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Geography & Urban Planning



Colin Long, Chairperson

Department Office: Sage Hall 4461
Department Telephone: (920) 424-4105

Code 50 or GEOG

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Alberts  Cross 
Barron  Long 
Bowen  Subulwa
Coulibaly Zaniewski

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  • Undergraduate: A major in Geography can lead to the degree(s): Bachelor of Arts; Bachelor of Science.

  • Graduate: None

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Summary of Fields of Study

Summary of Fields of Study

  1. Goal(s)

  • See the department for a listing of their goal(s).

  • The Major(s)

    • The Department offers one major: 1) Geography. 

  • The Minor(s)

    • The Department offers two minors: 1) Geography and 2) Geography for Education majors.

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    Admission/Graduation Requirements

    Admission/Graduation Requirements

    • To be eligible for the Geography major or minor, students must complete all required core and elective courses with an overall grade point average of 2.00 or better in the Geography curriculum. 

    • Students seeking Wisconsin Teacher Certification must complete all required core and elective courses with an overall grade point average of 3.00 or better in the Geography curriculum in order to meet requirements of the College of Education and Human Services.

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    Required Core Courses

    Required Core Courses


    • Geography 102/104 World Regional Geography 3 crs.

    • Geography 121 Physical Geography I - Weather and Climate 4 crs.

    • Geography 202/204 Human Geography 3 crs.

    • Geography 215 Map Reading and Analysis 3 crs.

    • Geography 221 Physical Geography II - Landforms and Soils 4 crs.

    • Geography 391 GIS I: Mapping and Visualization 4 crs.

    • Geography 451/461 Advanced Topics Human/Physical 3 crs.

    • Geography 490 Senior Seminar 3 crs.

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    The Major(s), with Emphases and/or Options

    The Major(s), with Emphases and/or Options

    Geography Major

    In addition to the Core Courses:

    21 crs. of elective courses from at least two of the following groups:

    • Human Geography Group: Geography 213, 311, 316, 321, 324, 325, 329, 333, 422, 451.
    • Physical Geography Group: Geography 211, 304, 335, 342, 352, 363, 461.
    • Human-Environment Interaction Group: Geography 314, 364, 377, 414, 419.
    • Regional Geography Group:  Geography 313, 317, 319, 331, 338, 347, 353, 354.
    • Geographic Techniques Group:  Geography 371, 380, 381, 382, 385, 402, 471, 472.
    • Other Group:  Geography 395, 399, 444, 446, 456, 474.

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    The Minor(s)

    The Minor(s)

    1. Geography Minor

    • Required Units (crs.): 22 minimum

    • Required Courses:

      • Geography: Geography 102, 121, 215.

      • Electives:

        An additional 12 credits are to be taken from at least two of the curriculum clusters in the Geography program: Human Geography, Physical Geography, Human-Environment Interaction, Regional Geography, Geographic Techniques and Other.
  • Geography Minor for Education Majors

    Recommended for students who desire a strong geography background for teaching in the elementary schools. This minor can be taken only in combination with a major in Elementary Education.
    • Required Units (crs.): 22 minimum

    • Required Courses:

      • Geography: Geography 102, 121, 215, 313

      • Electives:

        An additional nine credits are to be taken from at least two of the curriculum clusters in the Geography program: Human Geography, Physical Geography, Human-Environment Interaction, Regional Geography, Geographic Techniques and Other.

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    Course Offering(s)

    Course Offering(s)

    Geography   102                                           3 (crs.)

    World Regional Geography (NW)(SS)(XS)

    A study of the various interrelationships of cultural and physical phenomena as exemplified by major world regions. Intended for those who seek to enhance their knowledge of important world regions. (Not open to students with credit in upper level Regional Geography).


    Geography   104                                           3 (crs.)

    Honors: World Geography (NW) (SS)(XS)

    A study of the various interrelationships of cultural and physical phenomena as exemplified by major world regions. Intended for those who seek to enhance their knowledge of important world regions. For University Honors students only. Credit will be allowed for only one of Geography 102 or 104. Prerequisites: Enrolled in good standing with the UW Oshkosh Honors Program; prior or concurrent enrollment in HNRS 175.


    Geography   105                                           3 (crs.)

    Geographies of Coffee (XS)(NW)(SS)

    This course examines the physical factors that influence coffee production, the political and economic factors that influence the coffee trade, and the cultural factors that influence coffee consumption.


    Geography   106                                           3 (crs.)

    Soils and Agriculture (SS)(XS)

    This course introduces students to the basic principles of soils and soil properties, the various types of agricultural systems, and applying sustainability as a lens of inquiry to examine the relationships between agriculture and soils.


