Geography: Professional (BS)

The Geography Professional BS degree differs from the Geography BS degree because it is longer (48 major credit hours as opposed to 32) and allows students to pursue a more specialized program of study rather than completing a minor in another discipline.  Those opting for the Professional degree can choose additional upper-division Geography electives in content areas of interest that support their career goals.  For instance, students in the Geography Professional BS program can choose to specialize in geospatial technologies by taking their additional elective credits in GIS/GPS/Remote Sensing courses.  This also enables Geography Professional BS majors to earn simultaneously a GIS Certificate when the additional coursework is part of the certificate program. 

Program Requirements

Major Common Core

An introduction to the science of understanding earth's physical environment, with focus on the processes that drive fundamental earth systems. Includes investigation of natural hazards, earth-sun relationships, climate and climate change, weather, flora and fauna, soil, landforms, and surfaces processes driven by rivers, glaciers, wind, rock decay, gravity. North American and world-wide examples are used to demonstrate spatial distribution and interrelationships. Some coverage of human-environmental relations.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-03, GE-10

Cultural aspects of interactions between people and their environment focusing 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.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-05, GE-08

Diverse Cultures: Purple

Overview of geographic work, interests, and research by guest speakers.

Prerequisites: none

Major Restricted Electives

Cultural-Systematic - Choose 3 Credit(s). GEOG 409 Selected Topics with the title Geography of Health, Population Geography or Human Migration may be substituted for Cultural-Systematic elective with departmental permission.

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.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-10

Examines national and international economic geographical order and trade activities. Topics include economic development, competition, international trade, and impacts on the environment and people.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

Physical - Choose 3 - 4 Credit(s).

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.

Prerequisites: none

An examination of the underlying causes of natural disasters occurring over the globe. Focus will be primarily upon weather and climate related disasters. Students will also be exposed to concepts of plate tectonics and how these affect the distribution of earthquakes and volcanism over the planet.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-02, GE-10

This course will cover 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.

Prerequisites: none

The characteristics of particular climates and understanding the factors that control their spatial distribution.

Prerequisites: none

This course examines the dynamic nature of soils including the processes that control formation and degradation, anthropogenic impacts, spatial distribution across landscapes, and links among soils and other components of the earth system. A combination of lectures and hands-on exercises in field and laboratory settings are utilized to explore the complex interactions between soils and landscapes.

Prerequisites: none

Meteorological principles and theory are applied to the analysis and interpretation of weather data in order to better understand the structure and evolution of synoptic-scale weather systems. Basic knowledge of mathematics will be assumed.

Prerequisites: GEOG 217 

This course examines basic concepts and components of soils, factors that influence formation and degradation, soil as a natural resource for ecosystems and societies, and the importance of soil conservation to restore functions that reduce erosion, improve water quality and quantity, mitigate climate change, enhance biodiversity, and increase agricultural productivity to feed an expanding population. Students will gain hands-on experience in field and laboratory settings to assess soil quality and quantity, investigate site-specific and landscape-scale impacts to soils, and develop management strategies to protect and improve soils in urban and agricultural systems.

Prerequisites: none

This course 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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

An in-depth investigation into fluvial systems including sediment transport, sediment 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 measurements) of fluvial systems, and effects of anthropogenic modification and use of fluvial systems. Registration with completed prereqs or instructor consent.

Prerequisites: Either Geog 101 or Geol 121 and Geog 315 or 415 are recommended. Or instructor consent.

An interdisciplinary investigation into Quaternary environmental/climatic change and the impact of change on the behavior and evolution of humans. This course has three segments: 1) An examination of natural systems responsible for climatic change, the impact climatic fluctuations have on Earth systems, timing of Quaternary changes, evidence of climatic/environmental change from spatially distant, climatically distinct environments; 2) Investigation into worldwide evidence of human evolution, global dispersion, and adaptation to environmental systems; 3) Introduction into various methodological approaches in Quaternary archeologic, geomorphic, and climatic studies. Focus is on proxy records used for climate/environmental reconstruction, archeologic/geomorphic field methods, geochronologic dating methods.

Prerequisites: Either GEOG 101 or ANTH 210; We strongly encourage students to take GEOG 315 before enrolling. Geol 121 can be substituted for GEOG 101 with instructor permission.

Survey of natural resources emphasizing energy, minerals, soils, fisheries, and water resources. Also addresses timber, wetlands, and wildlife on public and private lands.

Prerequisites: none

Regional - Choose 3 Credit(s). GEOG 409 Selected Topics: Geography of South Asia may be substituted for Regional elective with departmental permission.

