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Making a World of Difference

Geography Undergraduate Major

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Core Requirements

Requirements for the major include at least 30 credit hours, and it pairs well with a number of second degree options for students interested in other areas of social sciences, communications, engineering and more.

  • Three required introductory courses
  • One advanced techniques course
  • Six advanced courses from one of five tracks

Please see the Course Catalog for a complete list of requirements.

Geography Track Options

Geography majors are strongly encouraged to take their upper-division electives within one of five tracks:

  • Physical Geography and Landscape Dynamics
  • Environment and Society
  • Globalization, Development and Citizenship
  • Urban Space, Justice and Culture
  • Geographic Information Sciences and Geospatial Technology

Core Courses

Geography majors will take the following three introductory courses (9 credits). These foundational courses will help you better understand the field of geography and the societal impact of the work.

Environment and Society (GEO 103)

This course focuses on the relationship between society and the environment, including: natural resource use, climate change politics, food and agriculture, energy, water, and sustainability.

The Natural Environment (GEO 155)

Study patterns of the physical phenomena at and near the surface of the earth. Topics covered include surface configuration, climate, vegetation and soil and their areal interrelationships.

Human Geographies (GEO 171)

An integrative overview of human geography. Topics include human-environmental relations, demographic change, cultural landscape, urban and agricultural land use and economic restructuring.  

Upper-Division Electives

Geography majors have a wide range of upper-division electives to choose from. Depending on your specific interests, you can choose from one of the five topic tracks within the department. Below is a small sample of upper-division courses from each of the tracks, including an advanced techniques course. An extended list of courses and upcoming semester schedule can be found on our  Answers page for geography undergraduates

Environmental Change in the Anthropocene (GEO 426)

Explore the current geological age in which human interaction has been the main driver of environmental and climate change.

Geographies of Environmental Justice (GEO 353)

Examine the relationship between environmental quality and social justice. You will review case studies drawn from urban and rural examples in both the U.S. and the Third World.

Gender in a Globalizing World (GEO 367)

How do the economic and cultural processes of globalization affect different groups of men, women and households? Explore issues of gender and work, development and environmental change, and redefinitions of masculinity and femininity across the globe.

Food: A Critical Geography (GEO 415)

Examine the social, political and environmental aspects of contemporary agri-food systems. Topics covered include industrial and alternative agriculture, fisheries, food policy, hunger, health issues and food justice. The course includes field-based and mapping assignments.

Community Geography (GEO 485)

This course serves as an introduction to community-based research methods and participatory GIS, including origins, ethics and challenges. Examine how and why grassroots organizations use GIS and geospatial technologies and conduct a local research project.

Environmental Remote Sensing (GEO 482)

This course is an introduction to the use and interpretation of remotely sensed (i.e. satellite) imagery. Students conduct laboratory work and a term project using remotely-sensed images to analyze environmental and social processes.

Looking to get more involved in geography?

I am Maxwell.

I came into Syracuse University thinking geography was just knowing state capitals. I would like to thank my professors who helped me see that it was so much more—it’s about understanding how and why people live in particular places, and the complexities that go along with life in those areas.”

Paul Triolo ’20 B.A.

Double major: geography; citizenship and civic engagement

Geography and the Environment Undergraduate Studies
144 Eggers Hall