Graduate courses are offered in three major fields of geography:

  • Biophysical Processes
  • Critical Human Geography
  • Geographic Theory and Methodology

Opportunities exist for students to take courses outside the program, both at York and at other Ontario universities. Courses offered by the Faculty of Environmental Students at York complement the work of the Geography program and are of particular interest to students in urban, economic and resource geography. Courses offered by the Graduate Program in Biology are of particular interest to students in biogeography.

Course Offerings for Fall/Winter 2019-2020

  • Fall 2019 registration deadline: August 20, 2019
  • Winter 2019 registration deadline: TBA

Required Courses in Geography

These courses are required for students in the Graduate Geography Program:

GEOG 5010 3.0Y: Seminar in the Theory of Geography

  • Tricia Wood
  • Friday, 1:30-3:00, Ross North 120
  • Catalogue Number: S06P01
  • This course focuses on contemporary theories in geography. Emphasis is placed on the diversity of forms of enquiry used by geographers and on the development of the principal conceptual frameworks currently favoured. This is a required course of all Geography graduate students. Open to Geography students only.

GEOG 5011 1.0W: Graduate Colloquium

  • Tricia Wood
  • Friday, 11:30-12:30, Ross North 120
  • Catalogue Number: K95R01
  • The Graduate colloquium is a student-faculty seminar with reports on research by York faculty members, guest speakers, and students, and operates through the Fall and Winter terms. AllCandidates in residence are required to attend and participate. In addition, M.A./M.Sc. students during their first year of study and PhD students during their second year of study must register during the Winter term. This course requires an oral presentation to the Graduate Colloquium, subsequently written up as a thesis or research paper proposal which is assessed by the student's supervisory committee. This will be graded on a Pass/Fail basis. This is a required course of all Geography graduate students. Open to Geography students only.

GEOG 5025 3.0W: Research Design and Formulation in Human Geography

  • Peter Vandergeest
  • Monday, 2:30-5:30,  McLaughlin College 212
  • Catalogue Number: Z36U01 
  • The objectives of this course are to develop a critical position with respect to methodology, given an ontological and epistemological location with respect to the phenomena under investigation. A primary pragmatic focus [and specific outcome] is on the development of a problematique relevant to the student [i.e., negotiated among seminar participants], the research proposal that responds to its demands, and the development of grounded arguments in terms of subsequent methodological choices.
Note: All Graduate Students in Geography must complete one of the following Research Seminar Courses. Please enrol in the course that best suits your research interests.

GEOG 5208 3.0Y: Doctoral Seminar in Critical Human Geography

  • Peter Vandergeest
  • Wednesday, 2:30-5:30, Ross North 401
  • Catalogue Number: E88T01
  • An advanced seminar which examines current approaches to studying critical human geography, drawing on recent books and articles framed in both the humanities and the social science traditions. Seminars led by several different faculty members introduce students to current research styles, conceptual approaches, and substantive issues in critical human geography. Open to Geography students only.


GEOG 5209 3.0F: Masters Seminar in Critical Human Geography

  • Alison Bain
  • Tuesday, 2:30-5:30, Ross North 401
  • Catalogue Number: B30P01
  • This seminar for masters students introduces current approaches to studying critical human geography, drawing on recent books and articles framed in both the humanities and the social science traditions. Seminars led by several different faculty members examine current research styles, conceptual approaches, and substantive issues in critical human geography. Open to Geography students only.


GEOG 5600 3.0W: Research Seminar in Physical Geography

  • Jenny Korosi
  • Wednesday, 11:30-2:30, Ross North 401
  • Catalogue Number: E42D01
  • This course examines current major research issues in physical geography and related disciplines, drawing on recent books and articles recognized as major contributions. Students will be introduced to current research styles, conceptual approaches, and substantive issues that inform research in physical geography. Open to Geography students only.


Reading Courses

GEOG 6050 3.0F, GEOG 6050 3.0W: MA/MSc Directed Reading Course

  • An independent directed reading course on a topic approved by the supervisory committee and the Graduate Programme Director in Geography. This course may complement the reading required for the literature review of a Thesis/MRP, but will not in toto, constitute the reading required for the thesis/MRP. Students wishing to enroll in this course must complete a Directed Reading Course Reading Course Permission Form is available in N431 Ross.

