Geography is the study of place, space, and the environment, and of people and others in relation to those. Geographers answer questions across scales from the local to the global, and in relation to the past, present, and future. Geography is fundamentally interdisciplinary; it is one of the few disciplines that encompasses different ways of knowing, from the natural, physical, and social sciences to the humanities.

Study Geography

The Geography Programme is within the Division of Arts, Law, Psychology and Social Sciences. The Programme is strong in both theory and applied aspects of geography. It seeks to provide appropriate academic conditions for staff and students who are interested in ideas and for those who have practical interests.

Staff within the Geography Programme maintain research and teaching interests across a range of topics within human geography. These interests include concern with the ways in which identity is expressed in place, the geographies of climate change and environmental action, the spaces of Geographic Information Systems and big data, and the opportunities of Māori and indigenous geographies.

The Geography Programme has close teaching and research involvement with colleagues in the Environmental Planning Programme, with staff from Te Ngira: Institute for Population Research, and with physical geographers in the Earth Sciences Programme. The Geography Programme also maintains strong links with the New Zealand Geographical Society.

Career opportunities

Geography graduates are qualified to understand the world as an integrated whole. They use a powerful mix of geographical and interdisciplinary skills to solve a range of problems. They can analyse and synthesise complex environmental, economic, social, and political information to enable a geographical understanding of humans, environments, and the dynamic relationships between them. Geography graduates are trained to think critically and creatively and work effectively in teams and on their own initiative. Fields of employment include, but are not limited to:

  • Climate change assessment and planning
  • Community development
  • Conservation, heritage and land management
  • Education
  • Environmental and social impact assessment
  • Environmental monitoring and management
  • Geographic information systems (GIS)
  • Hazard assessment, mitigation and disaster management
  • International development and aid
  • Mapping and cartography
  • Natural resource management and agriculture
  • Planning (including urban, regional, environmental, social and transport planning)
  • Population analysis
  • Public policy
  • Public safety, defence and national security
  • Real estate and land development
  • Social services and welfare
  • Sustainability
  • Tourism management


Carey-Ann Morrison

Senior Researcher, Imagine Better

"When I came to university, the geography papers I enrolled in exposed me to new ways of thinking and gave me new tools. It was absolutely my university studies that laid the foundations for me to navigate my journey."

For Carey-Ann, university was truly life-changing. She leads the research programme at Imagine Better, a not-for-profit disability rights and advocacy organisation based in Wellington.

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