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Map out your career pathway from the start of your academic journey!

Get the information you need for academic planning and connect with experiences to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes that employers are seeking.

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Physical Geography at the U of M


As a physical geography student in the Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources you will learn about the Earth's physical and natural environment. The department of environment and geography has many opportunities for you to explore, with three main streams of study in physical geography:

  1. Atmosphere and Hydrological Science: examines the physical and biophysical processes at and near the Earth's surface shaping climate and determining weather.
  2. Geomatics: examines the geographic applications of statistical analysis, remote sensing technology and geographic information systems.
  3. General Physical Geography: examines the environment through aspects of atmospheric science, geomorphology, biogeography and hydrology.

Skills you will gain by studying PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY

  • An understanding of the Earth's physical environments and their interrelationship with the human environment
  • The ability to describe, analyse and interpret spatial information using computer modelling techniques and statistical analysis
  • The ability to think critically and develop innovative solutions to complex problems
  • The ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing


This resource is meant as a guide to provide suggestions throughout your time at university. Develop a plan and timeline that suits you best. Make intentional choices for your courses and work experiences.

* Refer to the Academic Calendar for a complete list of program requirements.

Year 1 - 30 credit hours



Course requirements:
GEOG 1290, MATH 1500 or MATH 1510 or MATH 1520, PHYS 1020 or PHYS 1050, plus 6 credit hours from the Faculty of Arts

To do this year:

  1. Know the requirements for your degree. Meet with an academic advisor to help you plan your program.
  2. If you need academic support, visit the Academic Learning Centre for workshops or to meet with a learning skills instructor.


Start planning your career:

  1. Meet with a career consultant to generate career ideas based on your interests, values, personality and skills.
  2. Research occupations that match your skills and interests.
  3. Set up a careerCONNECT account to view job postings and register for workshops and events.
  4. Set up your Co-Curricular Record (CCR), an official record of university-approved activities.


Link experiences to your career interests. Options include:

  1. Student groups including Weather Club, Society of Earth Sciences and Environmental Studies, and Environment and Geography Students' Association.
  2. Join the University of Manitoba Volunteer Program to volunteer for Info Days and other events on campus.
  3. Student work opportunities including Work-Study, STEP Services or Federal Student Work Experience Program.
  4. Experiential education opportunities such as the Storm Chasing and Field Techniques course.


Considering international opportunities? Attend World Opportunities Week in November for information about opportunities around the world.

Explore communities and cultures you want to work with: Visit Migizii Agamik, the Natural Resources Institute or learn about local agencies via the Manitoba Contact Guide.


Year 2 - 60 credit hours



Course requirements:
GEOG 2200, GEOG 2300, GEOG 2310, GEOG 2530, GEOG 2540, GEOG 2550

Co-op: ENVR 2900

To do this year:

  1. Meet with a Riddell advisor to declare your honours program prior to registration.
  2. Research the three streams of study and courses you are interested in taking.
  3. Consider taking a minor and choose courses that will open opportunities.


Make professional connections:

  1. Join the Career Mentor Program to learn from professionals.
  2. Attend career fairs to connect with employers.
  3. Become a Student affiliate with the Canadian Association of Geographers or the Canadian Institute of Geomatics.
  4. Develop professional connections with professors by applying for an Undergraduate Research Award.

Market your skills: Develop your resumé and cover letter and refine your interview skills.


Explore student research opportunities: Apply for an Undergraduate Research Award or NSERC grant and inquire about research assistant positions.

Gain practical experience by volunteering: Check out Environment Canada, Let's Talk Science, Oak Hammock Marsh and Parks Canada.

Obtain certificates employers may require, including: Become a Clayton H. Riddell Faculty Student Ambassador.

Earn while you learn: Consider applying to the Co-operative Education program once you have completed 60 credit hours.


Develop global career skills and expand intercultural learning: Consider an international student exchange or or internship, a Natural Resources Institute Field Course, Students on Ice Artic Expedition, My World Abroad or SWAP for a "working holiday".

Staying local? Check out the Travel Study to Churchill or the Leaf Rapids Service-Learning Experience. Consider learning a new language and culture through the Volunteer Language Exchange Program.


Year 3 - 90 credit hours



Course requirements:
GEOG 2272, GEOG 3730 and GEOG 3810

Co-op: ENVR 3900, ENVR 3980 and ENVR 3910

To do this year:

  1. Meet with a Riddell advisor for program approval prior to registration.
  2. Consider focusing your education by choosing an area of specialization and selecting courses within your stream.


Investigate your career options:

  1. Look at sample job postings to ensure you have the qualifications upon graduation.
  2. Develop employability and essential skills sought by employers.
  3. Explore supports available to entrepreneurs for bussing planning such as the Business Start Program.
  4. Create a LinkedIn profile to network with professionals.

Consider continuing your studies: Check out the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Extended Education or other professional programs.


Continue or start research: Participate in the Undergraduate Research Poster Competition.

Check out student job opportunities with: City of Winnipeg, Manitoba Conservation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and WISE Kid-Netic Energy.

Search for job opportunities online: Check out Eco.ca, GeographyJobs.ca, Job Bank, Find My Job or other search engines.

Use your networks and connections: Inquire about unadvertised job openings (the "hidden job market").


Did you travel abroad? Write an article about your experience for World W.I.S.E magazine.

Participate in the multicultural opportunities on campus: Attend International Week, participate in the Intercultural Development and Leadership Program, volunteer for the Children Rising Mentorship Program or take part in Graduation Pow Wow.


Year 4 - 120 credit hours



Course requirements:

Honours: GEOG 4660

Co-op: ENVR 3990 and ENVR 3920 (ENVR 4890 and ENVR 4910 are optional)

To do this year:

  1. Meet with a Riddell advisor for program approval prior to registration.
  2. Confirm eligibility to graduate with a Riddell advisor, and declare intent to graduate in Aurora.


Start job search 9 months in advance: Contact Career Services to refine your job search and self-marketing strategies. You can visit the office up to 6 months after graduation.

If you are continuing on to a professional program or graduate school: Finalize your application materials and required tests. Use the awards database to search for funding and awards to help finance your continuing education. Contact your department to find out how their awards deadlines are advertised.



Ensure you have references in place: Ask your professor for a reference or a letter of recommendation if you're applying for graduate school.

Assess your resumé: Identify any gaps in experience and fill them through volunteering, work placements or internships such as the Post-Secondary Recruitment Program.


Prepare to work in a multicultural environment: Visit Canada's National Research Centre for Truth and Reconciliation on campus or register for a Workplace Cultural Competence Workshop through Extended Education.


Sample Jobs What Do Employers Want?


Industries such as agriculture, community development, conservation, education and government would value a physical geography degree in combination with the employability skills that are highly sought after by employers. These include:*

  • Oral and written communication
  • Numeracy and data use
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Digital technology
  • Industry specific knowledge
  • Continuous learning

Attain skills through your classroom education by taking advantage of experiential education opportunities.

*Information has been adapted from Employability Skills 2000+ and Workplace Education Manitoba – Essential Skills.



440 Wallace Building, 125 Dysart Road
(204) 474-7252, riddell.faculty@umanitoba.ca

Faculties, Departments and Schools

Experiential Education

Recommended Annual Checklist

On Campus Resources


Mathieu Desorcy

"What I've learned from my experiences is that you never stop learning regardless of what point you're at in your career. There are constantly new studies and technologies coming out in the field of
physical geography." Matthieu Desorcy, geography student

Information for Career Counsellors (PDF)

Physical Geography Compass (PDF)

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