Department of Geography and Planning

Department of Geography and Planning
Department of Geography and Planning

Combined Degree Program

Another exciting option for students is the combined degree program. This program is intended to help outstanding geography students who want a fast-track professional degree in urban and regional planning. The combined degree program makes it possible for geography students to finish their BA / B.Sc. and MPL. degrees in less time than it would take to pursue the degrees independently.

Geography and city planning are related fields. Geographers often consider the spatial implications of urban and regional issues and have a special focus on place. It is quite natural, therefore, to consider the integration of the two related fields. Today urban and regional planning is a broad field and people with different backgrounds are needed for the different work that is done by planners. The multi-disciplinary dimensions of urban planning provide students with a breadth of options to pursue in their studies.

Having both geography and planning degrees offers the practical advantage of increasing professional qualifications that will broaden employment prospects. The skills gained by taking both programs will prepare graduates for work in urban planning, GIS, transportation, environmental studies, social planning and urban development. Many planning graduates who have geography backgrounds have found responsible and rewarding positions in municipal or provincial governments, and consulting practices across Canada.

The combined degree program allows students to finish the M.PL. degree requirements in about 15 months after receiving their Geography degree provided they take two of their Geography electives in planning and an additional two planning courses while they are still in the Geography program.

Academic Requirements

The combined degree program is suited to highly motivated students who have at least a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.5 in Geography courses in the previous year. The combination of planning and geography skills will be especially useful for those hoping to work in urban planning, GIS, transportation, environmental studies, social planning and urban development. Students are required to maintain at least a GPA of 3.50 in Geography courses and at least a GPA of 3.30 in Planning courses.


Eligible students from Geography can get a Master of Urban and Regional Planning (M.Pl.) degree by extending their studies 15 months instead of the usual two years. Successful applicants to the fast-track program will be expected to have taken four Planning courses (all 3.0 units) during their third and/or fourth year in Geography:

Two SURP courses would be taken as electives towards your Geography degree program*.
Two other SURP courses would be taken as "courses additional to program*". This increase in your fourth-year workload can help save almost one academic year in the Master's degree program.

Students who are interested in this program should aim to complete at least 15.0 units of coursework per term throughout the duration of their program to maintain a manageable workload. Students taking GPHY 401, 402, 403, 415 may find it advantageous to develop a topic related to Urban and Regional Planning.

*If circumstances require you to withdraw/discontinue with this program then these courses will not be counted as electives in your Geography degree program.

Have a Question?

If you think you might be interested, please contact Professor Leela Viswanathan (533-6000 ext.75038) or Professor Beverley Mullings (533-6000 ext. 78829) about the program. Making the decision early offers the advantage of letting you select a fourth-year thesis topic that can be continued in the Planning program.