Geography Major

Why study a geography major at the University of Newcastle?

With the world continually changing we face new social, political, cultural and environmental challenges. Studying a geography major will provide you with an understanding of these contemporary challenges and the skills to help address their impacts on the environment.

Geographers study the environment of humans and the complex ways humans and environments shape each other. They aim to understand the processes that form cultural and physical environments, the geographical organisation of human practices and physical phenomena and the interplay between human activity, environments and social political objectives.

UON's geography major, ranked in the top 150 in the world according to the 2017 QS World subject rankings*, allows students to combine human and physical geography or to specialise in a single area. Within the major you will study a range of geographical processes including:

  • demographic and cultural change
  • environmental systems and environmental change, including climate change
  • geographical information systems
  • globalisation
  • governance and political organisation
  • landscape evolution
  • sustainability
  • urbanisation

The geography major explores how various groups of people experience the world differently and your compulsory courses will help you develop key research skills that will prepare you for future employment or further study.

Your learning throughout the Bachelor of Science degree will not just be confined to a lecture theatre or tutorial room as practical fieldwork is integrated into your geography courses. Assessments will also involve research activities that use real life examples and are presented in a way similar to professionals in the field.

You'll develop key skills in analysing, synthesising and communication, which are all highly sought after by employees. As a graduate, career opportunities include:

  • education
  • environmental management
  • international aid work
  • local, state and federal government departments
  • policy development
  • social and community planning
  • urban and regional planning

Suitable for geography students with:

  • An interest in learning how humans interact with  natural and built environments.
  • Goals to study dynamic natural processes to understand how the Earth’s systems have shaped human development.
  • A commitment to conducting social research and geographical fieldwork to collect raw data related to their projects.

What do you learn in a geography major?

Students who study this science major will learn how to analyse the relationship between populations and their surroundings:

  • Human Geography: Foundation courses in Human Geography will deepen your understanding of people and places in diverse geographical contexts. You’ll learn how socio-cultural and economic change impact the relationship between communities and their environment. You’ll consider issues such as globalisation, sustainability and urbanisation.
  • Planet Earth: You’ll study the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere of planet Earth to uncover the processes and systems which shape the world in which we live.
  • Fieldwork Experience: Students will have the opportunity to learn hands-on skills by conducting fieldwork. You’ll produce research deliverables such as topographic maps, interpret aerial photographs, map metamorphic sequences and write up detailed field reports.

Which degrees include this major?

The Bachelor of Science and all associated degree programs allow you to study a major in Geography. The geography major is completed over three years of full-time study (or part time equivalent) at our Callaghan campus, Newcastle:

There is also the opportunity to take part in the discipline's outstanding Honours programs after completing your undergraduate degree where you can conduct your own research on key issues.

The Discipline of Geography and Environmental Studies also provides majors within these following degrees:

And courses can be taken as part of the:

The geography major within the Bachelor of Science is only available at our Newcastle (Callaghan) campus.

*More information about QS is available at