The history of Geography teaching in the University of Hong Kong goes all the way back to 1915 when a course in Economic Geography (in combination with Economics) first entered the University curriculum that year. Back then, Geography was taught by part-time lecturers in the Faculty of Arts. In 1931, the Department of Geography was formed under the Faculty of Arts and it was housed on the top floor of the Tang Chi Ngong Building. In 1954, the Department was expanded to include Geology with the official title changed to the Department of Geography and Geology. Although Archaeology was not included as a degree course, Geography students were encouraged to develop interests and expertise in it as well. The student society today is still called the Geographical, Geological and Archaeological Society.
In 2000, the Department of Geography and Geology was renamed the Department of Geography again. With the restructuring of the Faculty of Arts, it was briefly renamed the School of Geography in 2006-2007. In 2007, the Department joined the Faculty of Social Sciences and have reverted to the name of the Department of Geography. Over time, specialist laboratories in aspects of physical geography, photogrammetry and GIS, and human geography have been established at different time to support the specialist developments in the discipline. Moreover, the Department has also built up a Map Library, which is one of the best equipped in the region, with a very sizeable collection of maps (with particular emphasis on Hong Kong and East and Southeast Asia) and air photos for supporting its extensive research and teaching activities.
Since its establishment in 1931, the Department has thus far conferred over 3,500 bachelor degree graduates in Geography; over 230 higher research degree awards for PhD, MA (Research) and MPhil; and over 900 graduates in different taught postgraduate programmes. Many of these graduates have now become distinguished academics in their own specialties, occupied prominent positions in the Hong Kong civil service and other professions.