Columbus discovered the world wasn’t flat, but you’d like to analyze that sphere a bit more. If you’re a critical thinker who thrives on all things geography and loves to assess the news and trends in economic, political and cultural change, you’ll want a seat in CMU’s geography program. The global studies concentration will have you thinking on a macro scale about solutions to problems in developing countries … and poring over the micro complexities of regional politics and social and economic problems. If you’re an explorer, we’ve got adventure.
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: Global Studies Concentration
Advisors: Brea, Liesch
This concentration enhances students' global perspectives by building on the strengths of traditional and contemporary geographic research that emphasizes foreign regional studies, field experience, and geo-spatial analytical techniques.
Total: 39 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)
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
Select one of the following:
Geography of Contemporary Global Issues
Geographical analysis of contemporary global issues, including trans- border migrations, regional impact of climate change, resource disputes, regional economic imbalances, and ethno-territorial conflicts. Prerequisites: GEO 120 or 121.
Geography of the Developing World
A geographic analysis of the developing world focusing on processes of environmental, demographic, and socioeconomic change, particularly since World War II. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Prerequisite: Junior standing. Recommended: 9 hours of social science courses.
Required Courses II
Select two of the following:
Food and Agriculture
Study of world production, exchange, and consumption of agricultural commodities with emphasis upon the problems associated with food shortages and the areas most severely affected. This course is approved for offering in an online or hybrid format. Recommended: One of the following: GEO 120, GEO 121, GEO 105.
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.
Geography of Growth and Change
Interrelated nature of the growth of human activity and the resulting spatial expression. Impact of growth on environment. Prerequisite: GEO 120.
The rise of cities and urbanization. Human use of urban space. The city as environment. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid formats. Recommended: GEO 121 or junior standing.
Areal characteristics and territorial problems of states, including internal regional relations, border disputes, and colonial areas. Selected world problems. Recommended: GEO 121.
Required Courses III
Select two of the following:
United States and Canada
Physical environment, resources, economic activities, population pattern, and interregional relationships of United States and Canada. Recommended: One of: GEO 105, 120, 121, junior standing. CR/NC option available.
Geographic characteristics of the continent, its regions, and economic and political systems since WWII. National characteristics of culture, human/land relationships and international involvements. Identical to EUR 301. Credit may not be earned in more than one of these courses.
Geographic characteristics of Latin America from colonization to present. Regions are interpreted by analysis of geographical elements and their interrelationships. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Recommended: GEO 121 or at least 3 credits in a social science. (University Program Group IV-B: Studies in Cultures Outside of the Anglo-American Tradition)
China: Environment and People
Discussion of China's physical environment and the geographic patterns of social, political, and economic processes. China's dynamic roles in world geopolitics and global economy. Prerequisite: GEO 121 or junior standing.
Six hours of courses that develop analytical skills and techniques for geographic inquiry using either primary or secondary data. These courses must be selected with advisor. Suggested courses include:
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
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.
Introduction to Empirical Methods of Political Research
Empirical political research techniques including the scientific method, measurement, descriptive and inferential statistics, literature reviews, data collection, computer assisted data analysis, and research reporting. This course is approved for offering in a distance learning format. Prerequisites: PSC 100 or PSC 105; one other political science course.
Introduction to Social Research and Analysis
First in a two-part methods sequence with SOC 350. Basic research issues. Univariate, bivariate, multivariate analysis techniques in sociology and social work. Computer applications. Prerequisites: SOC 100; completion of math competency.
Six hours of 300-500 level geography or non-geography courses that advance the understanding of contemporary issues outside the U.S. from a global perspective. Specifically, these courses may be either foreign language courses or courses with a primary regional focus outside of the United States. These courses must be selected with advisor. It is strongly recommended that at least 3 hours come from GEO 511 or a similar field-oriented courses:
International Geographic Experience
Experience in field research techniques and knowledge of regions outside the United States. International travel is required. May be repeated one time only. Prerequisites: 6 semester hours of 300 level or higher Geography course.