Geography – Bachelor of Arts

Understand your place in the world with Massey's Bachelor of Arts (Geography). Learn how we interact with our cultural, social, and physical environments.

Where you can study

Distance and online
Manawatū campus (Palmerston North)

International students

International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.

Definition of New Zealand citizens and residents

Open to international students on campus in New Zealand
Note: Not all courses are available in any given year

Specialise in Geography for your Bachelor of Arts at Massey

With the Bachelor of Arts (Geography) you’ll study how we interact with our cultural, social and physical environments. Geography is a diverse and dynamic subject. It covers issues such as:

  • sustainability
  • urban development
  • globalisation
  • people’s lived experiences of their environments. 

Geographers like to get out into the field to study the world as it really is. They use a variety of tools, including geospatial mapping technologies.

Stage one of the BA Geography includes both human and physical geography.

  • Human geography looks at how social processes affect space, place and landscape.
  • Physical geography looks at how natural landscapes take shape and change.

You will gain a solid foundation for understanding our world as the product of a combination of social and natural processes. More advanced courses expand on the themes established at stage one. You can specialise in human geography, or include more advanced geospatial and physical geography courses as well.

Travel opportunities

Geography is a globally oriented discipline. You’ll learn about New Zealand and its place in the world. You'll study internationally significant topics like globalisation, urban change, climate change and geopolitics. Our lecturers are deeply involved with the vibrant international geography community. You'll learn at the cutting edge, whether it’s the latest geospatial and mapping technologies, or the most recent thinking on how cities are changing in a digital world.

Good student-teacher ratio

Our students have opportunities to be actively involved in class. Enjoy high success rates, dynamic teaching environments, and great instructor support.

Further study

A geography degree can lead to postgraduate qualifications overseas in the UK, Canada or the USA.

A Bachelor of Arts in Geography is a good fit if you:

  • are keen to understand the big issues
  • want to make sense of how the environments we live in are changing
  • would like a job that could take you around the world.

Planning information

If you study full time, in the first year you’ll take eight 15-credit courses, making a total of 120 credits.

If you wish to study over two semesters, you should aim for 60 credits per semester. You may be able to take some courses at summer school if you wish. Make sure you include courses that are prerequisites for the next level of courses you wish to study.

You need to pass five courses at 300-level for your BA. One of these (230310) is in the compulsory core and three are required for your major. If you are not taking a double major or a minor, you will need to take one 300-level elective course to meet this requirement.

About this major

A Geography major consists of 120 credits (eight courses).


Completing a minor is optional. Minors increase the breadth of your degree. They give you extra knowledge, attributes and capabilities.

A minor must be in a different subject from your major.

A Bachelor of Arts (Geography) with a minor

You may choose a minor from the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Business or Bachelor of Science. If the minor is from another degree the regulations of that qualification will apply.

A geography minor (for students who are studying a different degree) 

If you are not studying towards a BA (Geography) and wish to complete a minor in geography see the BA regulations for requirements.  

Official regulations

To understand what you need to study and must complete to graduate read the official rules and regulations for this qualification.

You should read these together with all other relevant Statutes and Regulations of the University including the General Regulations for Undergraduate Degrees, Undergraduate Diplomas, Undergraduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas and Graduate Certificates.

Returning students

For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.

In some cases the qualification or specialisation you enrolled in may be no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these qualifications go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Get advice button on this page if you have any questions.

Courses you can enrol in

Course planning key

Courses that need to be completed before moving onto a course at the next level. For example, a lot of 200-level courses have 100-level prerequisite courses.
Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
Some courses are restricted against each other because their content is similar. This means you can only choose one of the offered courses to study and credit to your qualification.

Core courses for the Bachelor of Arts

As well as the specialisation courses listed below, this qualification has core courses that you will need to complete.

Bachelor of Arts core courses

Geography courses

Compulsory courses

Choose 30 credits from
Course code: 145111 Society, Environment and Place 15 credits

An introduction to the diversity of human geography focusing on themes such as state and economy; geography of consumption; identity and exclusion; agrifood; migration; geographies of the lifecourse.

View full course details
Course code: 145301 Research Practice in Human Geography 15 credits

An introduction to theoretical approaches in human geography, research design and qualitative methodology and techniques. There is a compulsory fieldwork component.

View full course details

At least 15 credits from

Course code: 145120 Geographies of Aotearoa/New Zealand 15 credits

An introduction to the changing social and environmental geographies of Aotearoa New Zealand. Highlighting the spatial outcomes of local, national and global processes, the course will cover themes such as the spatial distribution of climate change effects, the diverse social and physical landscapes of Aotearoa, and local and regional economies. Key geographical concepts – place, space, flows and connections – will be introduced and drawn on to deepen understanding of the ways in which the landscapes of Aotearoa – as integrated human and physical environments – have changed, and continue to change. A decolonial lens – meaning one that honours Te Tiriti relationships and obligations, and explicitly contests the ongoing impacts and legacies of Aotearoa’s colonial history in terms of society, landscapes and knowledge construction – will help illuminate the contemporary challenges facing the diverse peoples and landscapes of Aotearoa.

View full course details
Course code: 233105 Our Dynamic Earth 15 credits

An introductory course exploring the dynamics of Earth and how it changes through time, from the core to the atmosphere, plate tectonics to volcanoes, glaciers to rivers, mountains to oceans, and mass extinctions to the evolution of life. Through exploration of these processes and their interrelationships with environments and society, including natural hazards, climate change, and earth resources, students will develop their practical, problem solving, and communication skills.

