Attention Freshmen Wildcats, be sure to schedule a Freshmen Appointment with your Academic Advisor.

College of Arts & Sciences

Geography

1

Earth

92%

Employment

$75K

Average Salary

Restart your search

Geographers examine spatial processes - physical, political, social, cultural, environmental, economic - and ask why places have the characteristics they do. Geographers investigate all types of environments, and learn how to make significant contributions to more sustainable environments and more just societies. 

Careers

Grow Your Future

Geographers make valuable contributions to business, non-profits and government agencies, using skills in understanding social systems, improving the environment, and enhancing financial performance. In the private sector, geographers use skills related to spatial thinking, mapping, location analysis, logistics, database management or economic planning. In government agencies, geographers may focus on topics such as transportation, health, planning, development or GIS. Geographers in non-profit organizations may be involved in issues such as conservation, child welfare, development, health, education, culture and the arts, and historic preservation. 

Career opportunities in Geography

  • International area specialist
  • Business site selection
  • Cartographer
  • GIS analyst
  • Environmental scientist
  • Geoscientist
  • Teacher
  • Environmental planner
  • Natural resource manager
  • Geographer
  • Geopolitical analyst
  • Hydrologist
  • Intelligence Analyst
  • Land use planner/analyst
  • marketing analyst
  • urban/regional planner
  • community developer
  • technical writer

 

Current Curriculum Information

Access Major Template

source: myUK: GPS

  • Geography (BA) 120 hours

Click to toggle each Academic Year. Click each course for more information.

Freshman Year

Fall Semester
  • GEO 172 - HUMAN GEOGRAPHY3

    An introduction to geographic perspectives on human political, economic, social, and cultural activities (such as trade, economic development, empire, colonialism and nation building, agriculture, pollution, urbanization, population dynamics). Emphasis is on spatiality (including concepts of location, scale, globalization, maps, migration, and diffusion), place making and regions (including concepts of the cultural landscape, place meaning, race, class, and gender identities, and territoriality), and nature/society relations (including concepts of environmental adaptation and modification, climate change, and sustainability). Fulfills Gen Ed Intellectual Inquiry – Social Science and elementary certification requirement for Education.

  • UK 101 - ACADEMIC ORIENTATION1

    This course is designed to assist undergraduates in adjusting to the academic life of the University. Through lectures, discussions, exercises, and out-of-class assignments, UK 101 helps first-year students: articulate the purpose and nature of a college education at a research university; articulate UK’s expectations of its students; gain an appreciation of the University’s mission, history, and traditions; develop skills for achieving academic success such as study strategies and library research skills; increase awareness and use of campus resources; reflect on personal and social issues that first-year students often face in a college environment; become involved in the total life of the University; and form beneficial relationships with students, faculty, and staff.

  • Composition and Communication I3
  • Foreign Language 1014
  • Quantitative Foundations3
    • Total14
Spring Semester
  • GEO 130 - EARTH'S PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT3

    A course exploring the fundamental characteristics of earth's physical environment. Emphasis is placed on identifying interrelationships between atmospheric processes involving energy, pressure, and moisture, weather and climate, and terrestrial processes of vegetative biomes, soils, and landscape formation and change. Fulfills elementary certification requirements in education, and USP cross-disciplinary requirement.

  • UK Core - Comp. & Comm. II3

    Composition and Communication II

  • Foreign Language 1024
  • Intellectual Inquiry in Arts and Creativity3
  • Statistical Inferential Reasoning3
    • Total16
    • Total Freshman Hours30

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester
  • GEO 200 - ORIENTATION IN GEOGRAPHY3

    Introduces students to geographic perspectives, theories, research and professional opportunities. Applied quantitative and qualitative approaches to geographic research are reviewed and examples from current literature presented and discussed.

