Majoring in Geography
Requirements for the B.A. in Geography
The B.A. in Geography degree requires 24 credits in 2000-level or above geography courses and 12 credits of related course work taken in other departments. Geography B.A. majors complete a basic core of courses before beginning advanced work in their special areas of interest.
B.A. majors complete a basic core of three courses:
B.A. majors must take 15 additional credits, including at least one “W” course in geography in consultation with their departmental advisor.
Each student, in conjunction with a departmental advisor, has the flexibility to tailor a program to his or her individual objectives. However, three sequences of courses are recommended to complete the other 12 credits required in Geography. These sequences or tracks are only suggestions for major programs based on common patterns elected by previous students and on the specializations of our faculty. Suggested tracks are:
An internship program provides seniors an opportunity to apply their geographic training in state and local government and in private industry and may be included as part of any qualified undergraduate's major program.
Students interested in the "skills" track within the major might also wish to take GEOG 3510C (Cartographic Techniques) during their first semester.
Depending on their interests, students may also wish to consider electing an internship as part of their program for one of these semesters.
This course of study is designed to provide an in-depth analysis of the Earth’s changing physical environment, which emphasizes climate system science, and the interaction of humans with natural systems. Building on the basic course in physical geography, courses continue the study of the climate system at spatial scales from global to local and at time scales from the distant past to the next 100 years (Geography 3400, Geography 4300). The relationship between the changing physical environment and forward- looking adaptive management is important to this course of study (Geography 3410, Geography 3320W). For thorough preparation for careers that deal with physical and environmental systems, a variety of related courses are available to suit the interests of the student, including (but not limited to) environmental economics, environmental law, meteorology, hydrology, geomorphology, ecology, and resource management. An internship with a state or regional environmental or planning agency can provide valuable experience. This sequence prepares students for careers in environmental planning, and resource management. It is also very useful for students planning to attend graduate school in geography, planning, business administration, and law.
Below are suggested course offerings for students interested in the Geography Climate Environment and Society track. Details of a plan of study should be discussed with the faculty advisor.
This course of study focuses on the methods and techniques for the acquisition, storage, manipulation and display and analysis of geographic information. Fully-equipped labs for PC-based instruction provide ready access to the necessary tools for spatial analysis. Within the field of GIS, there are three main foci of study beyond the basic principles – 1) proper understanding of the statistical analysis of geographic data (GEOG 3500), 2) proper methods for the visualization of geographic data (GEOG 2510, GEOG 3500), and 3) proper use of GIS in a normative decision-making environment (GEOG 3110, GEOG 4510). By taking this track, including technical courses with a spatial focus in other departments as related courses, students can effectively prepare themselves for technical careers in spatial analysis in the federal government (e.g., Defense Mapping Agency, National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration), and private firms. The required courses in this track are progressive or linear and must be taken in sequence. It is essential students elect GEOG 3500Q no later than Spring Semester of their junior year as it is the foundation for both GEOG 4500C and GEOG 4510C.
This sequence of courses equips students with theories and skills necessary to analyze how economies and populations of regions function and change. Primary courses in the track focus on specific aspects of regional economies and associated policies, socioeconomic development and transportation systems. Selected courses also develop students' understanding of how the economic, cultural and physical environments interact in particular regions. In addition to careers in public and private agencies involved in regional planning and economic development, many firms hire geographers with this background to do locational decision-making.
Courses in this sequence focus on the geographic theories and concepts that help us understand spatial patterns of land use and human activity, especially in large and small urban settings. These courses introduce the importance of social and demographic issues for understanding spatial behavior and spatial distributions. If a career in city, town, or even regional planning or consulting is anticipated, this sequence should include an internship to provide critical experience. This sequence also prepares students for careers in market analysis and location analysis.