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.

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.

Apply today

We are no longer accepting International student applications for September 2021 admission.
We continue to accept and consider applications from Domestic students (Canadian citizens and permanent residents).

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

Financial support for graduate students is a top priority at Brock University. Brock offers our full-time research based graduate students a funding package for the defined length of the graduate program. Funding packages typically consist of a combination of different sources of funding including graduate fellowships and graduate assistantships. Geography students are eligible for funding for the defined program length noted above. Learn more about graduate student funding.

In addition to funding, graduate students are encouraged to apply for scholarships and awards. Learn more about scholarships and awards available to Brock’s graduate students.

The Graduate Admissions Committee will review all applications and recommend admission for a limited number of suitable candidates.

Entry: September

Application deadline: February 15
*Please note that applications are accepted until the program is full.

Admission requirements:
Successful completion of a four-year Bachelor’s degree or equivalent, in Geography or a closely-related discipline, 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.

Professor David Butz profile photo

Dr. David Butz
Graduate Program Director & Professor
Office: MC C315
905-688-5550 x3205
dbutz@brocku.ca

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 2021Research interests
Julia BairdYeswater management; water governance; social-ecological resilience; sustainability science; agriculture management; social network analysis
Jeff BoggsYesapplied quantitative research, especially using georeferenced Statistics Canada data; economic development in second-tier cities and deindustrialized regions; Niagara’s changing economy; economic geography; locational dynamics of media and other cultural industries; regional political economy
David T. BrownYesdigital tourism and interpretation; municipal cultural mapping; Niagara Greenbelt Gateway Project; land management plans for the Niagara Parks Commission; trail and greenway management; sustainable integrated waste management theory and practice
David ButzYessocial 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 GrosboisYessustainable tourism management; tourism certification; measurement of CSR performance; CSR reporting in tourism industry
David FennellYesecotourism; nature-based tourism; tourism ethics; ecotourism policy and planning
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
Atsuko HashimotoYessocio-cultural and human aspects of tourism development (especially women and children); dark tourism; green tourism in rural Japan
Phillip Gordon Mackintosh Yesurban historical geography; Victorian, Edwardian, and Interwar urban reform, city and park planning history; cultural geography, cultural history, and public space (including bicycling)
Michael PisaricYesclimate change; dendrochronology; paleolimnology; Arctic ecosystems; landscape evolution
Mike RipmeesterYesgeographies 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 SimandanYeseconomic 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. TelferYeslinkages between tourism and development theory; tourism planning and development; rural tourism development
Kevin TurnerYesresponse 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 UstundagYesurban 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 graduate students and their research here.

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
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.

David Butz
Graduate Program Director & Professor
Office: MC C315
905-688-5550 x3205
dbutz@brocku.ca

Virginia Wagg
Administrative Coordinator & Academic Advisor, Graduate and Undergraduate Programs 
Office: MC C322
905-688-5550 x3484 
vwagg@brocku.ca