Geography

http://geography.wvu.edu/home

Degrees Offered

  • Bachelor of Arts  

Nature of Program

Geography is the science that studies the people, lands, and phenomena of Earth in a spatial context.  The undergraduate major in geography provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to explore and analyze the variation in human activities, physical and biological processes and landforms that exist among places, regions, and countries.  This knowledge allows geographers, for example, to explain why some places are more or less developed than others, to suggest ways in which development can be planned, and to examine the relationship between the natural environment and human activities.

Geography students receive specialized training in one of the program’s three areas of emphasis:

  • geographic information science (GISc)
  • globalization and development
  • global environmental change

An individualized program of study is also available combining elements of the three options.  Geography graduates are qualified for many careers in both the private and public sectors.  In industry, geographers are hired as geographic information system analysts, business location researchers, environmental impact consultants, market analysts, and cartographers.  In government, geographers work as local urban planners, regional and state economic development specialists, environmental and resource development analysts, land-use planners, international development agency advisors, teachers and trainers, researchers, cartographers, as well as geographic information system analysts.  Some graduates may also use their training to pursue careers as environmental or community activists in non-profit organizations.  Finally, many geography students go on to graduate school to obtain further training, most commonly in geography or planning but also in fields as diverse as law, information science, and environmental studies.

Students who earn a degree in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences must complete the University requirements, the College requirements for their specific degree program, and their major requirements.

Minors

All students have the possibility of earning one or more minors; follow the link for a list of all available minors and their requirements. Please note that students may not earn a minor in their major field.

Certificate of Global Engagement

Students in the Eberly College, regardless of their major, can earn a Certificate of Global Engagement. Completion of the Certificate demonstrates the student’s knowledge of diverse cultures, as well as the ability to communicate and interact effectively with people of different cultural backgrounds.  Students will be required to apply their knowledge of contemporary issues and global social contexts to their course work and their broader citizenship.  For details regarding Certificate requirements, please visit the Eberly College page.

Internship

An internship is a field-based academic option that uses the workplace as an extended classroom/laboratory.  As part of the internship, students usually spend summer months or a semester working at a public agency, private business, or non-profit organization where they are supervised by experts in such areas as GIS, planning, the physical environment, international affairs, or economic development.  The professional learning experience is recommended for majors in geography with at least forty-five total credit hours and twelve credit hours in geography.  See the geography internship advisor for additional information.

Honors Program

Qualified students in geography are encouraged to participate in the University’s honors program.  Geography honors students in their senior year are encouraged to take Honors Thesis.

Admission

Incoming Freshmen are admitted directly into the Geography major.  Students coming from University College or another unit must be in good standing (2.00 GPA).

Benchmark Expectations

Geography majors are expected to maintain 2.0 GPA overall and in geography courses. 2.0 GPA in the discipline is required for graduation. All majors must meet with Geography adviser each semester. Students who do not meet these benchmarks may be removed from their major.

General Education Curriculum

Please use this link to view a list of courses that meet each GEC requirement.

NOTE: Some major requirements will fulfill specific GEC requirements. Please see the curriculum requirements listed below for details on which GECs you will need to select.

General Education Curriculum
ENGL 101
  & ENGL 102
Composition and Rhetoric
   and Composition and Rhetoric
3-6
or ENGL 103 Accelerated Academic Writing
GEC 2A - Mathematics3-4
GEC 2B - Natural and Physical Science7-8
GEC 2C - Additional GEC 2A, B or C3
GEC 3 - The Past and Its Traditions3
GEC 4 - Issues of Contemporary Society3
GEC 5 - Artistic Expression3
GEC 6 - The Individual in Society3
GEC 6F - First Year Seminar1-3
GEC 7 - American Culture3
GEC 8 - Western Culture3
GEC 9 - Non-Western Culture3
Total Hours38-45

Degree Requirements

Students must complete WVU General Education Curriculum requirements, College B.A. requirements, major requirements, and electives to total a minimum of 120 hours.F or complete details on these requirements, visit the B.A. Degrees tab on the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences page

Departmental Requirements for the B.A. in Geography

Students wishing to complete the Geography major must complete a minimum of 33 credits in GEOG; if students exceed 42 credits in GEOG please see the B.A. requirement tab on the college page.

