Faculty of Science - Leading creativity and innovation in the sciences

Undergraduate major in Geography

Subject description

Image of geographer

The study of Geography is exciting, challenging and relevant to today's world. Geographers study the natural processes of the physical environment, as well as the activities and consequences of humans in this environment. Some geographers specialise in coastal, glacial or fluvial processes and landforms, climatology, biogeography, hydrology or environmental change. Others study regional economics, population change, the problems of rural or urban areas, or the experience of particular groups such as Maori. Still others, specialising in spatial analysis, bring the power of geographic information science to bear on a wide range of research problems. Increasingly, these varied interests are coming together in the study of environmental problems and Geographers lead the way in resource management.

By studying geography at the School of Environment you will learn:

  • Effective research techniques through field work
  • Demographic and economic analysis
  • Physical landscape interpretation and landform reconstruction
  • Cultural landscape interpretation
  • Weather, wave, tide and river monitoring and analysis
  • GPS field mapping of landforms and air photo analysis
  • Mapping and analysing information using GIS
  • Cartography and geo-visualisation
  • Understanding of cultural ideas about the environment
  • Laboratory analysis of soils and sediments
  • Spatial data analysis
  • Theory relevant to changing social organisations and cities, and current issues
Geography ranked 38

Undergraduate Geography

Undergraduate Geography teaches valuable skills such as spatial data analysis and geographical information systems, landform and hydrological interpretation, introduction to population and economic statistics, computing skills, field skills and ethics. Geography demands good analytical and reporting skills, and our students apply their training in real world situations. All Geography majors take part in field courses that involve several days in the field away from Auckland. These are a popular feature of studies in Geography.

The School of Environment offers research-based courses of study at all levels in Physical and Human Geography, Geographic Information Science as well as Environmental Management and Science. Many geography students take advantage of courses from right across the school.

Postgraduate Geography

At postgraduate level our disciplinary based Geography programme offers the opportunity for students to extend their studies and engage in specialized research. Our teaching builds upon our research in areas such as physical and biological systems, resource management, economic and social structures, spatial organization, cultural landscapes and geographical information science.



Bachelor of Science (BSc) - Geography major

Single or first major must include:

Second major must include:

Stage I courses

At undergraduate level Geography can be effectively combined with a wide range of other subjects, for either a BA or BSc or in a conjoint degree programme.

Geography is a natural complement to many other subjects in the physical sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. You may combine courses in Geography with Science subjects like Biological Science, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Marine Science, Physics or Science General for a BSc. Alternatively, you may choose to combine Geography with Arts subjects like Development Studies, English, Film Studies, History, Sociology, Philosophy, or Political Science in a BA degree. You could also combine Geography with Commerce subjects like Economics or with Law in a conjoint degree so as to concentrate your studies on a particular aspect of our environment. Alternatively, the wide range of courses in our Geography programme allows you to build an integrated understanding of our environment through the many specialist sub-fields in our discipline.

If you have studied Geography in secondary school we will build upon your experience. If not, our Stage I courses will quickly bring you up to speed. You will find that Geographers have a world of opportunity for study.

Plan your degree with our Geography planner


Career opportunities

A Geography degree is more than a passport to a wide range of careers; it gives graduates an edge in their careers. Some use their training directly in the workplace, while others find that the broad education and flexible skills developed in Geography are highly demanded in the job market.

Crown Research Institutes and other research organisations employ geographers as environmental scientists. These institutions include NIWA, Landcare and the Forest Research Institute, as well as environmental consultancies, and regional and district councils throughout New Zealand. Increasingly, geography graduates are being hired for their GIS training by forestry companies, environmental engineers, and government agencies.

Geographers may choose careers in commerce and industry - they rarely wear the label “geographer”, but you will find them employed by many of New Zealand’s largest companies, working as marketing managers, project coordinators and business advisers. Geography training emphasises the broad analytical and communication skills that are much sought after by central and local government authorities. Many positions for geographers can be found in education at all levels. A graduate diploma in secondary teaching, for example, may be taken after a BSc.


Help and advice

For further information, refer to the Geography Undergraduate Handbook or contact one of our Stage I Undergraduate Advisers in Geography.

Mel Wall
Building 301, Room 508
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 87949

Joe Fagan
Building 302, Room 525
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 85381

School of Environment
+64 9 373 7599 ext 88565
Email: environment@auckland.ac.nz
Web: www.env.auckland.ac.nz


Further information