Undergraduate Studies Update

June 26, 2020

Our undergraduate programs include over 450 majors and 45 minors (8th of 41 Canadian Universities in terms of number of majors). Undergraduate student enrollments are one of the largest in Canada with total enrollments of 3870 and 69 courses offered.

To enhance student experience and learning outcomes, we have pursued significant program evaluations and revisions recently. Highlights of recent and planned changes include the redesign of the BSc in Physical Geography program to reflect industry demands in coursework and to more adequately reflect three streamlined pathways towards recognized accreditation and certification. The Biogeophysical Science and Geoscience streams have been modified such that they target the academic requirements needed to apply for registration as a Professional Agrologist in BC or a Professional Geoscientist in Canada, respectively. These are skills-based professional accreditations required in the environmental and natural resource sectors. The physical geography and spatial information science stream has been renamed the Geosystems and GIScience stream and was modified to better target the requirements necessary to apply the theory and techniques of GIScience in the environmental and natural resources sectors.

The BA program has been redeveloped to clearly focus on Human Geography and thus the program name has been changed from Geography to Human Geography. The relatively new hybrid science/social science BEnv degree has continued to have steadily increasing interest with 123 students currently in the program. Global environmental systems (GES) majors develop expertise in social and biophysical systems at the global scale. With increased interest in the GES major, the BA Geography – Environmental Specialty program will be terminated once all students have completed their degrees.

A new Geographic Information Science minor has been developed and will commence in Spring 2021. The Geographic Information Science Certificate was renamed (from Spatial Information Science Certificate) and modified to make it more accessible to students. The Urban Studies Certificate is being redesigned to reduce the number of courses to a more reasonable number.

To address departmental priorities around career development and reconciliation, we have added a course called Geography in Practice and a course with Indigenous focus to all programs.

SFU Geography continues to assess all programs and courses to make changes needed to enhance our students’ experience and learning outcomes.

Margaret Schmidt, Acting Undergraduate Program Chair