  • Calculation of Major GPA: Students must have a 2.0 in all GEOG courses, including GEOL courses cross-listed as GEOG. If a course is repeated, all attempts will be included in the calculation of the GPA unless the course is eligible for a D/F repeat. 
  • Concentration: In addition to the basic Geography major, students need to select one of two options:
  1. Individualized major: please select nine hours of Geography electives, with the approval of their adviser.
  2. Area of Emphasis (12 credits): Geography Information Science; Global Environmental Change; Globalization and Development.
  • Writing Course Requirement: The General Education Curriculum requires the successful completion of a writing course ("W"), preferably in the major.  Geography majors are encouraged to take GEOG 302, GEOG 412, GEOG 415, GEOG 454, GEOG 455, or GEOG 463.
     
  • Capstone Requirement: The General Education Curriculum requires the successful completion of a Capstone course.  For Geography majors, GEOG 496 completes this requirement.
     
  • Benchmark expectations: For details, go to the Geography admissions tab.

Curriculum Requirements

University Requirements31
First Year Seminar
GEC requirements: number of credits may vary upon overlap with major
Writing Course
COLLEGE REQUIREMENTS12
Foreign Language
DEPARTMENTAL REQUIREMENTS
Foundation Courses15
Orientation to Geography
World Regions
Physical Geography
   and Physical Geography Laboratory
Human Geography
Digital Earth
   and Digital Earth Lab
Thematic/Regional Requirement3
Select one of the following:
Natural Resources
Climate and Environment
Economic Geography
Urban Geography
United States and Canada
Geography of Europe
Geography of Africa
Geography of the Middle East
Political Geography
Biogeography: Theory and Method
Methods and Applications3
Select one of the following:
Geographical Data Analysis
Geographic Information Systems and Science
Geographic Information Science: Applications
Environmental Geographic Information Systems
Introduction to Remote Sensing
Digital Cartography
Concentration9
Individualized major: choose any combination of three GEOG courses
or:
Select an Area of Emphasis
Capstone Course3
Senior Thesis
General electives44
Number of electives may vary depending on GEC overlap and concentration
Total Hours120

Suggested Plan of Study

First Year
FallHoursSpringHours
WVUE 1911ENGL 1013
GEC 2A 3GEOG 102 (GEC 9)3
GEOG 149 (GEC 2B)1Foreign Language 1023
GEOG 150 (GEC 2B)3GEOG 1083
GEOG 1061GEOG 1991,2
GEOG 107 (GEC 4)3General Elective2
Foreign Language 1013 
 15 15-16
Second Year
FallHoursSpringHours
ENGL 1023GEC 2B3
GEC 2C3GEC 53
GEC 33GEC 63
Foreign Language 2033Foreign Language 2043
GEOG Methods3GEOG Concentration 1 3
 15 15
Third Year
FallHoursSpringHours
GEC 73GEOG Concentration 3 3
GEC 83General Elective3
Thematic/Regional Requirement3General Elective3
GEOG Concentration 2 3General Elective3
General Elective3General Elective3
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallHoursSpringHours
General Elective3GEOG 496 (Capstone & Writing)3
General Elective3General Elective3
General Elective3General Elective3
General Elective3General Elective3
General Elective3General Elective3
 15 15
Total credit hours: 120-121

Areas of Emphasis

Geographic Information Science (GISc) Area of Emphasis REquirements

A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in all emphasis courses
Required Courses:7
Geographic Information Systems and Science
Introduction to Remote Sensing
Electives6
Select two courses
Geographical Data Analysis
Geographic Information Science: Applications
Geographic Information Science: Design and Implementation
Environmental Geographic Information Systems
Digital Cartography
Crime Geography
Total Hours13

