Geography Department announces new degree programs for Fall 2015

Combined BS/MSGIS Degree Program

The Department of Geography is excited to announce that a new BS/MSGIS program has been approved! Students who are now in their Junior Year can apply to the program. By taking a specific set of courses in your Senior Year plus one additional year of coursework, you can complete both your Bachelors in Geography and Masters of Science in GIS concurrently. Our goal with this new program is to put students on a fast track towards careers in GIS.

If you are interested in this program, please make an advising appointment with MaryAnn Golightly ASAP.

 

Geography majors may now choose among eight (8) emphases to distinguish their degree

The Department also just established eight different emphasis areas for geography majors.  The intent is to provide our students with marketable specializations within the field of geography, and to give students a clear track to complete those specializations. Completion of an emphasis will have no impact on the number of credit hours required for the degree.  Students may continue to declare the general Geography degree and choose the coursework as previously, too.

Climate Change

Recent and future changes in the Earth’s climate represent one of the great challenges for modern society. Greenhouse gas-induced warming has critical environmental, societal, and economic impacts. Courses in this emphasis cover the components of the climate system from small to large scales, how climate changes over long and short time scales, and how the projected future climate will impact physical, natural and social systems. This emphasis is designed to provide the necessary context to critically analyze and discuss the issues facing students as they prepare for climate change during their lifetimes, as well as potential solutions.

Ecology & Biogeography

Ecology deals with the relationships of plants and animals with each other and their environment and Biogeography studies where plants and animals occur on the Earth, and what controls their distributions, including climate, disturbances and interactions between organisms. This emphasis explores how variations in these controls (past, present and future) affect where plants and animals can live, and their ability to move across space. Many courses include hands-on opportunities to learn how data in this field are collected and analyzed, providing students useful field and lab skills.

Geographic Information Science

This emphasis combines theories of how geographic information is used to represent real-world phenomena with methods for applying this information to 21st century social-environmental problems. Geotechnology is a rapidly advancing field that has been placed alongside biotech and nanotech as one of the fastest growing employment areas in the coming decades.

Geomorphology & Hydrology

This emphasis focuses on the evolution of landscapes and on the hydrologic cycle, especially in the context of climate variability. Landscapes are analyzed across a broad range of scales, from outcrops to images acquired from satellites or aircraft. Courses within this emphasis combine lab and fieldwork with classroom instruction.

Global Development, Population, & Sustainability

This emphasis focuses on using geographical perspectives to understand issues related to global development, population health and transitions, and the sustainability of human-environment systems. This emphasis would be especially valuable for students interested in working for public or private employers in areas related with population wellbeing, the environment, and globalization or who intend to pursue further study in population health, environment change, and globalization.

Hazards Resources, & Human Security

The focus of this emphasis is the uncertain future that rapidly growing populations face in areas with environmental hazards, diminishing resources, and political, socio-cultural, and economic conflict.  Geographic education in this area focuses on understanding the complex interactions, environmental variation, and dynamic processes that shape risk and associated extreme events (e.g. drought, flooding, war, terrorist acts) with the goal of improving disaster resilience through action in mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

Remote Sensing of the Environment

The focus of this emphasis is the uncertain future that rapidly growing populations face in areas with environmental hazards, diminishing resources, and political, socio-cultural, and economic conflict.  Geographic education in this area focuses on understanding the complex interactions, environmental variation, and dynamic processes that shape risk and associated extreme events (e.g. drought, flooding, war, terrorist acts) with the goal of improving disaster resilience through action in mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

Urban Systems, Location, & Resilience

This emphasis focuses on the spatial organization of human activities within cities as well as the connections between cities. Geographic education promotes the understanding of processes and forces that affect dynamic changes within urban areas, including economic development, industrial location, migration and urbanization, neighborhood change, and planning process, to help with human decision making, planning and policy to make cities livable and resilient.