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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Geography BA/BS, Professional BA/BS

Page address:

Undergraduate Geography Majors:

College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
Department of Geography
206 Morris Hall • 507-389-2617

Chair: Donald A. Friend
Faculty: Woo Jang, Phillip Larson, Jose Javier Lopez, Cynthia A. Miller, Martin D. Mitchell, Rama Mohapatra, Ginger Schmid, Forrest Wilkerson, Fei Yuan


Degree completion = 120 credits

Major Common Core
GEOG  101     Introductory Physical Geography (3)
GEOG  103     Introductory Cultural Geography (3)
GEOG  340     United States (3)
GEOG  370     Cartographic Techniques (4)
GEOG  401     Colloquium (1)

Major Restricted Electives
Cultural-Systematic (choose 3 credits)
GEOG  425 Economic Geography (3)
GEOG  435 Urban Geography (3)
GEOG  436 Rural Geography (3)
GEOG  437 Political Geography (3)
GEOG  438 Social Geography (3)

(choose 3 credits)
GEOG  217 Weather (4)
GEOG  313 Natural Disasters (4)
GEOG  315 Geomorphology (3)
GEOG  410 Climatic Environments (3)
GEOG  414 Biogeography (3)
GEOG  420 Conservation of Natural Resources (3)

Other possible Physical Electives that can be substituted: GEOG 411: Soils Geomorphology (3), GEOG 412: Advanced Weather (4), GEOG 415: Earth Surface Processes (4), GEOG 416: Fluvial Geomorphology and Hydrology (4)

Foreign Regional(choose 3 credits)
GEOG  445   Latin America (3)
GEOG  446   Canada (3)
GEOG  450   Europe (3)
GEOG  454   Russian Realm (3)
GEOG  456   Africa (3)
GEOG  458   Geography of East Asia (3)

Capstone Experience (choose 1-4 credits) GEOG  440                 Field Studies (1-4)
GEOG  480     Seminar (1-4) GEOG  491    Senior Paper (1-4) GEOG  497   Internship (1-10)

Major Unrestricted Electives
Additional Electives (choose 1-8 credits)
Total credits in major must equal or exceed 32. Take number of credits needed to reach 32.

GEOG 200 - GEOG 499

Other Graduation Requirements
Required for Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree ONLY: Language (8 credits)

Required Minor. Yes. Any.

Degree completion = 120 credits

Major Common Core
GEOG  101     Introductory Physical Geography (3)
GEOG  103     Introductory Cultural Geography (3)
GEOG  340     United States (3)
GEOG  370     Cartographic Techniques (4)
GEOG  401     Colloquium (1)

Major Restricted Electives

(choose 3 credits)
GEOG  425       Economic Geography (3)
GEOG  435       Urban Geography (3)
GEOG  436       Rural Geography (3)
GEOG  437       Political Geography (3)
GEOG  438       Social Geography (3)

(choose 3 credits)
GEOG  217     Weather (4)
GEOG  313     Natural Disasters (4)
GEOG  315     Geomorphology (3)
GEOG  410     Climatic Environments (3)
GEOG  414     Biogeography (3)
GEOG 420 Conservation of Natural Resources (3)

Other possible Physical Electives that can be substituted: GEOG 411: Soils Geomorphology (3), GEOG 412: Advanced Weather (4), GEOG 415: Earth Surface Processes (4), GEOG 416: Fluvial Geomorphology and Hydrology (4)

Foreign Regional
(choose 3 credits)

GEOG  445     Latin America (3)
GEOG  446     Canada (3)
GEOG  450     Europe (3)
GEOG  454     Russian Realm (3)
GEOG  456     Africa (3)
GEOG  456     Africa (3)

Capstone Experience (choose 1-4 credits)

GEOG  440    Field Studies (1-4)
GEOG  480    Seminar (1-4)
GEOG  491    Senior Paper (1-4)
GEOG  497    Internship (1-10)

Major Unrestricted Electives
Additional Electives (choose 15-24 credits)
Total credits in major must equal or exceed 48. Up to 6 elective credits may be taken outside Geography with departmental permission.
GEOG 200- GEOG 499

