Department of Geography and Environment is one of the oldest and renowned departments at the University of Dhaka. It was established in 1948 under the Faculty of Science as Department of Geography. Professor Dr. Nafis Ahmad was the founder of the Department of Geography. The Department was renamed as the Department of Geography and Environment in 1996, to reflect the changes in the academic content of the discipline and the changes in the contemporary global situation. Since July 2008 this Department has been placed under the newly formed Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
The prime objective of this department is to make students aware of the relationship that exists between humans and the physical environment – the core of Geography. The impact of the two way ‘man-environment interaction’ is reflected in the way we shape our settlements in the form of villages, towns and cities; the way we exploit our physical environment to make our living in the form of agriculture, mining, industry, trade and business. All our activities on the earth’s surface create such a setting that the geographers term it as ‘cultural landscape’. Students at the Department of Geography and Environment are exposed to the understanding of this cultural milieu at all levels of observation- macro (global level), meso (regional level) and micro (state and intra-state levels). The Department therefore offers courses in all branches of geography (a) Human Geography (b) Physical Geography and (c) Regional geography.
In order to provide pragmatic/practical knowledge and skills to the students the department’s curricula also offer courses on Environmental Analysis & Management, Disaster Management, Topographic Surveying, Computer Cartography, Geographical Information System (GIS), Remote Sensing, and Urban Planning. The successful attainment of the combination of the theoretical knowledge about human society and the environment, and the practical skills in processing this information prepares the graduates to seek careers in Information Technology, Management, Research and Training.
Undergraduate Programme of the Department
Students admitted into Four Year B.S. (Hons.) program in Geography and Environment are required to take a total of 144 credit hour courses from the department and 15 credit hour of minor courses from outside the department. Students from Science background are required to take minor courses offered by the Botany, Geology, Soil Science or Psychology departments while the arts background students are required to take minor courses from the Sociology, Anthropology, International Relations, Psychology or Economics departments.
Field trips, organized by the department under the supervision of the faculty (each year) are compulsory for all students.
Undergraduate level courses
World Regional Pattern, Bangladesh Human and Physical Environment, Regional Geography of South Asia.
D. Skill Development Courses
Cartography, Principles of Surveying, Quantitative Techniques, Introduction to GIS, Research Methods and Field Survey including Land Use Mapping, Map Projection, Principles of Map Interpretation, Environmental Management, Principles of GIS and Remote Sensing (RS), Environmental Analysis, Field Studies on Landuse and Human Environment, and Project work.
Graduate Programme of the Department
At the graduate level students may be admitted to obtain the following degrees:
Master of Science Program (MS)
The MS degree is a one-year programme. This program consists of both thesis and non-thesis streams. Students belonging to the non-thesis stream form the bulk of M.S. students. They are required to credit 4 theory courses, 1 practical course, 1 field study course and 1 viva-voce examination. Students in thesis stream are required to credit 3 theory courses, 1 practical course and write a dissertation on the approved thesis topic. They have to appear in viva voce examinations, 1 general viva and 1 special thesis viva and presentation.
MS Theoretical Courses: Fluvial Environment and Alluvial Morphology, Water Resource Management, Regional Planning and Development, Rural Development and Planning, Urban Planning, Development and Governance, Rural Settlements of Bangladesh, Rural Land Evaluation and Management, Population, Environment and Sustainable Development, Agro-Climatology, Gender, Development and Environment, Resource Management, Geography of Migration, Social Geography, Geography of Health and Environment (Medical Geography), Geography of Transport, Industrial Geography, Geography of Tourism, Environmental Hazards and Disaster Management, Biodiversity and Conservation.
MS Practical and Field Courses: Applied Quantitative Techniques in Geography: Spatial Analysis, Field Based Project Report.
To date, more than three hundred MS dissertations have been completed by our students. Their topics include (a) Fluvial Morphology (b) Environment Management (c) Resource Management (d) Population Dynamics (e) Urban Development and Planning (f) Rural Development (g) Agro-climatology (h) Gender and Development (i) Economic Activities and Environmental Change (j) Mitigation of Environmental Degradation, (k) Medical Geography (l) Reproductive Health (m) Regional Planning and (n) Disaster Management and Mitigation.
MPhil and PhD Programs
The MPhil is a two-year programme of course work and research. Facilities are available in the department to pursue higher studies leading to MPhil and PhD degrees. The PhD programme basically involves research work but in some cases it may require some course work as advised by the supervisor. A number of PhD degrees have been conferred recently and a significant number of new students have been admitted to this program in the last two years.
MPhil courses: Urban Systems, Urban Landuse and Land Policy, Urbanization and Urban Policy, Environmental Analysis and Management, Population Dynamics, Economic Development Planning, Industrial Location: Principles and Policies, Geography of Women and Development, Migration and Development, Geographical Information Systems, Medical Geography, Geography of Periodic Markets and Marketing Systems, Regional Development, Planning and Problems, Fluvial Processes, Transport and Development etc.
Three well equipped laboratories-‘GIS Laboratory’, ‘Laboratory for Environmental Analysis’ and ‘Cartography Laboratory’ are available for graduate students to pursue higher studies.