Our Geography, Geology and Land Stewardship Program
This program is ideal for students interested in geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, climate change, environmental sustainability, research, and urban and regional development.
Our program is divided into four major thematic areas: physical geography, human geography, human-environmental geography, and geomatics. Students can study up to two of these areas to further enhance the quality of their degree:
- Physical geography explores the ever-changing surface of the earth and the physical processes that cause these changes. Students will develop the ability to identify critical processes in landscape form and structure, earth-building and the formation of rocks, weathering and mass movement, coastal/shoreline environments, and much more.
- Human geography examines the relationship people have with the earth and how people are distributed on the earth. It examines how we interact with each other, why we interact this way, and how we can improve our lives with this understanding knowledge. Students will explore how and why the first known cities formed; how culture is spread and stagnated by barriers; and how different regions in the world function culturally, socially, environmentally, and economically.
- Human-environmental geography focus on the impact humans have on our environment through activities like urban sprawl and globalization, and how we can work to develop more sustainable practices. Students will develop an understanding of global and environmental change, impact assessments, and natural resource management. Students will study the Great Lakes and their cultural, environmental, and economic importance to humans.
- Geomatics is the discipline of gathering, storing, processing, and delivering geographic information, or spatially referenced information. In our program, students will be introduced to the world of cartography, GIS, remote sensing of the environment, and air photo interpretation.
* This program is offered under the written consent of the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities granted for the period from 11/15/2017 to 11/15/24. Prospective students are responsible for satisfying themselves that the program and the degree will be appropriate to their needs (e.g. acceptable to potential employers, professional licensing bodies or other educational institutions).
What You Can Expect
Hands-on learning, a close-knit campus community, and caring faculty.
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Study Geography where there’s plenty of it
Geography enthusiasts will marvel at Algoma University's rich environment. The landscape is jarred by the St. Mary’s River and the Great Lakes, as well as mountain ranges, valleys, and highlands. Our geography isn’t limited to just physical spaces; the Algoma region boasts cultural diversity, including those of First Nations heritage.
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More than just the study of maps
Geography is the science dealing with the description, distribution, and interaction of humankind, space, and the environment. It addresses questions of location, distribution, pattern, and process within cultural, social, and physical environments. And yes, you’ll look at a few maps, too.
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Get hands on experience in the North and Beyond
Students have the opportunity to get valuable hands-on experience in their third or fourth year in the field practicum course. Students can earn practical experience within the governmental and private sectors, and can be placed in Northern Ontario, or even overseas. A priority is to place students in positions in the Algoma district, Indigenous settlements, and other parts of Northern Ontario.
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Geography and Environmental Club
The Geography and Environment Club provides a forum for people of like interests to meet, discuss, and act on environmental issues on campus and in our community. The club also offers opportunities for social outings to places of natural and geographical significance within our local community. The group has organized field trips to Whitefish Island, the Sault Ste. Marie Museum, and the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre. If you would like to join or contact the club, please email the Geography and Environmental Club at [email protected].
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Dr. Ken McLarty Research Award
The Dr. Ken McLarty Research Award was created to assist students undertaking valuable research in the human services field of study. It is to be awarded annually to a student conducting research into the thesis portion of academic requirements for completion of a senior honours course.
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Successful career path
With additional degrees, diplomas, certificates and/or specialized training, some of our graduates have chosen to become cartographers, data analysts, earth scientists, economic analysts, energy administrators/researchers, environmental researchers, forestry analysts, geographers, GIS analysts/technicians/specialists, location analysts, meteorologists, natural resource managers, park rangers, real estate developers, remote sensing specialists, writers, educators, and many more.
For more detailed information on our courses, please visit our courses schedule sectionGet started now
Professional Lands Management Certification Program (PLMCP) Level 1
Algoma University (AU) and its Department of Geography & Geology signed a MOU with the National Aboriginal Lands Managers Association (NALMA) in September 2018 in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory to provide Level I of the Professional Lands Management Certification Program (PLMCP).
