Qualifications

Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Geography

LevelPapersPoints
100-level

GEOG 101  Physical Geography

GEOG 102  Human Geography

18

18

200-level

GEOG 280  Research Methodology in Human Geography

Two further 200-level GEOG papers (excluding GEOG 290)

18

36

300-level

GEOG 380  Field Research Studies

Three further 300-level GEOG papers

18

54

Plus

198 further points; must include 54 points at 200-level or above.

Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Arts

198
Total 360

Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)) in Geography

Papers

Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) in Geography

The Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) programme in Geography is the same as the programme for the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)).

Master of Arts (Coursework) (MA(Coursework)) in Geography

Papers

Master of Arts (Thesis) (MA(Thesis)) in Geography

Thesis
  • Thesis: GEOG 5

Note: Students who have not completed a Bachelor of Arts (BA(Hons)) in Geography or a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) in Geography must complete the required papers for the BA(Hons) in Geography prior to undertaking the thesis.

Bachelor of Science (BSc) majoring in Geography

Level Papers Points
100-level

GEOG 101  Physical Geography

GEOG 102  Human Geography

STAT 110  Statistical Methods

18

18

18

200-level

GEOG 290  Field Research Methods (Science)

At least one of GEOG 281, GEOG 282, GEOG 283, GEOG 284GEOG 286, GEOG 287, GEOG 288, GEOG 289, GEOG 298, GEOG 299

One further 200-level GEOG paper (excluding GEOG 280)

18

18

 
18

300-level

GEOG 380  Field Research Studies

Two of GEOG 387, GEOG 388, GEOG 389, GEOG 390, GEOG 392, GEOG 393, GEOG 394, GEOG 395, GEOG 398, GEOG 399

One further 300-level GEOG paper

18

36

 
18

Plus

180 further points; must include 54 points at 200-level or above.

Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Science

180
Total   360

Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)) in Geography

Papers

Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) in Geography

Papers

Master of Science (MSc) in Geography

Papers and Thesis
  • GEOG 495 Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Four 400-level GEOG papers

  • Thesis: GEOG 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

 

Minor subject requirements

Geography (Arts option) as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree

Level Papers Points
100-level

GEOG 101  Physical Geography

GEOG 102  Human Geography

18

18

200-level Two 200-level GEOG papers (excluding GEOG 290) 36
300-level One 300-level GEOG paper (excluding GEOG 380) 18
Total   90

Geography (Science option) as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), or Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree

Level Papers Points
100-level

GEOG 101  Physical Geography

GEOG 102  Human Geography

18

18

200-level

Two of GEOG 216, GEOG 281, GEOG 282, GEOG 283, GEOG 284, GEOG 285, GEOG 286, GEOG 287, GEOG 288, GEOG 289, GEOG 290, GEOG 298, GEOG 299

36

300-level One of GEOG 387, GEOG 388, GEOG 389, GEOG 390, GEOG 392, GEOG 393, GEOG 394, GEOG 395, GEOG 397, GEOG 398, GEOG 399 18
Total   90

Papers

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
GEOG101 2021 Physical Geography 18 points First Semester
GEOG102 2021 Human Geography 18 points Second Semester
GEOG210 2021 Social Geography 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG212 2021 Transformations in Developing Countries 18 points First Semester
GEOG214 2021 Economic Geography of the Post-World War II Era 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG215 2021 Urban Geography 18 points Second Semester
GEOG216 2021 Environmental Management: Principles and Values 18 points First Semester
GEOG219 2021 Special Topic in Human Geography 18 points Second Semester
GEOG228 2021 Uneven Development in Contemporary India 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG276 2021 Geographies of Contestation, Action and Change 18 points First Semester
GEOG278 2021 Geographies of the South Pacific 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG280 2021 Research Methodology in Human Geography 18 points First Semester
GEOG281 2021 Topics in Physical Geography 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG282 2021 Climate Change: Present and Future 18 points First Semester
GEOG283 2021 Climate Change: The Past 18 points Second Semester
GEOG284 2021 Soils and the Environment 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG285 2021 Southern Landscapes 12 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG286 2021 Climatology 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG287 2021 Plants, People and the Environment 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG288 2021 Rivers and Runoff 18 points First Semester
GEOG289 2021 Geomorphology 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG290 2021 Field Research Methods (Science) 18 points Full Year
GEOG298 2021 Coastal Geomorphology 18 points Second Semester
GEOG299 2021 Freshwater Resources: Monitoring and Management 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG328 2021 Uneven Development in Contemporary India 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG374 2021 Economic Geography of the Post-World War II Era 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG376 2021 Geographies of Contestation, Action and Change 18 points First Semester
GEOG378 2021 Geographies of the South Pacific 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG379 2021 Special Topic in Human Geography 18 points Second Semester
GEOG380 2021 Field Research Studies 18 points Full Year
GEOG381 2021 Social Geography 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG382 2021 Transformations in Developing Countries 18 points First Semester
GEOG384 2021 Urban Geography 18 points Second Semester
GEOG387 2021 Topics in Physical Geography 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG388 2021 Climate Change: Present and Future 18 points First Semester
GEOG389 2021 Climate Change: The Past 18 points Second Semester
GEOG390 2021 Soils and the Environment 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG392 2021 Climatology 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG393 2021 Plants, People and the Environment 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG394 2021 Rivers and Runoff 18 points First Semester
GEOG395 2021 Geomorphology 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG397 2021 Environmental Management: Policy and Practice 18 points Second Semester
GEOG398 2021 Coastal Geomorphology 18 points Second Semester
GEOG399 2021 Freshwater Resources: Monitoring and Management 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOG401 2021 Theories of Development 20 points First Semester
GEOG402 2021 Development Planning and Practice 20 points Second Semester
GEOG454 2021 Alpine Geomorphology 20 points First Semester
GEOG457 2021 Advanced Urban Geography 20 points First Semester
GEOG459 2021 Biogeography 20 points Second Semester
GEOG460 2021 Climatology 20 points Second Semester
GEOG461 2021 Mountain Hydrology 20 points First Semester
GEOG463 2021 Geographies of Justice 20 points Second Semester
GEOG464 2021 An Approved Course in Geography 20 points First Semester, Second Semester
GEOG465 2021 Special Topic in Geography 20 points Second Semester
GEOG470 2021 A Research Topic in Geography 40 points Full Year
GEOG471 2021 Impact Assessment and Sustainability 20 points Second Semester
GEOG472 2021 Developments in Environmental Management 20 points First Semester
GEOG474 2021 Coastal Management 20 points First Semester
GEOG490 2021 Dissertation 60 points Full Year
GEOG495 2021 Master's Thesis Preparation 40 points Full Year
GEOG590 2021 Research Dissertation 60 points 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period

Key information for future students

Contact us

School of Geography
Email geography@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/geography