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Department of Geography

Undergraduate Program

Climbing Mountain

The department of Geography offers a program which has three principal objectives: to promote the understanding of the locational dimensions of human behavior in their environmental context; to offer a curriculum in which geographic concepts and methods are applied to understanding economic, environmental and social problems at the urban and regional scale; and to promote international understanding through area studies.

Graduating majors of the department have found careers in business and industry, in urban and regional planning agencies, in departments of federal and state governments, and in teaching. Many graduates find that an undergraduate degree in geography is an excellent foundation for advanced graduate work or professional training in planning, business or law. Special facilities of the department include fully equipped laboratories in computer cartography, geographic information systems and remote sensing with a variety of other specialized locational analysis programs for both instruction and research.

Major Requirements Concentrations Admission
Special Opportunities Gamma Theta Upsilon Field Experience
Department Facilities Accelerated B.A. to M.A. Degree ProgramScholarships

Major Requirements

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Requirements: The College of Arts and Sciences requires 122 semester hours for the Geography B.A., to include at least 36 hours at or above the 300 course level, plus additional requirements outlined in the General Education Curriculum.

The Geography Major requires a minimum of 27 semester hours in geography courses numbered 200 and higher. Students complete a core of four courses in the areas of physical geography, human/cultural geography, cartography and GIScience, and regional geography. Students may elect a general geography major or they may complete one of three concentrations: Urban Planning, Earth Science/Environmental Studies, or Geographic Information Science. Students may also complete a major in Geography with Teacher Licensure in Social Studies .

Core Requirements:

  • A grade of C- or better in each course toward completion of major
  • One geographic techniques course from GEO 121, 322, 357, 358, 359
  • One earth science course from GEO 103* or GEO 106/106L*
  • One human geography course from GEO 105, 301, 302, 303, 304, 306, 315
  • One regional geography course from GEO 102, 104, 313, 333, 340, 344, 491, 560
* GEO 103 or GEO 106/106L satisfies one GNS/GPS requirement.

Click here to go to course listing.

Student Learning Goals
Students completing this major are expected to demonstrate a basic competence in earth science, human geography, and regional geography. In addition, they are expected to be able to successfully investigate geographic problems using the current research techniques and methodologies of the discipline and to clearly and effectively express their findings in both written and oral form.

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Geography Concentrations

Urban Planning Concentration

The inter-regional shift of people and jobs in the United States and elsewhere over the past decades coupled with the movement away from large central cities has increased the need for formal urban and regional planning. Planners are needed in the private sector as well as in state and local governments to provide the appropriate kinds of economic and community development that will ensure a high quality of life in both developed and developing countries. In a growth region like the Southeastern United States, geographers with a planning background are in increasing demand.

  • Satisfaction of Geography core requirements
  • GEO 105, 301 and 306
  • Five courses from GEO 302, 303, 304, 320, 322, 344, 357, 502, 522, 533

Earth Science / Environmental Studies Concentration

A central theme in geography is human interaction with the earth's physical environment. This concentration permits students to apply the basic scientific principles of physical geography, cartography and natural resource analysis to the problem of ensuring a high quality of life through maintenance of the natural processes that support human existence. This concentration also provides training to enhance the employment opportunities of students with a strong interest in environmental assesement and resource evaluation.

  • Satisfaction of Geography core requirements
  • GEO 311 and 311L, GEO 314 and 314L
  • Five courses from GEO 205, 305, 312, 330, 357, 358, 359, 510, 511, 557, 559, 570

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Geographic Information Science Concentration

Students with this concentration will develop skills in using maps, geospatial computer programs, and remotely sensed images to answer geographic questions relevant to land use planning, urban development, geomorphic or biogeographic processes, or environmental impact assessment. A capstone course (GEO 421), including a faculty directed major project is completed in the final semester.

  • Satisfaction of Geography core requirements
  • GEO 121, 357, 358, and 359
  • A minimum of one of the following: GEO 557 or 559
  • GEO 421 is to be taken after completion of requirements 1 and 2.


If you wish to seek admission to undergraduate study at UNCG, you must submit a formal application to the Undergraduate Admissions Office. Do not apply to the Geography Department. Application materials and detailed admission requirements may be obtained by writing to or visiting:

The Undergraduate Admissions Office
Armfield-Preyer Admissions & Visitor Center
PO Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
VOICE: 336.334.5243
FAX: 336.334.4180
EMAIL: admissions@uncg.edu

Click here to go to their website.

Special Opportunities

Several opportunities are available for students to become involved in the Department, University, and community while becoming better acquainted with other students, department faculty, university personnel, and community employers and leaders. The department hosts a colloquial lecture series; speakers are featured every other week at the Geography Club meeting. Speakers are invited from planning departments, environmental agencies, GIS firms, and economic development companies, as well as alumni and visiting professors. The department also sponsors several campus-wide lectures that pertain to geography.

Students also may participate on the Universitys Geography Bowl Team. Each Fall, the Geography Bowl Team demonstrates knowledge of the concepts central to geography in an annual state-wide competition with the other universities in North Carolina.

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Gamma Theta Upsilon

UNCG is proud to have a chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon (ΓΘΥ). GTU is the international honor society in geography. The chapter recognizes outstanding students in the program and provides them with a special opportunity to establish and distinguish themselves as individuals committed to excellence in the field of geography.

Field Experience

The Geography Department offers a summer field course (GEO 570/560) focusing on the physical and regional geography of North America.  The course can be repeated once for credit as the regions visited vary from year to year.  Physical processes, natural resources and environmental issues, along with land use, urban design, and patterns of economic activity are some of the multiple foci of the trips.  Past regions of emphasis have included the Canadian Rockies, the Central Rocky Mountains, the desert Southwest, and the Pacific Northwest. The field portion of the course generally lasts two weeks, and is preceded and followed by classroom discussions and lectures.

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Department Facilities

The Geography Department houses a state-of-the-art research and teaching lab for GIS, Computer Cartography, Digital Image Processing, and Air Photo Interpretation. The lab currently features:

  • Networked system of forty-four advanced PCs
  • Color and black and white printers; scanners
  • Oversized cartographic plotter
  • GPS equipment
  • Software: Arc/Info, ArcView, ERDAS Imagine, ArcGIS, Surfer, AtlasGIS, MapInfo, ER Mapper, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator

The Geomorphology and Weather and Climate Lab includes the following:

  • Wide variety of aerial photographs and satellite images
  • Twenty student stereoscopes and ten professional stereoscopes
  • Rock and mineral collection and dendrochronology cores
  • Large map collection

There is also a small SPSS and climatology computer lab in the Department.