Taking Care of Our Land Symposium May 2025
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The Department of Geography, Geology & Land Stewardship at Algoma University will host the fourth Taking Care of Our Land Symposium in May 2025. The purpose of the symposium is to explore, through research and best practices, the inclusion of cultural and traditional practices of land management, planning, and use for Aboriginal communities in Northern Ontario.
Meet our Faculty
Our Geography & Geology faculty are experts in the field. Get to know them!
Dr. Paulette Steeves
Faculty Chair, Sociology, Canada Research Chair Tier 11 Healing and Reconciliation, Associate ProfessorView Full Bio
Dr. Nairne Cameron
Department Chair, Geography, Geology and Land StewardshipView Full Bio
Dr. William Osei
Professor Emeritus, Sessional InstructorView Full Bio
Sessional InstructorView Full Bio
Dr. Rebecca Ellis
Sessional InstructorView Full Bio
Dr. Michael Doyle
Adjunct Research ProfessorView Full Bio
Sessional InstructorView Full Bio
“My experience in the Geography and Geology program was relevant and beneficial, developing my research, analysis, and communication skills. The professors made the course content relevant, specific, and engaging, within a supportive environment. I really enjoyed the smaller class sizes at Algoma University. I felt like I really mattered to my professors. The smaller classes also helped create an environment where you feel comfortable sharing your ideas and feedback. If you are considering Algoma U and, even more specifically, Geography at Algoma U, go for it! You'll have a great experience learning from knowledgeable, personal professors who care about you and your education. You'll graduate with a sense of accomplishment and pride. Your time at Algoma U will prepare you for whatever is next in your life, whether it is a career, further education, or being a positive contributor to your community in some way. ”
Trevor Childs, Direct Support Professional at Community Living Algoma
“I completed the inaugural year of the Professional Lands Management Certification Program. The program was enriching and worth it - if I could do it again, I would! The courses were very applicable to my work in lands management. I use what I learned every day as I work on a Land Code and a Community Land Use Plan for my community. I loved the small classes and the small campus. I also loved the multicultural nature of the program and the university. Hearing different perspectives and learning about experiences around the world was extremely valuable. I still keep in touch with some of the other students - I call them “My Lands Family.” The instructors had a connection with the land that you can’t put into words, but it helped a lot. I also enjoyed having Elders invited into our classes, as well as the hands-on field trips. If you’re thinking about enrolling in the program, stop thinking and just do it! Don’t wait, it’s worth it!”
Paula Paul, Paqtnkek's Lands Coordinator
Level 1 Professional Lands Management Certification Program
“I learned many skills at Algoma U that prepared me for the workforce. I learned how to manage my time, how to do research, and how to work in a group and individually. I also learned practical applications, like using GIS, which were very helpful in my graduate studies… Some of the courses taught by sessional professors are really helpful because they’re professionals working in a specific field and you gain a lot of their practical knowledge as well as their theory.”
MPL Urban Development, BA
“If you’re looking for a small but mighty community where you are able to explore the physical and spatial worlds around you, I highly recommend the Geography and Geology program at Algoma U. The off campus field trips to discover the physical landscape of Sault Ste. Marie, the outdoor GPS exercises, Geomatics labs, and fourth year thesis completion, all gave me skills in time management, research methods and data organization.”
Bachelor’s of Arts in Geography & Geomatics Certificate, 2018
“Algoma U’s Geography program helped me to understand the complexities of the human-human and human-environment relationships, that have been invaluable in my field.”
Bachelor of Arts in Geography, Manager of International Student Recruitment, Algoma U
Dr. Robert Ewing Geography Award
The Dr. Robert Ewing Geography award will provide a scholarship valued at $500 to a 2nd – 4th year student studying Geography. To be eligible, the student must be enrolled in full time studies and be in academic good standing.Learn More
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