Graduate program

The Master of Arts (MA) Program in Geography offers students an advanced education in geographical approaches to understanding social and human/environment relations.

*** We are no longer accepting applications for 2024 entry. ***

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The MA in Geography program emphasizes spatial relations across a range of scales from the local to the global. Students are trained to develop sophisticated and rigorous understandings of geographical processes, through an examination of various current theoretical perspectives and research methodologies, as well as exposure to diverse empirical material.

Graduates of this program are equipped to pursue doctoral studies or careers in areas where the ability to examine and analyze space in relation to social, human and environmental relations is an asset.

As a small program, we strive to provide an attentive, intimate and nurturing learning environment that is responsive to the intellectual needs of individual students.

Students may expect small class sizes (typically four to eight students per course), lots of one-on-one attention from members of their supervisory committee, and plentiful opportunities for productive formal and informal interactions with other students.

View the program details below or visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies for more information.

Graduate student in the driver's seat of a van she bought for research

Studying vanlife culture

Stephanie Murray, a Geography master’s student, stumbled onto vanlife culture through her travels. She quickly realized that although nomads living in vans had been around for years, no one had studied them yet. She took this opportunity to focus her research project on exploring why people choose to live this lifestyle. She bought a van and took her grad studies on the road, travelling to the west coast of the USA and back.

Program information

We have a very diverse faculty and a strong record of placing our graduates into prestigious doctoral schools.

As a small program that admits a select number of students each year, we strive to provide an attentive, intimate and nurturing learning environment that is responsive to the intellectual needs of individual students.

Students may expect small class sizes (typically four to ten students per course), lots of one-on-one attention from members of their supervisory committee, and plentiful opportunities for productive interactions with other students.

Major Research Paper Stream

Program length: 16 months (4 terms) for full-time students

The coursework with major research paper stream provides students with graduate training in a wide range of geographical topics, but with the opportunity to focus on a specific topic through their independent research.

Course and research requirements:

  • Major research paper of 50-70 pages
  • GEOG 5P01 (Theoretical Approaches to the Critical Examination of Geographical Issues)
  • GEOG 5P02 (Methodologies for the Critical Examinations of Geographical Issues) or GEOG 5P03 (Quantitative Analysis in Geography)
  • Five half-credit elective courses

Thesis Stream

Program length: 20 months (5 terms) for full-time students

The coursework with thesis stream provides students with opportunity for sustained, focused, independent research and analysis, while still requiring some breadth through the graduate level coursework.

Course and research requirements:

  • Thesis of 80-120 pages
  • GEOG 5P01 (Theoretical Approaches to the Critical Examination of Geographical Issues)
  • GEOG 5P02 (Methodologies for the Critical Examinations of Geographical Issues) or GEOG 5P03 (Quantitative Analysis in Geography)
  • Three half-credit elective courses

Brock University provides funding opportunities to graduate students in several forms, including graduate fellowships, scholarships and awards, bursaries and employment income. Graduate funding may vary based on student type and degree pathway and is communicated to students within an offer of admission. In addition to funding, graduate students are encouraged to apply for scholarships and awards.

***We are no longer accepting applications for 2024 entry ***


Admission requirements:
Successful completion of a four-year Bachelor’s degree or equivalent, in Geography or a closely-related discipline (e.g., Environmental Studies, Global Studies, International Studies, Planning, Sustainability, etc.), with a minimum average of 75% B.

  1. Check the university requirements and the program requirements.
  2. Complete the online application and submit the non-refundable application fee.
  3. You will need to submit your transcripts as well as the following program-specific materials:
    • Three references are required.
    • A two-page statement of interest that outlines your academic and other background information, and provides an indication of your research interests as well as intermediate and long-term goals. You are invited to indicate potential links between your own research interests and goals and the research interests of faculty participating in the program.
    • A current resume

Part-time studies are available for students who require more flexibility in their studies. Individuals interested in part-time study should contact the Graduate Program Director.

We offer an attentive, intimate and nurturing learning environment, which emphasizes strong research skills, provides research-intensive experiences, and is responsive to individual students’ intellectual needs.

Mentorship: Our faculty members are recognized for their research and are dedicated to ensuring that our graduate students are successful at Brock and beyond. They work closely with students in their courses and on their supervisory committees to prepare them for further graduate studies and/or the workforce.

Facilities and equipment: Students are provided with office and lounge space, and access to labs and other relevant facilities, including physical geography and GIS labs, and remote sensing equipment. The Department of Geography and Tourism Studies is adjacent to the University Maps, Data & GIS Library, which contains the largest and most comprehensive map and air photo collection in the Niagara Region, as well as up-to-date electronic, digital data and online resources. 

Events: A Geography seminar series exposes students to current research by faculty, former students, alumni, and visiting researchers. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of research development events and activities hosted by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the Office of Research Services. 

Location: Brock University is located in Niagara Region, close to wineries and tourist attractions, Niagara Falls, the Niagara Escarpment and Short Hills, the US border, and many sites of historical and cultural interest. We are also close to major cities like Toronto, Buffalo and Hamilton, as well a variety of rural landscapes, which provide exciting opportunities for geographical field research and analysis.

A full list of theses and major research papers by Geography graduate students is available on our Graduate student research page.

Dr. Atsuko Hashimoto
Graduate Program Director & Professor
Office: MC C422
905-688-5550 x4367

Our Faculty undertake world-class research on a wide range of topics in the Geography and Tourism fields. Learn more about our their research interests below and visit our Faculty and Staff page to view their full profiles.

