The Department of Geography offers bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs of study across a range of systematic, regional, and technical fields, with innovative energy in the doctoral program for studying urban environments. The department’s overall strengths are aligned along a theme of “Changing Environments”, with three major axes, each responsive to areas with strong demand for new professionals:

  • Urban Environments: This area emphasizes the spatial interactions of economic systems as well as political, social, cultural, environmental, technological, and other forces that influence the people, identities, landscape, development, and dynamics of urban areas. With the world’s population becoming increasingly urbanized and globalized, courses examine the continuing challenges of urban growth and change, race, ethnicity, and gender in the city, immigration and identity politics, and spatial aspects of urban planning processes and political decision-making.
  • Physical Geography and Environmental Studies: This area addresses the interactions among natural forms and processes on the earth’s surface, the impact and implications of global climate change, and human connections with those natural phenomena. Courses discuss and analyze the distribution and processes of earth surface landforms (geomorphology), soils (pedology), plants and animals (biogeography), water (hydrology), and long-term atmospheric conditions (climatology). Overlapping emphases include phenology, water resources, conservation, natural hazards, natural resource scarcity, and the mounting challenges of global environmental change.
  • Geographic Information Science (GIS): This area emphasizes using geospatial technology to further understanding of spatial interactions among natural and social forces at multiple scales across the Earth’s surface, and exploring the impacts of using such technology on social and cultural interactions. Courses examine geographic information collection (including remote sensing), data analysis and geocomputation (spatial analysis), information presentation (cartography), and societal implications. Our program emphasizes applications of GIS in urban, regional, and environmental planning, policy making, and public health.

Geography faculty also participate in the graduate certificate program in Geographic Information Systems, which is jointly offered by the College of Letters and Science and the School of Architecture and Urban Planning.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Alison Donnelly
Graduate Program Chair
Bolton Hall, Room 426