Majoring in Geography

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Wisconsin in 1838

Majoring in Geography

The Department of Geography offers B.S. and B.A. degrees in Geography. Majors have the options of pursuing a broad, comprehensive program of study or emphasizing in a particular field within the discipline, including Human Geography, Physical Geography, or Geographic Techniques. If you are considering becoming a Geography Major, please take some time to browse the Department website to see how your interests fit within the expansive field of Geography. Once you have done that, you are ready to declare a major in Geography.

Declaring a Major in Geography

Students wishing to declare a Geography Major must prepare a formal document that will serve as the foundation of their degree and direction within the program that includes:

  • A Statement of Purpose that explains why the student wants to become a geography major, including a definition of geography as understood by the student at the time of application. This can be a 1-2 page written document, audio or visual file, or illustration that the student feels effectively captures their understanding and perspective of geography;
  • A Plan of Study that indicates the degree the student wishes to pursue (B.S. or B.A.), the courses in which the student plans to enroll to satisfy the major requirements, and what extracurricular and club activities in which the student plans to participate to round out their degree.

This document must be submitted by email to the geography faculty member who will be serving as advisor to the student and will serve as the starting point for advising. Please review the Department of Geography website and course catalog to guide the development of your Statement of Application. The process of preparing this document is meant to encourage thoughtful engagement with higher education in order to make the college experience as enriching and powerful as possible. Be sure to reach out to the current Geography faculty and students if you have questions about this process. Once a major is declared, the follow requirements apply:

Geography Major Requirements (37-43 credits)

Required Core Courses (six classes/19 credits):

  • One regional geography course* 3 cr
  • One human geography course* 3 cr
  • One physical geography course* 4 cr
  • One environmental geography course* 3 cr
  • One geographic techniques course* 3 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 4030 Geography Seminar 3 cr

*Students may fulfill these requirements using any course in the appropriate focus area so long as they meet any applicable prerequisites or have permission from the instructor.

Additional geography courses in any area of focus (six classes/18-24 credits):

Physical Geography Focus

  • GEOGRPHY 1040 Planet Earth 4 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 1140 Global Landforms 4 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 1240 Weather and Climate 4 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 1370 Global Vegetation 4 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 3340 Biogeography 4 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 3550 Process Geomorphology 4 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 4840 Soil Geomorphology 4 cr

Human Geography Focus

  • GEOGRPHY 1050 Introduction to Human Geography 3 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 1230 Survey of Cultural Geography 3 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 3030 Economic Geography 3 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 3170 Space, Place, and Gender 3 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 4230 Political Geography 3 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 4350 Gender Relations in Cross-Cultural Perspective 3 cr

Nature and Society Focus

  • GEOGRPHY 3330 Environmental Conservation 3 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 3850 Geography of the National Parks 3 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 4150 Climate Change 3 cr

Geographic Techniques Focus

  • GEOGRPHY 2230 GIS: Thematic Mapping 4 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 3230 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems 4 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 3520 Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry3 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 3720 GIS: Digital Image Analysis 3 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 4330 Advanced GIS & GPS 4 cr

Regional Focus

  • GEOGRPHY 1330 World Regional Geography 3 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 3130 Geography of the United States and Canada3 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 3350 Geography and Development of the Middle East3 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 3430 Geography of Africa 3 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 3530 Topics in Regional Geography 2-3 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 3630 Geography of Latin America 3 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 3730 Geography of Europe 3 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 3930 Geography of Asia 3 cr

Field Experiences Focus

  • GEOGRPHY 2250 Tropical Marine Ecosystems 3 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 3120 Geography of Wisconsin 3 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 3750 Field Geography of the Western United States1-4 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 3960 Geography of Japan 6 cr
  • GEOGRPHY 4760 Geography Field Study 1-8 cr

Electives (only six credits count toward major):

  • AGSCI 2230 Soils 4 cr
  • AGSCI   3330  Soil Morphology and Classification   3 cr
  • BIOLOGY 2420 Fundamentals of Biological Investigations 2 cr
  • ENGLISH 3000 Technical Writing 3 cr

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