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The Geography Major and Minor Programs

Areas of Focus

Nature-Society/Global Environmental Studies

Clark is famous for its innovative work on environmental transformation. Climate change, food systems, suburban ecologies, animal geographies, natural resources and development, indigenous resistance to industrialization or privatization, natural hazards like Hurricane Katrina—these, and more, are topics of interest to students and faculty working in this area of study.

Clark takes a global view of environmental transformation, with a focus on local change and impact assessment. Students in this sub-field are especially encouraged to study abroad for one or two semesters.

As an undergraduate you can choose to major in Geography, with an emphasis in nature-society/GES, or you can major in Global Environmental Studies if you want to focus solely on the environment.

Globalization, Cities, and Development

Clark is an ideal place to study urban and economic geography. Key themes of study are global economic change; regulation, policy, and governance; urban zoning and legal geographies. Clark Geography is a key center for the development of Marxist and critical geography and as the location of the journal Economic Geography. The urban-economic faculty at Clark have diverse, complementary, intersecting interests that generate an exciting learning environment.

Earth System Science

This integrated science examines the ways in which the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere interact to produce global climate change, water availability, loss of biological diversity and other planetary dynamics of interest to people. Intensive field study, satellite remote sensing analysis, geographical information science and computer simulation are tools used for understanding, monitoring and predicting earth system behavior.

As an undergraduate you can choose to major in Geography with an emphasis in ESS, or you can elect to do ESS as a track of the Environmental Science major.

Geographic Information Science (GISci)

Clark is a world leader in the development of Geographic Information Science. While Clark offers a broad program of studies in GIS, it has special strengths in analytical development of geographic informations system (GIS) and image processing technology and the application areas of global environmental change, land use change modeling, environmental modeling, and risk analysis and vulnerability mapping. GIS software is in daily use in areas as diverse as urban systems management, regional planning, emergency response, epidemiology, landscape architecture, environmental planning, forestry, geology, ecology, park management and public health.

The School of Geography is one of the only degree-granting programs (shared with Clark's Marsh Institute/Clark Labs) to have its own commercially distributed geographic information system—the IDRISI GIS and Image Processing System. IDRISI, developed by Clark geography professor Ron Eastman, is the most widely distributed raster-based GIS software in the world with over 100,000 licensed users.

Students who like GISci and satisfy the requirements may go on to do a fifth-year master's degree with the fifth year of study free.

Photography © Chris Linder