Director's Message

Welcome to the Graduate Program in Geography at York University!

If you plan to apply to the program, you will find much of the information that you need on this website. Should you have more questions, you may contact the Graduate Program Director, Patricia Wood, or the Graduate Program Assistant, Yvonne Yim. We would be glad to help you.

York University is a diverse and dynamic place, with many collaborative research, teaching, and extracurricular opportunities for graduate students. The Geography Department has an excellent international reputation, and is renowned for its collegiality, productivity, and critical scholarship. Our faculty members are leading scholars in migration and settlement, urban geography, political economy and political ecology, feminist geography, and the physical geography of northern and extreme 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 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 whom are PhD students. 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. We have coffee mornings, potlucks, barbeques, theatre outings, and ski trips, which all help to foster a sociable atmosphere and build lasting friendships.

This is the kind of environment we believe supports good intellectual work. Our students have a great record in applying for external awards such as SSHRC, NSERC, and OGS, and they go on to successful careers, both inside and outside academia.

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. 50% of its residents were born in another country, and more than 100 languages are spoken across the city. Toronto is rich in arts and culture, as well as having an active political scene, and there are lots of opportunities to get involved in communities.

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.

Sincerely,

Patricia Burke Wood
Professor
Director of the Graduate Program in Geography