Other Graduation Requirements
Required for Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree ONLY: Language (8 credits)



GEOG 100 (3) Elements of Geography
An introduction to Geography and its themes of study. The course will familiarize students with where places are located in the world together with their cultural and physical features. Students will be tasked to think critically and diversely about various cultures and features of the modern world.
Fall, Spring
GE-8, GE-10
Diverse Cultures - Purple

GEOG 101 (3) Introductory Physical Geography
Survey of the processes and features of the earth’s physical environment, earth-sun relationships, weather, climate, natural vegetation, soil, and landforms. Examines their interrelations and spatial distribution using North America and world-wide examples. Some coverage of human-environmental relations.
Fall, Spring
GE-3, GE-10

GEOG 103 (3) Introductory Cultural Geography
Cultural aspects of interactions between people and their environment focus- ing on spatial patterns of population, agriculture, politics, language, religion, industrialization, and urbanization. Emphasis is placed on the processes that create the cultural landscape and on management of land and natural resources. Fall, Spring
GE-5, GE-8
Diverse Cultures - Purple

GEOG 210W (3) Landscapes and Places
Introduction to the concepts of landscape and place in a variety of geographical writings.  Emphasizes works with strong regional overtones.  The interaction between the physical and cultural environments is paramount. Field observation and integrating imagery into original student writing documents is also addressed. WI, GE-10

GEOG 217 (4) Weather
An examination of the processes involved in weather formation. Students will be introduced to weather map analysis, simple forecasting and observational techniques, and weather instruments. Includes Weather laboratory work.
Fall, Spring

GEOG 299 (1-3) Individual Study
An assignment that is tailored to individual needs of a student. The instructor and the student arrange the type of project for the student, such as a term paper, readings, mapping, field investigation, or computer cartography.
Pre: Consent
Fall, Spring

An examination of the underlying causes of natural disasters occurring over the globe.

GEOG 315 (3) Geomorphology
Covers elements of the structure of the earth and the variety of landforms found on the earth’s surface, with emphasis upon the processes, both past and present, that act upon the surface to create the landforms now visible. Local field trips. Fall

GEOG 340 (3) United States
Students will develop a knowledge of the similarities and contrasts in regional landscapes and cultures of the United States.
Fall, Spring

GEOG 341 (3) World Regional Geography
Differences and similarities in the cultural and natural environments by the world’s major regions.  Useful survey of world geography for educators and international relations students.
Fall, Spring
Diverse Cultures - Purple

GEOG 342 (3) Geography of Minnesota
The course involves the natural and human environments of Minnesota. The physical resources, population history, and current issues are emphasized. Spring

GEOG 352 (3) GIS for Crime Analysis
This is a hands-on, exercise-based GIS for Law Enforcement course analyzing the contemporary realities of the spatial and geographic aspects of crime. Stu- dents acquire practical tools necessary to conduct effective mapping and spatial analyses of crime using GIS software. Lab activities are designed to benefit those working with public safety and emergency response systems.
Fall (Odd Years)

GEOG 370 (4) Cartographic Techniques
The lecture material addresses map projections, technology changes in produc- tion, basic analysis and depiction of quantitative point, line and areal data. Also, the evaluation of maps and the history of cartography from a European, Oriental, and American Indian perspective is discussed. All maps are drawn using computer assistance.
Fall, Spring

GEOG 373 (4) Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
The course will be an introduction to the analysis of spatial data using the concept of a geographic information system (GIS). Content of the course will be, to a great extent, based on the NCGIA core curriculum with assignments tailored to the data and software available within the department such as ArcGIS.
Fall, Spring

GEOG 401 (1) Colloquium
Overview of geographic work, interests, and research by guest speakers. Fall

GEOG 409 (1-4) Selected Topics
The instructor will develop a specific course on a geographic topic, such as soils, landforms, water resources, energy, housing, population geography, or some other topic for the class.
Fall, Spring

GEOG 410 (3) Climatic Environments
The characteristics of particular climates and understanding the factors that control their spatial distribution.
Pre: GEOG 101, or consent