Students will develop a knowledge of the similarities and contrasts in regional landscapes and cultures of the United States.

Prerequisites: none

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

Prerequisites: none

Diverse Cultures: Purple

The course involves the natural and human environments of Minnesota. The physical resources, population history, and current issues are emphasized.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

Capstone Experience - Choose 1 - 4 Credit(s).

Various excursions to study physical and cultural landscapes inside and outside of Minnesota.

Prerequisites: none

Topics vary in physical, cultural, economic, political, and historical geography, as well as environmental conservation and geographic techniques.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: Consent 

Techniques - Choose 3 - 4 Credit(s).

This gateway course introduces students to cutting-edge technologies associated with Geographic Information Science (GISc). Instruction is provided on numerous geographic data collection methods, digital mapping to understand human-environment interactions, terrain mapping for topographical modeling, geospatial data visualization to understand complex processes, geoanalytics to strengthen geospatial thinking, and the challenges of spatio-temporal data. Foundational knowledge is introduced mostly through lectures but there will be plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning and practice. This prepares students for higher-level courses on Cartography, Geographic Information System (GIS), Remote Sensing (RS), and the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) offered by the Department of Geography.

Prerequisites: none

This is a hands-on, exercise-based GIS for Law Enforcement course analyzing the contemporary realities of the spatial and geographic aspects of crime. Students 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.

Prerequisites: none

The lecture material addresses map projections, technology changes in production, 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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

Four major sets of ideas will be covered: (1) Introduction to Spatial Organization, (2) Network Analysis, (3) Allocation Methods, and (4) Urban Transportation. The emphasis is on these approaches to understanding the geography of transport by description, explanation, and normative or optimal methods.

Prerequisites: none

This course covers the basic strategies for field mapping using data acquired from global positioning systems (GPS).

Prerequisites: GEOG 373 or equivalent 

Comprehensive examination of GIS for manipulation and analysis of spatially-referenced data, including data structure and organization, input and output problems, data management, and strategies for analytical work.

Prerequisites: GEOG 373 

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 application of remote sensing to practical problems, and hands-on experience for image processing and analysis.

Prerequisites: none

Descriptive statistics, probability, hypothesis testing, introduction to non-parametric statistics, correlation, introduction to regression analysis, spatial statistics, and principles of data representation in graphs and tables.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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 a course or professional-level experience.

Prerequisites: Prerequisite: GEOG 373, or 473/573, or permission of instructor.

This course teaches students to reconstruct past landscapes and identify environmental hazards related to historical land use using GIS and remote sensing software. Applications include the identification of hazardous waste sites, wetland drainage, bluff erosion and other environmental hazards relevant to local history research, environmental consulting, archaeology, resource management, real estate, planning and civil engineering. Students will learn to use and interpret historical air photos and maps, digital imagery and LiDAR in problem-solving contexts and to report research findings in effective written, graphic and verbal presentation formats used by government agencies and private consulting firms.

Prerequisites: GEOG 373

This course provides students as well as natural resource professionals the opportunity to develop knowledge of natural resources management based on GIS science. Detailed examples and discussions of GIS operations and analyses associated with managing natural resources are provided. Weekly labs and the final project will focus on various GIS applications in this field. For example, integrating GIS and remote sensing techniques for sustainable land development, conservation biology, forest, water, wetland, wildlife, and agriculture management. Students will also learn how to combine GIS concepts with GIS software skills and apply them to real-world natural resources management tasks.

Prerequisites: GEOG 373

In this course, instruction is provided on foundational knowledge related to mapping and analysis of geospatial data using both open source and enterprise level Web Mapping and Web GIS platforms. Students will learn how to use HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Google Maps API, ArcGIS Online, and ArcGIS API for JavaScript to store, retrieve, manage, analyze, and display geographical information. In addition, students will be introduced to the concepts of mobile GIS technologies and Web based 3D mapping. Web mapping and Web GIS theories and techniques are introduced through a combination of lectures, hands-on exercises, reading materials, and individual or team projects.

Prerequisites: none

This is an introductory course of GIS programming. It consists of lecture and laboratory components covering fundamentals of GIS programming concepts and techniques, as well as hands-on practice with Model builder and Python supported by ESRI'S ArcGIS platforms.

Prerequisites: none

Major Unrestricted Electives

Additional Electives - Choose 22 - 27 Credit(s). Total credits in major must equal or exceed 48. Take number of credits needed to reach 48. Up to 6 elective credits may be taken outside of Geography with departmental permission.

Prerequisites: none

Minor

No minor is required.