Q: What courses should I take to see if I’m really interested in geography?
A good place to start is one of several 00- and 100-level courses in geography that have been designated as core courses in Geography that have been designated as core courses. Geography majors take four of these core courses which are designed to highlight core geographic concepts and ways of creating knowledge that will help build a framework for understanding the world as a geographer. Core courses must be selected from one of the following core areas of geographic knowledge:
  1. Human Environment (Nature and Society): Analyzes the ways that human societies have used, shaped and constructed nature; impacts of societies, economics and cultures on ecological systems; and societal and environmental consequences of the interaction. (Also referred to as Nature Society.) Examples of research and practice: environmental policy and practice, food systems, agriculture, small animal geographies, international development, natural resource extraction, water resource management, socio-environmental movements and conflicts, sustainability, land use, vulnerability, environmental change, resilience, hazards, and more.
  2. Urban Economic (Globalization, Cities and Development): Examines the ways that space and location shape economic, sociopolitical and cultural life; ways that economic, sociopolitical and cultural factors shape space and location and relationships between these processes and the dynamics of urban life. (Also referred to as Globalization, Cities and Development.) Examples of research and practice: socio-spatial dynamics of cities, economies, and industries, theories and discourses of economic development, innovation and entrepreneurship, social movements, legal geographies,  place-making processes, critical social theory, urban politics, globalization, sustainability, political ecology, and more.
  3. Earth System Science: Examines how earth system (ecosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere) naturally function, how these systems interact with one another, and how they are affected by human activities. Examples of research and practice: terrestrial ecosystems, global change, surface water, cold-region hydrology, terrestrial and marine biogeochemistry, polar climate change, forest ecology, glaciology, landscape and disturbance ecology, and more.
  4. Geographic Information Science: Examines the acquisition, analysis and communication of geographic information; principles and techniques important in cartography, remote sensing, geographic information systems, and spatial analysis. Examples of research and practice: conservation GIS, land change modeling, image time series analysis, image classification, decision support, system development, remote sensing of the cryosphere, remote sensing of forest ecosystems, and more.
Click here to see Geography course availability.
Q: What courses should I avoid in my first year?
Students should avoid taking any 200 level courses in the department until they have taken the introductory courses and/or GEOG 141: Research Design and Methods in Geography (a required course for all Geography majors).
Q: What should I do if I think I might want to major in geography?
Visit our website and review our Program Guide to learn about the major requirements and courses that satisfy each component.
Q: How do I get an advisor in geography?
All Geography majors are required to have a faculty advisor in the department. If you do not already have a specific faculty in mind, you should contact the Program Administrator, Rachel Levitt, who will help determine a strong student-faculty advisor pairing based on your interest within the major. The Program Administrator can also assist with the major declaration process and add you to the necessary email lists and Moodle pages.
Q: Who can I contact this summer for more information?
For questions about the Geography major or the Global Environmental Studies major, contact Rachel Levitt, the Program Administrator


Revised: 3/2017