Geographical Sciences

The world is changing at unprecedented rates, primarily as a result of human actions. Opportunities for increased well-being of humans and the environment abound. On the other hand competition for resources such as fresh water and oil is reaching crisis proportions. Pandemics of infectious diseases, extreme climate events droughts, hurricanes, floods, crime, and social unrest can precipitate disasters that decimate populations, destabilize governments, and may even cause armed conflict. The future of humanity depends on skillful management of our environment by planning the social, urban, suburban and rural settings where we work, live and play.  Expert care of the environment is needed to maintain supplies of food, natural products, water, and the other resources on which life depends. New insights into the social, economic and urban environment can help control poverty and crime.

Geographical Sciences concerns the relations between people and the natural world, the effects of ecosystems on human beings and vice versa, the choices people make, the effects of past actions on people today, and the effects of today’s choices on future generations.  For example, clearing tropical forests in response to human population growth is leading to loss of biodiversity and an increase of the Earth’s atmospheric greenhouse gases that contribute to climate warming and extreme climate events. Students and faculty in the Geographical Sciences Department study the human dimensions of global change in order to address the most pressing global issues of our time, including climate change, food security, loss of forests and biodiversity, the spread of diseases, poverty, inequality, and much more. Students earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Geographical Sciences will investigate the human dimensions of global change through synthesizing knowledge from geography sub-disciplines such as physical, human, and technical. Upon graduation students will understand physical geographic processes, the global distribution of landforms and ecosystems, and the role of the physical environment on human populations, as well as be able to explain how social and cultural systems develop in response to varying geographical, environmental, and historical circumstances. Program graduates will also be familiar with applications of geographic information science techniques and spatial analytics. Students specializing in Geography will be exposed to a diversity of coursework that will focus on human-environmental interactions.

Admission to the Program

If you are interested in joining the program, please schedule an appointment with a Geographical Sciences Advisor. For a full major curriculum sheet with specific course requirements, please see our Curriculum Guides & Advising Forms page.