GEOG 411 (3) Soils Geomorphology
This course examines soils and their role in interpreting the history of landform development. Soils chronicle the environment in which they have formed, and reflect the environment they currently support. Understanding their formation and subsequent distribution is essential to good management practices. Appli- cations include the analysis of soil data bases and assimilation of field derived soil profile data.
Fall, Spring (On-Demand), Summer (On-Demand)

GEOG 412 (4) Advanced Weather
Meteorological principles and theory are applied to the analysis and interpretation of weather data in order to better understand the structure and evolution of syn- optic-scale weather systems. Basic knowledge of mathematics will be assumed. Pre: GEOG 217

GEOG 414 (3) Biogeography
Analyzes the distribution and concentration of plants and animals throughout the world. Emphasis is placed on the role of evolution, tectonics, and physical barriers to the distribution and migration of species. Special emphasis is placed on the role of humans in the modern redistribution of species.

GEOG 415 (4) Earth Surface Processes
This course examines the natural processes that operate on our planet and shape the landscape presently. This will be done through a focus on applied exercises, measurements and direct/indirect observations. Through applied projects students will have an understanding of how these processes interact within a variety of Earth Systems.
Fall (On-Demand), Spring (On-Demand), Summer

GEOG 416 (4) Fluvial Geomorphology and Hydrology
An in-depth investigation into fluvial systems including sediment transport, sedi- ment budget analysis, channel geometry/morphology, drainage basin analysis, geomorphic evolution of fluvial landscapes, hydrology (i.e., runoff generation and channel formation, storm hydrograph and flood analysis, discharge measure- ments) of fluvial systems, and effects of anthropogenic modification and use of fluvial systems.
Fall, Spring (On-Demand)

GEOG 420 (3) Conservation of Natural Resources
Survey of natural resources emphasizing energy, minerals, soils, fisheries, and water resources. Also addresses timber, wetlands, and wildlife on public and private lands.

GEOG 425 (3) Economic Geography
Examines national and international economic geographical order and trade activities.  Topics include economic development, competition, international trade, and impacts on the environment and people.

GEOG 435 (3) Urban Geography
Hypotheses and generalization related to urban functions, structure, land use, distribution, growth, and sometimes decline. Emphasis will be mostly on the United States’ urban places.

GEOG 436 (3) Rural Geography
Introduction to theoretical frameworks for analyzing processes of economic, environmental, and social change in rural regions. Includes basic and advanced geographical principles and techniques for studying non-urban areas. Designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary for carrying out research projects on rural environments.

GEOG 437 (3) Political Geography
Spatial problems and structure of governments, focusing on countries of the world and their geographic internal order. Covers such topics as boundary problems, strategic locations, and geopolitical explanations of international and internal relations and conflicts.

GEOG 438 (3) Social Geography
Concepts and theories concerning global and national social problems and the significance of geographic analytic methods for social research. Study of factors related to variations in regional standards of living.

GEOG 439 (4) Transportation Modeling & GIS
Four major sets of ideas will be covered: Introduction to Spatial Organization, Network Analysis, Allocation Methods, and Urban Transportation. The emphasis is on these approaches to understanding the geography of transport by descrip- tion, explanation, and normative or optimal methods.

GEOG 440 (1-4) Field Studies
Various excursions to study physical and cultural landscapes inside and outside of Minnesota.

GEOG 445 (3) Latin America
Regional geography covering the ecological and human environment of Middle and South America, including the Caribbean. Students can pick specific topics to study in detail. The geographic relations between the USA and Latin America are also covered. Fall

GEOG 446 (3) Canada
Students will develop a knowledge of the environmental, cultural, historical, and economic geographies of Canada. Readings of bestselling fiction and scholarly works written by Canadians will provide a Canadian perspective on the nation’s past, present, and future.

GEOG 450 (3) Europe
Cultural, environmental, and economic background of Europe west of Russia and Ukraine. Following a general geographic survey, the course will cover major regions and countries.

GEOG 454 (3) Russian Realm
Survey of the area of Russia and her neighbors. Examines regional patterns of the physical environment, natural resources, population distribution, cities, and economic activity. Relates people to the land.

