Overview

Geography is a diverse discipline that is fundamentally concerned with how people interact with the physical environment. Environmental geography explores how humans impact, manage, and conserve that environment, including its landforms, 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 landform 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. These geographic tools allow 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.

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 Environmental Protection Agency.

Geography Courses

All of the following:
GEO 101: World Human Geography
GEO 104: Geomorphology
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:
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: Introduction to 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

*Up-to-date course descriptions and course prerequisites can be found in the University Catalog.

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 minor in environmental studies.

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Concentrations in Geology

B.A. students in geography may focus their studies in the discipline by electing to pursue one of four concentrations: