2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog


P. Zimmermann, Chairperson


Geography as a science is distinguished by the spatial approach to understanding the mechanisms of the world’s physical and human environments and the linkages between them. Human geography is specifically concerned with the spatial aspects of human activities, while physical geography examines the spatial processes explaining the Earth’s physical environment. Both human and physical geographers develop skills in cartography, geographic information systems (GIS), and remote sensing. To meet society’s needs for greater geographic and geospatial understanding in the twenty-first century, the Department of Geography offers bachelor’s degrees (BA/BS) in Geography (with four distinct concentrations) as well as a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology and Climatology.  All programs prepare students for employment as well as graduate study.

  • Concentration 1. Human Geography. This concentration is designed for students interested in the human dimensions of geography. Whether from a social science or humanities perspective, students apply interests in urbanization, religion, language, population, economics, ethnicity, and politics in a spatial context that includes local, regional, and global scales. Students are also able to minor in Concentration 1. While some Concentration 1 students continue their studies at the graduate level, there also exist employment opportunities in government agencies as well as the private sector.
  • Concentration 2. Travel and tourism. This concentration provides students the geographical knowledge, the analytical skills, and the practical experience that are beneficial for successful careers in the travel/tourism industry. The sequence of specialized courses addresses the spatial, organizational, social, and economic aspects of sustainable tourism development, as well as the interaction between tourists and destinations. The program’s graduates are in demand in varied travel industry fields including retail travel, tour operations, meetings and conventions, transportation and hospitality companies, along with governmental, corporate, and community organizations involved in travel/tourism promotion and development.
  • Concentration 3. GIScience. This concentration is a technical specialization for students interested in solving social and environmental problems through advanced spatial information technology. Students learn how to visualize information in ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends by using computer software for cartography, remote sensing, and GIS. Cartography is the art and science of making maps; remote sensing provides a means to capture visual and digital information about the earth through airborne cameras and advanced electronic spaceborne sensors; a geographic information system is a set of computer tools for analyzing spatial data. Geographic information processing and mapping systems are used by many public and private organizations worldwide, and students graduating with these technical skills are in great demand.
  • Concentration 4. Meteorological Studies. This concentration is intended for students with interests in weather and climate who seek positions in which knowledge of meteorology and climatology is ancillary to satisfying primary task objectives.  Students completing degrees in this concentration find employment in a variety of enterprises, including emergency management, environmental analysis, and transportation planning.

Degrees in Meteorology and Climatology
The major in Meteorology and Climatology appeals to students with primary interests in weather forecasting and/or atmospheric research. This major meets American Meteorological Society (AMS) qualifications for the title “meteorologist,” and Federal Civil Service requirements (GS 1340) for employment by the National Weather Service (NWS). Both students with broadcast meteorology aspirations and those pursuing public or private sector meteorology careers benefit from the systematic investigations of earth-atmosphere system and subsystem dynamics and to train you in the use of technology (satellites, radar, automated weather observations, and numerical weather prediction) to analyze these systems on a variety of spatial and temporal scales. The department offers a number of opportunities for students, including participation in the Cardinal Weather Service and optional coursework in Broadcast Meteorology.

The department also offers minors in geography, GIScience, meteorology and climatology, and travel and tourism.