Undergraduate Programs in Geography or Regional Planning

  • Geography Class Benhart 750

    LEARNING ON PROFESSIONAL EQUIPMENT - A student records coordinates using a Trimble R-8 RTK survey-grade GPS.

    Choose Your Path in Geography and Regional Planning

    When you enroll in geography or regional planning at IUP, you are entering an expanding professional field that has strong job prospects.

    Match your career plans to one of our specialized majors to give your resume a competitive edge. We offer you seven majors to choose from:

    New Career Directions Taking Shape

    Don’t think of geographers as just mapmakers. While cartography is a discipline within geography, it is only one of many. In fact, what geographers and planners do is important to how our society works, from enhancing mapping applications on cell phones to shaping how communities are organized or providing data and analysis for geospatial intelligence.

    Explore, Analyze, Plan

    As a geography or regional planning major, you investigate, explore, concentrate, analyze, explain, and create. You investigate the distribution of natural and human-created phenomena over the Earth’s surface. Your studies explore the impact that regional planning can have on the environment. You concentrate on a specialty of your choosing such as geospatial information, teaching, environmental sustainability, or regional community planning. You analyze and explain geographic distributions or population trends, and you gain a solid foundation and expertise that creates a path toward an exciting career.

    Why Geography and Regional Planning?

    You can study something you are interested in, knowing it has a solid job outlook. The US Department of Labor has classified the jobs in our fields as growing as fast to much faster than the US job market as a whole. The study of geography and planning deals as much with physical environments as it does with cultures and economies. It is as much about people as it is about places. Geographers and planners are involved with the welfare of people and communities. They help create sustainable, equitable, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing living environments. And they do so using a variety of talents, including spatial reasoning, computer skills, communications, and critical thinking, to name a few.

    The World Needs Geographers and Regional Planners

    Your career prospects in the fields of geography and planning are very good. In geography, the public and private sectors are looking for those who can work with geospatial technology and geographic databases. You will find opportunities in environmental science and management or in building sustainable local and regional communities. Planners are needed at all levels of government—local, county, regional, state, and federal—and are crucial players in decision-making processes.

    Expected Outcomes with an Undergraduate Degree in Geography or Regional Planning

    Whether you choose geography or regional planning, you will receive a rigorous education in all key aspects of the disciplines.

    • The BA in Geography program is organized into four major concentrations, or areas of emphasis, that you can pursue. These are Human Geography, Environment/Energy, Geospatial Information Science and Technology, and an Honors Track.
    • The BS in Regional Planning is organized into three major concentrations: Environmental Planning, Community Planning and Development, and an Honors Track.
    • The BSEd in Social Studies Education/Geography offers a geography major degree for the student interested in teaching at the junior or senior high levels. The Pennsylvania certification will be in citizenship. New state education requirements specify that geography be taught at all levels in Pennsylvania. Nationally, geography is one of the core subject areas named in the National Education Goals program.

    The IUP Difference

    Internships. IUP Geography and Regional Planning has one of the strongest internship programs of any academic department in this field in Pennsylvania, with over 90 percent of our students completing at least one experience. The department has many professional contacts that you can take advantage of to obtain placements. Internships are learning laboratories where you can test your knowledge and skills working with professionals. They are a key to job placement and can provide excellent references necessary for a job search.

    Project-Oriented Learning. Many upper-level courses are built around projects where students work with faculty, clients, and professionals. Students learn from the process of carrying out projects and providing product for professionals. An additional result of project-oriented learning is the production of portfolio-quality work that demonstrates a student’s abilities.

    Accreditation. The IUP Bachelor of Science degree in Regional Planning is one of only 17 accredited undergraduate planning degree programs in the United States. As such, our graduates are at an advantage when it comes to employment and professional certification. Employers view our bachelor’s graduates as extremely well prepared to enter the planning job market because of the approval that the Planning Accreditation Board has given our program. In addition, graduates of our Regional Planning program can take the American Institute of Certified Planners certification exam three years after graduation (compared to a minimum five years for graduates of non-accredited programs).

    State-of-the-Art Labs. The James A. Payne GIS/Cartography Laboratory is designed to facilitate the use of geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, global positioning systems (GPS), computer aided drafting/drawing (CADD), and computer cartography techniques in coursework and research. The Spatial Environmental Analysis Laboratory is designed to allow you to learn advanced environmental data collection and analysis techniques with mental data collection, and analysis techniques with state-of-the-art equipment.

    The IUP Faculty. All faculty members have earned their doctorates. They bring a broad range of experience and expertise, all the time challenging and encouraging students to get truly involved in their work. They strive to know their students well and endeavor to create a family-type atmosphere within the department.