Graduate Research

Graduate students in the Department of Geography work closely with faculty members. Financial support from faculty is a defining characteristic of our graduate program. The Department of Geography guarantees full-time graduate students funding. Faculty members would be pleased to discuss research opportunities with you.

Graduate Opportunities for Fall 2014 Start
Lorne Bennett
The biophysical environment
MSc students are sought to conduct research focussing on wildlife dynamics along the Niagara Escarpment and within the adjacent urbanizing landscape. Ongoing studies centre on linkages between avian and anuran populations, habitat and urban development, monitoring protocols, and assessing success of tallgrass prairie restoration. Looking for students to begin fall 2015.
Ben Bradshaw
Environmental Governance (especially within Canadian mining sector)
I am always looking for outstanding graduate students with interests and expertise in environmental governance most generally. More narrowly, my current research funding would support: 1 PhD student focussed on environmental governance mechanisms (to serve as lead researcher on a new SSHRC PD Grant); and 1-2 MA students focused on formal and informal permitting processes in Canada's mining sector, and especially the use of Impact and Benefit Agreements (IBAs).   Looking for students to begin fall 2015.
Jaclyn Cockburn
Fluvial geomorphology, ecohydrology, aquatic habitats for species at risk and natural channel design
The world is full of change, and understanding the impacts of these changes is critical to adaptation and mitigation.  Students interested in undertaking research projects related to the impacts of climate and environmental variability in disturbed or interrupted landscapes are encouraged to contact me.  I am actively looking for MSc students to undertake research related to sediment budgets in watersheds impacted by changes to landuse, extreme events, and overall climate variability.  My research has opportunities for field work and laboratory-based research.  As well I am interested in developing models to understand sediment deposition dynamics in freshwater systems as it relates to sedimentary records.  This work would primarily take place in the lab.  Students with backgrounds in Physical Geography, Geosciences and Earth Sciences encouraged to contact me for more details related to specific projects and funding opportunities. 

Anticipated projects for Fall 2014
We are seeking a motivated and enthusiastic student to join our research team looking at the overwintering habitat in small streams and channels as it relates to Redside Dace and other species-at-risk.  Little is understood about overwintering habitat - both what it looks like and what is available, especially with respect to hydraulic and geomorphic characteristics of smaller stream systems under the influence of changing ice conditions. Looking for students to begin fall 2015.
Noella Gray
Noella Gray
Political ecology, marine conservation and resource management
I am seeking graduate students interested in my research areas. In particular, I welcome inquiries from potential MA or PhD students interested in international marine conservation and the human dimensions (governance, politics, social impacts) of very large (mega) marine protected areas. Previous experience with these or related topics is an asset. Ideal candidates will have: an outstanding academic record; a background in geography or related social sciences; experience studying/working in international settings; experience utilizing qualitative social science research methods; and excellent writing skills. Please contact me directly to discuss possible opportunities; looking for students to begin fall 2015.
Roberta Hawkins
Roberta Hawkins
Ethical consumption, international development, feminist perspectives
I am actively seeking Masters students for Fall 2014. Applicants with an interest in: ethical consumption, feminist theory, critical development studies, and/or the politics of philanthropy are encouraged to apply. Students will receive financial support following the policy in the Department of Geography. Research expenses will also be covered. Funded student research projects may include:

(i) Investigating how ethical consumption campaigns (e.g. Product RED, Toms Shoes) play out on the ground through international development projects
(ii) Analyzing the use of social media by corporations and NGOs to share stories of 'development' with North American audiences
(iii) Researching the gendered dynamics of sustainable consumption decisions

Please note that this MA degree in geography can also be combined with the collaborative MA in international development. Looking for students to begin fall 2015.
Alice Hovorka
Human-Dog Relations in Botswana
I am actively seeking a Masters student to work on issues related to companion animals in Southern Africa. Specifically, I have one funded position (i.e. field expenses and stipend) through the MA Program in Geography at the University of Guelph to explore people's perceptions of and interactions with domestic/feral dogs in Maun, Botswana. Students should have completed an undergraduate degree in Geography or a related discipline with a GPA in the A range (over 80%) in their last two years of study. Students should also have an interest in or possess skills associated with cross-cultural social science research. An adventurous spirit, love of both theory and fieldwork, and passion about the role of animals in human society are essential. Please be sure to check out my website and details of other animal-related projects that are part of my research team focused on The Lives of Animals in Botswana. Looking for students to begin fall 2015.
John Lindsay
GIS, remote sensing, spatial analysis, hydro-geomorphology
I am actively seeking Masters students interested in applications of GIS, remote sensing, and spatial analysis to study the physical environment, particularly catchment hydrology and headwater streams. Potential students should have interests in the development of open-source GIS and/or the application of ground-based laser scanner data. Looking for students to begin fall 2015.
Jan Mersey
Jan Mersey
GIS and environmental analysis
MSc or MA students are sought to undertake research projects related to the understanding and management of the natural environment, using GIS and/or remote sensing technologies. Recent initiatives which may provide further opportunities for graduate work have focused on environmental and resource issues in Biosphere Reserves in Mexico, China and Ontario. Looking for students to begin fall 2015.
Kate Parizeau
Kate Parizeau
Waste management and its social context; social inequalities and environmental justice
I am seeking MA students who are interested in investigating the social context of waste management issues (including themes of environmental justice, contentious land uses, gender, and the socioeconomic aspects of waste work and waste production). Current projects include studies of gentrification and urban change from the perspective of informal recyclers in Vancouver, BC, and studies of food waste and waste behaviours in Guelph, ON. Please feel free to contact me for more information. Looking for students to begin fall 2015.
Jen Silver
Jen Silver
Ocean governance and seafood production/consumption
I welcome general inquiries from any potential graduate student interested in human-environment relations in the context of oceans governance, seafood production and consumption, and the diverse livelihood strategies of coastal communities.

I hope to accept 1 new student for Fall 2014 to work on an international oceans governance-related project. Please see details here. Looking for students to begin fall 2015.
John Smithers
Rural change and sustainability
I am fortunate to be working currently with several graduate students on projects investigating a variety of issues and opportunities relating to the production, exchange, and systematic organizing of local food systems and short supply chains.  Work to date has focused on farm-community linkages, on the increasing structural diversification of organics, on the phenomenon of direct marketing at the farmers' market, on rural transformations attributable to wine and related amenity production and on the prospects for "mainstreaming" local food through stronger engagement with the conventional food retail sector -- the grocery store.

At present there are growing interests in pursuing one or more projects that cast a view to the producer side of the local food scene.  The demand is well documented and growing, and the (real and alleged) benefits of greater commitment to local food are similarly well argued.  What is missing on the research side is some greater appreciation of who will become the providers (growers) of local food and under what conditions current or entering farmers might see for themselves opportunities for a business model that has local production and exchange as its central feature.  There are also interests in projects that explore the informal construction of local food networks and the operational principles that underpin informal local food economies. Looking for students to begin fall 2015.
Wanhong Yang
GIS and watershed management
I am seeking one Ph.D. and two MSc or MA students to join my research program on examining the cost effectiveness of agricultural conservation at the watershed scale. I welcome students from all related disciplines such as geography, hydrology, ecology, economics, and forestry. Training in GIS and remote sensing, and a willingness to use these tools in research, are required. My research program offers a state-of-the-art GIS modelling laboratory on agricultural conservation management. Looking for students to begin fall 2015.