Geography (BA)


The Geography BA degree allows students to examine the relationships between people and the environment, while enabling them to focus more fully on the cultural aspects of the discipline. Students pursuing the major can take a variety of regional courses to enhance their knowledge of world affairs and also become proficient in a language of their choice. Systematic courses in economic, social, urban and rural geographies can broaden their understanding of human spatial systems. Students learn to apply geospatial technologies to solve real-world problems related to topics such as migration, health and economic development. The major enables students to choose a complementary minor in another discipline that enhances their specific interest areas. The major provides the background to enable students to enter careers in the public and private sectors, as well as prepare them for graduate study. 


Catalog Year



Bachelor of Arts

Major Credits


Total Credits




Career Cluster

Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources

Program Requirements

Major Common Core

* 40 total credits in the major.

An introduction to the science of understanding earth's physical environment, with focus on the processes that drive fundamental earth systems. Includes investigation of natural hazards, earth-sun relationships, climate and climate change, weather, flora and fauna, soil, landforms, and surfaces processes driven by rivers, glaciers, wind, rock decay, gravity. North American and world-wide examples are used to demonstrate spatial distribution and interrelationships. Some coverage of human-environmental relations.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-03, GE-10

Cultural aspects of interactions between people and their environment focusing on spatial patterns of population, agriculture, politics, language, religion, industrialization, and urbanization. Emphasis is placed on the processes that create the cultural landscape and on management of land and natural resources.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-05, GE-08

Diverse Cultures: Purple

Students will develop a knowledge of the similarities and contrasts in regional landscapes and cultures of the United States.

Prerequisites: none

The lecture material addresses map projections, technology changes in production, basic analysis and depiction of quantitative point, line and areal data. Also, the evaluation of maps and the history of cartography from a European, Oriental, and American Indian perspective is discussed. All maps are drawn using computer assistance.

Prerequisites: none

Overview of geographic work, interests, and research by guest speakers.

Prerequisites: none

Major Restricted Electives

Cultural-Systematic - Choose 3 Credit(s).

Examines national and international economic geographical order and trade activities. Topics include economic development, competition, international trade, and impacts on the environment and people.

Prerequisites: none

Hypotheses and generalization related to urban functions, structure, land use, distribution, growth, and sometimes decline. Emphasis will be mostly on the United States' urban places.

Prerequisites: none

Introduction to theoretical frameworks for analyzing processes of economic, environmental, and social change in rural regions. Includes basic and advanced geographical principles and techniques for studying non-urban areas. Designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary for carrying out research projects on rural environments.

Prerequisites: none

Spatial problems and structure of governments, focusing on countries of the world and their geographic internal order. Covers such topics as boundary problems, strategic locations, and geopolitical explanations of international and internal relations and conflicts.

Prerequisites: none

Concepts and theories concerning global and national social problems and the significance of geographic analytic methods for social research. Study of factors related to variations in regional standards of living.

Prerequisites: none

Physical - Choose 3 - 4 Credit(s).

An examination of the processes involved in weather formation. Students will be introduced to weather map analysis, simple forecasting and observational techniques, and weather instruments.

Prerequisites: none

An examination of the underlying causes of natural disasters occurring over the globe. Focus will be primarily upon weather and climate related disasters. Students will also be exposed to concepts of plate tectonics and how these affect the distribution of earthquakes and volcanism over the planet.

Prerequisites: none

This course explores the scientific study of earth's surface, through investigating landscapes and landforms, their characteristics, origin and evolution, and the biologic, chemical, and physical processes that create these landscapes and landforms through time. Fundamental linkages between process and form and climate/climate change, earth materials, geologic structures, plate tectonics, and biological systems will be examined. Implications of anthropogenic influences on processes and modification of earth's surface will also be assessed. Laboratory exercises and field trips are required.

Prerequisites: none

The characteristics of particular climates and understanding the factors that control their spatial distribution.

Prerequisites: none

This course analyzes the distribution and concentration of plants and animals throughout the world. Emphasis is placed on the role of evolution, tectonics, and physical barriers to the distribution and migration of species. Special emphasis is placed on the role of humans in the modern redistribution of species.

Prerequisites: none

Survey of natural resources emphasizing energy, minerals, soils, fisheries, and water resources. Also addresses timber, wetlands, and wildlife on public and private lands.

Prerequisites: none

Foreign Regional - Choose 3 Credit(s).

Regional geography covering the ecological and human environment of Middle and South America, including the Caribbean. Students can pick specific topics to study in detail. The geographic relations between the USA and Latin America are also covered.

Prerequisites: none

Students will develop a knowledge of the environmental, cultural, historical, and economic geographies of Canada. Readings of bestselling fiction and scholarly works written by Canadians will provide a Canadian perspective on the nation's past, present, and future.

Prerequisites: none

Cultural, environmental, and economic background of Europe west of Russia and Ukraine. Following a general geographic survey, the course will cover major regions and countries.

Prerequisites: none

Examines the physical and human environments of eastern Asia, mainly China, Korea and Japan. The class will be assisted by visual sources and hands-on use of primary documents.

Prerequisites: none

Capstone Experience - Choose 1 - 4 Credit(s).

Various excursions to study physical and cultural landscapes inside and outside of Minnesota.

Prerequisites: none

Topics vary in physical, cultural, economic, political, and historical geography, as well as environmental conservation and geographic techniques.

Prerequisites: none

An applied work and learning experience. The student will provide a written internship report on professional practicum and the work supervisor will be consulted on how much the student has accomplished.

Prerequisites: Consent

Major Unrestricted Electives

Additional Electives - Choose 1 - 8 Credit(s).

Prerequisites: none

Other Graduation Requirements

Choose 8 credit(s): take one series Language


Required Minor: Yes. Any.


Admission to Major. Admission to major is granted by the department. Contact the department for application procedures.

Pass/No Credit Policy. P/N grading will be accepted in the major only for GEOG 401: Colloquium, and GEOG 497: Internship, and GEOG 409: Selected Topics at the instructor's discretion. All other courses must be taken for letter grades.

Combined Bachelor’s and MS GISc Program. Current undergraduate students interested in pursuing the Master of Science in Geographical Information Science (MS GISc) degree may be granted permission to double count up to 12 credits of GISc classes from the "Restricted Electives" list of MS GISc program toward both the undergraduate and the MS GISc program. To apply for this option, students must have completed their sophomore year, have and maintain a GPA of at least 3.0, and declare their intent to complete the graduate program following the completion of the baccalaureate degree. If accepted, students must obtain special permission to register for double counted courses and will receive graduate student credit when the undergraduate degree has been conferred and they have been fully admitted to the MS GISc program. Please contact the department for detailed information.