GEOG 6060 3.0F, GEOG 6060 3.0W: PhD Directed Reading Course

  • An independent directed reading course on a topic approved by the supervisory committee and the Graduate Programme Director in Geography. A reading course will sometimes complement the reading undertaken for the comprehensive examination, but will not in toto constitute the reading required for that examination. Students wishing to enroll in this course must complete a Directed Reading Course Permission Form is available in N431 Ross.

Courses in Critical Human Geography

GEOG 5327 3.0: Matters of Nature: Theories and Politics of Social Natures

  • TBA
  • Thursday, 10:00 - 1:00, Vari Hall 2043
  • Catalogue Number: U70R01
  • This course critically engages with the vast and growing body of work in anthropology, geography, and science studies that addresses the discursive and material contours of society –nature relations in historically situated and geographically diverse sites. Same as Social Anthropology 5195 3.0.

GEOG 5330 3.0F: Feminist Geographies of Space and Place

  • Linda Peake
  • Thursday, 11:30 - 2:30, Kaneff Tower 749
  • Catalogue Number:J28S01
  • This course examines developments in feminist geography over the last two decades. Particular attention will be given to studies of the construction and representation of gendered identities in specific places as well as the role of place in the constitution of those identities

GEOG 5370 3.0W: Space, Power and the City

  • Ranu Basu
  • Tuesday, 2:30 - 5:30, Ross North 401
  • Catalogue Number: F00K01
  • This course explores the linkages among the geographies of inequalities, state policies and civil society.  We will review a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches that uncover the contested meaning of social policy and interrogate the nature of power in the city. The geographies of critical race theory, colonialism, and the legacies of imperial systems in the production of urban space are explored. Questions of concern relate to: how are marginal groups discriminated in the city?  Is the urban form and design of cities exclusionary in nature?  How do societies collectively struggle and negotiate for social welfare that is in need of an equitable, socially just and cohesive citizenry?  The inherent spatialities and tensions between rationality and power, recognition and redistribution, subjugation and contestation are central themes of the course.

Geography 5375 3.0F: Space, Place and Capitalism: Themes in Historical-Geographical Materialism

Note: This course is not available for audit.

  • Raju Das
  • Tuesday, 11:30 - 2:30, Norman Bethune College 325
  • Catalogue Number: Y53B01
  • This course examines the political economy of capitalism from a geographical angle. It looks at the spatial and environmental aspects of capitalism employing Marx’s ‘mature’ works as well as more contemporary literature on political economy in geography and cultural studies.  Same as Environmental Studies 5475 3.0, Sociology 6794 3.0.

Geography 5580 3.0F: Global Cities

  • TBA
  • Catalogue Number: Y15A01
  • This course offers an introduc­tion to the literature on global cities and a systematic review of a distinct field of research in urban studies which concerns itself with the globalization of a network of global or world cities.Same as Environmental Studies 5023 3.0.

Courses in Physical Geography

GEOG 5602 3.0W: Climatology of High Latitudes

  • Rick Bello
  • Lecture: Monday, 12:30-2:00pm, Ross North 120
  • Lab: Wednesday, 12:30-2:00pm, Ross North 120
  • Catalogue Number: A49S02
  • Climate change is occurring most rapidly in high latitude environments and will impact on polar biophysical systems directly. Polar regions also regulate planetary temperature and perturbations will feed back and magnify global changes in greenhouse gas concentrations, temperature, precipitation and sea level. Topics covered include 1) the energy budget of polar regions which are responsible for distinctive polar climates. 2) surface microclimates in the Arctic and the spatial and temporal factors controlling energy flow into the ground and atmosphere and 3) the impact of climate on the polar biophysical environment including effects on glaciers, sea-ice, permafrost, landforms, soils, vegetation and greenhouse gas uptake and release. Integrated with Geography 4205 3.0.