    Geography   107                                           3 (crs.)

    Peoples, Places, and Cultures of the World (XS)(NW)(SS)

    This course will focus on people's lifeways and cultures around the world from agricultural practices to sports. Students will also examine how people interact with individuals from different cultures and deal with cultural differences.


    Geography   121                                           1-4 (crs.)

    Physical Geography I - Weather and Climate (NS)(XL)

    An introductory study of the physical processes and spatial patterns of the earth's weather and climate and the impacts of climate on vegetation. Prerequisites: Math 103 with a grade of C or better or placement into Math 104 or higher. (3+2)


    Geography   202                                           3 (crs.)

    Human Geography (SS)((XS)(NW)

    The distribution and significance of major elements of culture, such as languages, religions, and political systems, are examined, along with processes that shape cultural landscapes.


    Geography   204                                           3 (crs.)

    Honors: Human Geography (SS)((XS)(NW)

    The nature, distribution, and significance of major elements of human geography. For University Honors students only. Uses exploratory/investigative learning method. Credit will be allowed for only one of Geography 202 or 204. Prerequisites: Enrolled in good standing with the UW Oshkosh Honors Program; prior or concurrent enrollment in HNRS 175.


    Geography   211                                           3 (crs.)

    Geographies of Climate Change (SS)(XS)

    This course will explore control and feedback processes that govern climate change and climate variability and the impact that a changing climate will have on natural and managed landscapes. In addition, the course will examine how economic, social, cultural, and political dynamics intersect directly with a rapidly changing climate. Prerequisite: Geography 121.


    Geography   213                                           3 (crs.)

    Population Geography (SS)(XS)

    Population by world regions stressing contrast in numbers, densities, growth rates, and distributional patterns. Current population problems, problem areas, and the methodology by which population growth is predicted.


    Geography   215                                           3 (crs.)

    Map Reading Analysis (XS)(SS)

    This course is designed to study maps as basic tools in geography and other social and natural sciences and as graphical means of communication; to develop skills in map reading and analysis and graphical presentation of quantitative information; to promote the principles of cartographic ethics; and to use acquired knowledge and skills adequately and responsibly in private, professional, and public life.


    Geography   221                                           1-4 (crs.)

    Physical Geography II - Landforms and Soils (NS)(XL)

    An introductory study of the earth's landscapes, particularly landforms, soil, and water; their distribution and interaction with other elements of the global environment. Field trip. (Not open to students with credit in Geography 117.) Prerequisite: Geography 121 or 118. (3+2)


    Geography   250                                           3 (crs.)

    Sustainability in Theory and Practice (SS)(XS)

    This course will present the fundamental concepts of sustainability from its beginnings to its establishment as a field of academic inquiry on a wide range of subjects. This class includes field trips, community projects, readings, videos, and discussions of sustainability issues to gain a better understanding and appreciation of the complexity of the interconnections between human and natural systems, and to understand both opportunities for, and challenges to sustainability locally and globally.


    Geography   304                                           3 (crs.)

    Principles of Soil Science

    Explores the fundamental principles of soil science and soils as an essential natural resource. Basic concepts in soil science will be presented including: soil genesis; classification and mapping; fertility and productivity; conservation and management; and physical, chemical, and biological properties in relation to the soil environment. Prerequisites: Geography 106; or Geography 221 or Geology 102 or 110 or 150 or consent of instructor.


    Geography   311                                           3 (crs.)

    Economic Geography

    This class will explore how economic activity shapes our understanding of human-environment systems. We will examine core economic concepts of production, surplus, labor, exchange of goods and services, and commodities, within the context of different economic, political and social systems to better understand the costs and benefits associated with each. Cross-listed Geography/Environmental Studies 311 Students may not receive credit for more than one cross-listed class. Prerequisites Geography 202, Environmental Studies 261 r consent of instructor.


    Geography   313                                           3 (crs.)

    Wisconsin (SS)

    The interrelationships between the state's physical environment and its people are stressed. Included are: physiographic history, landscape regions, climate, natural vegetation, soils, population distribution and composition, agricultural patterns, mineral production, manufacturing, and tourism.


    Geography   314                                           3 (crs.)

    Environmental Conservation (SS)

    An examination of natural resource utilization, methods of exploitation, policies governing their development, and their relationship to cultural geographic patterns.

    Prerequisites: Geography 202, Environmental Studies 282 or consent of instructor.


    Geography   316                                           3 (crs.)

