Geography and Planning

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The Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Planning combines a solid background in physical, human and regional geography with an opening to other social and natural sciences. Its goal is to provide the necessary scientific knowledge to understand all aspects of the contemporary world, establishing links between academic knowledge and the needs of a human sustainable development, locally and globally.

The curriculum follows European standards under the ECTS system (European Credits Transfer System) and the degree is delivered by Paris-Sorbonne (Paris 4). Students who do not yet have a strong command of French will start with a one-year intensive course in French as a Foreign Language.

The programme provides specialised expertise, particularly in the use of computer tools applied to geography. It also covers graphic and cartographic digital processing of data, the use of satellite data, remote sensing, the construction of geo-referenced databases and the use of GIS (Geographic Information Systems). Finally, throughout the course particular emphasis is placed on language, which is an indispensable tool for the geographer at in this era of globalisation.

The programme offers three specialisations: Geography and Regional Planning; Geography Infographics and Information Technologies; and Geography. The first specialisation begins in the third year of the programme; the second emphasises digital tools and technological enhancements; and the third is a distinctly scientific study that assists the student in further studies within the human sciences.

The first year is devoted to the study of general geography, centred on the contemporary world and its changes. During the second year, studies focus on the different parts of the world analysed from global to local. The third year involves a deepening of the geographical concepts and methods, while introducing students to various Masters programmes.

Throughout the entire curriculum, strong emphasis is placed on languages and the mastery of professional software used for planning. Students can choose from German, English, Arabic, Spanish, Italian and French as foreign languages.


The programme is divided over three years of study with the equivalent of 60 credits per year (following the European ECTS system).

Geography studies are traditionally categorised into geographical, physical and social components which are taught rigorously. The proposed course also introduces innovative and cross-cutting approaches which integrate nature and culture in various interrelations.

The three years of study combine a solid grounding in the key fields of geography as an opening to other social sciences and geosciences. The course provides effective tools for understanding the contemporary world in all its complexity by analysing the historical legacies and contemporary dynamics at different scales, from local to global.

Semester 1

  • Geography, Human science and Natural science
  • Climatology: Elements of Climate
  • Economic geography in the era of globalisation
  • Distribution of population and demographic trends
  • Field, maps and geographical document
  • Foreign languages*
Semester 2

  • Structural Geomorphology: landforms and landscapes
  • Geography of water resources
  • Introduction to urban geography
  • Rural geography
  • Principles of cartography
  • Foreign languages*
L2 – Zonal and Regional Geography: multi-scales approach and territorial systems
Semester 3

  • Dynamic geomorphology: morphogenetic processes
  • Zonal and climatology
  • History and epistemology of geography
  • The Middle East and North Africa
  • Statistics applied to geography
  • Foreign Languages *
Semester 4

  • Geography of the biosphere
  • Sustainable development
  • Urban dynamics in the Western World
  • Geography of Europe
  • Computer-aided design and mapping
  • Space and place in Anglo-Saxon geography
L3 – Knowledge for Action : Advanced studies and introduction to master programmes
Semester 5

  • Geography of oceans and seas
  • Heritage at stake
  • Urban dynamics in the Arab World
  • Geography of Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Remote sensing
  • Transport networks, exchanges and territories
Semester 6

  • Coastal geography
  • Tourism geography
  • Fieldwork abroad
  • Pacific Asia
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Geopolitics

*Language to be chosen: German, English, Arabic, Spanish, Italian, and French as a Foreign Language.

This discipline opens the door to a variety of careers in planning, management, sustainability of resources and the environment, geopolitics and international relations, business culture and heritage, as well as transport and logistics. With multilingual proficiency and further specialisation through a Masters degree, geography offers real opportunities to excel in various jurisdictions, consulting firms, international organisations, and private companies.

The Bachelor of Geography at the Sorbonne Abu Dhabi allows admission to the Masters GAELE of the Department of Geography and Planning at Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV). This includes several specialties: Planning and management for local authorities; Transportation and logistics for trade; Globalisation and Development; Culture, politics and heritage. It also enables applicants to join Masters programmes open to geographers at the Sorbonne Abu Dhabi as well as French, European and North American universities.

“The degree in Geography gives an in-depth perspective on the contemporary issues of human development and globalisation. It analyses the heritage of past and present situations without ignoring the cultural dimensions and the political stakes. I highly appreciated the diversity of lectures, the humanistic and scientific approach, the high standards of the professors and their teaching methods, the teamwork in computer labs, the field trips in the UAE and abroad. The training combined theory and practice, which helped me to find a job as soon as I graduated. I now work in a government organisation where I’m in charge of developing Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Next year, I’m planning to enrol in a Masters programme in one of the most respected universities worldwide Insh’Allah.”

Khaled Al Romaithi, Graduate student in Geography & Planning