GEOG 5607 3.0F: Ecological Climatology

  • Rick Bello
  • Lecture: Monday, 12:30-2:30pm, Ross North 120
  • Lab: Wednesday, 12:30-2:30pm, Ross North 120
  • Catalogue Number: Q96D02
  • Ecological Climatology provides an interdisciplinary framework for understanding how terrestrial ecosystems function in relation to climate systems. It examines the physical, chemical and biological processes by which landscapes affect and are affected by climate. The central focus is that ecosystems, through their cycling of energy, water, chemical elements and trace gases are important determinants of climate. The coupling between climate and vegetation is seen at spatial scales from the leaf to biomes and at timescales from seconds to millennia. Both natural vegetation dynamics and human induced land-use changes are mechanisms of climate change. The course combines a theoretical understanding of ecological climatology with applied experimentation to reinforce the principals involved. Integrated with the undergraduate course Geography 4215 3.0.

GEOG 5610 3.0F: Biogeochemistry of Stream Ecosystems

  • Jenny Korosi
  • Lecture: Tuesday, 2:30-4:30pm, HNE B11
  • Lab: Thursday, 10:30-12:30pm, CB 122
  • Catalogue Number: U08Z02
  • An examination of major aspects of mineral element transport and transformation in stream environments. Topics considered include interactions between hydrology and water chemistry, impacts of human activities on water quality, nitrogen and phosphorus cycling in rivers and the effects of pollution on stream organisms. Integrated with Geography 4200 3.0.

GEOG 5630 3.0F: Physical Hydrology and Water Resources

  • Kathy Young
  • Lecture: Thursday, 10:00-12:00pm, Ross North 143
  • Lab: Thursday, 14:30-16:30pm, Ross North 143
  • Catalogue Number: N55A01
  • Students develop a sound, quantitative sense of the way in which water moves through the land phase of the hydrologic cycle. This serves as the basis for discussions of “hot” water issues (global change, scaling up procedures, land-surface schemes, and inter-basin transfers). Students also learn some hydrological modelling techniques and should have some knowledge of a programming language. Integrated with the undergraduate course Geography 4400 3.0.

GEOG 5645 3.0W: Dynamics of Snow and Ice

  • Kathy Young
  • Lecture: Thursday, 9:30-11:30pm, Ross North 143
  • Lab: Thursday, 13:30-16:30pm, Ross North 143
  • Catalogue Number: H02J02
  • In this course the occurrence and distribution, formation and degradation and the environmental consequences of snow, lake, river and sea ice are examined. Additional components of the cryosphere such as massive ice, ground ice and glaciers will be discussed. Physical processes and fieldwork are emphasized in the course. Integrated with the undergraduate course Geography 4310 3.0.

Major Research Paper

If you are completing the Major Research Paper option of the Masters Degree, you must enroll in the following course every term until you defend:

GEOG 6010 0.0: M.A./M.Sc. Research Paper

  • Fall Term: Catalogue Number: N38P01 
  • Winter Term: Catalogue Number: G85B01
  • Full Year Term: Catalogue Number: A32K01

YCAR Diploma Core Course

GEOG 5700 3.0W: The Making of Asian Studies: Critical Perspectives

  • Laam Hae
  • Lecture: Thursday, 2:30-5:30, Ross South 133
  • Catalogue Number: V47S01
  • This course offers a historical examination of the multiple, overlapping processes through which Asian identities and regions were constituted. It will also examine new directions in Asian studies in an era of intensified global flows, transnationalism, and the presence of Asian diaspora in Canada and elsewhere. Same as Humanities 6135 3.0, Sociology 6745 3.0, Anthropology 5500 3.0, Communication and Culture 6536 or 6136 3.00, History 5480 3.0.

Other Courses not Offered in 2019-2020

GEOG 5015 3.0: Remote Sensing and Image Processing for Geographical Analysis and Environmental Monitoring

  • The course focuses on ways remote sensing systems are used to acquire data, how these data are analyzed and how the information is used in studies of natural and man-made environments. Special emphasis will be placed on satellite sensors operating in the visible and near-infrared regions of the spectrum (Landstat TM and SPOT), and on airborne and spaceborne radar systems. In addition to learning the characteristics of the sensors, how they record data and how the data are processed, the students will analyze these data using digital processing techniques. (Integrated with AS/GEOG 4440 3.0; Crosslisted with ENVS 6188 3.0).