    Ethnic Landscapes of America (ES) (SS)

    An overview of the cultural landscapes which have shaped the United States. Particular emphasis will be placed upon the contributions of Native Americans and a variety of ethnic minority populations, examining the spatial distributions of these groups and their unique traditions in shaping their landscapes and contrasting their landscapes with that of the Anglo-Saxon majority. Prerequisite: Geography 102 or 202 or History 201 or 202. 316/516


    Geography   317                                           3 (crs.)

    United States and Canada (SS)

    Emphasis is upon physical, cultural, and economic factors which shape regional landscapes. Population movements, changing agricultural production, recent energy and industrial developments. Prerequisite: Geography 102.


    Geography   319                                           3 (crs.)

    Latin America (NW) (SS)

    The cultural and physical aspects of Latin America organized by regions and countries. Prerequisite: Geography 102.


    Geography   321                                           3 (crs.)

    Political Geography (SS)

    An examination of the political factors which influence geographic distributions. Topics considered in this course will include the political organization of space, territory and boundary problems, political conflict and its resolution, problems in the location of public facilities and spatial aspects of voting behavior. Prerequisite Geography 202.


    Geography   324                                           3 (crs.)

    Urban Geography (SS)

    The origin, development, distribution, and functions of urban places with emphasis on internal area differentiation, growth, and problems of modern cities. Prerequisite Geography 202.


    Geography   325                                           3 (crs.)

    Geography of Transportation and Industry (SS)

    Geographic analysis of functions, significance, and problems of transportation. Study of types of carriers, history of route development, and terminal facilities as they relate to industrial development, specific manufacturing enterprises, and economic regions. Prerequisite: Geography 311.


    Geography   329                                           3 (crs.)

    Geography of Recreation and Tourism (SS)

    A study of recreational areas and the processes (physical and cultural) that exist and give character to those areas.


    Geography   331                                           3 (crs.)

    Europe (SS)

    A topical analysis of Europe emphasizing the distribution and interrelation of major physical and human features, including landforms, climate, vegetation and soils, population, language, religion, economic activities, settlement patterns, and political organization. Prerequisite: Geography 102.


    Geography   332                                           3 (crs.)

    Introduction to River Systems

    Examines the landforms and processes associated with river systems. Topics include drainage basin analysis, fluvial processes, response to disturbance, water quality, sediment erosion and transport, alluvial stratigraphy, and stream/river restoration and management. Prerequisites: Geography 221; or Geology 102; or Geology 110 or Geology 150; or consent of instructor.


    Geography   333                                           3 (crs.)

    Gender, Place, and Culture

    This course will explore how the social category of gender and the organization of gender relations are implicated in, constituted by, and maintained through spatial processes. This course examines feminist thought/theories and explores the ways in which geographers have used feminist thought/theories to study and problematize concepts and experiences of the body, home, place, environment, and culture, among other themes. Cross-listed: Geog/Wg Stds 333. Students may receive credit for only one of the two cross-listed courses. Prerequisites: Geog 202, WG Stds 201, 45 credits , or consent of instructor.


    Geography   335                                           3 (crs.)


    Atmospheric processes concerned with transfer of heat and moisture including systems of climatic classification and the analysis of climatic types. Prerequisite: Geography 121.


    Geography   338                                           3 (crs.)

    Russian Realm (NW) (SS)

    A topical analysis of the countries of the former Soviet Union emphasizing their physical environment, agricultural and industrial activities, population, language, and political organization. Prerequisite: Geography 102. 338/538


    Geography   342                                           4 (crs.)


    Designed as a follow-up to Geography 121, this course will examine the governing forces that drive the weather (e.g. radiation, dynamics, thermodynamics, local and synoptic-scale circulations) In the laboratory portion of the course, these concepts will be studied in the context of daily diagnoses (and eventually, forecasting) of the weather. This will be achieved through introduction to the analysis and interpretation of meteorological observations (including surface and upper air observations, satellite, and radar data, and thermodynamical diagrams) and output from numerical weather prediction (NWP) models relevant to the preparation of short to medium range weather forecasts. An emphasis on either summer or winter severe weather forecasting will also be included depending upon the semester. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in Geography 121 AND one of the following: Math 103, 104 or 171; or consent of instructor.  (3+0)


    Geography   347                                           3 (crs.)

    Asia-Pacific (NW) (SS)

    In a broad arc from Japan to Indonesia, the Asian countries facing the Pacific Ocean contain a third of the world's population and have become a gigantic force in the global economy. This course considers the region's fascinating physical landscapes, its complex cultural tapestries, and its dynamic economic geography. The course emphasizes both the variation within Asia as well as the region's connections to the broader world. Prerequisite: Geography 102.


