Geography

  • Department Information

    Geography

    Todd Lookingbill, Chair
    Associate Professors Finley-Brook, Lookingbill, Salisbury
    Assistant Professor Spera
    Director of Spatial Analysis Laboratory Huang

    In the Department of Geography and the Environment, we seek to explore and understand cultural, biophysical, and geospatial environments, and their interactions and transformations, thereby empowering our students to shape a just and sustainable world.

    Geography courses address a range of important issues like global climate change, industrialization, globalization, resource management, agricultural change, urbanization, land use, deforestation and hydrology. Geographers emphasize the study of space, place, pattern and scale within these interconnected topics.

    Geographers encourage students to explore the Earth’s human and natural processes through critical thinking, spatial theory and geospatial technology. Our classes stress active learning. Natural science courses feature laboratory components that clarify the complexities of the Earth. Participatory social science classes focus on how humans interact with their surroundings and each other. Theories of space, place, pattern and scale deconstruct processes at the macro, meso and micro levels, helping students understand global-local connections.

  • Major

    The Geography Major

    Note: No grade below a C- (1.70) will be allowed for credit within the major.

    10 units, including:

    GEOG 201 Introduction to Sustainability

    GEOG 210 Planet Earth: People and Place

    GEOG 250 Planet Earth: Wind, Water, Fire

    GEOG 260 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

    MATH 209 Introduction to Statistical Modeling (or equivalent research methods course, with approval of department)

    GEOG 401 Geography Capstone

    Four units in electives, which must include an approved experiential learning component (internship, field work, study abroad). Three of the electives must be at the 300 level or higher.

  • Minor

    The Geography Minor

    Note: No grade below a C- (1.70) will be allowed for credit within the minor.

    Six units, including:

    GEOG 210 Planet Earth: People and Place

    GEOG 250 Planet Earth: Wind, Water, Fire

    GEOG 260 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

    Three units of electives in geography, to include no more than one unit of GEOG 390 nor more than a half unit of GEOG 388.

Courses

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  • GEOG 201 Introduction to Sustainability

    Units: 1

    Description

    Overview of contemporary sustainability issues, including systems thinking, justice, integration, acting for positive change, and sustainability knowledge (species extinction, resource depletion, pollution, and climate change among others). Students examine challenges and opportunities of pursuing sustainable behavior in a changing world. (Same as Environmental Studies 201.)

  • GEOG 210 Planet Earth: People and Place

    Units: 1

    Fulfills General Education Requirement (FSSA)

    Description

    Introduction to our earth as home to people and place through geographic approaches that analyze cultural, societal, economic, political, and environmental change. Topics include: human dimensions of climate change; sustainability; spatial analysis techniques and theories; population distributions and migration; cultural geographies; global economic development and its distribution; urbanization; political geography; and human-environment relations. (Same as Global Studies 210.)

  • GEOG 215 Geography of the James River Watershed

    Units: 1

    Description

    Study of the local environments and protected areas within the James River watershed. Explores the natural and human connections that define the resource challenges and opportunities within this urban watershed. (Same as Environmental Studies 215)

  • GEOG 220 Ecotourism

    Units: 1

    Description

    Ecotourism integrates environmental protection, education, empowerment, local livelihoods, and responsible travel. The study of ecotourism allows students to document and analyze complex interactions between society and nature. (Same as Environmental Studies 220)

  • GEOG 250 Planet Earth: Wind, Water, Fire

    Units: 1

    Fulfills General Education Requirement (FSNB)

    Description

    Basic concepts of earth systems science and physical geography. Topics include: introduction to mapping, GIS and remote sensing; weather and climate; drought, floods, and environmental hydrology; earthquakes, volcanos, landforms and geomorphology; and the interactions of all of the above with humans and the earth¿s biota. Climate change and the spatial inequalities in environmental pollution and resources are emphasized. (Same as Environmental Studies 250.)

  • GEOG 260 Foundations of Geospatial Analysis

    Units: 1

    Description

    Introduces the data and technology underlying quantitative spatial analysis. Covers foundational concepts of geospatial data (raster, vector, coordinate systems, map projections, scale, symbology and metadata) and introduces students to geospatial technology (GIS, GPS, remote sensing, web and mobile mapping). Uses spatial data from multiple national and international data platforms (e.g. USGS, Census Bureau, CDC, UN) to create maps and perform basic spatial analysis. Use the ESRI Suite of products as well as open-source programs to create and manipulate spatial data. Introduction to concepts of map reading and design.

  • GEOG 280 Selected Topics

    Units: .25-1

    Description

    May be repeated when topics vary.

  • GEOG 315 Landscape Ecology

    Units: 1

    Description

    Applied science that focuses on the development, consequences, and management of environmental patterns. These patterns include the spatial distributions of species and the environment resources upon which they depend. Attention is paid to the importance of scale in natural resource management. Landscape ecology also emphasizes the role of humans in the environment. (Same as Environmental Studies 315 and Biology 315.)

