Geography Majors

  • Students biking on an old highway

    THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED — We take you out into the field to understand how factors like transportation, energy use, and environmental conditions impact your world. Professor Kevin Patrick’s Urban Geography course took a field trip to the abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike.

    Prepare Well for Your Journey into Emerging Geographic Careers

    As a geography major, you will investigate the distribution of natural and human-created phenomena over the Earth’s surface. But that’s just for starters. You will gain the knowledge, learn the technical skills, and undertake applied projects designed to be highly marketable in today’s job market.

    Internships Build Your Portfolio

    Our students use geographic databases to document where things are and analyze geographic distributions, and they are challenged to use their spatial reasoning, computer skills, communications capabilities, critical thinking, and powers of investigation. All this is augmented by project-oriented learning and internships that test your skills and require the production of portfolio-ready work.

    Options Let You Specialize Your Degree

    There are many specialties that exist in the geographic profession, and we have created a flexible program that includes a BA in Geography with tracks focusing on key aspects of the discipline. The program is organized into concentrations, or areas of emphasis, that you can pursue. The Geography and Regional Planning Department labs and facilities offer you hands-on experience with the instrumentation used by professionals. Through electives, you can add an internship, certificate, independent study, or minor such as regional planning.

    Geography, Human Geography Track, BA

    • Study how humanity organizes itself on the planet through the placement of cities, industrial sites, transportation routes, and other factors.
    • Experience a task-oriented approach to location analysis.
    • Achieve an understanding of economic and cultural patterns, population characteristics, and business location patterns, all in a spatial context.
    • The human geographic knowledge and analysis techniques in this degree program prepare you for careers in areas such as location analysis, economic development, demographic analysis, and research analysis.

    Geography, Environment/Energy Track, BA 

    • Study physical and human processes that shape the environment and strategies and technologies for analyzing the environment.
    • Learn how to develop programs to preserve/conserve environmental resources, promote sustainability, and mitigate existing environmental problems
    • Understand regulatory and compliance systems for energy industries at the federal and state levels
    • Learn about energy resources in northern Appalachia (natural gas, coal, and wind), and aspects of the natural environment in the region.

    Geography, Geospatial Information Science and Technology Track, BA

    • Prepare for career positions such as geographic information systems (GIS) analyst or specialist, remote sensing specialist, geospatial techniques specialist, cartographer, or geospatial intelligence analyst.
    • Explore core geographic information science concepts (GISc) that are the basis for emerging and fast-changing geospatial hardware, software, and infrastructure in our society.
    • Study geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, mobile spatial technologies, global positioning systems (GPS), and the use of small, unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS or drones).
    • Gain skills in data collection, spatial information management, and graphic presentation.
    • Study vector vs. raster and object-oriented spatial data structures, cartographic design, satellite imagery, methods for designing GIS systems to user specifications, and thermal sensing.

    Geography Honors Track, BA

    • The Geography Honors Program is open by departmental permission to geography majors with at least a 3.25 grade point average (GPA) in total university coursework and a 3.25 GPA in geography courses.
    • Students must maintain a 3.0 average in the track.

    Social Studies Education, Geography Track, BSEd 

    • Gain the foundation and skills needed to prepare you to earn teaching certification for social studies in Pennsylvania junior high and high schools.
    • Acquire practical experience in methods courses and student teaching.
    • Complete the geography track requirements of two courses in environmental geography, two in human geography, and two in regional geography.
    • Fulfill social science requirements as well as the core curriculum for the College of Education.
    • Conduct student teaching, your first true experience as a social science teacher.

    Geography Minor

    • A minor in geography is appropriate for majors in all other fields of the natural and social sciences.
    • Marketing majors may find it especially useful. Some other majors that benefit from this minor include Anthropology, Business Management, and Journalism.

    Shale Gas Energy, Interdepartmental Certificate

    • Our academic expertise in this field and the university’s position in the geographic center of the shale gas industry in the Appalachian Basin are a winning combination.
    • This certificate is offered through an interdepartmental effort coordinating the Geoscience Department, the Geography and Regional Planning Department, and the Department of Safety Sciences.
    • You’ll build a broad understanding of the industry from the perspective of geological development, geospatial data analysis, and safety and environmental regulations and compliance.