    Geography   352                                           3 (crs.)

    Landscape Morphology

    Processes of landform evolution. Analysis of landforms and interpretation of the physical landscape using topographic maps, aerial photographs, and topographic models. Prerequisite: Geography 122 or 221 or Geology 102.


    Geography   353                                           3 (crs.)

    Sub-Saharan Africa (NW) (SS)

    An analysis of the distribution and interrelation of the physical and cultural characteristics of sub-Saharan Africa. Includes the study of the development, present conditions, and problems of particular regions and countries. Prerequisite: Geography 102. 353/553


    Geography   354                                           3 (crs.)

    Middle East and North Africa (SS)

    A topical analysis of the Middle East and North Africa with emphasis on the physical environment and natural resources, cultural patterns, and spatial aspects of geopolitical relations. Prerequisite: Geography 102.


    Geography   363                                           3 (crs.)


    Examines the role and nature of biophysical processes and their significance to the spatial and temporal patterns at various scales. Topics include the investigating functional relationships between climate, soils, and vegetation, as well as introducing approaches to land systems analysis focusing upon ecosystems and other land system interactions. Prerequisites: Geography 221, Geology 109, 110, 150 or Biology and Microbiology 105.


    Geography   364                                           3 (crs.)

    Water Resource Management (SS)

    A study of the characteristics and behavior of water on a global scale. Emphasis on the geographic location of water, its significance, its use by man, and the problems of water management. Prerequisite: 8 units (crs.) of Physical Geography or Physical Geology.


    Geography   371                                           4 (crs.)

    Thematic Cartography (SS)

    An introduction to the design and production of thematic maps. The course will acquaint students with basic concepts of thematic cartography, develop their skills in computer graphics and thematic map design and production, and enhance greater appreciation for thematic maps as communication, reference, and research tools.


    Geography   377                                           3 (crs.)

    Population and Environment (SS)

    Examination of the relationship between population and environment, particularly the importance of demographic change in shaping the environment, forces that influence this relationship, theoretical perspectives used in the analysis of population-environment relationship, and how population dynamics affect various aspects of environmental change.  The topics are studied from historical and global perspectives with comparisons of population-environmental change.  The topics are studied from historical and global perspectives with comparisons of population-environmental links in various parts of the world and those in the United States.  Prerequisites: Geography 102, 202 or 213; or Environmental Studies 211; or consent of instructor.


    Geography   380                                           3 (crs.)

    Research Methods (SS)

    Defining geographic problems, design of research projects, data collection, analysis of data using cartographic and statistical techniques, and research report writing.


    Geography   381                                           3 (crs.)

    Air Photo Interpretation (SS)

    An introduction to aerial measurements and interpretation using vertical air photos.  Attention given to landform features, agricultural patterns, and urban area analysis. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing.


    Geography   382                                           3 (crs.)

    Remote Sensing of the Environment (SS)

    The focus is on the interpretation and application of data obtained by major remote sensing techniques to the detection and monitoring of the physical and cultural landscape.  Includes orbital and suborbital photography, electronic sensing in the ultraviolet, thermal, passive and active microwave and multispectral. (2+2)


    Geography   385                                           3 (crs.)

    Quantitative Methods in Geography and Environmental Sciences (SS)

    This course emphasizes the application of statistical techniques, especially spatial statistics, to a wide variety of geographical and environmental problems. Students will learn how to choose among descriptive and inferential statistical techniques, to correctly apply those techniques and then interpret the results. Students will also learn how to use the statistical software package SPSS. Prerequisite: Mathematics 104 or math placement higher than Mathematics 104.


    Geography   391                                           4 (crs.)

    GIS I-Mapping and Visualization (SS)

    This course introduces the basic concepts and techniques for manipulation, graphic representation, and basic analysis of spatial information. Lectures and labs examine the processing, compilation, and symbolization of spatial data and the application of related statistical techniques. Emphasis is placed on the technology of mapping-particularly computer mapping and visualization within the context of Geographic Information Science. 391/591 (2+2)


    Geography   395                                           1 (crs.)

    Colloquium in Geography (SS)

    Overview of current research and professional developments within the various subfields of geography. Prerequisite: Geography or Urban Planning major or minor with junior or senior standing. (May be repeated for up to 3 units (crs.), with course being graded on a pass/fail basis.)


    Geography   399                                           1-8 (crs.)

    Study Tour (SS)

    Background readings, field lectures, a trip log, and a comprehensive paper are required under the direction of the geography staff person in charge. Information on fees, transportation, and trip expenses available in a separate announcement.


    Geography   402                                           3 (crs.)

