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
  • GEOGRAPHY 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

  • GEOGRAPHY 1040 Planet Earth  4cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 1140 Global Landforms  4cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 1240 Weather and Climate  4cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 1370 Global Vegetation  4cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 3340 Biogeography  4cr

Human Geography Focus

  • GEOGRAPHY 1050 Introduction to Human Geography 3cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 1230 Survey of Cultural Geography 3cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 3170 Space, Place, and Gender 3cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 4350 Gender Relations in Cross-Cultural Perspective 3cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 4530 Historical Geography of the United States 3cr

Environmental Focus

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

Geographic Techniques Focus

  • GEOGRAPHY 2230 Cartography  3cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 3230 Introduction to GIS 3cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 3520 Remote Sensing of the Environment 3cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 3720 Advanced Remote Sensing 3cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 4330 Advanced GIS 3cr

Regional Focus

  • GEOGRAPHY 1330 World Regional Geography 3cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 3130 Geography of the United States & Canada 3cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 3530 Topics in Regional Geography 2–3cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 3630 Geography of Latin America 3cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 3730 Geography of Europe 3cr

Field Experiences/Focus

  • GEOGRAPHY 3120 Geography of Wisconsin 3cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 3750 Field Geography of the Western US 1–4cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 3930 Geography of Asia 3cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 3950 Guided Research 1–3cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 3960 Geography of Japan 1–6cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 4660 Cooperative Field Experience 1-3cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 4760 Geography Field Study 1–3cr
  • GEOGRAPHY 4920 Independent Study in Geography 1-3cr

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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