Learn by Doing

The geography major at Valparaiso University emphasizes practical experience through field trips, field courses, internships, and opportunities to work with faculty on original research.

Students who take physical geography courses regularly visit the nearby Indiana Dunes National Park to learn about the processes that sculpt the dunes. They also learn about the historical changes to the shoreline, and the mechanisms that support this system. They visit local rivers and streams to learn field data sampling methods, as well as laboratory based analysis, and geospatial computing. 

Urban geography and planning students take a short train ride into Chicago to experience the dynamism of the downtown Loop and to observe everyday life in its diverse neighborhoods.

In field courses, students use the environment as their classroom and learn about various physical environments, biological diversity, as well as the human activities that cause profound change. Most geography students complete internships with national parks, urban planning agencies, local government agencies, environmental organizations, nonprofit organizations, or private businesses. They may also pursue REUs (NSF funded Research Experience for Undergraduates) in the summer at other universities. Many geography students also complete one of Valpo’s Study Abroad programs or the Chicago urban studies program.