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Maxwell / Geography and the Environment
  • Department of Geography and the Environment

    An integral component of the Maxwell School and the College of Arts and Sciences, the Geography Department at Syracuse University has been a leader in geographic research and teaching for more than 80 years.

    With strengths in environmental, urban, political, and community geography, as well as in geospatial techniques and landscape processes, the SU Geography Department has much to offer students in our Graduate and Undergraduate programs.

    Our students work closely with geography faculty through the Syracuse Community Geography program and other initiatives. They conduct field research in Latin America and the Caribbean, South Asia, East Asia, Europe, Canada, and throughout the U.S. and pursue exciting careers in academia, non-profit organizations, government, industry, and other sectors.

    What is Geography?

    Geography is the study of the complex interactions between humans and the natural and social environments around them. It blends the best of the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities to examine the spatial dynamics of the social, ecological, political, economic, and cultural world.

    If you’re interested in cities, the environment, global affairs, or geospatial technologies like mapping and unmanned aerial vehicles, Geography is for you!

  • "The training I received as a student in Maxwell's Geography program helped me develop a critical eye regarding geopolitics, aiding me to see past narratives that pervade the international arena and strive to unpack the discourse. As a graduate student, I find this particularly useful in my international relations studies as I intend to pursue a career in diplomacy."

    jade rhoads

    ~ Jade Rhoads'18 BA (Geography/Russian Language, Literature, and Culture)

    Graduate Student, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University; Concentrations: International Security Studies; Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilization

  • Interested in earning an undergraduate degree?
    Learn more about what a geography major can do for you.

    Ready to take the next step towards an advanced degree?
    Learn more about our graduate programs in geography.


    Our students benefit from interdisciplinary research and instruction

    Interdisciplinary work has always been a strength for our department. In addition to expertise in environmental, cultural, economic, historical, physical, and urban geography and in geospatial analysis, we maintain active links to several Maxwell research programs, including the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration, the Center for Environmental Policy and Administration, and the Moynihan Institute for Global Affairs.

    Strong links also exist with Food Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, and Earth Sciences, as well as with Civil and Environmental Engineering, the School of Architecture, and the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

    The Geography department has long valued the field-based study of geographical processes in a variety of regions, places, and landscapes. Our students have opportunities to develop an array of research skills, studying and conducting research with faculty who specialize in diverse areas of research.


  • Geography News

  • Maxwell School announces 2021 faculty promotions

    The Syracuse University Board of Trustees has approved promotions for six faculty members at the Maxwell School. They are: Alan Allport, who was promoted to professor of history; Shana Kushner Gadarian, who was promoted to professor of political science; Dimitar Gueorguiev, who was promoted to associate professor of political science; Matt Huber, who was promoted to professor of geography and the environment; Guido Pezzarossi, who was promoted to associate professor of anthropology; and Junko Takeda, who was promoted to professor of history.

     

    Bendix interviewed by NBCLX on climate change, wildfires

    Jacob Bendix, professor of geography and the environment, was interviewed on NBCLX's LX News about the impact of climate change on wildfires. "I think that both last year and this year we are seeing impact of climate change on fire behavior and the size of the fires we're having because, quite simply, we have higher temperatures and in many cases, more extensive drought as well than in the past," says Bendix. "High temperatures and dry conditions favor fire. The more heat we have and the longer we have heat—that is, higher temperatures earlier in the summer so we have less snow pack—the worse fires we're going to see." His interview begins at approximately 20:00.

     

    Sultana reports on political ecology in Progress in Human Geography

    "Progress report in Political ecology II: Conjunctures, crises, and critical publics," authored by Associate Professor of Geography and the Environment Farhana Sultana, was published in Progress in Human Geography. Sultana critically engages with the conjunctural capitalist crises that led to climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic and discusses alternative pathways to address growing socio-ecological crises.

     

  • Mark Monmonier

    Distinguished Professor Mark Monmonier, one of the most influential cartographers in the discipline of Geography and recent recipient of the Chancellor’s Lifetime Achievement award, is retiring after 47 years at Syracuse University. We will hold an in-person celebration of his career in the Fall.


  • Why Geography?

    Are you curious about places? Geography channels this interest into a rigorous study of the makeup of places and what makes them tick.

    Do you like to study maps? The geographer's first inclination is to put information on a map in order to see how it looks spatially.

    Do you prefer the window seat on airplanes? Geography tries to explain the constantly changing patterns of human activity and natural phenomena on the landscape.

    Are you interested in international dynamics? Many geographers specialize in a particular part of the world, such as Latin America, Europe, Asia or Africa.

    Do you like to work outside? Many geographers obtain their data from field investigations in environments that range from wilderness areas to cities.

    Are you a problem solver? As scientists, geographers are naturally curious about how the world is arranged. They ask lots of questions about why things are located the way they are and then they try to answer those questions.

    Are you good at seeing connections among seemingly unrelated processes? One of geography's strengths is its ability to integrate ideas about human behavior, social institutions, and the natural environment.

    Can you adapt to rapid technological change? Geographical information systems (GIS) have revolutionized the way geographers collect, store, analyze, and present spatial information.

    Do you try to see the big picture? Geographers look at how places interact with each other and how they are influenced by larger, more global forces. Geographers think big!

    Are you interested in connections between people and the environment? Geographers see the world as the human habitat, one that we have transformed and that has transformed us.

    Geography is the science of space and place on Earth's surface. It's about:

    • Understanding the importance of location
    • Interpreting how people live in particular places
    • Identifying relationships about places
    • Deciphering the complexities of environments
    • Explaining the human use of these places


    - From the Association of American Geographers

Department of Geography and the Environment
144 Eggers Hall
Syracuse, NY 13244-1020
Phone: +1.315.443.2605