Director's Message

Welcome to the virtual home of the Graduate Program in Geography at York University in Toronto. If you plan to apply to the program, you will find much of the information that you need on this website. Should you require further assistance, you may contact the Graduate Program Director Peter Vandergeest or the Graduate Program Assistant Yvonne Yim . We look forward to hearing from you!

York University is a diverse, and dynamic place with many collaborative research, teaching, and extracurricular opportunities for graduate students. The geography department, in particular, is renowned for its collegiality, productivity, and critical scholarship. In our graduate program you will be taught by faculty members who are leading national and international scholars in: immigration and urban social issues; the political economy and political ecology of Asia and Africa; and the physical geography of Northern Environments. Our faculty members publish regularly in, and serve in an editorial capacity for, high-profile disciplinary and interdisciplinary journals. In the last ten years, we have authored or edited over 30 books published by major scholarly presses.

With a complement of over 35 full-time faculty members and an intake of approximately 20 students a year, we are the fifth largest doctoral Geography program in Canada. At any given time we have a community of more than 70 graduate students from over a dozen different countries, almost half of them PhD students. Our students have had great success in applying for external awards such as SSHRC, NSERC, and OGS. Our graduate students are bright and engaged, creating a creative and supportive environment for peer learning. Through events such as research days, brown bag seminars, and reading groups, there are many educational opportunities outside of formal classroom settings. The coffee mornings, potlucks, barbeques, theatre outings, and ski trips we organize all foster a sociable atmosphere and build lasting friendships.

York University provides a guaranteed funding package for its incoming graduate students. This base funding can also be supplemented with entrance and external scholarships as well as teaching and research assistantships. Our teaching assistantship salaries are the highest paid at any Canadian institution, and they also include health and other benefits as enshrined in a collective agreement. In addition, students can draw on a variety of funding sources at York to pay for research costs.  Because our faculty have been very successful in applying for research grants, many of our students have their fieldwork costs covered, including those who do international fieldwork.

Beyond the Graduate Program in Geography, the university as a whole provides a rich intellectual environment for graduate study. As one of Canada’s largest universities, there are numerous opportunities to join interdisciplinary research centres, to take courses outside of Geography, and to interact with scholars across a wide range of disciplines. Finally, Toronto is a stimulating and cosmopolitan city in which to live and to work as a student. In Toronto, you will feel the strong pulse of Canada’s academic, cultural, and business life!

Graduates from our program have taken up diverse careers, including academic positions, work in the private sector, government, for NGOs, and even politics, in areas such as environment, immigration and refugee work, labour, education, urban planning, peacebuilding, and more. To see a sample of what some of our graduates are doing, please see the alumni section of our website.

Be sure to follow the links on this website to find out more about the Graduate Program in Geography and York. If you need more information, or would like to arrange a visit, please do get in touch.


Peter Vandergeest
Director of the Graduate Program in Geography