School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Geography and Planning



"Geography gave me the support I needed. I was able to take a complex project and really run with it”

Dr Sarah de Leeuw, Queen Geography PhD, University of Northern British Columbia

Program Contact

Amanda Miller
Research & Graduate Assistant
Department of Geography & Planning
MacIntosh Corry Hall, Room E208
Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L3N6

Phone:  613 533 6000 ext 77057


Program Overview

The Department of Geography and Planning at Queen’s University offers a comprehensive graduate program in Human Geography, Planning, Earth System Science, and Geographic Information Science, based on innovative research, teaching excellence and strong collaboration between faculty and graduate students. Our specialized Earth System Science laboratories, including GIS and remote-sensing facilities, are equipped with the latest instrumentation, field equipment and software and hardware, required for studying biogeography, climatology, sedimentology and the biogeochemistry of environmental change, among other topics. In human geography and planning, we provide strong support for fieldwork that engages topics of public interest from the community to the national or international scale.


Many of our students work on questions of international significance, including development projects in Latin America or Africa, ecological change in the Arctic or the relationship between international migration and human rights. In recent years, our students have traveled to Nunavut, Japan, Great Britain, Ghana, China, Bolivia, Guatemala, the Caribbean and other locales.

Career paths – employment opportunities

There are many career opportunities for students of Geography and Planning in teaching (at all levels from primary education to university-level teaching and from technical training to highly theoretical instruction), in research (theoretical and applied and in science, social science and humanities), in business (from real estate, to GIS, to international banking), and in government (again at all levels from planning and municipal government to policy research and applications at the Provincial and Federal levels and to participation in International governance bodies and non-governmental organizations). Geographers and Planners are to be found in a wide variety of fields. They are recognized for the breadth and depth of their education and for their curiosity and observational skills.

Degrees Offered/Method of Completion

Degrees Offered

M.A.: 2 years

M.Sc.: 2 years

Ph.D.: 4 years

The Department of Geography and Planning also offers a two-year, professionally-accredited M.PL. degree through its School of Urban and Regional Planning.

Method of Completion

Master’s degrees: All students complete GPHY 857, a professional development seminar, in addition to 4 graduate term-length courses, a full thesis, and an oral defence OR 6 graduate term-length courses, a half-thesis, and an oral defence.

Ph.D.: 3 courses (including GPHY 801), qualifying exam, dissertation and oral defence

Fields of study and Supervisors

We encourage you to review our areas of specialty and contact a potential supervisor before you apply.

  • Work, Identity, and Place: Labour geographies; labour market restructuring and regulation; international divisions of labour; labour migration; knowledge, creativity and skills; employment equity; entrepreneurship; gender divisions of labour.
  • Globalization, Development, Economies and Sustainability: Effects of globalization neo-liberalism and the new economy; development economies and restructuring; industrial geographies; commodity chains and cultural economy; economy and governance; innovation; transnational economies; political economies of cities; global change and health; international political economy.
  • Bodies, Health, and Health Care: The human and social body; socio/historical constructions of bodies; bodies and nature; access to health care; gender and health; emotional geographies; aging; demographic change; critical disability studies; food, nutrition, and food security; health and environment; environmental justice.
  • Citizenship, Identity, Justice and Governance: Immigration; race and racism; feminist geographies; citizenship participation and social justice; social movements; identity, multiculturalism, and cosmopolitanism; urban citizenship; indigenous social justice (historical and contemporary); access to services; urban governance; urban land use planning and change; housing.
  • Post-colonialism, Indigenous Peoples and Place: Historical and contemporary: practices of representation; indigenous places; literary geographies; colonial and postcolonial discourses;  emotional geographies of place; cultural politics of race, class, and gender; geographies of nature and science.
  • Earth System Science: The focus of Earth System Science is on the interaction and linkages between the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere and on physical, chemical, and biological processes operating at a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. Measurement, integration, and modelling of earth system elements to understand these linkages are key foci of research and graduate training activities.

The overlapping foci of faculty research fall into two broad themes: Forest Ecosystems and Cold Regions. The former emphasizes the primary biophysical and  physiological processes of forest systems (especially boreal), exchange of energy, water, and trace gases, and local and regional integration with remote sensing and modelling approaches. The latter focus operates across diverse polar and alpine environments, with emphasis on hydrological, marine, geomorphic and biogeochemical processes and sedimentary systems.

  • Geographic Information Science: Faculty examine the theoretical, technical and applied aspects of cartography, geographic information systems, remote sensing and image processing, and modeling of human and natural systems. Specific research interests include: contemporary and historical cartography; land cover/use change detection and analysis; disease modeling; mapping/modeling human impacts on the environment; social, economical, and environmental interaction; biophysical remote sensing; image processing; resource/location optimization; geo-visualization; environmental exposure analysis; accuracy and error modeling.
Funding, Academic Prerequisites & Deadline

Funding Information

Basic funding package (Queen’s Graduate Award and teaching assistantship): Master’s: guaranteed minimum $15,000/year for two years.  Ph.D.: guaranteed minimum $20,000/year for four years.  However, funding levels are generally higher than the guaranteed minimum.

We encourage all students to apply for external awards including OGS, NSERC Fellowships, SSHRC Fellowships and CIHR awards. Entering graduate students who win federal government tri-council awards are automatically provided a $5,000 (Masters) or $10,000 (PhD) top-up award by Queen’s.  We also put eligible students forward for internal awards and fellowships.

Academic Prerequisites

Master’s: Honours Bachelor’s degree or equivalent with minimum B+ average of all courses (equivalent to 77-79.9% or 3.3 GPA out of 4.3 grading scale at Queen’s University).

Ph.D.: Master’s degree. Transcripts from all previous programs/degrees are considered.

Other requirements

  • Statement of Research Interest, CV (to be sent directly to Geography and Planning)

Test Requirements

If English is not your native language, prospective students must meet the English language proficiency requirements in writing, speaking, reading, and listening.  You will need (1) a total TOEFL (paper-based) score of at least 600 or (2) TOEFL iBT: Writing (24/30); Speaking (22/30); Reading (22/30); Listening (20/30), for a total of 88/120 (applicants must have the minimum score in each test as well as the minimum overall score), or (3) IELTS: 7.0 (academic module overall band score) or (4) PTE Academics: 65, or (5) Canadian Academic English Language (Computer Edition) (CAEL CE): 70 (minimum overall score).

Key Dates and Deadlines

Application Due: January 31 (Domestic & International students), which must include all supporting documents.  However, late applications may be considered on a rolling basis until all spots are filled.

Notification of acceptance: Beginning in March

Learning Outcomes and Graduate Handbook

Degree Level Expectations - MA, MSc  and PhD (263 KB)

Grad Maps

View the Grad Maps for this department and all graduate degrees on the Career Services website


Photo of Jennie MasseyJennifer Massey
Graduate Mentor
Bassutti_ThumbnailAnthony Bassutti
Merging science and social science...