Research Disciplines

Geographical Sciences

Geographical Sciences at UBC Geography involves the study of the fundamental interactions between life and the Earth’s atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere. In our department, we conduct in Biogeography, Climatology, Geomorphology and Hydrology & Glaciology.


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Biogeography – Research focus on geographical ecology at the individual species, community and ecosystem levels. We address questions about the impacts of global environmental change on plants, biodiversity, and ecosystem processes.



Climatology – Our climatology has an emphasis on the atmospheric boundary layer, land-atmosphere interactions, urban climates and air pollution, synoptic climatology, regional and global biogeochemistry.



Geomorphology – Geomorphic research focusses on understanding the physical links between biological, climatic, geologic and hydrological processes acting on the Earth’s surface and the landforms and landscapes they produce.



Hydrology and Glaciology – Hydrologic research focuses on the flow of water through the landscape and on physical water quality. Glaciological research focuses on snow processes, avalanche dynamics, and hazard assessment; snow accumulation, melt and runoff; and glacier mass balance.


Human Geography

Contemporary human geography at UBC is distinguished by its strength in a range of social theories, a commitment to field research and practical application of academic scholarship, through criticism and policy research. One of our strengths lies in moving across boundaries and building bridges across conventional subareas and disciplines.



Economic Geography – Economic geography at UBC is as variegated as the field itself, ranging from work on resources and resource communities to explorations of global restructuring, from timber to talent, and from disciplinary history to (post)industrial discipline.



Feminist Geographies – Feminist geography focuses on the ways that gender differentiation and heternormativity are interwoven with other categories of inclusion and exclusion, and materialities and discourses of space, place, and nature.



Historical Geography – Research in historical geography focuses on environmental history, especially of waters and forests, and the historical geographies of migration, modernity and new world re-settlement.


Indigenous Geographies – Indigenous Geographies is a fast-growing sub-discipline.



Political Geography – Drawing on political and cultural theory as well as critical geopolitics, it traces the connections between the spaces of geopolitics and the lives of ordinary people ‘on the ground’ and so traverses the transnational, the national and the local.



Social and Cultural Geography – Current departmental research includes the study of art, gender and performativity; housing and neighbourhood processes, politics and policy; immigrant settlement, economic and cultural integration, and transnationalism; inequalities and social justice.



Urban Geography – Research interests include urban growth and decline, globalization and world cities, politics and urban social movements, and the urbanization of changes in immigration, class, race, and ethnicity.


Integrating Geographical Research



Environment and Sustainability – integrates physical, ecological, economic, social, cultural and political systems, as they shape the world in which we live and influence the future of life on our planet.



Geographic Information Science – Our research covers the gamut from advanced analytical methods in both physical and human geography to critical GIS. Areas of exploration include conservation biology, health geography, immigration, gentrification, and neighbourhood change, and, most recently, the participatory GEOWEB.