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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 2020 Physical Geography 18 points First Semester
GEOG102 2020 Human Geography 18 points Second Semester
GEOG210 2020 Social Geography 18 points Second Semester
GEOG212 2020 Transformations in Developing Countries 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG214 2020 Economic Geography of the Post-World War II Era 18 points First Semester
GEOG215 2020 Urban Geography 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG216 2020 Resource Evaluation and Planning 18 points First Semester
GEOG219 2020 Special Topic in Human Geography 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG228 2020 Uneven Development in Contemporary India 18 points First Semester
GEOG276 2020 Geographies of Contestation, Action and Change 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG278 2020 Geographies of the South Pacific 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG280 2020 Research Methodology in Human Geography 18 points First Semester
GEOG281 2020 Topics in Physical Geography 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG282 2020 Climate Change: Present and Future 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG283 2020 Climate Change: The Past 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG284 2020 Soils and the Environment 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG285 2020 Southern Landscapes 12 points International School
GEOG286 2020 Climatology 18 points Second Semester
GEOG287 2020 Plants, People and the Environment 18 points Second Semester
GEOG288 2020 Rivers and Runoff 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG289 2020 Geomorphology 18 points First Semester
GEOG290 2020 Field Research Methods (Science) 18 points Full Year
GEOG298 2020 Coastal Geomorphology 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG299 2020 Freshwater Resources: Monitoring and Management 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG328 2020 Uneven Development in Contemporary India 18 points First Semester
GEOG374 2020 Economic Geography of the Post-World War II Era 18 points First Semester
GEOG376 2020 Geographies of Contestation, Action and Change 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG378 2020 Geographies of the South Pacific 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG379 2020 Special Topic in Human Geography 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG380 2020 Field Research Studies 18 points Full Year
GEOG381 2020 Social Geography 18 points Second Semester
GEOG382 2020 Transformations in Developing Countries 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG384 2020 Urban Geography 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG387 2020 Topics in Physical Geography 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG388 2020 Climate Change: Present and Future 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG389 2020 Climate Change: The Past 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG390 2020 Soils and the Environment 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG392 2020 Climatology 18 points Second Semester
GEOG393 2020 Plants, People and the Environment 18 points Second Semester
GEOG394 2020 Rivers and Runoff 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG395 2020 Geomorphology 18 points First Semester
GEOG397 2020 Environmental Management 18 points Second Semester
GEOG398 2020 Coastal Geomorphology 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG399 2020 Freshwater Resources: Monitoring and Management 18 points Not offered in 2020
GEOG401 2020 Theories of Development 20 points First Semester
GEOG402 2020 Development Planning and Practice 20 points Second Semester
GEOG454 2020 Alpine Geomorphology 20 points First Semester
GEOG457 2020 Advanced Urban Geography 20 points Second Semester
GEOG459 2020 Biogeography 20 points Second Semester
GEOG460 2020 Climatology 20 points Second Semester
GEOG461 2020 Mountain Hydrology 20 points First Semester
GEOG463 2020 Geographies of Justice 20 points First Semester
GEOG464 2020 An Approved Course in Geography 20 points First Semester, Second Semester
GEOG465 2020 Special Topic in Geography 20 points First Semester, Second Semester
GEOG470 2020 A Research Topic in Geography 40 points Full Year
GEOG471 2020 Impact Assessment and Sustainability 20 points Second Semester
GEOG472 2020 Developments in Environmental Management 20 points First Semester
GEOG474 2020 Coastal Management 20 points First Semester
GEOG490 2020 Dissertation 60 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period
GEOG495 2020 Master's Thesis Preparation 40 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period
GEOG590 2020 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