Geography and Environment

Master of Arts (MA)



Meet Carrie Warring, MA candidate in Geography and Environment

“I came to Western University for my graduate degree because the school offered an opportunity to enroll in a thesis-based research degree. I recognized the value and need for research in public health, and wanted a graduate program that would provide me with the skills required to be successful. I also found an opportunity to bridge my work in academia and local government together that enabled the creation of mutually beneficial networking relationships.”

Supervisor: Dr. Jamie Baxter

What’s the best advice you could give to someone considering applying to your graduate program?
The best advice I could give to someone who is considering a graduate program is to take your time to get to know the program, the professors, and student research projects. To be successful, I think it’s important to find a research topic that you are invested in and will maintain that interest throughout the program. Interest in my topic has helped to push me to be immersed in literature, to reach research milestones, to write publishable papers, and to network and engage with stakeholders in the field.

What are you most passionate about?
My passion is to make an impact that helps to better the community, to connect and engage with others, and to make a positive difference. These are the things that make me truly happy and motivate me to continue my involvement with academia and my career. I am hoping that my graduate experience will enable me to further my contribution to the field of public health and local government to help make positive changes in the community.

Describe your research in 100 words or less.
Most landfills have a limited life span capacity leaving municipalities to look to the future for sustainable options. As one sustainable measure, many municipalities have implemented an organics source separation and curbside organics collection program (Green Bin) with varying success. However, there are limited comparative studies to understand why municipalities vary in the strategies used to manage organic waste (landfill versus composting). Thus, the primary objective is to uncover the predominant discourses that influence decision-making surrounding organic waste, and to find out what role energy recovery may play in future or current planning.

What idea, suggestion, or comment would you like to share with the Western graduate community?
As a part-time Western graduate student, I have gained a grounded perspective by combining my work experience and academia skills which have been mutually beneficial. I can bring my experience in public health as a resource to help enhance class discussion on research literature and course topics. I have also been able to support and provide networking opportunities with my peers. I have also been fortunate to bring my research skills back to my job where I have been given the opportunity to work on new projects and assignments.

What one thing would you like people to know about you?
I am passionate about my career and graduate studies, and I have really found my stride. I truly enjoy engaging with those around me, and I am always interested in finding new opportunities to collaborate and work with partners toward a common goal. I am someone who is happy, approachable, and I care about making a difference.

Program Websites


Program Contact

Lori Johnson (ljohns24@uwo.ca)
Graduate Administrator

Department of Geography and Environment

Western University
Social Science Centre Rm 2322
London, Ontario N6A 5C2

t. 519-661-2111 ext. 85033
f. 519-661-3750

The M.A. and M.Sc. combine course work with a thesis and each are tailored to the needs and interests of each Master's student. There is opportunity to obtain graduate education in a wide range of areas of geographic knowledge, research and applications. In their initial year, students take mandatory courses in geographical philosophy and research practice and also choose from an array of more specialized courses in their area of interest and research. The program provides a blend of formal instruction, seminar discussions, personal supervision and field experience as well as the opportunity to practice and improve communication, teaching and research skills.

Program Length

  • 6 Terms

Program Design

  • Full-time study
  • Thesis-based

Funding Information

Applicants are encouraged to apply for the following scholarships (if eligible):

Admission Requirements

  • Successful completion of a 4-year undergraduate degree.
  • Minimum GPA of 78% or B+ in the final two years of the undergraduate program.

Additional Requirements

  • Covering letter (offering additional information or clarification of application items).
  • Résumé (a brief summary of experience, achievements and skills).
  • Copies of relevant publications, if available.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants whose first language is not English must furnish evidence of their proficiency in the use of the English language:

  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). iBT (internet-Based Test): The minimum acceptable score is 86, with no individual score below 20 for the internet based version, or 550 for the paper and pencil version. [Western's TOEFL ID is 0984].
  • The International English Language Testing Service (IELTS Academic). The minimum acceptable score is 6.5 out of 9. The IELTS is offered in six test centres in the US and three in Canada.

The Department of Geography and Environment does not require applicants to submit GRE scores, but these can be submitted in support of an application.

Application Deadline

  • February 1

While we technically receive applications year round, the Graduate Affairs Committee begins review of applicant files for Fall admission in February. Applications received after the deadline may have a lower chance of success for admission and funding.

Fields of Research

  • Environment, Development and Health
  • Geographic Information Science
  • Physical Geography
  • Urban Studies