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Department of Geography
129 Graham Building

Major / Minor Information


Gordon Bennett, Professor and Head of Department

Professors Hidore, Rees; Associate Professors Debbage, Lewis, Patton; Assistant Professor Stine

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 where 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. Thus, the purposes of the program are to contribute an important dimension to the university studentís liberal education and to provide practical training in important contemporary areas of concern as well as the background appropriate for certain vocations.

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. Job titles include: city or regional planner, cartographer, demographer, resource analyst, land or economic developer, location analyst, and teacher. 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.

Geography Major (Bachelor of Arts)

Required: 122 semester hours


  • Urban Planning
  • Earth Science/Environmental Studies

The Geography Major requires four courses from a selection of more than twenty and requires a minimum of 24 semester hours in geography above the 100-level. Students may take a maximum of 60 semester hours in the major and related areas, including courses at the 100-level. Students may elect a general geography major or they may complete additional courses for a concentration in Urban Planning or Earth Science/Environmental Studies.

College of Arts and Sciences Liberal Education Requirements (CLER) (54-55 hours)

All students must meet the All-University Liberal Education Requirements (AULER). The College of Arts and Sciences, however, has established liberal education requirements for its programs which, while including those of AULER, contain additional requirements in several categories. Therefore, students following this program should adhere to the College requirements. Please note that students who satisfy the College Liberal Education Requirements (CLER) will also satisfy the All-University Liberal Education Requirements (AULER). See pp. 70-73 for a complete description of the College requirements and pp. 65-66 and 71-72 for a listing of courses meeting AULER/CLER requirements.

Major Requirements

A minimum of 24 hours in geography above the 100-level. Only grades of "C-" or higher will count toward completion of the major and concentrations.

Core Courses for Geography Major and Concentrations

One course from GEO 321, 322, 323, 521, 522.
One course from GEO 103, 111
One course from GEO 105, 114, 202, 301, 302, 303, 502, 533.
One course from GEO 102, 104, 313, 344, 560.

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 States, geographers with a planning background are in increasing demand.

In addition to the core courses in geography listed above, students choosing this concentration are required to take GEO 202, 301 and 105 or 303, plus five courses from the following: GEO 302, 320, 321, 322, 344, 502, 522, 533.

Earth Science/Environmental Studies Concentration

A central theme of geography is human interaction with the earthís 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 assessment and resource evaluation.

In addition to the core courses in geography listed above, required courses for students choosing this concentration are GEO 311, 311L, 314, 314L, and five courses selected from the following: GEO 205, 305, 312, 321, 323, 330, 521.

Majors planning to teach geography/social studies in the secondary schools should plan their programs to include one of the following: GEO 102, 104, or 344 and one of the following courses: GEO 105, 114, or 202.

Related Area Requirements for General Geography Major

No specific additional courses beyond the core are required. Suggested courses in other departments and schools are recommended by the department.


Electives sufficient to complete the 122 semester hours required for degree.

Geography As A Second Major

A student may obtain a second major in geography along with any other major. The student should take 24 hours above the 100 level, including four core courses listed above for the Geography Major. Students considering this option should consult a faculty member in the department.

Geography Minor

Any six courses (18 semester hours) constitute a minor, but the following suggested course sequences will be of interest to certain students pursuing specific majors and with certain career objectives such as planning, environmental conservation, or business:

General Geography Minor - 1 physical, 1 human, 1 regional, 1 techniques course; and any other two geography courses.
Minor emphasizing Urban Planning - any six courses from: 105, 202, 301, 302, 303, 344, 502, 533.
Minor emphasizing Environmental Studies - Any six courses from: 105, 205, 303, 305, 311, 312, 314, 321, 323, 330, 521.
Minor emphasizing Geographic Techniques -For the student desiring to acquire geographic research, writing, and cartographic techniques, any six courses from 105, 321, 322, 323, 521, 522, 523, 533.
Geography Minor for majors in the School of Business and Economics - For the major who wishes to acquire knowledge of industrial location, international trade, demographic change and environmental impact-any six courses from: 103, 105, 202, 301, 302, 303, 344, 533.

