Planning and Policy, B.S.
(Click major/minor/certificate title to see typical courses for the program)
Geography is the study of place, or space, in the sense that history is the study of time. A primary tool of the geographer is the map, whether at the local scale of a shopping center market or at the global scale of climatic change. The constantly changing physical and human landscapes on the Earth’s surface challenge the geographer to provide continuing interpretations of all parts of the world from a spatial point of view.
Geography is both a natural science and a social science as it examines people and their environment and serves as a bridge between the physical and cultural worlds. Individual geographers tend to emphasize different aspects of the spatial continuum. Some specialize in physical geography by devoting their studies to the natural environment, including the analysis of climate, vegetation, soils and landforms. Others concentrate on the spatial associations of the human environment that result from the political, social and economic activities of people. While some geographers focus their studies at home, others engage in the study of foreign lands. Geography is currently experiencing rapid growth in data collection, resulting in increased use of data-processing techniques such as statistical analysis, aerial photograph interpretation, remote sensing, computer mapping and geographic information systems (GIS).
The department also offers a liberal arts major with an environmental emphasis which examines the natural physical landscape as well as human-environment interaction. A program certificate in cartography and geographic information systems is available to geography majors and to students in other programs.
Cartography and Geographic Information Systems
Common minors pursued
Students majoring in the secondary school geography teaching major are required to take a teaching minor in the social sciences: history, political science, anthropology, sociology, psychology, economics. Although a minor is not required in the geography B.A. major, many students minor in one of the above disciplines or earth science, general business concepts or other fields.
Plan of Study
Discover the courses you'll take as a geography major in the Plan of Study.
Hazardous waste manager
Remote sensing analyst
Urban and community planner
Business location analyst
Real estate agent
Foreign area specialist
Gamma Theta Upsilon, geography student honor society
Microcomputer teaching labs with sophisticated GIS and computer mapping software including ArcView, ArcInfo, ERDAS and others
Host of the Geographic Alliance of Iowa, providing services for geographic education with a focus on the K-12 level
Physical geography, soils analysis and cartography laboratories
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Scholarships are available to incoming freshmen in half to full in-state tuition amounts. Applicants must complete a test and interview on campus. Each year the Department of Geography awards the Janice Clark Memorial Scholarship to transfer or current geography students.
More information on department scholarships can found at Financial Aid.