Geography has several traditions of study. Three of the most signiﬁcant are the study of relationships between humans and environment (human-environment interaction), the study of places (their characteristics and structure), and the study of spatial organization (the way people use and organize space on earth, and the distribution of natural phenomena on the earth’s surface). All three traditions focus on understanding distributions of human and natural phenomena at global, regional and local scales, by building knowledge regarding the phenomena under investigation (for examples, cities, watersheds, business/industry location, habitats, cultural patterns, transportation, land use, resource management, the built environment, and energy production and use) and applying relevant methods and technologies (including geographic information systems (GIS), small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), remote sensing, global positioning systems (GPS) and geovisualization) to analyze them. The Geography program is organized into three specializations to allow students to build knowledge and skills to pursue their interests and gain employment: Environment/Energy, Geospatial Information Science & Technology, and Human Geography.
The Environment/Energy Specialization prepares students for careers in environmental ﬁelds, energy industries, or graduate study. Students who elect this specialization acquire knowledge of the physical and human processes that shape the environment, strategies/techniques for analyzing the environment, regulatory and compliance regimes for energy industries at the federal and state levels, mitigation strategies for environmental problems, and conceptual and technical aspects of geospatial techniques implemented in environmental and energy resource analyses and applications. The knowledge and skills acquired in this specialization prepare students to analyze, manage, and understand land resources, water resources, energy resources and habitats using industry-standard methods and technology. Students mastering the environmental knowledge and spatial techniques in this specialization will be well prepared to obtain employment as environmental analysts/scientists, energy industry spatial analysts/ environmental compliance specialists, environmental managers, or environmental engineering specialists.
Geospatial Information Science and Technology Specialization
The Geospatial Information Science and Technology Specialization provides preparation for employment as geographic information systems (GIS) analysts and specialists, remote-sensing specialists, geospatial techniques specialists (including GPS and sUAS), cartographers, and geospatial intelligence analysts. Students are exposed to core geospatial information science concepts (GISc) that underlie emerging and fast-changing geospatial hardware, software, and infrastructure in our society such as geographic information systems (GIS), global-positioning systems (GPS), remote sensing, small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS or drones), and mobile spatial technologies, as well as opportunities to apply these concepts. The curriculum for this specialization is referenced to competencies identiﬁed in the U.S. Department of Labor Geospatial Competency Model, as well as the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) Geographic Information Science and Technology Body of Knowledge. Students completing the Geospatial Information Science and Technology Specialization will be well prepared to be employed in the rapidly-growing geospatial ﬁelds as GIS, remote sensing, and geointelligence professionals.
Human Geography Specialization
The Human Geography Specialization provides a broad framework of ideas and theories regarding the spatial organization of human phenomena (for example cities, business/industry location, cultural patterns, transportation, economic patterns, land use, the built environment) in addition to coursework in industry standard location analysis techniques. The common thread through the course oﬀerings in this specialization is the focus on understanding human-created geographic patterns on the earth’s surface, and the methods which can be used to document and analyze these patterns. The knowledge base acquired in this specialization prepares students to understand and analyze urban development, business/industry location, cultural patterns, transportation accessibility, and economic development patterns. Students mastering the human geographic knowledge and analysis techniques in this specialization will be well prepared to obtain employment as location analysts, economic development professionals, demographic analysts, research analysts, or to gain admission to graduate programs.