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Geography Co-op Student Information

About The Program

Students in the Geography program study human interactions with the environment across geographic scales, from local to global, and master the important computer, cartographic, writing, GIS, and statistical skills required of a professional geographer. Within the program of studies, students take courses in the physical and social sciences and are able to pursue a particular line of interest, for example in environmental conservation, climate change, environmental justice, food security, geomorphology, urban-rural change, or watershed management.

Learning takes place in a variety of settings in the program. In addition to classroom settings, students learn through hands-on research in labs and in the field. Labs are part of numerous courses, from first year to fourth year, and allow students to design and conduct experiments, and solve problems using state-of-the-art computing and analytical tools. Field research is also an important component of geographic research. Research, writing, critical thinking and problem solving are emphasized throughout the program.

Why Co-op?

As a co-op student, you will be able to gain relevant work experience, build professional networks, and develop essential transferable skills needed to succeed in the workplace, all while getting paid and earning your university degree. Guelph’s co-op program is unique due to the exceptional level of support provided to students, including a job search preparatory course, a personal connection with a Co-op Coordinator to assist you during the employment process, and targeted work term reports to help you develop relevant skills.

Course Sequencing








Acquired Knowledge & Skills


Synthesize and manage information from physical sciences and social sciences.


Compile evidence-based arguments through integrated analytical skills (e.g., qualitative methods, statistical analysis, spatial analysis, policy analysis).


Apply inquiry, analysis, and problem-solving skills to address geographical problems in a real-world and professional setting and connect global challenges to local issues.


Demonstrate personal and professional integrity when considering diverse views and geographic perspectives.

Sample Jobs

GIS Analyst

Provide support in the collection, organization, and processing of spatial and non-spatial data using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools. Participate in the implementation of divisional standards for GIS and collaborate to facilitate the dissemination and adoption of GIS technology/methods in the International Banking Division. Activities could include assisting with the implementation of a database plan, supporting data maintenance efforts to update geographic datasets for specific markets, participating in development activities to program routines or update code for GIS applications, providing quality assurance, helping with training efforts or technical support to users, and preparing communication material to provide clear, concise, and useful information.

Environmental Assistant

Assist in the enforcement of the City’s Storm Sewer By-law, involving spill response, release investigations, monitoring problem areas, and interfacing with the City’s residential and business communities. In addition, review planning applications from an environmental perspective, including the review and interpretation of environmental site investigation reports.

Geomorphologist/Restoration Technician Student

Analysis and presentation of technical information and reports, undertake corridor and crossing studies in order to identify risk from natural hazards, provide support to stream restoration projects based on channel processes, undertake field data collection exercises, as required; including data synthesis, work with various forms of spatial information, including digital topographic data and aerial imagery, assist in the completion of monitoring studies, oversee construction implementation of channel restoration designs, travel as required for various field programs.

Employer Sectors*

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • City of Mississauga
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Grand River Conservation Authority
  • Manulife Financial Corporation
  • Municipal Property Assessment Corp.
  • Royal Botanical Garden
  • Toronto Transit Commission


*This shows a sample of recent co-op employers and will vary depending on employer recruitment needs. During a job search, students are encouraged to be actively engaged and are supported in establishing and maintaining their own personal contacts.

Salary Information

Students receive compensation from their employer for co-op work terms. The rate of pay will vary depending on a number of factors including the industry, the student’s program of study, and work term level. For your reference, a Co-operative Education Salary Guide is available on our website, which provides hourly rates (averages and ranges) for each degree program.