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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

  • Sultana participates in Race, Space and the Environment project

    Farhana Sultana, associate professor of geography and the environment, participated in the first phase of a collaborative project between Syracuse University and Rhodes University (South Africa) titled "Race, Space, and the Environment." The project was launched with an international webinar to celebrate Earth Day on April 23, 2021. The video of the webinar and more information on the project is available via the Newhouse School Center for Global Engagement website.

     

    A Climate for Change - Ethan Coffel

    Ethan Coffel, assistant professor of geography and the environment, is principal investigator on a three-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant project exploring the link between climate and agricultural change—a process known as the crop-climate feedback cycle. By observing different crop-climate feedback cycles, he can assess the future risk of climate-driven food insecurity as well as the potential for economic losses in agricultural regions. “I want to develop adaptation strategies to increase the climate resilience of food production,” says Coffel.

     

    Katie MacDonald selected as an Outstanding TA for 2021

    Katie MacDonald has been selected as an Outstanding TA Award recipient for 2021. These awards are reserved for teaching assistants in good academic standing who have made truly distinguished contributions to teaching at Syracuse University. Congratulations Katie!

     

  • 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