Restrictions: 233101 and 145121

View full course details

Subject courses

Choose no more than 15 credits from
Course code: 230121 Future State: New Zealand in the 21st Century 15 credits

An inter-disciplinary exploration of the pressing social, political and economic issues (present and future) facing New Zealand in the 21st century such as globalisation, inequality and environmental challenges from the perspectives of the social science disciplines of geography, anthropology, sociology and politics.

View full course details
Choose at least 30 credits from
Course code: 121213 Land and Water Science 15 credits

How river catchments work and how they are affected by human activity. The environmental effects of land and water management practices, including land use, irrigation, drainage and nutrient loss, on river channels, flows and water quality, framed within an understanding of catchment geomorphology and hydrological processes.

Prerequisites: (189151 OR 145111) AND (233105 OR 117153 OR 199103) Restrictions: 145222

View full course details
Course code: 145202 Working With Geographic Data 15 credits

An exploration of techniques for the collection, interpretation, analysis and representation of social and environmental geographic data using geographic information systems (GIS).

Restrictions: 132106

View full course details
Course code: 145203 Geographies of Inequality 15 credits

This course will consider how economic and social inequality is reproduced across space.

View full course details
Course code: 145213 Resource Conservation and Sustainability 15 credits

Various distinctly geographical approaches to resource conservation are discussed. Topics include: environmental change, human impact, renewable and non-renewable resource conservation, and the role of the state.

Restrictions: 145313

View full course details
Course code: 145214 Social Change and Environment 15 credits

Exploration of the theme of social change and environment with reference to world systems and imperialism studied from a historical geography perspective and focusing on New Zealand.

View full course details
Course code: 145216 Urban Environments 15 credits

An examination of aspects of the social, economic and political geographies of urban life, drawing upon various approaches in Human Geography.

View full course details
Course code: 233212 Earth Surface Processes 15 credits

This course explores surface processes across Earth’s dynamic landscapes. Focusing on mountain, hillslope, river and coastal environments, the course investigates how and why these landscapes change over time. The course introduces methods for analysing and predicting landform change, and provides a foundation for managing geomorphic issues impacting society and the environment.

Prerequisites: 233105 or (233101 and 145121)

View full course details
Choose at least 30 credits from
Course code: 121313 Applied River Management 15 credits

The course covers the principles and methodology of river resource management. It integrates ecology, hydrology, geomorphology and water quality to understand how river ecosystems function and how they may be managed to maximise societal and environmental benefit.

Prerequisites: 121213 or 145222

View full course details
Course code: 145300 Cartography and Data Visualisation 15 credits

A course in geographic information systems (GIS) focusing on the use of digital geospatial information for cartographic presentation and data visualisation.

Prerequisites: 145202 or 145213 or 233214

View full course details
Course code: 145311 Geographies of Globalisation 15 credits

The course explores processes of globalisation emphasising spaces and agents of global change, and global-local connections across a variety of topics.

View full course details
Course code: 145318 Geopolitics 15 credits

An advanced study of geopolitics, emphasising geographical processes across a variety of topics.

View full course details
Course code: 233312 Natural Hazards 15 credits

An exploration and analysis of the nature, causes, impacts, and management of natural hazards, covering earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, weather, floods and coastal hazards. How climate change and human activity influence the hazards facing society.

View full course details
or from the 300 level courses not already selected from the Compulsory course selection list.

Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Specific requirements

There are no specific entry requirements for the Bachelor of Arts (Geography), outside of university admission regulations.

English language requirements

To study this qualification you must meet Massey University's English language standards.

If you have already completed a bachelor degree

If you have already completed a bachelor degree you may replace 230111 Tū Kupu: Writing and Inquiry or 230112 Tū Arohae: Critical Thinking with courses of your choice. You will need to apply for replacement courses via a Special permission request in your portal and you will need to attach evidence of your completed degree with the request.

English language skills

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, see our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses.

Can't meet the entry requirements?

If you need to do a course before you start your qualification, there may be options for you in Summer School.

Fees and scholarships

Fees, student loans and free fees scheme

Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.

There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.

Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme

You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.

Current and returning Massey students can find their National Student Number in the student portal.

Scholarship and award opportunities

Search our scholarships and awards

Fees disclaimer

This information is for estimation purposes only. Actual fees payable will be finalised on confirmation of enrolment. Unless otherwise stated, all fees shown are quoted in New Zealand dollars and include Goods and Services Tax, if any. Before relying on any information on these pages you should also read the University's Disclaimer Notice.

Careers and job opportunities

With a BA (Geography) you can choose from a wide range of careers including:

  • conservation and environmental research
  • energy development
  • resource management
  • forestry
  • public service
  • international development and diplomacy
  • local and regional councils
  • policy analyst
  • business and market research
  • teaching
  • tourism
  • journalism.

International students

New Zealand is a great place to study. Massey University’s reputation is supported by our international rankings, accreditations and associations. We are rated 5-star plus by the QS World University Rankings.

Massey University has small class sizes, and our lecturers and staff are friendly and approachable.

As an international student, there are entry requirements that will apply to you. We recommend that you apply at least three months before your anticipated start date so your application can be processed in time. There are additional steps you will need to take. These include obtaining a visa and travel bookings if your study is to be in New Zealand.

Accreditations and rankings

QS Ranking - Geography

Massey is ranked in the world's top 200 universities for geography in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings.

Related study options