Thompson Rivers University

Open Learning

GEOG 2231
Geography of British Columbia

3.0 Credits


This course uses the concepts and methods of regional geography to explore the character of British Columbia, through study of the province's diverse physical and human landscapes. The course focuses particularly on geographic patterns and on the interaction of physiography, climate, settlement, resource utilization, and economic activity. It also examines how the province fits into a variety of regional settings: the Pacific Northwest, Canada, North America, and the Pacific Rim.

Delivery Method

Delivery is self-paced, allowing you the flexibility to proceed through the course according to your own schedule. The course is available in print or web versions. TRU-Open Learning has no admission requirements and you can register for this course at any time.


None. Though they are not required, a first-year course in geography (e.g., GEOG 1221 or GEOG 1191, geology (e.g., GEOL 1011 or GEOL 1111, or equivalent skills and knowledge would provide useful background information.


Although you will not become an expert in the field of geography by taking this course, you will come to understand the range and nature of the geographer's interest in the earth through a focus on the regional geography of British Columbia.

By the end of the course you should be able to:

  • Define key concepts used in regional geography and other approaches of geographic analysis, with particular application to the geography of British Columbia.
  • Describe the physical geography of British Columbia, including the major factors underlying geographic patterns of physiography, climate, soils, vegetation, and their associated hazards.
  • Explain how patterns of present ethnic composition in the province have arisen, with particular reference to First Nations, Europeans, and Asians.
  • Discuss the structure of British Columbia's economy and the variations in type and level of economic activity in the different regions of the province.
  • Indicate British Columbia's position in a variety of regional economic contexts.
  • Identify the nature and importance of external linkages in the development of the province.
  • Discuss the spatial structure of biophysical resource use in British Columbia, including forest-based, agricultural, and commercial-fishing industries.
  • Discuss the spatial structure of physical resource use and the service sector in British Columbia, including metal mining, energy, water resources, tourism, recreation, and conservation.
  • Explain the evolution of settlement patterns in British Columbia, including the development and location of urbanization.
  • Evaluate British Columbia's position in a variety of regional contexts and the impact of external linkages on the development of the province.
  • Present an informed analysis of the physical and human geography of British Columbia and its regions.

Course Outline

Unit 1: Regional Geography and Physical Landscape

  • Topic 1: Regional Geography of British Columbia
  • Topic 2: Physical Geography and Vegetation of British Columbia
  • Topic 3: Geoenvironmental Hazards and Risks in British Columbia

Unit 2: Peoples of British Columbia

  • Topic 1: First Nations, Territories, and Treaties
  • Topic 2: Europeans in the Pacific Northwest
  • Topic 3: Asians in British Columbia

Unit 3: Resource Geography of British Columbia--Abiotic Resources

  • Topic 1: Spatial Economy and Resource Overview
  • Topic 2: Geography of Mining
  • Topic 3: Geography of Energy
  • Topic 4: Geography of Water Resources

Unit 4: Resource Geography of British Columbia--Biotic Resources

  • Topic 1: Geography of the Forest Industry
  • Topic 2: Geography of Agriculture
  • Topic 3: Geography of Marine and Fresh Water Resources
  • Topic 4: Geography of Tourism, Recreation, and Conservation

Unit 5: Rural Settlements and Urbanization of British Columbia

  • Topic 1: Rural and Urban Landscapes of British Columbia

Course Summary: The Regional Character of British Columbia

Maximum Completion

30 weeks

Required Text and Materials

Students will receive all course materials including the textbooks in their course package.

  1. McGillivray, B. Geography of British Columbia, People and Landscapes in Transition. 2nd. ed. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2005.
    Type: Textbook - TRU IN-HOUSE REPRINT - ISBN: 9780774812542 / 0774812540
  1. Wood, C. J. (Ed.). British Columbia, The Pacific Province: Geographical Essays. Canadian Western Geographical Series 36. 358 pages. Victoria: Western Geographical Press, 2001.
    Type: Textbook - ISBN: 0-919838-26-X
  1. Province of British Columbia. Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Forests Research Branch. Biogeoclimatic Zones of British Columbia. 1999.
    Type: Map

Additional Requirements

Web students should refer to "Course Delivery Formats" in the TRU-Open Learning Calendar or on the TRU-OL web site for computer requirements (see:

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to help students complete the course, usually by phone and mail for the print version and by e-mail for the Web version. The course package includes a personal welcome letter from the Open Learning Faculty Member.


There are five assignments and a course project (a cumulative research essay) to complete and submit to the Open Learning Faculty Member for grading.

The final grade is calculated as follows:

Assignment 1 5%
Assignment 2 5%
Assignment 3 5%
Assignment 4 5%
Assignment 5 5%
Course Project (research essay) 25%
Final written exam 50%
Total 100%

To successfully complete this course, you must obtain at least 50% on the final examination and 50% overall. You may write the final exam even if you have not completed all the assignments; however, you will receive a zero grade for each assignment you do not submit. Both Assignment 1 and the course project are mandatory for course completion.

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