University of Sydney Handbooks - 2018 Archive

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Study in the discipline of Geography is offered by the School of Geosciences in the Faculty of Science. Units of study in this major are available at standard and advanced level.

About the major

Geography is the study of earth as the home of people. As the need to find solutions to issues of environmental degradation and sustainability, population change and globalisation have become more challenging, the skills and knowledge of geographers have come to the forefront.

Through a geography major, you will study the interactions between earth, environment and society. This involves consideration of such issues as climate change, population growth, hazards and environmental management. You will have the opportunity to go on field trips to overseas locations and to rural and urban parts of Australia, and participate in tutorial debates about such issues as global inequality and poverty. You will also engage in computer-based analysis of geographic data, and on-line discussion boards and interactive education techniques.

Requirements for completion

A major in Geography requires 48 credit points, consisting of:

(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level core units
(ii) 6 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iii) 6 credit points of 2000-level selective units
(iv) 12 credit points of 3000-level core units
(v) 6 credit points of 3000-level set 1 units
(vi) 6 credit points of 3000-level set 2 units

A minor in Geography is available and articulates to this major.

Pathway through the major

The requirements for a major in Geography are spread out over three years of the degree (possibly four years if students are completing a combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degree).

A sample pathway for the Geography major (over three years of a degree) is listed below.

Sample pathway: Geography major (48 credit points)



Units of study


Semester 1

Core: GEOS1X01 Earth, Environment and Society

Semester 2

Core: GEOS1X02 Introductory Geography


Semester 1 or 2

Selective: 2000-level units listed for major

Semester 2

Core: GEOS2X21 Environmental and Resource Management


Semester 1 or 2

Selective: 3000-level units listed for major

Core:: GEOS3X19 Environmental Geography

Semester 2

Core: GEOS3X33 Geographical Concepts, Skills and Methods

Please Note. This sample progression is meant as an example only. Depending on unit prerequisites, students may be able to complete these units in a different sequence from that displayed in the table above.

For details of the core and selective units of study required for the major or minor please refer to the Geography section of the unit of study table, Table S, in this handbook.

Fourth year

The fourth year is only offered within the combined Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Advanced Studies course.

Advanced coursework
The Bachelor of Advanced Studies advanced coursework option consists of 48 credit points, which must include a minimum of 24 credit points in a single subject area at 4000-level, including a project unit of study worth at least 12 credit points. Space is provided for 12 credit points towards the second major (if not already completed). 24 credit points of advanced study will be included in the table for 2020.

Requirements for Honours in the area of Geography: completion of 36 credit points of project work and 12 credit points of coursework.

Honours units of study will be available in 2020.

Contact and further information


T +61 2 9351 2912

School of Geosciences
Room 348, Madsen Building F09
University of Sydney NSW 2006

Dr Daniel Penny
T +61 2 9351 6464
Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from Geography will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a coherent geographical understanding of trends, processes and impacts that shape Australian and other environments and/or societies at different spatial and temporal scales
  2. Recognise the deeply co-constitutive nature of social and biophysical phenomena
  3. Demonstrate an awareness of the importance of multi- and trans-disciplinarity in the study of contemporary environmental and social issues
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of Geography as an academic discipline, including awareness of its concepts, history, and principal subfields, whilst acknowledging the contested, provisional and situated nature of geographical understanding
  5. Use various tools to interpret, generate and analyse quantitative (particularly spatial) and qualitative data, with specific competencies in Geographical Information Systems
  6. Apply geographical thought creatively, critically and appropriately to specific spaces, places and/or environments
  7. Recognise, evaluate and synthesise various views, arguments and sources of knowledge pertinent to solving environmental and social problems
  8. Resolve geographical questions by ethical means, applying evidence-based knowledge and appropriate research techniques, including those associated with field work
  9. Communicate geographical perspectives and knowledge effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences using appropriately selected written, oral and visual means
  10. Contribute effectively as a member or leader of diverse teams working in geographical or multidisciplinary contexts
  11. Reflect on and direct their intellectual and professional development as geographers.