All of Valpo’s geography majors combine dynamic classroom instruction with field and professional experience to prepare students for a wide variety of careers. The program emphasizes practical experience through field trips, field courses, internships, and opportunities to work with faculty on original research.
- The B.A. degree integrates approaches from the social sciences and humanities with the natural sciences and technical skills. Students may choose to focus their studies by pursuing one of four concentrations.
- The B.S. degree focuses on the interplay between the earth and atmospheric sciences through field techniques, data and spatial analysis, cartographic skills, and research tools.
In the Field
In field courses, students use the environment as their classroom: they may learn about glacial processes while hiking on a glacier in Alaska or about natural hazards by visiting volcanoes in Hawaii. Nearby sites include Indiana Dunes National Park, where physical geography students learn about dune formation and biodiversity, and the nearby city of Chicago, a rich resource for students of urban geography and planning.
Geography Degree Programs
The 32-credit B.A. in geography prepares students to think spatially and to analyze social, economic, political, and historical aspects of global, regional, and local spaces. Four concentrations are available.
The 48-credit B.A. in geography education, along with a complementary major in secondary education, prepares students to teach high school social studies.
The 40-credit B.S. in geography offers state-of-the-art skills in field observations, data and spatial analysis, cartography, and scientific research.
The major in meteorology, requiring a minimum of 32 meteorology credits, leads to a bachelor of science. The required major courses prepare every student in the foundations of atmospheric science. Required math and physics courses provide the needed tools to understand upper-level meteorology concepts. Our elective courses reflect the diverse nature of the science and enrich each student’s academic experience in preparation for post-graduate careers.
Because the science of meteorology draws heavily on the fields of mathematics, physics, computer science, and chemistry, students should possess a strong mathematics and science background.
The meteorology degree requirements meet the American Meteorological Society guidelines for a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric science and the federal civil service requirements for a meteorologist, i.e., for opportunities within the National Weather Service.
With additional meteorology credits totaling at least 40, but no more than 60 hours, this degree can serve as a standalone major with no second major or minor. Students who opt for this science major may also choose one of the following:
- A disciplinary science minor or second major (qualifying disciplines include astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, psychology, and physics. Note that students opting for a science minor or second major to complete this B.S. degree must select a program from outside the geography and meteorology department);
- A second major in a non-science discipline;
- The 32-credit complementary major in environmental science; OR
- A minor in fundamentals of business, business administration, applied statistics, engineering, or geographic information systems.
In the Field
Extracurricular experiences constitute important components of the meteorology program at Valparaiso University. For example, the popular 11-day convective field study to observe severe storm processes in the Great Plains are vital educational experiences for meteorology students. Thanks to excellent relationships with the National Weather Service and other agencies, students have multiple opportunities for internships and paid cooperative education placements. Valpo meteorology students have also served internships at several regional broadcast stations and many work for the campus radio and cable television stations.
In order to remain in the major, students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.30 in all Valparaiso University meteorology courses and in those mathematics and physics courses required for meteorology. Students will be reviewed initially at the end of their second semester on campus and each academic year thereafter.
Geography and meteorology faculty and courses play important roles in several interdisciplinary programs at Valpo. The department is represented in these programs
- American Studies
- Chinese and Japanese Studies
- Environmental Science
- Urban Studies