GEOG 5050 3.0: Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Spatial Analysis

  • An advanced GIS course which will deal with strategies and processes for spatial analysis and modeling in geography. It will cover database construction, georeferencing, map integration, spatial decision-making support, geostatistics, and system integration. The course will focus on spatial analysis and modeling to geographical problems including natural resource management, mineral potential mapping, environmental impact assessment, hydrological modeling, and site selection. ARC/INFO and ArcView GIS programs will be used for hands-on exercises. This course will assume knowledge of basic statistics and GIS. (Integrated with AS/GEOG 4340 3.0).

 GEOG 5051 3.0: Spatial Analysis in Geography

  • This course introduces methods for analyzing, interpreting, and making inference from spatial data. Concepts including random fields, covariance structures, spatial autocorrelation, clustering, tessellation, boundary ientification, and interpolation are taught in a practical manner, providing experience with real and simulated data.
  • Pre-requisites: GIS and/or remote sensing, introductory statistics, and permission from the instructor.  Some knowledge of the statistical software, R, would be an asset.

GEOG 5107 3.0: Citizenship, Identity and Space

  • This course explores the relationship between citizenship and collective and individual identities, focusing on the formation of these identities and their struggle for recognition in different historical epochs from Ancient Greece to the Modern era.
    Same as Social & Political Thought 6318 3.0 and Sociology 6791 3.0.

GEOG 5111 3.0: Cosmopolitics: Globalizations, World City Systems and Everyday Lives

  • 'Globalization' is a term that has become impossible to avoid, a mantra invoked to account for everything from transnational capital flows to the foods in your kitchen cupboard and the nic-nacs on your shelves. Equally pervasive is globalization's sidekick, 'world city' -- something every city aspires to be despite the absence of any certainty about what it is. So what, precisely, are these things anyway? Through in-depth exploration into the many conceptions of globalization and world cities both past and present, participants in Cosmopolitics will diligently strive to not answer this question. Rather, Cosmopolitics will be a forum in which students and instructor collaborate to reconceive globalization and its urban correlates from the ground up. Special attention will be given to how 'the global' is being contested and remade in everyday life and, by semester's end, all participants will be required to imagine, identify and document world city systems of their very own.

GEOG 5230 3.0: Cultural and Social Theory for Geographers

  • This course reviews major writers (only some of whom are nominally geographers) and academic theoretical approaches with a particular eye to their relevance for geographic research. Many key concepts integral to critical geography have come from anthropology, literature, history, sociology, political science, and so on. Assigned readings are intended to help create a theoretical foundation for geographers working on questions related to culture, identity, spaces of everyday life, social practices, citizenship and other ‘social politics.’ The course is also open to researchers in other disciplines seeking a better understanding of spatial theories of culture and society.

GEOG 5260 3.0F: Geography of Disability

  • This course examines the embodied experience and social construction of disability in relation to the production and development of built space. Issues to be addressed include: a historical analysis of the social space of disability; the environment of community care and independent living; urban/rural experiences of disability; policy and concepts of urban planning; transportation and accessibility regulation. Same as Critical Disability Studies 5070 3.0.

GEOG 5314 3.0: Cultures of Cities: Planning, Policy, and Practice

  • This course focuses on scholarship about the creative cultures of cities that sits at the dynamic intersection of work in urban, cultural, economic, social, and political geography. Students will engage with a diverse body of international scholarship in urban studies, cultural policy, arts activism, and the cultural economy that is framed by theories of urban neoliberalism, creative capital/class/cities, and cultural production. Creative city research documenting how cultural workers and creative industries regenerate neighbourhoods and kick-start urban revitalization is analyzed to conceptually unpack the urban policy mobilities and inter-/intra-urban competitive tactics employed. Critiques of neoliberalized arts planning and think-tank-generated creative city policy-making are examined to explore how competitive individualism and a privileging of culture for the sake of spectacle and consumption, exacerbates urban social divisions, exploits cultural workers, and mistakenly isolates creativity as an individual talent of professionals. Through this course, students will: examine how concepts of culture and creativity are differently mobilized through grassroots and professional practices, policy, and planning; gain insight into the everyday labour and precarities of cultural work; understand the role of cultural industries, cultural districts, public art, and artists in neighbourhood-based urban redevelopment; explore the relationships between the arts and Do-lt-Yourself urbanism by appreciating how artistic interventions can facilitate power reversals in cities, foster social engagement, and address social issues; and become aware of how culture can be differently produced in smaller and peripheral urban and suburban places.