Teacher Licensure in Social Studies

Students seeking teacher licensure should see "Teacher Education" in Chapter 7. Licensure in social studies is available for geography majors - see p. 407.

Geography Courses (GEO)

For Undergraduates

102 The Historical Geography of the Western World (3:3). A study of the geographical factors which combine to form the major cultural regions of North America, Europe, and Australia-New Zealand. [HP, CHP-CMO].

103 Introduction to Earth Science (3:3). Survey of basic concepts and processes integrating the nature of the earthís three primary physical systems: the solid earth and continents; the ocean basins and the oceans; and the atmosphereís weather. [NS, CPS].

104 The Geography of the Nonwestern World (3:3). A study of the geographical factors which combine to form the major culture regions of Africa, Asia, and the Soviet Union. [NW, CNW].

105 Cultural Geography (3:3). Introductory project-oriented course concerned with the geographical characteristics of population, political systems, settlement patterns and livelihoods. [SB, CSB].

111 Physical Geology (3:3). Survey of tectonic and erosional processes, mountain building, rivers, glaciers, deserts, and coastal landform development. [NS, CPS].

111L Physical Geology Laboratory (1:0:3). Pr. concurrent registration in GEO 111. Laboratory demonstrations and map interpretation exercises to accompany GEO 111, which must be taken concurrently. [NS, CPS].

114 The Geography of World Affairs (3:3). Contemporary problems and issues of and between nations of the world as they have evolved in their geographical settings. [NW, CNW].

202 World Production and Marketing Systems (3:3). Characteristics and location of the worldís resources, theory of industrial location, world patterns of industry. [SB, CSB].

205 Environmental Change: Its Nature and Impact (3:3). Environmental changes related to human use of land, water, soils, minerals, and natural amenities. Planning for sustained use or preservation of land based natural resources.

301 Urban Geography: Global Patterns (3:3). Urbanization processes and the development of mega-cities and urban hierarchies emphasizing the differences between cities from across the world. [SB, CSB].

302 Urban Geography: Land Use (3:3). Internal structure of cities, including the role of transportation systems, socio-economic development, and the physical environment. Emphasis on differences within cities.

303 World Population Problems (3:3). Major world population problems, trends, and significant policy and action alternatives for the future. Impact of various geographical factors on problems and trends. [NW, CNW].

305 Natural Hazards Assessment (3:3). Pr. 103 or equivalent. Nature and geographical distribution of short-lived environmental hazards including earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, volcanic eruptions, and landslides. Factors contributing to increased hazard potential. Alternative human responses to short-lived hazards.

311 Weather and Climate (3:3). Pr. 103 or equivalent. Introduction to the nature, origin, processes, and dynamics of the atmosphere. Consideration also of human modification of the atmosphere and of climatic change. [NS, CPS].

311L Climatology Laboratory (1:0:3). Pr. concurrent registration in 311. Laboratory work to accompany 311. [NS, CPS].

312 Geomorphology of North America(3:3). A survey of the various landscape regions of the North America. Emphasis on the relationships between the geologic, erosional, and climatic processes occurring in each region.

313 Natural Resource Regions of North America (3:1:6). Pr. 103 or 314 and permission of instructor. Regional natural resource use and associated human interaction with the natural environment. Instruction takes place during an extended field trip across portions of North America.

314 Physical Geography: Landscape Processes (3:3). Pr. 103 or equivalent. Examination of the processes responsible for the development of the earth's varied terrain characteristics. Analysis of environmental problems involving human impact on landscape and river systems. [NS, CPS].

314L Physical Geography Laboratory (1:0:3). Pr. concurrent registration in GEO 314. Laboratory demonstrations and map interpretation exercises to accompany GEO 314, which must be taken concurrently. [NS, CPS].