GEOG 456 (3) Africa
A survey of the physical and cultural resources and economic development of the continent with emphasis on current issues. Topics discussed will focus on Africa south of the Sahara.

GEOG 458 (3) Geography of East Asia
Examines the physical and human environments of eastern Asia, mainly China, Korea and Japan. The class will be assisted by visual sources and hands-on use of primary documents.

GEOG 464 (4) Teaching Earth Science
An applied course tailored to meet practical needs of a teacher, related to cur- riculum development and earth science lab equipment and supplies.

GEOG 471 (4) Digital Field Mapping with GPS
This course covers the basic strategies for field mapping using data acquired from global positioning systems (GPS).
Pre:  GEOG 373 or equivalent

GEOG 473 (4) Intermediate GIS
Comprehensive examination of computer-assisted systems for manipulation and analysis of spatially-referenced data, including data structure and organization, input and output problems, data management, and strategies for analytical work. Pre: GEOG 373

GEOG 474 (4) Introduction to Remote Sensing
This is an introductory course on theories and techniques of remote sensing. Focus will be placed on providing students with a general overview of the ap- plication of remote sensing to practical problems, and hands-on experience for image processing and analysis.

GEOG 475 (4) Applied Remote Sensing & GIS
This course provides students the opportunity to develop further knowledge of remote sensing. Emphasis will be placed on introducing advanced theories and techniques for digital image processing and helping students obtain independent research skills using remote sensing data.
Pre: GEOG 373, GEOG 474

GEOG 476 (3) Spatial Statistics
Descriptive statistics, probability, hypothesis testing, introduction to non-para- metric statistics, correlation, introduction to regression analysis, spatial statistics, and principles of data representation in graphs and tables.

GEOG 477 (1-3) Topics in Techniques
This offering will include a variety of selected technical topics in geography, including but not necessarily limited to manual cartographic drafting and negative scribing, photomechanical techniques in production cartography, aerial photo interpretation, and advanced coverage of digital analysis of satellite-derived remote sensor data and global positioning systems.
Pre: Consent

GEOG 478 (3) Spatial Analysis with GIS
Introduction to theoretical frameworks for spatial analysis and geographic quantitative methods.  Includes basic and advanced geographic principles and techniques for studying spatial patterns.  Designed to equip students with the skills necessary to carry out research projects that demand advanced statistics.

GEOG 479 (1-4) GIS Practicum
This offering will include supervised project work in raster-based and/or vector- based GIS, using problems and data drawn from local or regional agencies or other professional-level organizations with whom the Geography Department maintains a relationship. Students must have completed one of the prerequisite courses, or professional-level experience.
Pre: GEOG 373 or GEOG 473, or consent

GEOG 480 (1-4) Seminar
Topics vary in physical, cultural, economic, political, and historical geography, as well as environmental conservation and geographic techniques.
Pre: GEOG 373

GEOG 491 (1-4) Senior Paper
Fall, Spring

GEOG 497 (1-10) Internship
An applied work and learning experience. The student will provide a written internship report on professional practicum and the work supervisor will be consulted on how much the student has accomplished.
Pre: Consent
On Demand


New/Modified Courses Under Construction:
GEOG 417: Quatnerary Environments (4) (cross-listed with Anthropology 417) - This course will be a interdisciplinary endevour into the last 2.6 million years of Earth's history. We will examine the impacts of climatic variability on geomorphology, archeology, biology and more. Students will learn about current theories regarding how environments in the Quaternary changed and will learn about the methods archeologists, paleoclimatologists and geomorphologists use to reconstruct those past changes. This course will be co-taught be instructors in Geography and Anthropology to understand both natural system change and the impacts those changes had on humanity.

GEOG 313: Natural Disasters (4) - This course is currently being restructured as a applied evaluation of the processes in our natural world that can lead to catastrophic disasters. This will include incorporating understanding of hazards like Tsunami, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Landslides, Earth Fissures, Ground Subsidence, and much more, in to real world scenarios where disaster could be imminent. Students will then contemplate uncertianty in data and hazard prediction and evaluate hazard potential in different geographic locations to determine risk.