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Study Geography at Otago

People, places and the environment.

Geographers study the environment – both physical and human, including the physical processes that shape the natural environment, the social and cultural processes that explain patterns of human activity, and the interactions between human activity and the natural world.

Geography also explores key environmental and development challenges, such as climate change and inequality, and the potential solutions to these problems. Geography helps us manage human activity and secure the future of our planet.

A Geography degree at Otago will equip you with valuable research and communication skills using interdisciplinary approaches to explore environmental and societal challenges. This combination of practical skills and theoretical learning will serve you well no matter the career you choose.

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Why study Geography?

Geography provides a bridge between the arts and the sciences, addressing issues at the local, regional, national and global scales. A Geography degree at Otago provides training through lectures and fieldwork in the environments in which we work.

Geography papers fit well into almost any degree and the School of Geography has strong links with many other disciplines including Geology, Surveying, Agricultural Innovation and sustainability research (Centre for Sustainability).

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

Career opportunities

Geography graduates work in the public and private sectors. Their skills and interdisciplinary outlook prepare them for a diverse range of careers.

Central government departments, state-owned enterprises, local government,  private corporations and consultancies employ Geography graduates in areas such as regional and resource planning, environmental management, natural resources (especially water) analysis, social and economic research, social services and regional development.

Geography at Otago

Geography may be taken as the major subject for the Bachelor of Arts (BA) or for the Bachelor of Science (BSc). In addition, many students enrol for undergraduate papers in Geography while pursing other studies, including Law, Commerce, Humanities, Ecology, Geology, Surveying, Physical Education, Tourism, and Education.

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 focus on issues of urban and economic change, uneven development, social themes like ethnicity, childhood and gender, geopolitical conflict and the human use of natural resources.

Physical Geography in which students focus on physical geography, including earth surface processes and their expression in the landscape, the Earth's weather systems and climates, factors which lead to geographic variations in the distribution and growth of living things, and environmental controls on the availability and quality of water.

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.

Both BA and BSc Geography students can mix papers from across the discipline to build an applied environmental management programme within the Geography degree. It is also possible to take Environmental Management as a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) degree.

Teaching style

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

Further study

The School of Geography offers an honours programme. Postgraduate studies include the Master of Planning, Master of International Development and Planning, Master of Arts, Master of Science, postgraduate diplomas, and a strong PhD programme.

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.

Requirements

Geography (Arts option) as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BCom, BEntr, 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 Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Entrepreneurship (BEntr), 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

LevelPapersPoints
100-level

GEOG 101 Physical Geography

GEOG 102 Geographies of Sustainable Futures

18

18

200-levelTwo 200-level GEOG papers (excluding GEOG 201)36
300-levelOne 300-level GEOG paper (excluding GEOG 301, GEOG 380)18
Total 90
Geography (Science option) as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BCom, BEntr, 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 Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Entrepreneurship (BEntr), 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

LevelPapersPoints
100-level

GEOG 101 Physical Geography

GEOG 102 Geographies of Sustainable Futures

18

18

200-level

Two of GEOG 201, GEOG 216, GEOG 281, GEOG 282, GEOG 283, GEOG 284, GEOG 285, GEOG 286, GEOG 287, GEOG 288, GEOG 289, GEOG 298, GEOG 299

36

300-levelOne of GEOG 387, GEOG 388, GEOG 389, GEOG 390, GEOG 392, GEOG 393, GEOG 394, GEOG 395, GEOG 397, GEOG 398, GEOG 39918
Total 90

GEOG papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
GEOG101 2024 Physical Geography 18 Semester 1
GEOG102 2024 Geographies of Sustainable Futures 18 Semester 2
GEOG201 2024 Field Research Methods 18 Full Year
GEOG210 2024 Social Geography 18 Semester 2
GEOG212 2024 Transformations in Developing Countries 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG214 2024 Geographies of Global Economic Change 18 Semester 2
GEOG215 2024 Envisioning Sustainable Cities 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG216 2024 Environmental Management: Principles and Values 18 Semester 1
GEOG219 2024 Special Topic in Human Geography 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG228 2024 Geographies of Global Development and Sustainability 18 Semester 1
GEOG276 2024 Geographies of Contestation, Action and Change 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG278 2024 Geographies of the South Pacific 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG280 2024 Engaging with People and Place: Doing Geographical Research 18 Semester 1
GEOG281 2024 Topics in Physical Geography 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG282 2024 Climate Change: Present and Future 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG283 2024 Climate Change: The Past 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG284 2024 Soils and the Environment 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG285 2024 Southern Landscapes 12 Not offered in 2024
GEOG286 2024 Climatology 18 Semester 2
GEOG287 2024 Plants, People and the Environment 18 Semester 2
GEOG288 2024 Rivers and Runoff 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG289 2024 Geomorphology 18 Semester 1
GEOG298 2024 Coastal Geomorphology 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG299 2024 Freshwater Resources: Monitoring and Management 18 Semester 1
GEOG301 2024 Field Research Studies 18 Full Year
GEOG328 2024 Geographies of Global Development and Sustainability 18 Semester 1
GEOG374 2024 Geographies of Global Economic Change 18 Semester 2
GEOG376 2024 Geographies of Contestation, Action and Change 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG378 2024 Geographies of the South Pacific 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG379 2024 Special Topic in Human Geography 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG380 2024 Field Research Studies 18 Full Year
GEOG381 2024 Social Geography 18 Semester 2
GEOG382 2024 Transformations in Developing Countries 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG384 2024 Envisioning Sustainable Cities 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG387 2024 Topics in Physical Geography 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG388 2024 Climate Change: Present and Future 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG389 2024 Climate Change: The Past 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG390 2024 Soils and the Environment 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG392 2024 Climatology 18 Semester 2
GEOG393 2024 Plants, People and the Environment 18 Semester 2
GEOG394 2024 Rivers and Runoff 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG395 2024 Geomorphology 18 Semester 1
GEOG397 2024 Environmental Management: Policy and Practice 18 Semester 2
GEOG398 2024 Coastal Geomorphology 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOG399 2024 Freshwater Resources: Monitoring and Management 18 Semester 1
GEOG401 2024 Theories of Development 20 Semester 1
GEOG402 2024 Development Planning and Practice 20 Semester 2
GEOG454 2024 Alpine Geomorphology 20 Not offered in 2024
GEOG457 2024 Advanced Urban Geography 20 Semester 2
GEOG459 2024 Biogeography 20 Semester 2
GEOG460 2024 Climatology 20 Semester 1
GEOG461 2024 Mountain Hydrology 20 Semester 1
GEOG463 2024 Geographies of Justice 20 Not offered in 2024
GEOG464 2024 An Approved Course in Geography 20 Semester 2
GEOG465 2024 Special Topic in Geography 20 Not offered in 2024
GEOG470 2024 A Research Topic in Geography 40 Full Year
GEOG471 2024 Impact Assessment and Sustainability 20 Not offered in 2024
GEOG472 2024 Developments in Environmental Management 20 Semester 1
GEOG474 2024 Coastal Management 20 Semester 2
GEOG490 2024 Dissertation 60 Full Year
GEOG495 2024 Master's Thesis Preparation 40 Full Year, 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period
GEOG590 2024 Research Dissertation 60 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period

More information

Contact us

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

Studying at Otago

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Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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