Division of Social Sciences
Department of Geography
Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in Geography
Master of Social Sciences by research
Ph.D. by research
What is it about
Modules in the Department of Geography are organized along four areas of enquiry: environmental processes and change; global political economy; society and culture; and regional specializations (with a focus on Asia). The Department also offers a Field Studies module in which students travel to countries in the region such as Thailand and Malaysia where they conduct field work and collect research material over a 3-5 week period. Home-stays and visits to local universities and key sites of interest are part of the overseas learning experience.
A Minor in Urban Studies is jointly offered by the Department of Geography and the Department of Real Estate (School of Design). The minor offers students a chance to develop expertise and skills in urban studies, and is particularly useful for those wishing to pursue careers related to urban development and planning.
The Department also offers a Minor in Geographical Information Systems (GIS). This is appropriate for students interested in careers utilizing GIS as analytical tools in business, environmental science, political science, public health, sociology and urban planning. Students pursuing computer science or information systems will also benefit from this programme.
The Department offers graduate programmes (which include both the writing of a thesis as well as coursework) leading to M.Soc.Sci. and Ph.D. degrees. The large number of staff and their diverse training from British and North American universities provide a wide breadth of research opportunities for graduate students. On top of the four main curriculum areas listed above, faculty members are also able to supervise research in specific topics within the field of population studies, political geography, geography of services, women's studies, and urban and regional planning.
To enhance teaching and research, the Department is equipped with the latest facilities. These include a Map Resource Unit that has about 25,000 maps,including large and small scale topographic series, geographical maps, weather charts as well as a valuable historical map collection; the Unit is continuously expanding its collection of topographic sheets on Southeast Asia. The department also has three laboratories: Earth Laboratory, Geo Laboratory, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Laboratory. A variety of GIS, remote sensing and other software are available. There is also an Environment Field Site situated near the top of Kent Ridge. Climatological and other instruments have been set up to collect data for teaching and research purposes.
The Department has engaged in several collaborative efforts with foreign universities as part of its outreach programme at the international level. Beyond its on-going field studies module GE3230A Field Studies in Geography: Southeast Asia conducted over six weeks in Thailand with the cooperation of Chiangrai Rajabhat University, the Department also conducted – for the second time – a special field studies module in tourism with Universiti Malaya during the 2005/06 special term. In another collaborative endeavour in teaching, the Department offered for the first time in 2005/06, GE3237 Geographies of Migration, a cross-institutional module on international migration and settlement as part of an initiative across the Universitas 21 (U21) network; the module was simultaneously co-taught at the University of British Columbia, the University of New South Wales and NUS and involved common reading lists and seminar topics to enable mixed tutorial groups across the Internet.
The Department organizes a number of key events over the year catering to students both from within and outside of the University. Events include the Geography Careers Day Talk where successful alumni of the Department share their views on geography education and career prospects with students; the Geography Open House which introduces junior college students to life on campus; and the SPH Geography Challenge - an interactive and educationally enriching competition for secondary school students to learn more about world and regional geography.
Geography is one of the most diverse fields of academic study offering a wide breadth of careers for our graduates. As geography trains one to think critically and to write analytically, these valuable assets prepare graduates well for administrative jobs in government bodies, statutory boards and private organizations. About a third of the graduates presently work in the civil service and statutory boards, including the armed forces as diplomats, administrators, executive officers, planners and research analysts. Another third has found employment in a wide range of occupations, as marketing officers, public relations officers, bank officers, journalists, editors, librarians, stockbrokers, real estate developers and politicians. The rest have joined educational institutions, from secondary schools to universities, as teachers and lecturers. There is still a shortage of graduate geography teachers and students planning on a teaching career are encouraged to take modules suitable for teaching purposes. An academic career with the university is also a possibility for outstanding graduates with a Ph.D. degree.