Geography is the examination of the complex relationships between humans and their environments and the spatial dimensions of our world’s most pressing challenges. Faculty and student research and teaching extend across the full breadth of the discipline, exploring issues of landscape and climate change, water resource management, urban and regional development, and social inequality, along with the application of GIS and spatial analysis in geographic research.
The Department of Geography offers Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees as well as a minor in Geography. Undergraduate coursework emphasizes proficiency in human geography and physical geography, geospatial methods, and human/environment interaction. Within the undergraduate program, students have the option to pursue one of four specializations outlined below or a general B.A. or B.S. in Geography tailored to their interests.
The Geotechnologies specialization emphasizes proficiency in geo-spatial methods. Students obtaining the Geotechnologies specialization will learn the tools, methods, and software necessary to manage and analyze spatial data and information. The courses and specialization can be applied toward becoming a certified GIS Professional (GISP) from the GIS Certification Institute. This specialization is recommended for students interested in employment as a GIS or remote sensing analyst, cartographer, planner, or graduate study in geography or related geotechnology field.
Climate, water and ecosystems
The Climate, Water and Ecosystems specialization provides students with an understanding of the climate and climate change, ecological processes, water management, the interactions between water, climate and life, human impacts on these systems, and their influence on society. Students obtaining the Climate, Water, and Ecosystems emphasis will understand the climate system, the environment and human activities. This emphasis is recommended for students interested in employment in environmental consulting firms, planning agencies, numerous government agencies (e.g. EPA, USGS, NRCS) and non-governmental organizations.
Globalization, politics and place
The Globalization, Politics and Place specialization emphasizes proficiency in social and cultural geography and develops skills in critical thinking, research techniques, and oral and written communication. Students obtaining this specialization will learn and apply geographic information about cultural, political and economic systems and processes to understand how people, places and regions are linked globally. This specialization is recommended for students interested in career fields that involve international relations and diplomacy, development, government, urban policy, non-profit and non-governmental work, teaching, and graduate studies in Geography or related disciplines.
Environmental policy and management
Decision-making regarding future use of renewable and non-renewable resources requires an interdisciplinary approach that engages with the physical, economic, and political processes that govern human interactions with the natural world. The Environmental Policy and Management specialization provides students with an understanding of sustainable development, natural hazards and the research methods and policy tools used to understand and allocate the use of natural resources. This specialization is recommended for students interested in employment as Natural Resource Specialists, Water Managers, Emergency Management, Public Works Planners, or graduate study in Geography or related disciplines.
Geography (general studies) B.S.
The Bachelor of Science in Geography emphasizes proficiency in physical geography, geospatial methods, and human/environment interactions and develops skills in mathematics and statistics. Students are encouraged to develop with their advisors an individualized program of study within the degree, allowing them the flexibility to explore the breadth of the discipline. All students are required to have a minor.
Geography (general studies) B.A.
The Bachelor of Arts in Geography emphasizes proficiency in human geography and develops skills in a foreign language. Students are encouraged to develop with their advisors an individualized program of study within these degrees, allowing them the flexibility to explore the breadth of the discipline. All students are required to have a minor.