Geography at UW-Platteville

Evan Larson in Classroom

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About the Geography Program

Geography is the study of the Earth: its physical processes, peoples, societies and cultures. Geography is a "big picture" discipline that serves as an important connection among the social, physical and mathematical sciences as well as humanities. It incorporates aspects of many other fields such as geology, history, biology and anthropology. Given this, geographers are ideally suited to address some of the world's most pressing problems such as addressing global climate change, assessing the impacts of social policies, mediating debates over land use and sustainable development and assessing the interactions between nature and society.

The geography program at UW-Platteville is housed within the social sciences department. We offer a major and minor in geography as well as a minor in environmental science.  Geography students explore the human and natural world through classroom, laboratory and field experiences, as well as through individual research, internship and attendance at professional meetings. They learn to use the latest software and work with physical and cultural databases. The geography student is creative, enjoys challenges, can learn through observation and research and enjoys the satisfaction of improving global conditions.

A major in geography offers broad training in physical and human environments, on the major world regions, nature and society interactions, and geographic techniques. Upon graduation, geographers have diverse knowledge applicable to a wide range of careers. The largest employers of geographers with bachelor's degrees are federal, state and local governmental agencies as well as educational systems. Geography offers important skills for careers in planning, market analysis, economic development, travel-tourism, teaching, criminal justice, agriculture, environmental studies, natural resource management, international affairs, spatial data analysis, cartography and geographic information systems.

Why Study Geography at UW-Platteville?

The geography major at UW-Platteville offers the students stimulating and unique advantages:

  • A well-qualified faculty with a strong reputation for excellence in teaching and research.
  • A strong advisory system. Geography majors are assigned to a faculty mentor who serves as an academic and career counselor for the duration of the student's enrollment at UW-Platteville. We foster a close, informal relationship with our students whose chief purpose is to help the student succeed.
  • A unique area for geographical studies. The southwest Wisconsin region has a variety of natural and human environmental characteristics: glaciated and non-glaciated landforms, a wide range of soil and vegetation types, seasonal variety of weather, lead and zinc mining, the Mississippi River, light and heavy industry, a broad range of agricultural activities, and numerous hamlets, towns, and cities.
  • A department which is well-equipped to train students in geography. We maintain a state-of-the-art computer lab which enriches our teaching in GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and physical geography courses and is also used for student research projects and projects required by other geography courses. In addition we have well-equipped geomorphology and dendroecology labs that employ students through externally funded research grants.
  • A department which is field oriented. Almost all of our classes include some field experience and we conduct multi-week field trips during the summer and winter breaks. Current faculty have led field excursions to Oregon, Ireland, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Mexico, Guatemala, Canada, and Japan.
  • A Geography Club that provides field trips, speakers, and social activities outside of the classroom.


The Bheru Lal-Lilawati Sukhwal Scholarship is awarded annually to a sophomore, junior, or senior majoring in geography with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The Luther and Irma Zellmer Memorial Scholarship is presented annually to a student pursuing a geography major or geology minor who has demonstrated professional maturity and commitment as well as good academic standing. Geography majors and minors are also eligible for a variety of university-wide scholarships as well as scholarships offered through the College of Liberal Arts and Education.

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