Department of Geography and Planning

Cutting-edge research balancing human development with the natural environment

The discipline of geography at UWA has a long and proud history, dating back 50 years, of producing high quality research and well trained graduates that have addressed some of the big economic, social, and environmental challenges facing Western Australia, the Indo-Pacific region and the world beyond.

Department Strengths

The defining and recognised strength of Geography at UWA is our teaching and research profile that emphasises the integration of the human and physical dimensions of place-based and engaged geographical and planning enquiry. Our work at the nexus of people and the environment is integrated across the social and physical sciences, with a scholarly commitment to social equality and environmental justice, resilience in communities and social-ecological systems, and societal transformation in a rapidly changing world. 

Areas of interest

Our areas of interest focus on topics of global concern including urbanisation, international development, climate change, conservation, migration and environmental management. The Department offers a range of exciting degree programs that enable students to develop their expertise in these areas, all of which are supplemented with a range of domestic and overseas fieldwork opportunities. Students are encouraged to develop skills of relevance to the workplace through activities such as writing consultancy reports, policy briefs and engaging in team-building and leadership activities. Our teaching is backed up with state of the art laboratory and analytical equipment and the latest GIS, drone and remote sensing technology.  


Employers have noted that the integration of the human and physical dimensions of inquiry and analysis in our teaching programs gives UWA geography graduates a particular comparative advantage in the job market. Our graduates develop exciting careers both domestically and overseas, working for governments, the private sector and NGOs in areas ranging from planning, environmental sustainability and resource management through to community development. 


Research strengths

As a Department, our research spans the following four research themes, which align in highly productive ways with the University’s strategic focus on the Indian Ocean Rim and globalisation, capitalising on our geographic location in Perth as a comparative advantage nationally and globally.


Our students work alongside world-leading experts, exploring highly topical and relevant issues including:

  • climate change
  • regional planning
  • urbanisation
  • sustainable natural resource management
  • population growth.

Our teaching is designed to enable students to gain valuable workplace skills in data analysis, problem-solving, creative and focused writing, communication and teamwork. Students benefit from working in the classroom and in the field, broadening their experience through work placement and international fieldwork opportunities. Our undergraduate courses also lead into Master’s level programs specialising in urban planning, international development and environmental planning.  

Geography graduates are consistently in high demand by employers across a wide range of professions. We hold regular careers events to enable students to talk directly to graduates and potential employers and take great pride in the contributions our graduates make towards a better society and a more sustainable environment. 



Advisory Board

The role of the Board is to oversee the curriculum in order to ensure that workplace relevant skills and competencies are embedded across all undergraduate majors and postgraduate courses. 


Planning and Transport Research Centre

The Planning and Transport Research Centre (PATREC) conducts collaborative, applied research and teaching in support of policy in the connected spaces of transport and land use planning in Western Australia.

Centre for Regional Development

The Centre for Regional Development at The University of Western Australia focuses on understanding the major economic, social and environmental opportunities and challenges facing rural, regional and remote Australia.



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