Faculty research interests

Faculty memberAvailable to supervise students starting September 2024Research interests
Julia BairdNowater management; water governance; social-ecological resilience; sustainability science; agriculture management; social network analysis; connectedness to nature
Jeff BoggsNoeconomic geography; regional political economy; applied quantitative analysis, especially using georeferenced Statistics Canada data; agricultural innovation; regional economic and demographic analysis; economic development in second-tier cities and deindustrialized regions; Niagara’s changing economy; locational dynamics of media and other cultural industries
David T. BrownNodigital interpretation of natural and cultural heritage; locative media; digital tourism; municipal cultural mapping; trail and greenway management; sustainable integrated waste management theory and practice
David ButzNosocial and cultural geography; qualitative research design; community level social organisation in northern Pakistan; mobility justice; mobilities, road construction and social change in the global south; transport labour in the Karakoram/Hindu-Kush/Himalaya; Reggae music and spatiality
Danuta de GrosboisNosustainable tourism management; tourism certification; measurement of CSR performance; CSR reporting in tourism industry
Christopher FullertonNorural planning and development; rural tourism; Ottawa’s urban and regional planning history; public transit planning and policy; U-Pass programs at post-secondary institutions
David GoldblumNobiogeography; tree rings (dendrochronology & dendroclimatology); forest ecology; urban trees; urban forests
Atsuko HashimotoNosocio-cultural and human aspects of tourism development (especially women and children); dark tourism; green tourism in rural Japan
Phillip Gordon Mackintosh Nothe urban historical geography of the modern city; historical mobilities, including bicycling; public space and bourgeois culture; urban reform and city planning; Victorian gender relations and fraternalism; historical newspapers; liberalism; Victorian “race” science, and creationism
Michael PisaricNoclimate change; dendrochronology; paleolimnology; Arctic ecosystems; landscape evolution
Mike RipmeesterNogeographies of popular memory; geography and ethnohistory; historical and cultural geography; historical geographies of First Nations in Ontario; historical Geographies of Native – Euro – Canadian relationships in 19th century Canada; landscape and identity (including: geographies of private green space; mnemonic landscapes; wine and identity; culture and economy)
Dragos SimandanNoeconomic geography; critical human geographies and critical urban theory; health, well-being, and the politics of biomedical research; social theory and philosophy of the social sciences; the interface between geography and the cognitive sciences
David J. TelferNolinkages between tourism and development theory; tourism planning and development; rural tourism development
Kevin TurnerNoresponse of northern lake-rich landscapes to climate change; hydrology; GIS, spatial analysis, and remote sensing; water isotope tracer techniques; paleolimnological reconstruction of past lake conditions
Ebru UstundagNourban geography; citizenship studies; emotional/affective geographies; feminist geographies; geographies of health and addiction; geographies of sex-work; graphic medicine

Professors Emeriti: Research interests 

Faculty memberResearch interests
Hugh Gaylercoming soon
Catherine Jean Nashsocial and cultural geographies; urban planning and development; digital cities, cyberspace, and mobilities
Anthony Shawdetection and prediction of road surface icing conditions; microclimate analysis for specialty crops; thermal and moisture behaviour of stud wall vs structural insulated panel; wind machine for freeze protection; wind resource assessment for wind power; wine terroir and sub-appellations; applied climatology and meteorology; viticulture, vineyard site selection and freeze protection methods for specialty crops; climate change and building climatology

Please note that Professors Emeriti are not available to supervise students but may sit on supervisory committees.

Learn more about our current graduate students and their research here.

Our Master of Arts in Geography alumni have gone onto fulfilling careers and further education across the globe.

Master of Arts in Geography students have access to a wide range of professional and personal development opportunities while studying at Brock. Some of these opportunities are listed below.

On-campus opportunities
  • GRADvantage is a personal and professional development guide for graduate students. This guide can help set you up for success both during and after grad school and help you prepare for whatever the next step in your journey will be. This hub of information is your “one stop shop” to learn about how Brock University can help support your personal and professional growth.
  • Gradflix is a new competition that allows current and recent graduate students to share their research through a creative short video (60 seconds or less) for a chance to win cash prizes. The competition invites master’s and doctoral students across disciplines to showcase their current research to non-specialist audiences.
  • Graduate Student Writing Bootcamp: Spring/Summer Edition is three part workshop series is designed to help support ALL graduate students in further developing their academic writing skills and strategies. Both course and research-based students are welcome and encouraged to attend!
  • Brock’s Faculty of Graduate Studies offers a number of academic, personal and professional learning and development activities and events throughout the year for graduate students across campus.
  • NSERC and SSHRC offer student competitions showcase student research across Canada.
  • The Centre for Pedagogical Innovation (CPI) offers a certificate program for Teaching Assistants interested in attending a series of workshops.
  • CPI’s Graduate Teaching Assistant Practicum is a self-directed program of professional development in university teaching.
  • Other opportunities for professional development
Off-campus opportunities

The Graduate Program Handbook outlines the policies, procedures and guidelines for the Master of Arts in Geography graduate program at Brock University. It contains important information you’ll need as a graduate student in the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies.

A list of resources for current graduate students is available here.

Atsuko Hashimoto
Graduate Program Director & Professor
Office: MC C422
905-688-5550 x4367

Teresa Shanley
Administrative Coordinator & Academic Advisor, Graduate and Undergraduate Programs 
Office: MC C322
905-688-5550 x3484