  • Foreign Language 2013
  • Geography Track Course (200+ level)3
  • Community, Culture and Citizenship in the USA3
  • Intellectual Inquiry in the Humanities3
    • Total15
Spring Semester
  • Foreign Language 2023
  • Geography Methods Course3
  • Geography Track Course (200+ level)3
  • Global Dynamics3
  • A&S Natural Sciences Course (100+ level)3
    • Total15
    • Total Sophomore Hours30

Junior Year

Fall Semester
  • GEO 309 - INTRODUCTION TO GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS3

    This course introduces students to the use of geographic information systems and their basic principles. Topics addressed include data collection, processing and output. Students will learn about types of geographic information and data: sources, constraints, and uses; the range of secondary spatial data sets available; and the collection of primary spatial data using global positioning systems (GPS) and other technologies.

  • Geography Track Course (300+ level)3
  • Geography Track Course (300+ level)3
  • A&S Humanities (100+ level)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
    • Total15
Spring Semester
  • GEO 406 - FIELD STUDIES IN GEOGRAPHY (SUBTITLE REQUIRED)3

    Field-based, regionally specific study of selected topics in cultural, economic, environmental, physical, political, social, or urban geography. May be repeated to a maximum of 18 credits with change in field site.

  • Geography Track Course (300+ level)3
  • A&S Natural Sciences Course (100+ level)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (300+ level)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
    • Total15
    • Total Junior Hours30

Senior Year

Fall Semester
  • Geography Track Course (400+ level)3
  • A&S Humanities (100+ level)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (300+ level)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (300+ level)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
    • Total15
Spring Semester
  • GEO 499 - SENIOR RESEARCH SEMINAR3

    Course is intended to provide a capstone experience in geographical research and problem-solving through demonstrating students' ability to identify an appropriate research topic in geography; developing and implementing appropriate research strategy; and presenting research results. This course is a Graduation Composition and Communication Requirement (GCCR) course in certain programs, and hence is not likely to be eligible for automatic transfer credit to UK.

  • A&S Approved Elective (300+ level)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (300+ level)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
    • Total15
    • Total Senior Hours30
  • Geography (BS) 120 hours

Click to toggle each Academic Year. Click each course for more information.

Freshman Year

Fall Semester
  • GEO 172 - HUMAN GEOGRAPHY3

    An introduction to geographic perspectives on human political, economic, social, and cultural activities (such as trade, economic development, empire, colonialism and nation building, agriculture, pollution, urbanization, population dynamics). Emphasis is on spatiality (including concepts of location, scale, globalization, maps, migration, and diffusion), place making and regions (including concepts of the cultural landscape, place meaning, race, class, and gender identities, and territoriality), and nature/society relations (including concepts of environmental adaptation and modification, climate change, and sustainability). Fulfills Gen Ed Intellectual Inquiry – Social Science and elementary certification requirement for Education.

  • UK 101 - ACADEMIC ORIENTATION1

    This course is designed to assist undergraduates in adjusting to the academic life of the University. Through lectures, discussions, exercises, and out-of-class assignments, UK 101 helps first-year students: articulate the purpose and nature of a college education at a research university; articulate UK’s expectations of its students; gain an appreciation of the University’s mission, history, and traditions; develop skills for achieving academic success such as study strategies and library research skills; increase awareness and use of campus resources; reflect on personal and social issues that first-year students often face in a college environment; become involved in the total life of the University; and form beneficial relationships with students, faculty, and staff.

  • Composition and Communication I3
  • Foreign Language 1014
  • Quantitative Foundations3
    • Total14
Spring Semester
  • GEO 130 - EARTH'S PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT3

    A course exploring the fundamental characteristics of earth's physical environment. Emphasis is placed on identifying interrelationships between atmospheric processes involving energy, pressure, and moisture, weather and climate, and terrestrial processes of vegetative biomes, soils, and landscape formation and change. Fulfills elementary certification requirements in education, and USP cross-disciplinary requirement.

  • STA 210 - MAKING SENSE OF UNCERTAINTY: AN INTRODUCTION TO STATISTICAL REASONING3

    The goal of this course is to help students develop or refine their statistical literacy skills. Both the informal activity of human inference arising from statistical constructs, as well as the moral formal perspectives on statistical inference found in confidence intervals and hypothesis tests are studied. Throughout, the emphasis is on understanding what distinguishes good and bad inferential reasoning in the practical world around us.

  • UK Core - Comp. & Comm. II3

    Composition and Communication II

  • Foreign Language 1024
  • Intellectual Inquiry in Arts and Creativity3
    • Total16
    • Total Freshman Hours30

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester
  • GEO 200 - ORIENTATION IN GEOGRAPHY3

    Introduces students to geographic perspectives, theories, research and professional opportunities. Applied quantitative and qualitative approaches to geographic research are reviewed and examples from current literature presented and discussed.

  • GEO 135 - GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE3

    This course provides a broad overview of the processes that have shaped the climate in which we live, and of consequences of changes to this climate. The principal functions of climate in relation to the hydrosphere and biosphere are introduced, and climate change over geological time is described. The basic data used by climate science to identify and explain historical climate change, paleoclimate change, and more recent climate trends are examined. The course also considers the difference between climate science and ‘pseudoscience’ and how to evaluate predictions of future climate change. Fulfills the Gen Ed Intellectual Inquiry – Natural/Physical/Mathematical Sciences requirement.

  • Foreign Language 2013
  • Geography Track Course (200+ level)3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
    • Total15
Spring Semester
  • GEO 230 - WEATHER AND CLIMATE3

    A survey of the atmospheric controls associated with local, regional, and global weather and climate variability. Includes fundamental coverage of the physics and chemistry of energy, gasses, pressure and moisture, with a goal of promoting understanding of general weather analysis and forecasting, severe storms, atmospheric pollution, descriptive climatology, and global climate change.

  • Foreign Language 2023
  • Geography Methods Course3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
  • Community, Culture and Citizenship in the USA3
    • Total15
    • Total Sophomore Hours30

Junior Year

Fall Semester
  • GEO 309 - INTRODUCTION TO GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS3

    This course introduces students to the use of geographic information systems and their basic principles. Topics addressed include data collection, processing and output. Students will learn about types of geographic information and data: sources, constraints, and uses; the range of secondary spatial data sets available; and the collection of primary spatial data using global positioning systems (GPS) and other technologies.

  • GEO 351 - PHYSICAL LANDSCAPES3

    A study of earth surface processes and land forms. The focus is on the analysis and interpretation of earth surface features and topography in terms of process-response mechanisms, and on an understanding of the fundamental physical, chemical, biological, and human processes which create and modify landscapes. The course emphasizes the dynamic nature of land forms and Landscapes, and the interrelationships between land forms and hydrology, climate, soils, and the biosphere.

  • A&S Humanities (100+ level)3
  • Geography Track Course (300+ level)3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
    • Total15
Spring Semester
  • GEO 451G - FLUVIAL FORMS AND PROCESSES3

    An examination of erosion, deposition, and sediment transport processes associated with flowing water, landforms associated with fluvial processes, and landscape evolution in areas dominated by fluvial dissection and deposition. Field trips may be required.

  • GEO 406 - FIELD STUDIES IN GEOGRAPHY (SUBTITLE REQUIRED)3

    Field-based, regionally specific study of selected topics in cultural, economic, environmental, physical, political, social, or urban geography. May be repeated to a maximum of 18 credits with change in field site.

  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
    • Total15
    • Total Junior Hours30

Senior Year

Fall Semester
  • GEO 530 - BIOGEOGRAPHY AND CONSERVATION3

    An introduction to the geographic patterning of biological diversity, exploring its origins, dynamics, and present trends. Examines the interplay among physical conditions, ecological interactions, evolutionary processes, and the historical movements of organisms and land masses as they have combined to affect the distribution of species, with particular attention to the application of biogeographic knowledge to current problems of species loss and conservation.

  • Global Dynamics3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
    • Total15
Spring Semester
  • GEO 499 - SENIOR RESEARCH SEMINAR3

    Course is intended to provide a capstone experience in geographical research and problem-solving through demonstrating students' ability to identify an appropriate research topic in geography; developing and implementing appropriate research strategy; and presenting research results. This course is a Graduation Composition and Communication Requirement (GCCR) course in certain programs, and hence is not likely to be eligible for automatic transfer credit to UK.

  • Intellectual Inquiry in the Humanities3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
    • Total15
    • Total Senior Hours30

Classes & Requirements

What You'll Study

Geography is both a social and a physical science that analyzes and explains the location of and interrelationships between human and physical features of the earth’s environment. Geography majors examine how and why features and their locations change over time, with particular interest in the many impacts of these changes on both people and natural settings. Students build solid academic foundations that draw from and interrelate areas of study from the social and behavioral sciences, humanities, computer science and graphic communication, and the natural sciences.

 
Geography B.A. Four Year Plan Geography B.S. Four Year Plan

Graduation Requirements

Any student earning a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree must complete a minimum of 39 hours at the 300+ level. These hours are generally completed by the major requirements. However, keep this hour requirement in mind as you choose your course work for the requirements in the major. Students interested in earning a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree must complete a minimum of 60 hours in biological, physical, mathematical and/or computer sciences. See the complete description of College requirements for a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Sciences degrees in the Arts and Sciences section of the 2015-2016 Undergraduate Bulletin.

UK Core Requirements

  • The Nature of Inquiry in Arts and Creativity (3 hours)
  • The Nature of Inquiry in the Humanities (3 hours)
  • The Nature of Inquiry in the Social Sciences (3 hours)
  • The nature of Inquiry in the Natural, Physical and Mathematical Sciences (3 hours)
  • Composition and Communication I (3 hours)
  • Composition and Communication II (3 hours)
  • Quantitative Foundations (3 hours)
  • Statistical and Inferential Reasoning (3 hours)
  • Community, Culture and Citizenship in the USA (3 hours)
  • Global Dynamics (3 hours)

Total Credit Hours - 30


Major Requirements 

Core Requirements

  • GEO 130 - Earth's Physical Environment [3 hours]
  • GEO 172 - Human Geography [3 hours]
  • GEO 200 - Orientation to Geography [3 hours]
  • GEO 406 - Field Studies in Geography [3 hours]
  • GEO 309 - Introduction to GIS [3 hours]
  • GEO 499 - Senior Research Seminar [3 hours]

Methods Requirement

  • Choose one methods class from the following options: GEO 305 - Elements of Cartography, GEO 310 - Quantitative Techniques in Geography, GEO 311 - Qualitative Methods in Geography, GEO 409 - Advanced GIS [3 hours]

Other Course Work Required by Major

  • Choose at least 18 hours of additional Geography courses to include: no more than 3 hours of 100-level courses, no more than 6 hours of GEO 560 and GEO 399, a minimum of 3 hours of 400+ level courses (not including GEO 409, 406 or 499). Students will choose from focus areas and specializations within Geography including: Environmental Geography, Physical Geography, Urban Geography and Planning, GIS, Human Geography, International Studies [18 hours]

Total Hours - 39


Featured Career

Geographers

Geographers study the Earth and its land, features, and inhabitants. They also examine phenomena such as political or cultural structures and study the physical and human geographic characteristics of regions ranging in scale from local to global.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary

$76,420

per year in 2014

Number of Jobs

1,400

in 2014

Work Environment

More than half of all geographers are employed by the federal government. Most work full time during standard business hours. Many geographers do fieldwork, which may include travel to foreign countries or remote locations.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Read More

Similar Occupations

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • Anthropologists and Archeologists
  • Cartographers and Photogrammetrists
  • Economists
  • Geoscientists
  • Market Research Analysts
  • Political Scientists
  • Postsecondary Teachers
  • Sociologists
  • Surveying and Mapping Technicians
  • Surveyors
  • Urban and Regional Planners

A&S Undecided/Exploratory Studies

Understanding that over 70 percent of university students will change their declared major at least once during their college careers, the College of Arts and Sciences has developed an Exploratory Studies program for students who have yet to decide the specific field of study that most closely aligns both their personal interests and their professional career goals and objectives. The Exploratory Studies Program provides students with an extraordinarily diverse educational environment that includes coursework spanning Math and Natural Sciences, Humanities, and Social Sciences and provides students with the unique opportunity to explore multiple areas of interest during their first several semesters on campus. For more information please contact a recruiting representative at asrecruting@uky.edu. 


Get more information about going to the University of Kentucky