Global Environmental Change Area of Emphasis Requirements

A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in all emphasis courses
Required Course3
Climate and Environment
Elective Courses :9
Environmental Geoscience
   and Environmental Geoscience Laboratory
Natural Resources
Geographical Data Analysis
Biogeography: Theory and Method
Geomorphology
Environmental Field Geography
Rural and Regional Development
Global Environmental Change
Environmental Geographic Information Systems
Introduction to Remote Sensing
Professional Field Experience
Total Hours12

Globalization and Development Area of Emphasis Requirements

A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in all emphasis courses
200-Level Coursework:6
Economic Geography
Urban Geography
Geography of Europe
Geography of Africa
Geography of the Middle East
Upper-Division Electives:6
Political Geography
Special Topics
Rural and Regional Development
Geography of Gender
Urban and Regional Planning
African Environment and Development
Total Hours12

Urban and Regional Planning Area of Emphasis Requirements

A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in all emphasis courses
Required Courses:6
Urban Geography
Urban and Regional Planning
Elective courses :6
Economic Geography
United States and Canada
Geography of Europe
Geography of Africa
Geography of the Middle East
Geographic Information Systems and Science
Rural and Regional Development
Geography of Gender
African Environment and Development
Professional Field Experience
Total Hours12

Geography

Minor Code - U012

Students must achieve a a GPA of at least 2.0 in courses taken for the geography minor.

CORE COURSES:6
Choose two from the following
World Regions
Physical Geography
   and Physical Geography Laboratory
and:
Human Geography
GEOGRAPHY ELECTIVES:9
Select 9 additional hours at 300- or 400-level with no more than 3 hours of GEOG 491 or GEOG 492
Total Hours15

Geography: Environmental Change

Minor Code - U122

Students must achieve a a GPA of at least 2.0 in courses taken for the geography minor.

CORE COURSES:7
Physical Geography
   and Physical Geography Laboratory
Select one of the following:
World Regions
Human Geography
Natural Resources
Climate and Environment
GEOGRAPHY ELECTIVES:9
Select three courses:
Biogeography: Theory and Method
Global Issues
Geomorphology
Environmental Field Geography
Global Environmental Change
Environmental Geographic Information Systems
Introduction to Remote Sensing
Total Hours16

Geography: Geographic Information Science (GIS)

Minor Code - u120

Students must achieve a a GPA of at least 2.0 in courses taken for the geography minor.

CORE COURSES:7
Digital Earth
   and Digital Earth Lab
Choose one of the following
World Regions
Physical Geography
   and Physical Geography Laboratory
Human Geography
GEOGRAPHY ELECTIVES:9
Select three classes:
Geographical Data Analysis
Geographic Information Systems and Science
Geographic Information Science: Applications
Geographic Information Science: Design and Implementation
Environmental Geographic Information Systems
Introduction to Remote Sensing
Digital Cartography
Crime Geography
Total Hours16

Geography: Globalization 

Minor Code - U121

Students must achieve a a GPA of at least 2.0 in courses taken for the geography minor.

Core Courses: 6
Choose two from the following
World Regions
Physical Geography
Human Geography
Economic Geography
Urban Geography
Geography of Europe
Geography of Africa
Geography of the Middle East
Geography Electives: 9
Choose three from the following:
Political Geography
Global Issues
Rural and Regional Development
Geography of Gender
Urban and Regional Planning
African Environment and Development
Total Hours15

Courses

GEOG 102. World Regions. 3 Hours.

Comparison and relationships of world regions. Geographical perspectives of contemporary global problems. Developing regions contrasted with modernized regions and the consequences of their interactions.

GEOG 106. Physical Geography Laboratory. 1 Hour.

PR or CONC: GEOG 107.

GEOG 107. Physical Geography. 3 Hours.

