2023-2024 Catalog 
    Mar 03, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog

Geography Major

Professor Krygier
Associate Professor Rowley

Geography is a traditional, integrative discipline focused on the intersection of the human and natural worlds. Geography examines spatial and temporal patterns of the Earth’s surface and humankind’s transformation of, impacts on, and modification of those environments. Geography traces cultural, social, political and economic relationships in a spatial context, and seeks innovative ways to analyze and represent the diverse phenomena it studies. The Geography major exposes students to the nature of geographic knowledge and the process of geographic inquiry within the four traditional Geography themes:

  • Physical Geography: key physical processes that produce the earth’s diverse natural environments
  • Environmental Geography: human interrelations with the natural environment
  • Human Geography: cultural, social, political and economic organization to geographic space
  • Cartography, GIS, and Remote Sensing: analysis and representation of the three (above) themes

Learning Objectives

Students will learn about the natural and physical processes (e.g., air movement, plate tectonics) that generate environmental patterns (e.g., climate zones, mountain belts). Students will engage in active learning to reinforce theoretical concepts learned in lectures, and be exposed to various data sources and software to better understand, interpret, and provide solutions for contemporary environmental problems. Students will understand and distinguish between human and environmental factors of environmental changes; engage in fieldwork and data collection as well as analyzing and interpreting data; and communicate methods and procedures and findings in both oral and written forms.

Students will be able to understand how political, social, and economic factors relate to the environment, will be able to conceptualize and assess the ethical dimensions of environmental concerns, and will apply conceptual knowledge to practical situations and examples that integrate diverse cultural and geographic perspectives.

Students will be able to explain how different social and cultural positions (including their own) shape how places are valued, experienced and constructed, will be able to draw connections between broader cultural, social, political, and economic structures and geographic spaces across local and global scales, and will gain an understanding of how natural and built environments can influence human well-being and social relations. Students will develop skills in critical cultural analysis through the interpretation of media, objects and landscapes, through qualitative research methods and through community-engaged fieldwork. Students will be able to draw on their analyses to envision alternatives to improve society and the world around them.

Students will be able to understand the conceptualization and collection of data relevant to mapping, GIS and remote sensing (geospatial technologies), will grasp core technical and intellectual aspects of geospatial software analysis, will be able to express the outcomes of analysis in words, speech and media (maps, graphics, etc.). Students will be able to situate geospatial technologies and their use in a broader social context, consider the technologies from a critical perspective, and assess the impacts of geospatial technologies on the human and natural world.

Major Requirements

A minimum of 11.5 Units Majors should be declared by the end of the sophomore year. A 2.0 grade point average is required to declare the major. Students must maintain a 2.0 grade point average in his/her program to remain a major.

Individually Advised Curriculum

All Geography majors and minors will work with the Geography faculty to guide decisions about courses taken and OWU Connection activities. This guidance will help shape a unique academic program tied to each student’s interests, needs, and future goals.

OWU Connection & Related Independent Work

(A combination of 3 experiences and/or units): The Geography program embraces the OWU Connection as the centerpiece of the learning experience for our majors. This includes experiences for formal credit, such as independent credit courses (GEOG 490, 491, 495) and travel learning courses (typically the 0.25 addition), along with non-credit bearing experiences, including the summer science research program (SSRP), theory into practice grant projects, internships, study abroad, research experiences for undergraduates (REU), etc. Majors should consult as early as possible with the Geography faculty for guidance on coherence among these experiences, and integration with their Geography coursework.


Students majoring or minoring in geography are not permitted to take courses required for the major or minor credit no/entry.