Environmental and land use planners and geographers specialize in developing plans and programs for the use of land. Their input and expert geographic assessments help create strong, healthy communities, accommodate population growth, and revitalize physical facilities in towns, cities, counties and metropolitan areas.
Points of Pride
- With a 6-foot-long unmanned helicopter equipped with a high-resolution digital camera, CMU geography experts are leading the way in research imaging of Great Lakes coastal wetlands.
- Through CMU's Center for Geographic Information Science, you’ll gain hands-on experience using the latest GIS hardware and software to provide geospatial research tools for solving academic, governmental and industrial problems.
- The geography department offers small classes, field trips and opportunities to work in close collaboration with faculty on research projects. You’ll also gain professional development, resources and contacts through student organizations such as the Geography Club.
Put Your Degree to Work
Employment of environmental and land use planners is projected to grow 10 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Population growth, economic conditions and environmental concerns will drive the growth in cities, suburbs and other areas.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sample data
|Job||Median Pay||Job Growth through 2022|
|Geographer||$74,760 per year||29% (500 more jobs)|
|Surveyor/mapping technician||$39,670 per year||14% (7,300 more jobs)|
|Urban/regional planner||$65,230 per year||10% (4,000 more jobs)|
The course listings below are a representation of what this academic program requires. For a full review of this program in detail please see our official online academic bulletin AND consult with an academic advisor. This listing does not include the General Education courses required for all majors and may not include some program specific information, such as admissions, retention, and termination standards.
(Click on the course name or number for a complete course description.)
Geography Major: Environmental & Land Use Planning Concentration
Advisors: Brea, Patton, Wang
This concentration will prepare one for an entry level position in the fields of land use, environmental, or regional planning. Graduates may wish to enhance their qualifications upon completion of the concentration with graduate study in these areas.
Total: 36 semester hours
Required Courses I
An introduction to the physical processes of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere and the global distribution of climate, soils, and vegetation. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Satisfies University Program laboratory requirement. (University Program Group II-A: Descriptive Sciences)
An introduction to the human use of earth resources and quantitative examination of select environmental issues resulting from the societal use/misuse of our planet. Quantitative Reasoning. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. (University Program Group II-A: Descriptive Sciences)
Cultures of the World
Population, political, economic, and other cultural phenomena and their world distribution patterns are presented upon a non-technical background of physical geography. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. (University Program Group III-B: Studies in Social Structures)
Introduction to Geographic Information Science
Fundamentals of geographic information science - including spatial data gathering, measurement, classification, analysis, display and map interpretation. Current computer mapping technologies are used in laboratory. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Quantitative Reasoning. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Science)
Required Courses I
Geographic Information Systems I
Concepts and applications of geographic information systems (GIS). Capturing, storing, querying, and displaying geographically referenced data. Primary emphasis is on vector-based GIS. Prerequisite: GEO 203
Resource Perception and Utilization
Quantitative analysis of modern resource utilization; systematic examination of U.S. water and power distribution infrastructure; sociometric analysis of attitude and perception data regarding natural resources. Prerequisite: GEO 105 or 120 or GEL 100 or 101 or 105 or 130 or PHS 151 or ENV 101. Recommended: STA 282 or MTH 107.
The rise of cities and urbanization. Human use of urban space. The city as environment. This course is approved for offering in a distance learning format. Recommended: GEO 121 or Junior standing.
Land Use Planning
Study of land use planning history, concepts and techniques. Analysis of federal, state, and local government roles in planning. Examination of specific land use programs. Prerequisites: GEO 303; 6 additional semester hours in either or both GEO or PSC.
Integrated Land Use Planning
This course provides students comprehensive understanding of land use issues, processes and solutions. The course integrates innovative planning concepts with advanced analytic tools. May be offered as Writing Intensive. Prerequisite: GEO 530.
At least one physical course (i.e. ESC or BIO) and a course in statistics is strongly recommended:
Environmental Law and Policy
A survey of environmental laws and policies that affect business decision making, stressing macroenvironmental considerations and major Michigan environmental issues. Prerequisites: BLR 202 or BLR 235 or ENV 101; completion of 86 hours; admission to Professional Business Studies or listed on signed major or minor or permission of MBA director or MBE advisor.
Remote Sensing of the Environment
Characteristics and principles of remote sensing of the environment. The processes of remote sensing imagery acquisition, analysis, and information extraction. Prerequisites: GEO 203. Recommended: Six hours of geography or other environmental science.
Principles and theories of economic geography, the global interrelationships of regional and local economic activities, and the effects of technology on spatial economic structures. Recommended: GEO 121, junior standing, or at least 3 credits in BUS, FIN, ECO, or MKT. (University Program Group III-B: Studies in Social Structures)
Spatial patterns of fertility, mortality, and migration, and the processes underlying those patterns. Population growth, distribution, problems and policies. Recommended: One of the following: GEO 120, 121, junior standing.
Advanced methods and theories concerning the field of cartography including: cartographic communication and visualization, digital map compilation and multivariate data representation. Prerequisites: GEO 303
Advanced Geographic Information Systems
Use of raster spatial data models and associated methods for the collection, processing, management, analysis and visualization of geographic data. Focus: land use/environmental applications. Prerequisites: GEO 303, 305; or GEO 501.
Digital Remote Sensing
Computer processing and data analysis of digital remote sensing data. Emphasis on multispectral image processing and analysis using standard image processing software. Prerequisites: GEO 303, 305. Recommended: STA 382.
Quantitative Methods for Spatial Analysis
Statistical techniques for solving spatial problems. Descriptive and inferential spatial statistics. Spatial pattern analysis. Regression modeling with spatial data. Prerequisites: GEO 303, STA 382.
State and Local Government
Structure and functions of states, cities and counties, with emphasis on Michigan. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. (University Program Group III-B: Studies in Social Structures)
You may select only one of the following:
Study of geomorphic processes affecting the evolution and distribution of landforms; quantitative study of the regional physical landscape; analysis of human-landscape interactions. Prerequisite: GEO 105 or GEL 101 or 100 or 105 or 130.
The course deals with stream waters and their alteration of the landscape. Stresses the interaction of water, land and human activity. Prerequisite: GEO 210.
GEO 334/BIO 334
An introduction to the physical, chemical, and biotic properties of soils; soil classification and mapping; and soil resource issues. Identical to BIO 334. Credit may not be earned in more than one of these courses. Prerequisites: CHM 120 or CHM 131. Recommended: 6 hours of environmental science.
You may select only one of the following:
Introduction to Statistics
Descriptive statistics, probability, sampling distributions, statistical inference, regression. Course does not count on major, minor in mathematics. Credit may not be earned in more than one of these courses: STA 282, STA 382, STA 392. Quantitative Reasoning. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Recommended: MTH 105 or competency.
Elementary Statistical Analysis
An introduction to statistical analysis. Topics will include descriptive statistics, probability, sampling distributions, statistical inference, and regression. Credit may not be earned in more than one of these courses: STA 282, STA 382, STA 392. Quantitative Reasoning. Prerequisite: MTH 130 or 132 or 133. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences).