Geography and Environment

Master of Science (MSc)

Meet Michael Allen, MSc candidate in Geography and Environment

“I came to Western University for a number of reasons: to take advantage of the opportunity to study with one of the pre-eminent researchers in my field, to experience life in another country, and to work collaboratively with other world-class researchers both inside and outside of my department.”

Supervisor: Dr. James Voogt

Where is “home” for you?
Detroit, Michigan

Where did you complete your undergraduate degree?
I did my undergraduate degree in Environmental Science at the University of Portland in sunny Portland, Oregon.

What’s the best advice you could give to someone considering applying to your graduate program?
Talk to professors and read their papers. Don’t be shy – professors love to talk about their research with students (prospective or otherwise).

Describe your research in 100 words or less.
Broadly, I study urban climatology. My research focuses on developing long-term assessments of the surface urban heat island effect – the notion that surface temperatures within cities tend to be warmer when compared to their non-urbanized surroundings. Walls, rooftops, and roads in cities store a significant amount of heat energy which has an overall warming effect on urban spaces. Surface temperatures regulate air temperatures, humidity, and winds in near-ground climates. Thus, a better understanding of urban surface temperature patterns over long time periods (i.e. seasonal and beyond) can help city planners, engineers, and policymakers develop more sustainable, energy-efficient, and comfortable cities.

What are you most passionate about?
Everyone has the capacity to have an impactful voice in the scientific dialogue, not just professors and researchers. I’d like to make a contribution myself, and foster confidence in others so they may do the same.

What is it about your grad program that enables you to thrive and be successful?
Geography is a massively diverse field, and Western’s geography program absolutely reflects that range of inquiry. Talking with students and professors who have vastly different research goals/topics yields a lot of insight and cross-pollination.

What is your “dream” career?
I’m living it! I set my own schedule, work where I want to, have great colleagues, and there’s free coffee (most) Fridays. Looking to the future, I’d like to end up somewhere where I can try new things, make countless mistakes, and learn every day.

What one thing would you like people to know about you?
I was runner up in the Covington Middle School 4th grade geography bee … I peaked early in life. In all seriousness, I’d like to be remembered as an animated, intense, and persistent learner, teacher, and colleague.

Program Websites

Program Contact

Lori Johnson (
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):

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fee schedules (per term) are posted on the Office of the Registrar's website at

Graduate Student Affordability Calculator

Use this helpful tool to estimate how much money you will need to pay for your tuition, fees, housing, food, and other necessities for a 12-month (three term) academic year.

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 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