    Field Methods in Geography (SS)

    Techniques of field observations and geographic analysis. Various methods of collecting field data applied to both physical and cultural landscapes. Area of field study alternates between the Oshkosh area and more distant locations. Contact instructor for application materials and information on special course fees. Prerequisite: 18 units (crs.) cumulative of Geography, Urban Planning, Environmental Studies, and Geology; or consent of instructor. (1+4)


    Geography   414                                           3 (crs.)

    Natural Resource Management (SS)

    Examines techniques for the biophysical and socio-economic analysis of natural environments. The course will emphasize the variety of perspectives from which environmental management policies and modeling tools can be developed. Prerequisite: Geography 314. 414/614


    Geography   419                                           3 (crs.)

    Natural Hazards (SS)

    Examination of various atmospheric and geologic events which threaten human activities. The physical characteristics of the threats, human perceptions of the threats, and various hazard mitigation measures (including structural adjustments, land use planning, and evacuation preparations) will be studied. Prerequisite: 8 units (crs.) of Physical Geography or Geology. 419/619


    Geography   422                                           3 (crs.)

    Historical Geography of the United States (SS)

    Settlement patterns, routes, exploration, and regional development from pre-Columbian times to the 20th Century.  Prerequisite: Geography 317 or 3 units United States History.


    Geography   444                                           1-6 (crs.)

    Internship in Geography (SS)

    An employment experience in which students work under direct supervision of a professional, applying their skills in cartographic, Geographic Information Systems, air photo interpretation, soils, conservation, or some other subfield or geography. May be taken up to a maximum of 6 units (crs.) earned. Prerequisite: Geography 371, at least one of the following: Geography 402, 380, 381, 391, 471, 472, and consent of instructor.


    Geography   446                                           1-3 (crs.)

    Independent Study (SS)

    See Independent Study under Course and Academic Advisement Policies information for general course description, general prerequisites, and proper contract form requirements.


    Geography   451                                           3 (crs.)

    Advanced Topics in Human Geography (SS)

    This course will provide an in-depth examination of a specific topic in human geography. Special emphasis will be placed on recognition, analysis, and problem solving within the topic area. Prerequisite: Geography 102, 202, Junior standing and consent of instructor. 451/651


    Geography   456                                           1-3 (crs.)

    Related Readings (SS)

    See Related Readings under Course and Academic Advisement Policies information for general course description, general prerequisites, and proper contract form requirements.


    Geography   461                                           3 (crs.)

    Advanced Topics in Physical Geography (SS)

    This course will provide an in-depth examines a specific topic in physical geography. Special emphasis will be placed on recognition, analysis, and problem solving within the topic area. Prerequisite: Geography 121, (122 or 221)  and Junior standing and consent of instructor. 461/661


    Geography   471                                           4 (crs.)

    GIS II - Fundamentals of GIS (SS)

    Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are computer programs and instruments designed to obtain, store, analyze, and display geographic data. This course provides and introduction to the fundamentals of FIS and the utilization of spatial data for solving geographic problems. Both theoretical concepts and practical applications of GIS will be examined. Prerequisites: Geography 391 or 591 with a grade of C or better or consent of instructor. 471/671 (3+2)


    Geography   472                                           4 (crs.)

    GIS III - Advanced GIS  (SS)

    This course examines advanced concepts and techniques of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Topics include introductory level algorithm development, applications survey and readings, and advanced spatial analysis. Students are expected to develop individual, problem-driven projects which incorporate the knowledge, tools, and techniques that are developed in this course. Prerequisite: Geography 471 or 671 with a grade of C or better or consent of instructor. 472/672 (3+2)


    Geography   474                                           1-6 (crs.)

    Honors: Thesis (SS)

    Honors thesis projects include any advanced independent endeavor in the student's major field of study e.g., a written thesis, scientific experiment or research project, or creative arts exhibit or production. Proposals (attached to Independent Study contract) must show clear promise of honors level work and be approved by a faculty sponsor. Course title for transcript will be Honors Thesis. Completed projects will be announced and presented to interested students and faculty. Prerequisite: University Honors status and junior standing. Maximum of 6 units (crs.).


    Geography   490                                           3 (crs.)

    Geography Senior Seminar (SS)
    A Capstone Seminar for the Geography program in which the student's ability to integrate geographic concepts, knowledge, and techniques from previous Geography courses is demonstrated. All geography majors must complete the Geography Senior Seminar with a grade of C (2.0) or better in order to graduate. Prerequisite: 24 units (crs.) in Geography; Geography 451 or Geography 461 (prerequisite or corequisite); and senior standing.

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