Tackle the challenges that shape the world around us

In a world of rapid social and ecological change there has never been a more important time to study geography and planning.

We offer courses of study that will give students the skills and knowledge they need to address some of the world’s biggest challenges, including climate change, refugee movements, urban growth, and global inequality.

Our teaching is informed by concerns for social and environmental justice and aims to develop inclusive, equitable and resilient futures.

Majors offered by Geography and Planning

All of our majors are offered in the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Social Science. We also offer Geography and Human Geography specialisations through the Bachelor of Science. You will be able to choose from one of the five following majors from 2020:

The Geography major focuses on understanding and improving human-environment relations. It brings together human and physical geography, providing one of the few multidisciplinary offerings to build skills in both the social and biophysical sciences.

The Human Geography major explores human dimensions of pressing social and ecological issues. It investigates the complex processes associated with environmental change, migration, geopolitics and decolonisation, to identify inclusive and resilient ways forward.

This interdisciplinary major in Environment, Society and Law draws on experts in Geography and Law to explore the social, cultural, ethical and legal dimensions of contemporary environmental issues being faced in Australia and globally. It has a particular focus on the foundational role of Indigenous rights and knowledge.

This major in Urban Studies approaches Sydney as a ‘living lab’ to explore the challenges associated with global patterns of urbanisation. The major focuses on the interconnections between cities, equity and social justice in a rapidly changing world.

The movement and reception of humans within and across nation states — as migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees — is one of the most significant and complex contemporary global challenges faced by governments and society today. Refugee studies is an interdisciplinary field that seeks to identify the spatial, legal, ethical, political and historical contexts of mobility, migration and human rights relations, and their connections with global change.

Planning degrees and certificates

Our planning programs are professionally recognised degrees accredited by the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA). They are taught by academics and practicing planning professionals, involving classroom activities, as well as field trips and case studies.

More information on our planning degrees

The Bachelor of Planning (BPlan) is a four year degree that trains students to become urban and regional planners. Macquarie University’s BPlan is unique due to its interdisciplinary focus on integrating social and environmental domains in the planning and design of fairer and more sustainable cities and regions.

The Master of Planning (MPlan) is a two year degree that develops foundational skills in urban and regional planning with options  for 18 and 12 month versions for those that have relevant undergraduate degrees. The MPlan focuses on social and environmental dimensions of planning, with specialisations in Environmental Law, Environmental Planning, or Social Policy and Planning.

This Graduate Certificate in Environmental Planning is a short program that is ideal for professionals seeking to upgrade their planning qualifications or gain new insights into the environmental dimensions of planning.

Research degrees

Our research degrees provide opportunities for sustained investigations of real world issues. You will work with one of our world class supervisors to critically explore a topic of your choice, developing new knowledge oriented at more resilient and just worlds.

More information on our research degrees

The MRes is a two year degree program focused on building and practicing research skills. In the first year you will join one of our research clusters and be trained in cutting edge geographic theory and approaches that you will apply through a field research project of your choice in the second year. Previous students have studied a wide range of topics including: wind farms; ecotourism; food justice; circular economies; multi-species urban design;  and human-fire relations.

Our PhD program is a three year degree that requires the equivalent of a Masters of Research to enter. It provides an opportunity to contribute new insights and ideas to scholarly knowledge whilst also developing skills for an academic career. You will join one of our research clusters and join a dynamic community of scholars engaging with some of the world’s most significant issues.


We offer five minors that are available for undergraduate students in a variety of degrees, including the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Social Science and the Bachelor of Science. Our minors are multidisciplinary offerings focusing on important contemporary issues and cutting-edge theoretical approaches.

The climate justice minor explores the root causes of climate change and other Anthropocene issues, highlighting the need for fair and just processes to transition to more resilient and fair societies.

  • GEOP1080 Urban Planet: Cities and Planning in the Anthropocene
  • MMCC2040 Environmental Communications
  • GEOP3000 Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene
  • GEOP3040 Asia Pacific Development

The environmental humanities minor explores the rapidly evolving ways in which the humanities and social sciences are engaging with and transforming how societies approach environmental issues.

GEOP1020 Introducing Environmental Humanities

One of:

  • GEOP2050 Environment and Society
  • MMCC2040 Environmental Communications
  • 3000
  • MMCC3240 Natures-Cultures-Technologies
  • ENGL3032 Writing Ecologies

The cities and civic media minor combines urban theory with technical media skills to explore the shifting roles of traditional and social media in shaping the politics of cities.

  • GEOP1030 Sydney and the Great Australian Dream
  • MECO1040 Introduction to Media and Mass Communications
  • MECO2140 Cybercultures
  • SOCI3030 Global Cities

The geopolitics minor develops skills and knowledge of historical and contemporary geopolitics within an Australian and global framework, exploring how the international political order has emerged.

  • POIR1080 Introduction to Global Politics
  • GEOP2020 Geographies of Violence: Bodies, Spaces and Power
  • GEOP3060 Borderless Worlds
  • MECO3031 Forensic Media

The posthuman studies minor exposes students to cutting edge theory exploring the relationships between culture, space, power and biological life.

  • GEOP1020 Introducing Environmental Humanities
  • GEOP2020 Geographies of Violence: Bodies, Spaces and Power
  • PHIL2060 Bioethics and Biotechnology
  • MMCC3021 Racialised Punishment and the Construction of a Nation
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Last updated: 17 Dec 2019