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Department of Geography Simon Fraser University Calendar | Spring 2018


Master of Science

The Department of Geography offers a program leading to a master of science (MSc) with emphasis on earth surface processes and environmental geoscience, specifically in aspects of geomorphology, biogeography, soils, climatology and hydrology; spatial information science, remote sensing, GIS and spatial analysis.

Admission Requirements

Normally, candidates should have a bachelor of science (BSc) degree with a 3.25 cumulative grade point average (CGPA) in geography or a related discipline to enter the program.

Admission is in the fall term. Applications should be completed by January 15.

Supervisory Committee

The candidate, once admitted, works under a faculty advisor’s guidance, pending the choice of a supervisory committee. The supervisory committee, normally consisting of two faculty members, one of whom may be from outside the department, will be chosen by the start of the second term.

Program Requirements

All candidates will complete 30 units within six terms. Within these 30 units, students complete a thesis (18 units). The remaining 12 units will be comprised of required and elective courses, and two non-credit courses as shown below. Students with deficiencies may be asked to complete more course work.

Students complete the following non-credit courses that are graded satisfactory/unsatisfactory. Attendance is compulsory to obtain a satisfactory grade.both of

GEOG 600 - Introduction to Graduate Studies: Fall Semester (0)

Introduction to graduate studies in the Department of Geography at Simon Fraser University, covering formal requirements and practical considerations. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Equivalent Courses: GEOG700.

GEOG 601 - Introduction to Graduate Studies: Spring Semester (0)

Completion of GEOG 600, with an emphasis on the preparation and presentation of the research proposal. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Equivalent Courses: GEOG701.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Nadine Schuurman
Th 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
RCB 7327, Burnaby

Students complete 13 including

GEOG 606 - Research Design and Analytical Techniques in Physical Geography (5) *

Research design, data collection and quantitative methods in physical geography. Equivalent Courses: GEOG706.

and two of

GEOG 611 - Hydrology (4)

Conceptual and methodological bases of current hydrologic research. Equivalent Courses: GEOG731.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Jason Leach
Tu 8:30 AM – 10:20 AM
AQ 5006, Burnaby
Th 8:30 AM – 10:20 AM
AQ 2109, Burnaby
GEOG 612 - Glacial Geomorphology (4)

Glacial landform-process models; field study of glacial landforms and sediments. Equivalent Courses: GEOG728.

GEOG 613 - Fluvial Geomorphology (4)

An examination of current conceptual and methodological issues in fluvial geomorphology based on analyses of the primary research literature. Equivalent Courses: GEOG726.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Jeremy Venditti
Mo 1:00 PM – 3:50 PM
GEOG 614 - Climatology (4)

Recent theoretical developments in physical climatology. Equivalent Courses: GEOG723.

GEOG 615 - Quaternary Environments (4)

Recent developments in paleoecology and the study of Quaternary environments.

GEOG 617 - Soil Science (4)

Soil physics, soil chemistry, soil biology and/or forest soils. Equivalent Courses: GEOG718.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Margaret Schmidt
Fr 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
RCB 7108, Burnaby
Fr 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
RCB 7108, Burnaby
GEOG 651 - Advanced Spatial Analysis and Modeling (4)

Perspectives on the description, analysis and prediction of geographical processes using spatial modeling and decision-making in a GIS environment. Equivalent Courses: GEOG714.

GEOG 653 - Remote Sensing of Environment (4)

Selected principles and applications of remote sensing for the study of natural and human environments.

GEOG 655 - Advanced Principles of Geographic Information Science (4)

Examines data, data structures and computational methods that underlie GIS description and analysis. Illustrates the social science and science links between computers and geography. Equivalent Courses: GEOG715.

GEOG 691 - Directed Readings (4)

Students may only take this course once during their program. Equivalent Courses: GEOG791.

* or another course with advisor's consent

† or with the graduate chair’s approval, from related graduate courses in other departments such as biological sciences, chemistry, physics, mathematics, earth sciences, resource and environmental management and computing science.


The program requires the submission and successful defence of a thesis. The thesis involves the conceptualization of a problem and the collection, analysis and interpretation of empirical data.

Students prepare their thesis by completing

Normally, students present proposed research at a one-day conference (research day) held in the spring term. A written proposal is submitted to the supervisory committee, defended in colloquium and approved by the end of the second term and before substantive research.

The recommended maximum length of a thesis is 120 pages (including bibliography, but excluding appendices). The completed thesis is judged by the candidate’s examining committee at an oral defence.

Academic Requirements within the Graduate General Regulations

All graduate students must satisfy the academic requirements that are specified in the Graduate General Regulations, as well as the specific requirements for the program in which they are enrolled.