Environmental Geography Concentration

An Overview
Geography is a diverse discipline which is fundamentally concerned with how people interact with the physical environment. Environmental geography explores how humans impact, manage, and conserve that environment, including its land forms, water and soil resources, climate, and plant and animal communities. This concentration will introduce you to this geographic tradition through a combination of physical geography, management, and techniques courses.

Physical geography, as it is often called, involves the study of the major land form types of the earth, as well as the fundamental tectonic, volcanic, fluvial, eolian, and glacial processes that produce them. Also included, however, is the study of the living organisms that cover these landforms, the weather and climate that affects them, and the soils that derive from them. The subfields of geomorphology, biogeography, soil science, and climatology, then, comprise physical geography.

Environmental management involves the protection and conservation of the earth's natural resources, including water, air, soil, energy, and wetlands and other ecosystems. Environmental managers are particularly adept at assessing potential environmental impacts of various activities and at dealing with environmental emergency and disaster planning. Work of this nature requires training in the fields of biology and chemistry.

Environmental geographers make abundant use of geographic tools like GIS and remote sensing, using them to assess the health of endangered ecosystems, track wildlife populations, and site hazardous waste facilities. Training in field techniques and statistics further prepare those in environmental geography for future professional opportunities and challenges.

Geography Courses

Both of the following:

  • GEO 101: World Human Geography
  • GEO 104: Geomorphology

Both of the Following:

  • GEO 260: Environmental Conservation
  • GEO 215: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

Four of the following:

  • GEO 365. Biogeography
  • GEO 385: Field Study
  • GEO 404: Advanced Geomorphology
  • GEO 415: Advanced Geographic Information Systems
  • GEO 430: Advanced Remote Sensing
  • GEO 475: Culture, Nature, Landscape
  • GEO 486: Internship in Geography
  • GEO 490: Selected Topics in Geography (where appropriate)
  • GEO 490: Selected Topics in Geography (Political Ecology)

Recommended Courses:

  • GEO 201: Economic Geography
  • GEO 204: National Parks
  • GEO 210: Current Themes in Geography (where appropriate)
  • GEO 225: Digital Cartography and GPS
  • GEO 230: Remote Sensing
  • GEO 285. Natural Hazards
  • GEO 460: Data Analysis
  • GEO 492: Research in Geography.
  • GEO 495: Independent Study

Recommended Complementary Courses

  • CE 332: Hydrology*.
  • CHEM 121: General Chemistry I*
  • CHEM 122: General Chemistry II*
  • BIO 290: Biological Topics (Botany)*
  • BIO 350: Field Biology*
  • BIO 370: Human Environmental Biology*
  • BIO 440: Ecology*
  • ECON 210: Environmental Economics and Policy
  • MET 103: Meteorology
  • MET 215: Climatology*
  • MET 240 Introduction to Climate Change*
  • PHIL 270: Environmental Philosophy and Ethics
  • PSY 355: Environmental Psychology*
  • NS 102: Science of the Indiana Dunes

*See course catalog for prerequisites.

Minors/Second Majors
Minors and/or second majors that complement this concentration include: biology, chemistry, computer science, geology, and meteorology. Of particular interest may be the interdisciplinary environmental studies minor.

Career Fields
This concentration is intended for students interested in graduate work or employment in conservation, environmental impact assessment, land use planning, physical geography, and resource management or with the National Park Service, National Forest Service, or the Environmental Protection Agency.

More Information
For more information on careers in geography and on internships, visit the home page of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) and follow the Careers link.