Human Geography

What is Human Geography?

Human geography focuses on the relationships between human societies and the built and natural environments in which they operate. How do we build healthy, sustainable communities? How do our built environments reflect and reinforce our cultural beliefs? How do we prepare for and respond to a changing natural environment? Human geographers seek to answer these important questions in diverse urban and rural contexts.

Why Study Human Geography at UAlberta?

Students have the opportunity to learn about topics of real world concern. They are challenged to think about how individuals, households, institutions and communities interact with and experience environments. Our professors have a wide range of interests, including cities, communities, hazards, housing, health & wellbeing, resources and sustainability. Their research takes them to all corners of Canada, as well as to many other regions of the world.

Experience Beyond the Classroom

Many of our classes offer opportunities to practice communication skills, through activities such as blog entries, posters and presentations. We offer exciting opportunities for supervised research projects in 4th year, including the option of an Honors thesis. Human geography students can participate in paid work experience, a two-week field school, and the Geography and Planning Students' Society (GAPSS).


  • Sub-disciplines within Human Geography

    Cities and the housing, transportation, economic and demographic characteristics of urban life

    Hazards facing societies and the way in which we prepare for them.

    Sustainability of economic, social and environmental activities at local, regional, national and global scales.

    Human health and its connections to everyday social and built environments.

    Communities and the ways in which they cooperate or conflict over local issues and landscapes

    Service location in terms of infrastructure, employment, retail, housing, and recreation sites - and how locational factors impact travel patterns, transit choices, and accessibility.

  • What can I do with a Human Geography degree?

    Human Geographers are employed by all levels of government, by private consulting firms, by many industrial and retail businesses, and by the non-profit sector. There are many opportunities both domestically and internationally. Many graduates work in roles such as Research Analyst, Project Manager, Information Specialist, Housing Policy Advisor, Regional Directors, Sustainability Coordinators, Community Development Officers, International Trade Consultants, GIS analysts, Environmental Assessment Agents, and so on.

    Human Geography graduates often have easy transitions into the workforce because they have been introduced to actual case studies and problem-solving approaches throughout their degrees. The program helps students to develop skill such in areas such as:

    • Qualitative and quantitative research
    • Professional and academic writing
    • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
    • Community consultation
    • Public presentation

If you're interested in Human Geography, you might also be interested in...

Planning Political Science

Environmental Studies Anthropology

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