2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog 
    May 23, 2019  
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Department of Geography

Robert Watrel, Interim Department Head
Department of Geography
109 Wecota Hall
E-mail: robert.watrel@sdstate.edu



Darrell Napton, David Roy, George White

Associate Professors

Robert Watrel, Xiaoyang Zhang

Assistant Professors

Yanan Li, Jamie Spinney


Don Berg, Charles F. Gritzner, Janet Gritzner, Edward Hogan, Roger Sandness


The Department of Geography offers enriching academic and life experiences, connecting people to the world in which they live. The department offers programs addressing the complex relationships and linkages of human and natural systems; geography is the science of place. As such, students study and analyze pressing issues ranging from climate change, human modification of the Earth’s systems, environmental hazards, resource assessment, and land use to population distributions, urbanization, cultural adaption, political organization of space, and globalization. Students gain experience with tools and techniques including computer cartography, remote sensing, Global Positioning Systems and Geographic Information Systems. These are recognized increasingly as essential for solving many contemporary societal questions. This also makes graduates from the department marketable in numerous business and governmental careers, as well as graduate schools for those seeking advanced degrees.





Graduate Programs*

  • Geography (M.S.)
  • Geospatial Science and Engineering (Ph.D.)
  • Geospatial Science and Engineering (Ph.D.) - Remote Sensing Engineering Specialization
  • Geospatial Science and Engineering (Ph.D.) - Remote Sensing Geography Specialization

* Graduate degrees are offered in collaboration with the Graduate School. For details, see the Graduate Catalog.

Facilities & Services

The Geography department is located in Wecota Hall and the Wecota Hall Annex. The department produces its own annual Geography Convention, the longest running such event in the United States.

Student Support & Engagement Opportunities

The department provides numerous opportunities for student engagement. For example, the Geography Club is a student organization centered on both academic and social functions. Membership is open to anyone interested. Additionally, the South Dakota State Geography Convention is student organized and sponsored.

Students and faculty regularly travel including attendance at regional and national geography meetings, as well as travel to other parts of the world in pursuit of their individual scholarly interests. SDSU Geography also has a connection with a university in Romania. The exchanges that result from this relationship provide invaluable international experience for students, which is critical in the increasingly globalized world.