2023-2024 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 14, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geography, BA


Robert Wilson
Director of Undergraduate Studies
533 Eggers Hall


Jacob Bendix, Ethan Coffel, Peng Gao, Timur Hammond, Matthew Huber, Natalie Koch, Anne E. Mosher, Karl Offen, Andre Ortega, Thomas Perreault, Jane M. Read, Jonnell Robinson, Tod D. Rutherford, Chie Sakakibara, Farhana Sultana, Robert M. Wilson, Jamie L. Winders

Have you ever wondered why the world works the way it does? So do geographers, who study everything from economic, political, and cultural relations within and between countries, to environmental practices of different people, to the physical and biological processes of the planet - in brief, the spatial aspects of human life and the natural environment. At Syracuse University, geographers study globalization, environmental change and history, mapping and spatial techniques, immigration, urban and cultural politics, social movements, and surface processes of the physical environment. As a major, geography gives you a range of skills AND a new perspective on the world. Because geographers research issues such as sustainable development, gender equity, and environmental change, geography provides tools not only to understand the world but also to change it!

Geography is easy to pair with another major, such as international relations or biology, or a degree from another college, such as the Newhouse School of Public Communications or Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science. After graduation, geography students find jobs in emergency management, federal and state environmental agencies, GIS and cartography, urban planning, non-profit organizations, community and international development, teaching and research, journalism, real-estate analysis, environmental consulting, and other fields. The Geography Department also offers research opportunities for undergraduates. Our majors work with community groups to address concerns like hunger, and public transportation. They complete senior theses on topics from political change in East Africa to water management in Central America. Finally, majors can take advantage of internships or study-abroad opportunities to obtain course credits while gaining valuable work and international experience.

For all Arts and Sciences|Maxwell students, successful completion of a bachelor’s degree in this major requires a minimum of 120 credits, 96 of which must be Arts and Sciences|Maxwell credits, completion of the Liberal Arts Core requirements, and the requirements for this major that are listed below. 

Dual Enrollments:

Students dually enrolled in Newhouse* and Arts and Sciences|Maxwell will complete a minimum of 122 credits, with at least 90 credits in Arts and Sciences|Maxwell coursework and an Arts and Sciences|Maxwell major.

*Students dually enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences|Maxwell as first year students must complete the Liberal Arts Core. Students who transfer to the dual program after their first year as singly enrolled students in the Newhouse School will satisfy general requirements for the dual degree program by completing the Newhouse Core Requirements.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Explore and critically reflect on geographic issues, concepts, and debates

2. Identify, locate, evaluate, use, and share information as it pertains to geography

3. Articulate what a geographic perspective brings to our understandings of a changing world and its human and environmental dynamics

4. Describe and explain the changing relationship between humans and the environment and its different form over time and across space

5. Describe and explain features of the physical environment, including patterns and causal processes, and variations over time and across space

6. Describe and explain the dynamic relationship between people and places, and among places, over time and across space and scales

7. Develop and apply basic geographic skills and methods using spatial information, such as map making and map reading, spatial analysis and visualization, and quantitative and qualitative analysis

Major Requirements

The program leading to a B.A. in geography requires at least 30 credits in geography, 21 of which must be at the upper division (i.e. 300-level or above).

Majors are encouraged to concentrate the remainder of their credits in one of five tracks:

Degree with Distinction

Majors who meet certain academic requirements have the opportunity to graduate with distinction. To do so, students must meet minimum GPA requirements, carry out original research under the supervision of a geography professor, and write a Senior Thesis based on that research. This honor recognizes a student’s achievement of academic excellence and is acknowledged on the diploma.