GEOG 5320 3.0: Geographies of Industry in a Neoliberal Era

  • This course is concerned with economic processes that govern the location of industry, and with recent changes in those processes that have altered patterns of industrial location at the urban, regional and global scale. Behavioural and organizational factors are then introduced to broaden the interpretation. (Integrated with Geography 4220 3.0).

GEOG 5325 3.0: Cultural Politics of Environment and Development II: Environmental Justice

  • Increasingly, the natural environment is a contested site of local, national, and global struggles over resources, livelihoods, representations, and meanings. The contending claims over resources, competing interpretations of environmental change, environmental movements worldwide, and a revived focus on racialized and gendered forms of ecological knowledge describe the highly politicized nature of ecological conflicts. This is the second part of a two course sequence addressing the intersections in the cultural politics of environment and international development. Topics include environmental justice movements in both northern and southern settings, globalization and environment, post-Marxist political ecology, environmental history, the state in political ecology, environment and violence, and the social construction of space.Same as Social Anthropology 5190 3.0 and Sociology 6315 3.0).

GEOG 5326 3.0: Critical Political Ecologies

  • This course explores how power and knowledge shape intertwined social and ecological relationships, drawing on theoretically-informed ethnographies and other empirical studies, with an emphasis on global south research.  Same as Social Anthropology 5030 3.0, Sociology 6312 3.0.

GEOG 5335 3.0: Geographies of Organized Labour: Worker Struggles in Contemporary Economic Landscapes

  • This course explores the contemporary struggles of workers and their institutions to remain relevant actors in the making of economic landscapes. The central theme is the dynamic and multi-scalar nature of organized labour's response to aggressive and increasingly mobile capital.Integrated with the undergraduate course Geography 4800 3.0.

GEOG 5350 3.0: Geographic Perspectives on Immigration, Ethnicity and Race in Modern Cities

  • In the first section there is discussion of issues that impact on the residential segregation of ethnic and racial groups. In the second section, a number of case examples are considered. The focus is primarily on immigrant flows in the post World War Two period. Examples are drawn mainly from the Toronto area.

GEOG 5355 3.0: Seminar in Political Geography: Spaces of Power and the Politics of Space

  • This interdisciplinary seminar examines contemporary themes in political geography, focusing on the ways in which power and political processes are both shaped by and shape particular spaces, scales, networks, and other spatial relations. We will approach these issues through the lens of violence. In particular, we will examine the ways in which violence and power relations both emerge from and reshape particular spatial relations (such as territorial boundaries and access to environmental resources) and the ways in which goods, capital, and people move across and create spaces of violence. Course themes include territory and territoriality, environment and development, extractive economies (e.g., oil and diamonds), biopower and sites of surveillance, spaces of terror and the politics of fear, and the politics of human mobility.

GEOG 5360 3.0F: Geographies of Globalization and Development

  • This course examines the ways in which developing areas are being integrated into a globalizing world economy. The course explores: the discursive power of globalization and development as concepts; the flows of commodities, capital and people that integrate global space; and, the multiple scales at which the global economy is constituted.

GEOG 5608 3.0W: Hydrometeorology: Evapotranspiration

  • Evaporation consumes the largest proportion of precipitation falling to the Earth’s surface with only residual water available for all human and ecosystem uses. The latent energy generated by evaporation drives the atmospheric hydrological cycle and forms the basis of many weather phenomena. The course examines the factors controlling evaporation, the turbulence and energy budget models used to generate evaporation estimates and the instrumentation required for its measurement. The potential impacts of climate change and land use change on evaporation and the water budget is examined. Integrated with the undergraduate course Geography 4210 3.0.

GEOG 5695 3.0W: Fluvial Geomorphology

  • This course concentrates on processes of erosion, sediment transport, and resultant depositional features in alluvial channels. The material is divided into three major sections. The first is concerned with the hydraulics and mechanics of open channel flow. The second examines flow-sediment interaction and bedload transport processes. The third deals with form and process associated with channel cross-sections and channel patterns. (Integrated with Geography 4600 3.0)