Geography today is probably not what you think. Geography is a high-tech discipline which examines the science of place and space on the earth. Geographers look at human and physical elements on the earth and wonder why they are located where they are, how they differ from place to place, and how humans interact with and shape the natural world. There are two main branches of geography: physical geography and human geography. Physical geographers study the natural systems of the earth and how they impact, and are impacted by, humans. Human geographers examine the spatial expressions of people. A third and very important area in geography is Geographic Information Science (GISc). GISc comprises a series of tools and techniques, such as geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, global positioning systems (GPS), and cartography. These tools and techniques are used by physical and human geographers to study and understand the complex spatial patterns of the earth.
Geography is the study of place, or space, in the sense that history is the study of time. A primary tool of the geographer is the map, whether at the local scale of a shopping center market or at the global scale of climatic change. The constantly changing physical and human landscapes on the Earth’s surface challenge the geographer to provide continuing interpretations of all parts of the world from a spatial point of view.
Geography is both a natural science and a social science as it examines people and their environment and serves as a bridge between the physical and cultural worlds. Individual geographers tend to emphasize different aspects of the spatial continuum. Some specialize in physical geography by devoting their studies to the natural environment, including the analysis of climate, vegetation, soils and landforms. Others concentrate on the spatial associations of the human environment that result from the political, social and economic activities of people. While some geographers focus their studies at home, others engage in the study of foreign lands. Geography is currently experiencing rapid growth in data collection, resulting in increased use of data-processing techniques such as statistical analysis, aerial photograph interpretation, remote sensing, computer mapping and geographic information systems (GIS).
The department also offers a liberal arts major with an environmental emphasis which examines the natural physical landscape as well as human-environment interaction. A program certificate in cartography and geographic information systems is available to geography majors and to students in other programs.
- Environmental officer
- Park ranger
- Hazardous waste manager
- GIS specialist
- Remote sensing analyst
- Urban and community planner
- Transportation planner
- Business location analyst
- Market researcher
- Real estate agent
- Foreign area specialist
- Travel agent
- Gamma Theta Upsilon, geography student honor society
- Geography Club
- Microcomputer teaching labs with sophisticated GIS and computer mapping software including ArcView, ArcInfo, ERDAS and others
- Host of the Geographic Alliance of Iowa, providing services for geographic education with a focus on the K-12 level
- Physical geography, soils analysis and cartography laboratories
SCHOLARSHIPS & AWARDS:
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Scholarships are available to incoming freshmen in half to full in-state tuition amounts. Applicants must complete a test and interview on campus. Each year the Department of Geography awards the Janice Clark Memorial Scholarship to transfer or current geography students.
This school offers programs in:
Last updated September 28, 2017