    Prerequisites

    GEOG/ENVR 250, ENVR/GEOG 201, BIOL 207, or permission of instructor

  • GEOG 320 Power, Space, and Territory: Geographies of Political Change

    Units: 1

    Description

    Analyses of and explorations into the spatial dimensions and geographic characteristics of global, regional, and local political change; and the political economy and ecology of globalization. Topics include: imperialism; world systems theory; nationalism; regionalism; electoral geography; race, class and gender; political economy of trade and foreign aid; and political ecology.

    Prerequisites

    GEOG 210 or PLSC 240 or 250 or GS 210 or permission of instructor.

  • GEOG 325 Latin American Geographies: Transnational and Local Connections

    Units: 1

    Description

    Latin America is a culturally and ecologically diverse region with historical and contemporary connections to locations around the world, including Richmond, Virginia. Documenting the movement of people and flows of ideas, goods, and services, this course analyzes the political economy and ecology of transnational networks in areas such as immigration, security, transportation, communication, energy, and commerce while examining place-based consequences in local communities.

    Prerequisites

    GEOG/GS 210 or GS 290

  • GEOG 333 Geographies of Amazonia

    Units: 1

    Description

    Explores the contradictions and connections of Amazonia. Considers the region's importance and relevance to the rest of the world through a study of the ecologies, histories, and geographies of Amazonia. Looks at the Amazon basin as much more than the world's greatest rainforest, richest reserve of biological and cultural diversity, and largest source of fresh water flow. Same as ENVR 333.

    Prerequisites

    GS/GEOG 210 or GS 290 or ENVR/GEOG 201 or permission of instructor.

  • GEOG 345 Global Sustainability: Society, Economy, Nature

    Units: 1

    Description

    Applies geography's human-environment tradition to examine environmental, social, cultural, and economic dimensions of sustainability and sustainable development. Examinations into foundations and theories behind the concept of sustainable development, discussions and debates about its real-world applicability, and explorations into case studies addressing relationships and contradictions between human desires for material well-being, environmental protection, and maintenance of cultural and/or social traditions.

    Prerequisites

    ENVR/GEOG 201, GEOG 210, GS 210, or GS290 or permission of instructor.

  • GEOG 360 Environmental Remote Sensing

    Units: 1

    Description

    Concepts of image acquisition, image interpretation, and satellite remote sensing. Includes electromagnetic spectrum concepts, acquisition of image data, visual characteristics of vegetation and landforms, image interpretation, classification and transformation, and integration of remotely sensed imagery into other spatial analysis systems. Student research projects. (Same as Environmental Studies 360.)

    Prerequisites

    ENVR/GEOG 260 or permission of instructor.

  • GEOG 365 Advanced Spatial Analysis

    Units: 1

    Description

    Advanced topics in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) theory, application, and analysis. Topics include use of Model Builder, analysis of aerial imagery and LiDAR data, use of 3D Analyst and ArcScene, and use of Network Analyst and topologies. Emphasis on practical and real-world applications of GIS for biological, environmental, and social science issues, culminating in student projects. This course may be repeated as specific course material frequently changes. (Same as Environmental Studies 365).

    Prerequisites

    ENVR/GEOG 260.

  • GEOG 370 Geographies of Economic Development and Globalization

    Units: 1

    Description

    Geographic perspectives on economic development and spatial analysis of trends in the global economy. Topics include: natural resource location and distribution; commodity flows and chains; technological change and diffusion; international trade; entrepreneurship and innovation; industrial location theory; social and cultural dimensions of development; geographies of labor; and regional development theories and trends.

    Prerequisites

    GEOG 210 or ECON 101 and 102 or GS 210 or permission of instructor.

  • GEOG 380 Selected Topics

    Units: .25-1

    Description

    May be repeated when topics vary.

  • GEOG 388 Individual Internship

    Units: .25-1

    Description

    Supervised independent work. No more than 1.5 units of internship in any one department and 3.5 units of internship overall may be counted toward required degree units.

    Prerequisites

    Permission of supervising instructor.

  • GEOG 390 Independent Study

    Units: .5-1

    Description

    Topics independently pursued under supervision of a faculty member. May be repeated twice for a total of up to two units.

    Prerequisites

    Permission of instructor.

  • GEOG 401 Geography Capstone

    Units: 1

    Description

    Capstone course is the culmination of the Geography major. The primary objective is to further develop students' ability to conduct geographic research through the practical application of geographic methods and theory. Students will synthesize their knowledge of geography with an individual thesis or group project.

    Prerequisites

    GEOG/ENVR 201, GEOG/GS 210, GEOG/ENVR 250, GEOG/ENVR 260, and two 300-level GEOG courses or permission of instructor

  • GEOG 406 Summer Undergraduate Research

    Units: 0

    Description

    Documentation of the work of students who receive summer fellowships to conduct research [or produce a creative arts project] in the summer. The work must take place over a minimum of 8 weeks, the student must engage in the project full-time (at least 40 hours per week) during this period, and the student must be the recipient of a fellowship through the university. Graded S/U.

    Prerequisites

    Approval for summer Arts and Sciences fellowship by faculty mentor