Success Maps

Geography Success Map


All Pillars | All Years
1st Year (0-30 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

Explore SMU’s diverse course offerings while completing the general Faculty of Science requirements.

Complete your 1st year required GEOG courses: GEOG 1100 and GEOG 1200.

Be aware that a cumulative GPA of 2.2 in courses constituting a Science major is required.

Explore your options for majors and minors by attending the Programs Day across faculties in February.

Register for classes as soon as registration opens. Classes fill early!

Visit your Academic Advisor to be sure you have the right courses.

Gather information on Co-operative Education opportunities.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Develop fundamental skills in information literacy, numeracy, and critical judgement to serve you through the rest of your degree.

Apply the critical thinking process to your coursework – select and analyze diverse and credible evidence to construct and sustain a critical argument.

Acquire knowledge of the Earth’s surface, spatial distribution, and patterns of its physical and human characteristics.

Understand the complex interrelationships between human activity and the environment.

Improve your knowledge of the Earth’s systems, elements, environments, regions, and relationships.

Begin to critically analyze geographical issues relating to both the physical environment and human landscape.

Improve your writing and thinking skills at the Writing Centre. Get expert feedback and incorporate it into your work.

Develop research skills by navigating online databases and the stacks at the Patrick Power Library. Take a virtual tour.

Build a résumé at a Résumé Seminar, to prepare for internships, scholarships, and summer jobs.

Start your Co-Curricular Record. Document your acquired skills from on- and off-campus activities and volunteer work.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life

Attend Welcome Week. Make friends. Meet classmates, faculty, and advisors at academic orientation. Attend a session about a culture of safety and respect at Saint Mary’s.

Introduce yourself to your professors after class or during office hours.

Monitor the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies News and Events page for information regarding events and opportunities.

Join the Saint Mary’s University Geography Society (SMUGS).

Visit the Societies Fair. Explore student societies, including those that are culturally-based, before deciding which to join.

Try Speak Up!, a program where international students practice speaking English with Canadian students.

Stay Active. Explore SMUfit, campus sports, exercise, and recreation opportunities—no extra fees!

Apply for a scholarship. There are more than 260 available!

Need help with time management, organizational, or presentation skills? Book an Academic & Life Skills Coaching session.

Learn to budget your money. Attend a Financial Literacy workshop or get advice from Financial Aid and Awards.

Check in with Career Services to start discussing your career goals, related to your program. Experiment with different classes to see what you like.

When facing a personal crisis, get help from the Counselling Centre.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

Consider volunteering within the community (e.g., Farmer’s Market, Community Centres, Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup).

Consider courses with global themes for your electives.

Need a job? Create a HireSMU account to find available jobs.

Not from Halifax? Explore and discover all our cultural opportunities and have fun.

Keep current with local events. Read Pride in Your Shared Neighbourhood newsletter.

Travel while studying after 1st year. Investigate travel options beyond Canada at International Activities.

Obtain or update your passport in preparation for possible international travel.

Not from Canada? Browse Services for International Students for available support.

Attend International Night—an annual banquet showcasing SMU’s many cultures.

2nd Year (30-60 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

Complete your 2nd year required GEOG courses: GEOG 2306, GEOG 2356, and GEOG 2386.

Thinking of changing majors or minors? Attend Programs Day for help.

Visit your Academic Advisor to be sure you have the right courses and to declare your major in this year.

Explore your interests by taking courses designated in Group B (Physical Geography) to help fulfill the requirement of eighteen (18) credit-hours.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Develop strong fundamental skills in information literacy, numeracy, and critical judgement to serve you through the rest of your SMU experience.

Develop laboratory and field research skills to conduct and interpret grain size analyses, soil properties, topographic surveys, vegetative characteristics, fluvial, or coastal processes and meteorological conditions.

Improve your knowledge of fundamental concepts and components of geographical information systems (GIS). Refine your laboratory skills to perform procedures with precision and generate hypotheses.

Refine your capacity for critical thinking – form, defend, and evaluate arguments and propose solutions.

Develop your ability to understand and create maps, graphs, charts, and statistical findings.

Broaden your knowledge and understanding of the different geography sub-disciplines by taking elective Geography courses.

Upgrade your writing with one-on-one tutorials at the Writing Centre or through online resources.

Learn advanced researching techniques at the Library.

Update your Co-Curricular Record to keep track of your accomplishments and set new goals.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life


Apply your classroom learning and improve soft skills by joining some student societies.

Participate in SMUGS events. Join (or create) a SMUSA society.

Attend seminars organized by the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies and the School of the Environment.

Participate in intramurals. Demonstrate your team skills and character to future employers and admissions officers.

Browse the Scholarship List and modify your cover letter to match the criteria. Apply between February and May.

Need more academic support? Contact Personal Counselling or Academic & Life Skills Coaching.

Seek Career Counselling. Explore the core competencies of your major, and career possibilities related to your strengths, interests, and values.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

Discover ways to give back to your community, from local to global. Come to the Volunteer Fair held every September, or speak to a Career and Employment Coach at Career Services.

Get involved with activities outside of your program. Employers like well-rounded candidates.

Participate in Nova Scotia Geocaching to meet other students/people interested in Geography.

Attend a LinkedIn photo shoot and a LinkedIn Seminar with Career Services. Put your best (and most professional) face forward!

Keep your HireSMU Account updated with accurate contact information and most recent résumés.

Consider applying for the Co-op Program at the beginning of 2nd year (30+ credits). Gain work experience over three terms.

