Geography students with Prof Starrs

For more information:
Geography Department

GIS workshop with Professor Mensing

At a glance:

Degrees offered:

  • Minor
  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Master of Science
  • Ph. D

Number of Faculty: 11

Current Students: 95

Technique and Technology Working Together in the Classroom and in the Field

The Department of Geography in the College of Science emphasizes the study of landscape change and human-environment interactions in arid and mountainous environments. The department emphasizes the integration of human and physical geography and encourages the use of geospatial technologies (GIS, remote sensing, and cartography).

Our department has a strong physical geography component that seeks to understand patterns and process within nature. We have strengths in cultural and historical geography that seek to understand pattern and process within societies. Where studies of nature and society meet, we study the effects of human ideas, systems, and activities on the environment. And, looking at human-environment interactions from a different perspective, our work also encompasses how the environment establishes contexts and constraints for human ideas, systems, and activities. Our approach encourages problem solving that utilizes spatial reasoning and the analysis of questions at multiple spatial scales: local, regional, national, and global.

The Department of Geography houses a dendrochronology laboratory and palynology laboratory for paleoclimate reconstruction, the Nevada State Climate Office and geospatial laboratories that studies ecosystem and urban growth patterns and processes using GIS and spatial statistics. The department has an extensive map collection, two computer labs, and equipment for field studies focusing on mountain environments, climatology, environmental reconstruction, and water resources.

The Department of Geography is the only program in Nevada that grants university education and college degrees in Geography. The curriculum contributes to the higher education to all interested Nevadans with a full array of geographic offerings. Department Website

Male geography student doing field work in the snow

Description of Academic Programs

The Department of Geography offers two undergraduate degrees, a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Geography and a Bachelor of Science with a major in Geography. Which degree is more appropriate for any given student depends on prior preparation and academic orientation. Study specializations include: biogeography, climatology, cultural and international studies, cartography and computer mapping, geographic information systems (GIS), urban and regional planning, and water resources.

All students complete a core within geography that provides a broad background in the discipline and prepares them for pursuing either degree. The geography core courses include:

  • GEOG 103 Physical Geography
  • GEOG 106 Introduction to Cultural Geography
  • GEOG 200 World Regional Geography
  • GEOG 210R Introduction to Geotechniques
  • GEOG 311 or 312 Map Interpretation or Cartography
  • GEOG 314 Field Methods
  • GEOG 325 Research Methods
  • GEOG 418 Geographic Thought

The Bachelor of Arts program emphasizes proficiency in a broad range of geographic courses work. This degree program also develops skills in a foreign language. Students take 21 credits of electives from courses in the department.

The Bachelor of Science program emphasizes proficiency in physical geography, geospatial methods, and human/environment interactions. This degree program also develops skills in mathematics and statistics. Students take 21 credits of electives from approved courses in the department.

Students are encouraged to develop with their advisors an individualized program of study within these degrees. All students are required to have a minor.