Do you geek GIS, GPS, RS and all things geographic? If so, check out CMU. It’s where you’ll enjoy using powerful tools and geospatial technologies, including Geographic Information Systems, Global Positioning Systems and Remote Sensing, to store, analyze, visualize and present spatial information. Combine these tools with map-making techniques and principles, and you’ll become a geographer who uses geospatial technologies to better understand the interaction of various environmental factors.
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
The federal government employs about half of all geographers. Many geographers do fieldwork, which may include travel to foreign countries or remote locations. Employment of geographers is projected to grow 29 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Increasing use of geographic technologies and data will drive the growth.
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: Geospatial Analysis of Environment Concentration
Advisors: Becker, Feig, Francek, Tian, Zheng
This concentration approaches the study of natural and human-induced environmental processes through applications of geospatial techniques. It prepares students for positions that utilize geospatial technology in environmental analysis.
Total: 39-40 semester hours
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)
Human Geography and Globalization
This course is an introduction to human geography that provides geographical perspectives on population, the economy, politics, urbanization, and culture. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. This course may be offered as writing intensive. (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
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.
Geographic Information Systems
Concepts and applications of geographic information systems (GIS). Acquiring, organizing, managing, and analyzing geographic data; visualizing and communicating geographic information. Prerequisite: GEO 203QR.
Fundamentals of Remote Sensing
Introduction to the fundamental principles and applications of remote sensing of the Earth. Prerequisite: GEO 203QR. Recommended: One of: GEO 105, 120QR, ENS 101QR, GEL 130.
GEO 334/BIO 334
A lecture/field course introducing 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 131; one of the following: GEO 105, GEL 100, 101, 105, 130QR; or BIO 212, 213 with a C- or better.
Required Course II
Select one of the following:
Study of the relationships between organisms and their environment. Prerequisites: One of: BIO 101, 105, 110. Recommended: BIO 203 or 218.
Physical, biological and anthropogenic influences on the world distribution of plant and animal life. Prerequisites: BIO 111; One of GEO 105, 120QR, ENV 101 or ENS 101QR.
Required Course III
Select one of the following:
Weather and Climate
Nature of atmospheric processes, weather, and climate - why and how they vary over the surface of the earth.
Required Course IV
Select one of the following:
Introduction to the study of groundwater: groundwater occurrence and flow, groundwater in the hydrological cycle, groundwater quality and pollution, groundwater exploration, evaluation, and management. Field Trip Fee Required. Writing Intensive. Prerequisites: One of: GEL 100 or GEL 101, 102 or GEL 105, 102 or GEL 130 or ENS 101; MTH 132 with a C- or better. Recommended: GEL 280.
The course deals with stream waters and their alteration of the landscape. Stresses the interaction of water, land and human activity. Prerequisite: GEO 210.
It is suggested that electives are selected from Geography courses with an emphasis in analytical techniques, including:
Note: Additional courses at the 400-level or above in Geography, Biology, Geology, Mathematics, Computer Sciences, Physics, or Chemistry may be selected with the consultation and approval of a Geography advisor.
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 203QR; 3 additional credit hours in GEO or PSC.
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
Advanced techniques of geospatial analysis, with applications in social and environmental systems. Prerequisites: GEO 303, 308; or GEO 501; STA 282 or 382 or BIO 500.
Applications of Remote Sensing
Applications of active and passive remote sensing to investigate patterns and processes of the environment. Prerequisites: GEO 303, 308; or GEO 501. Prerequisites/Co-requisites: STA 282 or 382 or BIO 500.
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.
Advanced Remote Sensing Systems
Characteristics, processing, and applications based on advanced remote sensing systems including imaging radar, thermal and hyperspectral systems. Prerequisites: GEO 508 and STA 382.
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.
GIS Operations and Practices
Practices and procedures utilized by professionals in the implementation and maintenance of large-scale GIS operations. Prerequisites: GEO 503 or Graduate Status in the MS GISci Program.
Special Studies in Geography
See course search and registration.
Experiences in applying geographic techniques to environmental analysis, resource management, and business applications. Up to 3 hours of internship credit can be applied to the geography/earth science major. A full-time internship position for one semester may qualify for 12 hours of credit. Prerequisite: permission of program advisor.
Exploration of topics in geography agreed upon by student and instructor. Course may be taken for credit more than once, not to exceed nine hours. Prerequisites: At least 6 hours of Geography credit at the 400 level or above, permission of instructor.