Introduction to global environmental systems operating on the earth's surface, emphasizing weather and climate, soils, natural vegetation, and geomorphology, and examination of human interaction with these natural processes.

GEOG 108. Human Geography. 3 Hours.

Introduction to geographical dimension in human behavior and the human altered landscape including social, demographic, economic, and political attributes of societies.

GEOG 110. Environmental Geoscience. 3 Hours.

Physical aspects of the earth with emphasis on natural resources, environmental degradation and hazards. Registration in GEOG 111 meets requirements for a 4-hr. credit in laboratory science. (Also listed as GEOL 110.) (Students may not receive credit for GEOG 110 and GEOL 101 or GEOL 110.).

GEOG 111. Environmental Geoscience Laboratory. 1 Hour.

PR or Conc: GEOG 110. (Also listed as GEOL 111.) (Students not receive credit for GEOG 111 and GEOL 102 or GEOL 111.).

GEOG 149. Digital Earth Lab. 1 Hour.

Introduction to geographic information systems software using basic principles of mapping and analysis of geographic information.

GEOG 150. Digital Earth. 3 Hours.

PR or CONC: GEOG 149. Recent advances in technology and data availability have increased our knowledge about the world. This class surveys key concepts of geospatial technologies (GIS, remote sensing, spatial analysis) in the context of social and environmental change.

GEOG 199. Orientation to Geography. 1,2 Hour.

For majors, pre-majors, and potential majors; discussion of the discipline, curriculum requirements, areas of specialization, internships and career opportunities. (1 hr. lec., pass/fail only.).

GEOG 205. Natural Resources. 3 Hours.

Introduces the concept of natural resources and surveys such topics as land, soil, rangeland, forests, water, atmosphere, minerals, and energy. Emphasis is on the United States within the context of the global environment.

GEOG 207. Climate and Environment. 3 Hours.

Examination of atmospheric processes and the impact of human activity on climate.

GEOG 209. Economic Geography. 3 Hours.

PR: GEOG 108. Examination of the world economy particularly the spatial patterns of agriculture, manufacturing and services.

GEOG 210. Urban Geography. 3 Hours.

PR: GEOG 101 or GEOG 102 or GEOG 108. Introduction to the geography of the city incorporating consideration of urban systems and city-region linkages, patterns and processes of urban land use, the social geography of the city, and contemporary urban problems.

GEOG 215. Population Geography. 3 Hours.

PR: GEOG 107. Study of the geographic distribution of population and population characteristics including density, age, fertility, mortality, and settlement patterns. Problems of migration and population/resource issues are also covered, with an emphasis on developing countries.

GEOG 240. United States and Canada. 3 Hours.

Regional study of the United States and Canada emphasizing such geographic features as climate, natural vegetation, topography, natural resources, population distribution and trends, agriculture, manufacturing, transportation systems, and regional culture.

GEOG 241. Geography of Europe. 3 Hours.

PR: GEOG 108. Study of contemporary human and physical geography of Europe. Insight to political, economic and social dimensions of transition in this region.

GEOG 243. Geography of Africa. 3 Hours.

Systematic and regional characteristics and geographic problems of political, social, and economic development.

GEOG 244. Geography of the Middle East. 3 Hours.

This course is designed to provide students with a detailed understanding and ability to analyze the geography of the Middle East (including North Africa). Special topics on current geographical issues will also be covered.

GEOG 293A-Z. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

GEOG 298. Honors. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Students in Honors Program and consent from the honors director. Independent reading, study, or research.

GEOG 300. Geographical Data Analysis. 3 Hours.

Quantitative techniques for collection, classification, and spatial analysis of geographical data with emphasis on map analysis and application of spatial statistics.

GEOG 302. Political Geography. 3 Hours.

Examines the interrelationship between politics and the environment, human territoriality, the political organization of space, geopolitical aspects of the nation-state and international problems.

GEOG 307. Biogeography: Theory and Method. 3 Hours.

PR: GEOG 107. An introduction to the field of biogeography including the study of the distribution and diversity of life, how species migrate, the importance of natural and human disturbances in ecosystems.

GEOG 310. Global Issues. 3 Hours.

PR: GEOG 102 or GEOG 108. Themes of spatial equity and justice in an increasingly interdependent world system. Contemporary issues concerning location, place, movement, and region.

GEOG 317. Climatological Analysis. 3 Hours.

PR: GEOG 207 or Consent. Statistical analysis and interpretation of climatological data and application to physical and human problems across the globe using user-friendly tools. (Also listed as GEOG 517).

GEOG 321. Geomorphology. 3 Hours.

PR: GEOL 101 and GEOL 102. An examination of earth-surface processes and landforms, with emphasis on environmental geomorphology, streams, floods, glaciers, and landslides. (Required field trip at student's expense; also listed as GEOL 321.).

GEOG 350. Geographic Information Systems and Science. 4 Hours.

PR: GEOG 150. Explores concepts, principles and practice of acquiring, storing, analyzing, display and use of geographic information.

GEOG 361. Cartography. 3 Hours.

An introduction to mapping from concepts to production, including historical developments, coordinate systems, projections, generalization, symbolization, map design and computer- assisted mapping. (2 hr. lec., 1 hr. lab.).

GEOG 393A-C. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

GEOG 407. Environmental Field Geography. 3 Hours.

PR: GEOG 107 and GEOG 307. An introduction to field methods used in environmental and physical geography. Course uses a problem based approach.

GEOG 411. Rural and Regional Development. 3 Hours.

PR: GEOG 102 or GEOG 108. An investigation into rural and regional development in developed and underdeveloped regions. The relationship between development theory and policy is explored.

GEOG 412. Geography of Gender. 3 Hours.

PR: GEOG 108 or consent. An exploration of how gender affects spatial patterns and processes. Theoretical and empirical aspects of feminism are analyzed including women and employment, third world feminism, sexuality and space, and gender in academia.

GEOG 415. Global Environmental Change. 3 Hours.

PR: GEOG 107 or equivalent or consent. A geographic analysis of the Earth system emphasizing the interdependence and feedback mechanisms of the hydrologic cycle, ecosystems, climate, and human activities.

GEOG 425. Urban and Regional Planning. 3 Hours.

PR: GEOG 210 or POLS 220 or consent. Explores concepts, techniques, and processes of physical and socioeconomic planning and their application to urban and regional problems.

GEOG 443. African Environment and Development. 3 Hours.

Detailed examination of the intersection of environmental and development studies in sub-Saharan Africa with critical assessments of current practice.

GEOG 452. Geographic Information Science: Applications. 3 Hours.

PR: GEOG 350. GIS uses, needs, analysis, design, and implementation. Operational institutional and management topics of GIS for planning, locational decision making in business, government, and research contexts. (2 hr. lec., 1 hr. lab.) (Also listed as GEOL 452.).

GEOG 453. Geographic Information Science: Design and Implementation. 3 Hours.

PR: GEOG 350 and consent. Geographic database design and implementation using contemporary GIS software.

GEOG 454. Environmental Geographic Information Systems. 3 Hours.

Provides background and hands-on experience needed to answer scientific questions about the environment within a raster-based GIS framework. Students should have introductory-level GIS background.

GEOG 455. Introduction to Remote Sensing. 3 Hours.

Theory, technology and applications of photo-interpretation and digital image analysis of aerial photography and multispectral images. (2 hr. lec., 1 hr. lab.) (Also listed as GEOL 455.).

GEOG 456. Remote Sensing Applications. 3 Hours.

PR: GEOG 455 or GEOL 455 or consent. Survey of remote sensing applications, focusing on the type of information obtained and methods used.

GEOG 462. Digital Cartography. 3 Hours.

PR: GEOG 361 or consent. Computer-assisted mapping emphasizing the appropriate uses of software in thematic and topographic map design, annotation, symbolization, color, design, display and reproduction.