320 Tourism Planning and Development (3:3). Geographic distribution of tourist development. Emphasis on the spatial dimension of origin-destination flows, economic geography of the travel industry, socio-economic and environmental impacts. Emphasis on tourism planning issues. (Same as LES 320.)

321 Cartography (3:1:6). The science of cartography with an emphasis on the use of maps as descriptive and analytical tools. Laboratory work introduces computer mapping, compilation, design, and symbolization.

322 Research Methods in Geography (3:3). Use of the scientific method, data collection, spatial analysis, and technical writing. Development of fundamental research and quantitative skills in geography.

323 Remote Sensing (3:3). Acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of digital and photographic imagery. Emphasis on use of satellite and aircraft imagery for classification and monitoring of the earth's physical and cultural landscape.

330 Elements of Hydrology (3:3). Pr. 103 or 311 or 314, or consent of instructor. Introduction to the origin, properties, occurrence, circulation of the waters of the earth, including the application of hydrologic techniques for the evaluation of regional water budgets and problems relating to the conservation of water resources.

338 Regions of Latin America (3:3). Geographic distinctiveness of Latin American regions, with an emphasis upon the physical foundation, bases of past development, and recent transformation. Major consideration given to Mexico/Central America, Peru/Bolivia, and Brazil.

344 Geography of the United States and Canada (3:3). Study of the human and physical characteristics of the United States and Canada, with emphasis on the former. [SB, CSB].

491 Current Topics in Population (3:3). May be repeated for credit when topic varies.Multidisciplinary seminar dealing with major topics concerned with national and international issues. (Same as SOC 491.) (Not offered every year.)

493 Honors Work (3-6). See prerequisites under Honors Program, XXX 493 (p. 379).

For Advanced Undergraduates

and Graduate Students

502 Urban Planning (3:3). Pr. 302 or consent of instructor. Experiences in planning and primary concepts and procedures utilized by planners in city and local government agencies for improving the quality of the urban environment.

521 Advanced Cartography (3:3). Pr. 321 or consent of instructor. Introduction to computer cartography and advanced photographic methods for map production. Design, production, and evaluation of computer and photographically generated maps.

522 Seminar in Population and Urban Studies (3:3). Pr. consent of instructor. Advanced study of population processes and urban concepts from an interdisciplinary viewpoint. Emphasis on accessing and interpreting data from the U.S. census and other sources. (Same as SOC 522.)

523 Geographic Information Systems (3:3). Pr. 321 or consent of instructor. Development and application of geographic information systems. Emphasis on spatial data structures and their relationship to the analytic processes of geography and planning.

533 Industrial Development: State and Local (3:3). Theories of industrial location; techniques to measure impact of industry on communities; policy and institutional issues related to state and local industrial development.

560 Seminar in Regional Geography (3:3). Pr. 338 or 344. Smaller regions within Latin America, the United States, and Europe as case studies of regionalism and the regional method in geography. (Not offered every year.)

570 Applied Field Methods in Physical Geography (3:1:6). Pr. 103 or 314, or consent of instructor. - May be repeated as area of world visited changes. Application of methods in physical geography. Topics include surveying, stream measurement, dendrochronology, and geomorphological mapping. Extended field trip required. (SU)

590, 591 Special Problems in Geography (3), (3). Pr. consent of faculty member with whom student wishes to work and at least 3 hours of previous work in geography. Opportunity for advanced students to undertake independent study of field research of special interest.

For Graduate Students Only

601 Advanced Research Methods (3:3).

602 Regional Planning (3:3).

605 Environmental Studies Seminar (3:3). (Formerly GEO 505)

612 Natural Resource Geography (3:3).

623 Seminar in Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (3:3).

690 Research Problems in Applied Geography (3).

695 Internship (3).

699 Thesis (3).

800 Graduate Registration (0).


Contact: University Registrar's Office
Registrar, UNCG, PO Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170 (336) 334-5946

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