In high school, your Geography class probably focused on maps and locations. But, the field is so much broader than that. Geography bridges the physical and human world, using scientific methods to explain and predict people's impact on the planet and the planet's impact on people.

UWM's Geography students graduate with an exceptional ability to intellectually and technologically process spatial data about space, place, and people and how they relate to each other. They understand how to make sense of seemingly unrelated pieces of information by bringing together facts and diverse values. They also are adept at presenting information visually - for example, maps!

Some examples of research topics being tackled by today's geographers include climate change, population shifts, land use patterns, and animal migration. These are all examples of how geographers focus on human's relationship with man-made and natural environments.

Geographic Information Science (GIS) is a growing specialty within geography. GIS is a technology-based system for capturing, storing, and checking different types of data in relation to its position on Earth. It is a tool that enhances decision-making in both the private and public sector. For example, a rural town in the Rocky Mountains may use GIS data to determine where and when to place fire stations and personnel based on the patterns of forest fires and permanent and tourist populations. A corporation may use GIS to plan the location and layout of a new store based on shopping and traffic patterns.

At UWM, students can focus on GIS within the major, or choose another specialty track: urban geography with a focus on cities; environmental geography for those interested in natural resources; or physical systems with an emphasis on the natural features of earth such as climate, soil, and plants. Or, students can take the broad major and explore a little bit of each of these areas.

Download the fact sheet to the right to learn more about the courses and career opportunities for geography majors.