Undergraduate students in the Department of Geography develop an awareness of the natural and cultural landscapes of several regions of the world and investigate the processes that form them. Lower-division courses are open to any student at the university. For students transferring to the university in their third year, preparation in introductory college geography courses is desirable.
An undergraduate major in geography follows a broadly based general degree program. Both bachelor of arts (BA) and bachelor of science (BS) degrees are offered in the department. To achieve depth in a particular subfield of geography, electives are chosen from one of five tracks: environmental geography; culture, politics, and place; geographic information science; geographic education; and physical geography.
Although a degree in geography is a liberal arts degree, many graduates have found related vocational opportunities in government or private employment, principally in planning, environmental research, cartography, or geographic information science.
General Requirements for a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography
Bachelor of Arts (BA). Geography majors seeking a BA degree must demonstrate proficiency in a second language by passing the third term of a second-year university language course with a grade of C– or better or by examination indicating an equivalent level of proficiency.
Bachelor of Science (BS). Geography majors seeking a BS degree must complete a mathematics sequence that satisfies the university’s mathematics requirement for a BS degree. Mathematics courses must be passed with a grade of at least C– or P. The optimal courses for the university’s mathematics requirement depend on one’s track and focus; consult with an advisor.
Students considering graduate school should complete both the mathematics and language requirements.
The geography major requires a minimum of 48 credits in geography courses or specifically noted chemistry, environmental studies, mathematics, and physics courses. At least nine courses (36 credits) must be taken in geography core subjects, and at least three elective courses (12 credits) are required in one of the five geography tracks. At least eight geography courses must be taken for a letter grade. A grade of C– or better or P (pass) is required in each course, and a GPA of 2.25 or better is required in courses used to satisfy major requirements.
Introductory Geography (12 credits). The Natural Environment (GEOG 141), Human Geography (GEOG 142), Our Digital Earth (GEOG 181).
Regional and Synthesis Geography (4 credits). One course selected from Introduction to Environmental Studies: Social Sciences (ENVS 201) World Regional Geography (GEOG 201), Geography of Europe (GEOG 202), Geography of Russia and Neighbors (GEOG 204), Geography of Pacific Asia (GEOG 205), Geography of the United States and Canada (GEOG 208), Geography of the Middle East and North Africa (GEOG 209), Geography of Latin America (GEOG 214), Watershed Science and Policy (GEOG 360), Advanced Geography of European-American Regions (GEOG 470), North American Historical Landscapes (GEOG 471), Advanced Geography of Non-European-American Regions (GEOG 475).
Geographic Information System Science (8 credits). Two courses selected from Qualitative Methods in Geography (GEOG 415), Statistical Methods I (MATH 425), GIScience I (GEOG 481), GIScience II (GEOG 482), Remote Sensing I (GEOG 485), Remote Sensing II (GEOG 486), Advanced Geographic Information Systems (GEOG 491), Advanced Cartography (GEOG 493), Geographic Data Analysis (GEOG 495).
Physical Geography (8 credits). Two courses selected from Climatology (GEOG 321), Geomorphology (GEOG 322), Biogeography (GEOG 323), Global Environmental Change (GEOG 361), Advanced Climatology (GEOG 421), Advanced Geomorphology (GEOG 422), Advanced Biogeography (GEOG 423), Hydrology and Water Resources (GEOG 425), Fluvial Geomorphology (GEOG 427), Long-Term Environmental Change (GEOG 430), Climatological Aspects of Global Change (GEOG 432), Fire and Natural Disturbances (GEOG 433).
Human Geography (8 credits). Two courses selected from Population and Environment (GEOG 341); Geography of Globalization (GEOG 342); Society, Culture, and Place (GEOG 343); Political Geography (GEOG 441); Urban Geography (GEOG 442); Global Migration (GEOG 443), Culture, Ethnicity, and Nationalism (GEOG 445); Geography of Religion (GEOG 446); Environmental Alteration (GEOG 461); Historical and Contemporary Views of the Environment (GEOG 462); Geography, Law, and the Environment (GEOG 463); Forests and the Human Experience (GEOG 464); Environment and Development (GEOG 465); International Water Policy (GEOG 467); North American Historical Landscapes (GEOG 471); and, if taught by Peter Walker: Perspectives in Nature and Society (ENVS 420), Political Ecology (ENVS 450).
Electives (12 credits). Three 400-level courses chosen from one of the following five tracks. Bachelor of arts candidates may choose any track except geographic information science. Bachelor of science candidates may choose environmental geography, physical geography, or geographic information science. It is possible to create an independent track with the approval of a department advisor.
Environmental Geography—three from GEOG 414, 421, 422, 423, 425, 427, 430, 432, 433, 461, 462, 463, 464, 465, 467.
Culture, Politics, and Place—three from GEOG 441, 442, 443, 445, 446, 461, 462, 463, 464, 465, 467, 471.
Geographic Information Science—three from GEOG 415, 482, 485, 486, 491, 493, 495.
Geography Education—three from GEOG 409 (if major declared by fall 2006), 442, 443, 445, 461, 462, 465, 467, 470, 471, 475 or other upper-division courses with approval of the advisor.
Physical Geography—PHYS 101, 102 or PHYS 201, 202; CH 111 or CH 221; and three from GEOG 421, 422, 423, 425, 427, 430, 431, 432, 433.
Seminar (GEOG 407), Experimental Course (GEOG 410), or other upper-division courses with advisor approval may be used to satisfy the elective requirement.
The Department of Geography offers an honors option for its majors. More information is available in the department office.
The University of Oregon offers a Professional Distinctions Program, enabling students with a 3.00 GPA and at least 60 completed credits to enhance their undergraduate experience with a set of skills and knowledge that complements their majors. Geography majors should consider exploring a distinction (area of interest) in data analysis or geographic information science and technology. For more information, visit uodistinctions.uoregon.edu/site.
To complete the minor in geography, students must take at least six courses (24 credits) in geography, including one regional geography or techniques course, one upper-division physical geography course, and one upper-division human geography course. At least 16 credits must be taken for a letter grade; grades of C– or better or P must be earned in all geography courses applied to the minor.
Geography majors may also complete a second major in any field of the student’s choice. Two of the most common are environmental studies or environmental science—an excellent combination with geography because they offer grounding in the physical and human systems within which environmental issues are situated in a larger global context. For details about adding a second major, visit the department’s website.
Internships in Geography
Internships are unpaid off-campus work experiences. Students receive one credit for each three hours of participation as an intern; internships may be extended to a second term with prior departmental approval. Interns apply geographic concepts in the service of government, private industry, or nongovernmental organizations. Internships are initiated by students or may come at the suggestion of a faculty member or the request of an employer. Past interns have worked in the Eugene Planning and Development Department, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Lane County Soil Conservation District, and many other organizations and agencies.
Kindergarten through Secondary Teaching Careers
Students who complete a degree with a major in geography are eligible to apply for the College of Education’s fifth-year licensure program in middle-secondary teaching. Students may also apply to the fifth-year licensure program to become an elementary teacher. See also the College of Education section of this catalog.