The Department of Geography was created in the 1961/62 academic year with four academic staff and 24 pioneer students all based in the Faculty of Science. The early curriculum (1961-1964) of the department was basic, with the entire first year spent on General Study’s courses and electives. In 1964/65, however, a number of changes were made to the curriculum. Elements of geography courses were then taught in the first year, with the other courses following in the second year (University of Nigeria, 1964). The curriculum was in 1981/82 overhauled, with new emphasis on environmental issues, on planning, and on practical and analytical techniques. Thus, courses in the Philosophy and Methodology of Geography, Surveying, Environmental problems, Quantitative Geography, and Hydrology were introduced. So also were separate courses in practical Human Geography, and Regional Planning Methods. The 1981/82 curriculum remained unchanged throughout the 1980s. It also represented the most balanced expression of the department’s unique conception of the spirit and purpose of geography.
The Departmental curriculum was again revised in 1989. The Department was mandated to teach the NUC ‘Minimum Academic Standards’ (MAS) listed courses. The MAS decreed that the semester system should apply nationwide. The new order, to convert to a two-semester system led to a radical revision of the course structure and running of the Department. The Departmental curriculum was again reviewed in 2001 with new courses introduced. The new courses were Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Environmental Management. Also, Quantitative Geography 1 and II were changed to Basic Statistical Methods for Geographers 1 and II. It is in the same spirit to maintain and be in tune with the dynamic nature of the discipline that the Department in 2014 revised the curriculum and expanded its scope to include Management. Remarkable changes in the new curriculum were the re-introduction of political geography, introduction of Spatial Analysis and Modeling, Theories and Applications in Spatial Management, incorporation of climate change into the existing relevant courses and Students Industrial Work Experience (SIWES).
The Philosophical thrust of Geography is that spatial phenomena, the processes that yield them and the environment are inextricably linked. Consequently, the future of this planet and the human societies it supports depends upon committed, informed and critical persons trained to confront the challenges of Geography and Spatial issues.
The degree programme seeks to fulfil the following objectives:
- To lay a thorough foundation in all the systematic branches of geography, as well as training students in geographic methods, philosophy and applications.
- To lay a sound foundation in the study, appreciation and management of the spatial and geographic environment.
- To introduce students to field work and studies of processes and inter-relationships with a view to bridging the gap between theory and application.
- To afford students exposure to specialized aspects of their choice in geography, spatial management and the geographic environment in their final year.
The programme offered by the Department is broad and diverse, encompassing course work and research project. Courses offered cover diverse areas in the General, Physical, Quantitative, Regional and Human Geography. Other areas include Population and Settlement Studies, Economic Geography, Environmental Issues and Problems, Environmental Protection and Management, Practicals in Geography and Spatial Management.
Courses normally involve lectures, laboratory work, seminars and field work. Candidates are, in addition, required to present research projects which must be original in content and problem-solving oriented.