Visit the International Activities office for a study-abroad program or an international field study course in 2nd - 4th years.

Explore options for international internships in your area of study.

3rd Year (60-90 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

Advance your Group C skills in Geography by completing at least three (3) credit hours in GEOG 3326, 3356, 3386, or 3416.

Make sure to enroll in courses that contribute towards the required twelve (12) other credit hours in Geography.

Meet with your Academic Advisor and Program Advisor for help with course selection, career advice, or certifications.

If you are considering completing an Honours degree, speak to the Honours Program Coordinator.

Thinking about graduate school? Contact Career Services for options and admission procedures, and begin planning for applications with your Department Chair.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Practice problems that require collection, description, and analysis of geographic data.

Enhance your knowledge by analyzing and configuring geospatial data while using ArcGIS.

Exercise and develop technical skills in image interpretation, statistical software, spreadsheets, and databases through the use of software programs offered in labs.

Enhance your ability to research, critically analyze, present, and interpret quantitative and qualitative data, as well as employ major theories in geography.

Refine your skills and knowledge of field and image interpretation of geomorphic landscape patterns, processes, and systems.

Develop the ability to collect, analyze, and interpret data while in the field.

Improve your research skills and grades by visiting the Library and using the Research-by-Appointment service for one-on-one help.

Visit the Writing Centre for workshops on Exam Writing & Preparation.

Update your Co-Curricular Record.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life

Get to know your professors. They are excellent contacts for reference letters. Chat about your future plans for 4th year and beyond.

Attend the Research Expo. Learn from the research and critical analysis of peers and professors. Also, showcase your own research project.

Volunteer with the Community Based Environmental Monitoring Network.

Attend thesis defenses to broaden your knowledge and support your fellow students.

Run for a leadership position in a campus group.

Apply for over 200 scholarship and bursary awards.

Visit the Career Development Centre for help with tactical job searches, including using social media, information interview, fine-tuning your résumé and cover letter, and practicing interview skills.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

Attend the Halifax Career Fair in September and March. Discover career opportunities and employer expectations.

Inform your networks about your program. Seek out potential employers for information and interviews.

Join professional associations like the Canadian Association of Geographers, Geomatics Association of Nova Scotia, Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and the Canadian Remote Sensing Society.

Attend events like the Science Atlantic conferences or the Atlantic Canadian Association of Geographers conference.

Explore new internships designed to help international graduates gain experience in Nova Scotia.

4th Year (90-120 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

Be sure to enroll in nine (9) credit hours in Geography at the 4000-level in GEOG Group B, C, or D with at least three (3) credit-hours in Group B at the 4000-level.

Make sure to enroll in courses that contribute towards completing your degree.

Is it too late to do an Honours degree? Speak to the Department Chair about your idea.

Complete a CAPP Degree Evaluation in Banner.

Visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. Discuss SMU graduate opportunities.

Contact your Academic Advisor and Department Chair to ensure you are on track for graduation requirements and post-graduation plan.

Apply to graduate. Fill out an application for graduation form and submit it to the Service Centre. Get your picture taken for the yearbook.

Consider graduate schools or professional programs. Start early, and ask your professors and the Writing Centre to review your personal statement, cover letter, and applications.

Request transcripts, if required.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Enhance your ability to develop plans, seek solutions to problems, and follow plans to completion.

Understand moral and ethical dilemmas that may arise in debates.

Advance your ability to conduct literature reviews, develop hypotheses, present results, evaluate evidence, and draw valid conclusions.

Further develop the ability to interpret and analyze information presented by peers to effectively and constructively critique their proposals, theories, ideas, and reports.

Increase your capacity to critically analyze geographical information.

Before you graduate, do a final update of your Co-Curricular Record, and request an official copy.

Visit Career Services to prepare to clearly and persuasively articulate all you have learned at Saint Mary’s (in and out of class) to an employer.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life

Continue to attend thesis defenses to broaden your knowledge and support your fellow students. 

Explore opportunities to volunteer or work for professors to enhance your knowledge, develop your communication and presentation skills, and improve your résumé.

Serve as Department Student Rep. Speak to your Department Chair.

Enter your best research paper for the Academic Writing Awards.

Go to the Geography Department - Scholarships and Awards website to learn how to become eligible for the ESRI Canada GIS Scholarship.

Get recognized for your involvement in the classroom and in the Saint Mary’s community. Apply for the Student Leadership Award.

Apply for other awards, including the SMUFU scholarship.

Brush up on your Financial Literacy. Receive guidance for a successful and healthy financial future, including student loan repayment.

Your degree can open the door to many types of careers. Use Career Counselling to discover where you want to go and how best to get there.

Plan to attend Career Services’ 4-week Job Search Seminar Series before or after graduation.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

Be prepared to apply, interview, and network when school begins, to maximize your chance of receiving some job offers before graduation.

Volunteer to work with professors or with special events to develop your communication and presentation skills.

In addition to the Halifax Career Fair, attend some career fairs specific to your program. Bring your résumé. Prepare in advance to speak with recruiters and potential employers.

Apply for the Halifax Connector program. Meet with a Halifax professional in a field of your interest.

If you are a co-op student, arrange for your final work term placement early.

Are you an international student interested in staying in Canada and receiving permanent resident status? Contact the International Centre.

Get in contact with the SMU Young Alumni Association to begin your next phase as a Santamarian.

Remember, you have access to Career Services for three years post-graduation. Use these services to help you continue to get the most out of your degree.