Human Geography

Geography studies the relationships between physical environments and human societies. Many of the most complex global challenges facing humanity – including escalating consumption & production, unethical business practices, urbanisation, climate change, environmental degradation, and biodiversity loss – are influenced by changing human-environment relations, but Geography is the only core academic discipline that treats them in an integrated, interdisciplinary way.

Teaching Program

In this program, students receive training in fundamental geographical concepts and literatures, in core geographical research methods such as field-based research and geographical information systems, and in general academic skills such as critical thinking, data analysis, and writing essays and reports.

Because Human Geography integrates such a broad range of approaches to understanding places, a degree in the subject prepares students for an exceptionally broad range of careers, in fields such as urban planning, environmental management, migration policy, international development, and geospatial analysis, to name a few.

Since the inception of Human Geography at Monash 50 years ago, it has produced some of Australia’s leading researchers and policy makers in climate and environmental change, land and water management, urban and regional economic development, and political ecology and international development.

Our staff and students are engaged in teaching, research, analysis and actions that promote the sustainable use and management of natural resources, landscapes and built environments across Australia and around the world.

Human Geography students can tailor their degree to include electives from Geographical Science to grapple with some of the most complex global challenges that face society today. Find out more here.

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Courses

Undergraduate studies

Graduate studies

Human Geography graduate research is part of the Social and Political Sciences Graduate Research program.

To see the full list of undergraduate and graduate (coursework and research) courses within the School of Social Sciences, see our course page.

Research

Human Geographers at Monash are engaged in empirical and conceptual research to address an array of sustainability challenges related to the environment, society, and economy. Transcending this work is a strong focus on governance arrangements at national, state, local, and corporate levels. Our current research activities focus on:

  • Circular economy
  • Sustainable business and investment
  • Urban sustainability transitions
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Human dimensions of biodiversity conservation

The reuse of goods and materials is critical to reduce pressure on virgin resources, minimise waste, and transition towards a circular economy. Monash Human Geography’s Measuring the benefits of reuse in the circular economy Project is investigating what drives reuse and is informing government on circular economy policy and targets. Relatedly, our Project titled, Household innovation and the transition to the low waste city, is exploring innovative strategies to reduce waste generation at the household level.

Business enterprises have a crucial role to play in addressing environmental and development challenges, and Monash Human Geography are working on two projects in this regard, focussed on small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Our project, Sustainability transformation pathways for small to medium enterprises, is seeking to identify enabling policies that can encourage SMEs to implement more sustainable business practices. Monash Human Geographers are also involved in the global TRANSFORM Project seeking to accelerate sustainable entrepreneurship and the development of sustainable business models in local spaces.

Our new research project, Tracing the impact of urban experimentation in water and energy domains is examining how experimenting with alternative urban infrastructure systems (e.g. stormwater-related nature-based solutions and energy micro-grids) can help inform sustainable urban transformations in the energy and water sectors. Aligned to this work, we have researchers contributing to an interdisciplinary and inter-faculty research project on Net Zero Precincts, focused on exploring innovations in local governance practices that support decarbonisation pathways to enable local energy transitions.

Additional research is investigating the geographies of climate finance, impact investments in biodiversity conservation, and the use of blockchain technology to increase transparency in seafood supply chains. This current work is underpinned by a portfolio of research articles from Monash Human Geographers on environmental governance, management, and stewardship.

The interdisciplinary nature of Geography means our team regularly collaborate with academics across the Social Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Engineering, and the Monash Sustainable Development institute (MSDI). Additionally, many of our research projects are applied, involving research partners across the public, private, and civil sectors, and within local communities, to deliver positive impact for society. To learn more about our research strengths, visit our individual Staff Profiles at the link below, and visit our Graduate Research page.

Research Students

Students undertaking PhD research in Geography at Monash University have the opportunity to apply for the Richard John Bryant Estate Award.

Staff

Monash Human Geographers are among the top researchers and educators in their fields both nationally and internationally. View all staff.

Visiting Scholars

Monash Human Geography welcomes leading scholars and researchers from around the world to visit and collaborate with us. Typically our visiting scholars are self-funded unless linked to a specific Monash-led project. Monash offers world class facilities and a vibrant campus, and Melbourne is consistently ranked as the most liveable city in the world. To inquire about visiting Monash Human Geography, contact a member of staff working in your area of research.

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