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 of producing high-quality research and well-trained graduates who have addressed some of the big economic, social, and environmental challenges facing Western Australia, the Indo-Pacific region and the world beyond. Excels in integrating human and physical dimensions in place-based research. Focus on social equality, environmental justice, and resilience underpins engagement in global issues like economic development, migration, and climate change. Offering diverse degree programs with fieldwork opportunities, students gain expertise in critical analysis, Geographic Information Systems and data interpretation. 

Graduates enter varied careers, from government policy roles to private analytics firms and non-profit sectors. The department's unique interdisciplinary approach and emphasis on real-world problem-solving give graduates a distinct advantage in the job market, recognised by employers domestically and internationally.

The discipline chair of Geography and Planning is Associate Professor Sarah Prout Quick.


Research strengths

Our research is organised into two major themes that align with the University’s strategic focus on the Indian Ocean Rim and globalisation, capitalising on our geographic location in Perth as a comparative advantage both nationally and globally.
Understanding and addressing socio-economic and spatial inequality

Socio-economic inequalities and complex environmental challenges are on the rise. How do we define and respond to these spatial, economic, demographic and environmental challenges? We are all committed to research that has practical application for government, industry, and local communities. Our research on this theme covers the following topics:

  • Population change, migration, and development
  • Labour market and economic transformation in regional areas
  • Transport planning, the built environment and health
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Monitoring deep change and slow emergencies in our altered landscapes

Human society is fundamentally altering natural systems from the global to local scale, with unpredictable consequences to both people and the environment. Our work is centred upon developing an improved understanding of these systems to promote science-based policy. Our work is conducted in diverse environmental contexts including arid deserts, mountains, tropical rainforests, salt lakes, rivers and coral reefs. We actively encourage student and postgraduate contributions to our expanding and exciting range of research.

Our research on this theme covers the following topics:

  • Climate and land surface interactions
  • Catchment and ecosystem management
  • Environmental dynamics and eco hydrology
  • Geographical information science and remote sensing
  • Conservation and environmental policy


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 fieldwork opportunities.  

Geography graduates are consistently in high demand by employers across a wide range of professions. We hold 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.




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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