Admission Requirements

Masters

The Masters Degree is offered in all major fields of Geography.

Graduates with a four-year first degree after senior matriculation or an Honours degree from a recognized university, or with equivalent qualifications, and with at least a B (second class) standing will be considered for admission as Candidates for the M.A. or M.Sc. degree.

Doctoral

The usual prerequisite for admission to the Ph.D. program in Geography is a Master's degree in Geography with at least a B+ average. However, the Graduate Program in Geography will consider exceptional students with a Master's degree in other fields.

Applicants to the Doctoral Program should note that we offer a PhD degree in two fields of specialization:

Critical Human Geography

Human geographers have pursued a variety of theoretical and interpretive paradigms over the last century.  Since the mid-1970s, a series of engagements with critical social theory have coalesced into a set of approaches broadly identified as critical human geography.  While philosophically, theoretically and politically eclectic, critical human geography is essentially concerned with: the spatiality of power structures in society; issues of social justice; the production of economic and social spaces and the access of different groups to those spaces; the marginalization of some groups and the centrality of other groups to political, social, cultural and economic structures; the production of place and difference; and the political and practical application of engaged scholarship.  In recent years, the content of critical human geography has been defined and institutionalised in various forms – through international critical geography conferences; journals (e.g. ACME; Antipode; Gender, Place and Culture; Human Geography: A New Radical Journal; and Society and Space); and web-based communities (e.g. CRIT-GEOG-FORUM@JISCMAIL.AC.UKLEFTGEOG@LSV.UKY.EDU ).  In other words, critical human geography now constitutes an identifiable approach within a broader disciplinary context.  It is with this tradition that the graduate program in human geography at York identifies itself.

At York, critical human geography research addresses the causes and manifestations of inequality and difference in a range of social-geographical and historical settings.  Social and cultural differentiation in various forms is a central concern, whether it is based on class, gender, ‘race’, ethnicity, impairment, sexuality, religion, indigeneity or citizenship.  Economic differentiation is an equally important concern with current themes including the formation of technopoles, the globalization of culture, economy and society, the increasing centralization of economic and political power in core metropolitan areas, coupled with social-political marginalization and economic underdevelopment of regions located in the periphery and in the global south.  The impacts of these diverse changes on forms of work, on social formations, on migration, and on consumption, and their ecological impacts on the environment, are also of central interest.

Theoretically, the critical human geography that is practiced in our department has a pluralistic intellectual basis in that it encompasses most of the competing “isms” that have animated human geography during the past two decades.  These include, among others, phenomenology, postmodernism and the approaches influenced by it (e.g. post-colonialism and post-Marxism), feminism, anti-racism, institutionalism, environmentalism, and Marxism, and their engagement with neoliberal and neoconservative discourses.  Such a diversity of understandings leads to lively discussions.

Within this broad field of critical human geography, we identify a series of overlapping thematic clusters, with most graduate faculty members active in two or more of these clusters.  These clusters are identified below, with the primary current interest of each faculty member briefly elaborated.

Biophysical Processes

Doctoral work within biophysical processes emphasizes biotic and abiotic processes that operate at the levels of plant populations, vegetation communities and both terrestrial and aquatic environmental systems. GIS and remote sensing serve to extend analyses across multiple spatial and temporal scales.   A major area of concern continues to relate to global environmental change and human modification of the environment and involves research that links traditional subfields of physical geography. Our research encompasses a wide range of environments that include arctic, temperate and arid regions.