Geography (GEOG) 265

Introductory Physical Geography I (Revision 3)

GEOG 265 course cover

Temporarily closed, effective November 12, 2019

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study with home lab component.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: None

Precluded Course: GEOG 265 may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for GEOG 261 and GEOG 262.

Centre: Centre for Science

GEOG 265 has a Challenge for Credit option.


Geography 265 concentrates on the exploration of the geographic patterns and dynamics of the atmosphere and hydrosphere, covering the topics of global radiation, energy and water budgets, temperature and precipitation patterns, oceanic and atmospheric circulation, weather components, and climates.


GEOG 265 comprises the following 10 units.

  • Unit 1: Essentials of Geography
  • Unit 2: Solar Energy and the Seasons
  • Unit 3: Earth’s Modern Atmosphere
  • Unit 4: Atmosphere and Surface Energy Balances
  • Unit 5: Global Temperatures
  • Unit 6: Atmospheric and Oceanic Circulations
  • Unit 7: Water and Atmospheric Moisture
  • Unit 8: Weather
  • Unit 9: Water Resources
  • Unit 10: Global Climate Systems


To receive credit for GEOG 265, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least a D (50 percent). You must achieve a minimum grade of 60 percent on each examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Five (5) Tutor-Marked Exercises (10% each) 50%
Midterm Exam 25%
Final Exam 25%
Total 100%

The midterm and final examinations for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Christopherson, Robert W., and Mary-Louise Byrne. Geosystems: An Introduction to Physical Geography,Canadian Ed. Vol. 1. Custom Ed. for Athabasca University. Toronto: Prentice Hall, 2006.

Christopherson, Robert W., and Charles E. Thomsen. Geosystems: Student Study Guide. Vol. 1. Custom Ed. for Athabasca University. Upper Saddle, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2006.

Christopherson, Robert W., and Charles E. Thomsen. Geography 265 Laboratory Manual: Introductory Physical Geography I. Custom Ed. for Athabasca University. Boston, MA: Pearson Custom Publishing, 2007.

Stanford, Quentin H., ed. Canadian Oxford World Atlas. 6th Ed. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press Canada, 2009.

Other Materials

The course materials also include a student manual and a course guide.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the GEOG 265 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) on the examination.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 3, June 21, 2010.

View previous syllabus