Department Educational Mission

The educational mission of the Department of Geography is to provide students with the knowledge, critical thinking skills, and techniques required to understand the complex and global interdependencies between people, places and environments. Through classroom instruction, Geographic Information Science (GIS) training, fieldwork, community involvement, and internships, our students learn to appreciate the spatial processes and relationships that affect contemporary society and the earth’s physical environment. As an interdisciplinary department, geography students draw from theories and practices in both the physical and social sciences. In the physical sciences, they study the processes and resulting features of the earth, such as vegetation, climate, hydrology, soils and landforms. In the social sciences, geography students explore topics such as water and land use patterns, urbanization, migration, resource and energy use, environmental conservation and sustainability, globalization, development and social justice. Students can also specialize in GIS to learn frameworks, methods, and techniques for exploring and analyzing information about patterns and dynamics of physical and human phenomena. Through their studies, students develop abilities to conduct research, assess and analyze evidence, and communicate clearly. They also learn to apply knowledge and develop solutions to real world problems. These competencies prepare our students to pursue successful careers in a wide range of fields including: environmental and urban planning; spatial information analysis; GIS; natural resource conservation; energy development; water resources management; and education, among many other fields.