GEOG 463. Crime Geography. 3 Hours.

PR: GEOG 150 or GEOG 350. Exploring the interactions between crime, society, and space through GIS, mapping, and geographical concepts of crime and law enforcement.

GEOG 485. Methods of Geographic Research. 3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Geographic analysis as problem-solving activity. Practical experience in field techniques, library research, hypothesis formation and testing, and report preparation and presentation. Students will acquire skills in literary and numerical approaches to geographic data analysis.

GEOG 490. Teaching Practicum. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Teaching practice as a tutor or assistant.

GEOG 491. Professional Field Experience. 1-18 Hours.

PR: Consent. (May be repeated up to a maximum of 18 hours.) Prearranged experiential learning program, to be planned, supervised, and evaluated for credit by faculty and field supervisors. Involves temporary placement with public or private enterprise for professional competence development.

GEOG 492A-Z. Directed Study. 1-3 Hours.

Directed study, reading, and/or research.

GEOG 493A-Z. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

GEOG 494A-Z. Seminar. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Presentation and discussion of topics of mutual concern to students and faculty.

GEOG 495. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.

Faculty supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

GEOG 496. Senior Thesis. 0-3 Hours.

PR: Consent.

GEOG 497. Research. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Research activities leading to thesis, problem report, research paper or equivalent scholarly project, or a dissertation. (Grading may be S/U.).

GEOG 498. Honors. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Students in Honors Program and consent by the honors director. Independent reading, study or research.

GEOG 499. Global Service Learning. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Theory and practice of global service learning. The main objective will be to pair the experiential aspects of meainingful and sustained service in the host community with work from the student's anchor course by offering a methodological framework for cultural immersion and community service as well as adding to the content of the anchor course.


Faculty

Chair

  • J. Steven Kite - Ph.D. (Wisconsin-Madison)

Associate Chair for Geography

  • Brent McCusker - Ph.D. (Michigan State)

Professors

  • Trevor Harris - Ph.D. (Hull)
    Geographic Information Science
  • Amy Hessl - Ph.D. (Arizona)
    Biogeography, Forest Ecosystems
  • Randy Jackson - Ph.D. (Illinois)
    Director Regional Research Institute, Economic geography
  • Ann Oberhauser - Ph.D. (Clark)
    Regional development, Gender studies
  • Tim Warner - Ph.D. (Purdue)
    Remote sensing

Associate Professors

  • Jamison Conley - Ph.D. (Penn State)
    Spatial Analysis, Geocomputation
  • Karen Culcasi - Ph.D. (Syracuse)
    Political Cartography, Middle East
  • J. Steven Kite - Ph.D. (Wisconsin-Madison)
    Geomorphology, Quaternary Studies, Geoarchaeology
  • Brent McCusker - Ph.D. (Michigan State)
    Land Use Change, Africa
  • Brenden McNeil - Ph.D. (Syracuse)
    GIScience, Environmental modeling

Assistant professors

  • Cynthia Gorman - Ph.D. (Rutgers)
    Gender, Migration, Human Rights
  • Jonathan Hall - Ph.D. (Ohio State)
    Desert Ecology, Biogeography
  • Insu Hong - (Arizona State University)
  • Rick Landenberger - Ph.D. (WVU)
    Remote Sensing, Geosciences Education
  • Eungul Lee - Ph.D. (Colorado)
    Climatology, Land-Atmosphere Interactions
  • Maria Alejandra Perez - Ph.D. (Michigan)
    Human Geography, Science & Society, Speleology, Latin America
  • Bradley Wilson - Ph.D. (Rutgers)
    Social Movements, Globalization, Environmental Justice, Latin America

Professors emeriti

  • Greg Elmes - Ph.D. (Penn State)
    Geographic Information Science
  • Ken Martis - Ph.D. (Michigan)
    Political, Electoral and Historical Geography

Associate Professors Emeriti

  • Robert Hanham - Ph.D. (Ohio State)
    Regional Development