Return to: Academic Programs - Majors, Minors, Certificates
Bob Watrel, Department Head
Department of Geography and Geospatial Sciences
109 Wecota Hall
Geography is the scientific study of the distribution of both physical and human features of the Earth’s surface. Geographers seek to describe, relate and explain the natural and cultural phenomena that distinguish places around the world. Geographers focus upon “where” and “why” questions concerning the global environment. Geography also functions as a bridge between the natural sciences; its perspective on the location of phenomena makes it unique among the academic disciplines. The process of change is a fundamental theme in geography and the examination of how humankind modifies the Earth is a continual emphasis. The study of geography is thus of vital concern to all citizens and provides graduates with numerous career opportunities in business, education, and government.
The Geography program is designed to provide the student with a general education as well as a concentration in the major field of study. The faculty recommends that majors take several courses in disciplines closely related to their specific area of interest in geography. Those interested in physical geography might register for associated courses in physics, agricultural sciences, botany or other allied disciplines. If one is interested in human geography, course work in sociology, economics, history, political science or foreign language or some other social science might be considered. For technical geography, computer science and mathematics courses are recommended. Qualified students may also enhance their academic experience with participation in the Undergraduate Scholars Program.
- The Planning Emphasis stresses research techniques and is oriented toward future employment in governmental, industrial, military, or planning positions.
- The Environmental Planning and Management Emphasis is designed to prepare students for careers in governmental, industrial, managerial, recreational areas, and commercial corporations.
Student Learning Outcomes
Graduates with a major in Geography will:
- Demonstrate foundational and specialized knowledge in both the physical and human sciences and their interconnectedness at local, regional, and global scales. (Cross-curricular Skill: Information Literacy)
- Interpret the ethical consequences of global issues concerning the environment to strengthen commitment to local, national, and global citizenship. (Cross-curricular Skill: Ethical Reasoning)
- Demonstrate proficiency in the application of appropriate geographical technologies and techniques to address issues in the physical and/or human sciences.
- Communicate geographic ideas clearly and effectively (e.g., maps, writing, oral presentations, posters, photos, flowcharts, tables, graphs, and illustrations).
- Apply observations from laboratory and/or field experiences to analyze problems and offer solutions. (Cross-curricular Skill: Inquiry and Analysis; Problem Solving)
- Demonstrate the ability to collect, organize, analyze, and synthesize information about people, places, and environments in a spatial-temporal context. (Cross-curricular Skill: Information Literacy; Problem Solving)
- Explore complex local, regional, and global issues using a geographical perspective to formulate questions and draw informed conclusions that are based on critical scientific analysis and interpretation of information. (Cross-curricular Skill: Inquiry and Analysis)
Students must complete a minimum of 18 upper division credits in major courses and earn at least a “C” in each course used to meet the major requirements.
Course Delivery Format
Geography is not only a classroom subject but one that also includes laboratory research, fieldwork, and travel, as well as limited online coursework.