• Geography (Bachelor of Arts)

    Make an impact on a range of pressing global topics

    Geography is a discovery major for many students. It’s something that students first learn about when they come to college, often in one of our introductory courses. After taking a geography course, many students want to take more.

    At Maxwell, we introduce students to a range of pressing global topics, from climate change to water governance, from food to forests, while also helping them develop tangible skills in the use of GIS (geographic information systems), remote sensing, spatial statistics, and other fields.

    This combination of critical thinking and tangible skills makes Syracuse University Geography students incredibly competitive in the job market.

    Congratulations to our 2020 Geography and the Environment Graduates!

  • "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

  • Why study Geography?

    Geography encompasses a wide range of topics. Our courses address urban dynamics around the world, environmental issues in the present and the past, environmental science, cultural politics, and globalization, just to name a few topics.

    We also teach students how to use geographic information systems (GIS), how to read satellite imagery, how to work with drones, and how to make maps. Our students work with community organizations to solve problems through Community Geography, go into the field to collect water samples and aerial photographs, conduct their own independent research, and develop a range of skills to present and illustrate their findings.

    What can I do with a Geography degree?

    Geography prepares students for careers in many fields, such as Urban and regional planner, Environmental consultant, GIS analyst, Graphic designer, Non-profit sector, Social activist, Community and International Development specialist, Educator, Journalist, Lawyer, Business consultant, or Policy analyst. Graduates from our program find jobs in local and state government, private consulting, non-profit organizations, and major corporations.

    Geography offers students a unique – and highly marketable – set of skills in the areas of GIS, remote sensing, cartography, and spatial statistics and critical thinking, researching, and writing skills. We teach students how to understand and address the “grand challenges” of our time – climate change, poverty, water shortages, development, and so on – from a range of perspectives.

    B.A. Requirements

    The program leading to a B.A. in Geography requires at least 30 credits in Geography and the Environment, and 19 of those credits have to be upper-level courses (i.e. 300-level or above).

    All students must take GEO 103, 171, and 155 and a techniques requirement (GEO 381, 383, 386, or 482).

    Complete degree requirements are outlined in the Course Catalog for the Bachelor of Arts in Geography.


    Majors are encouraged to concentrate the remainder of their credits in 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

    Research/Scholarship Opportunities

    Students interested in geography are strongly encouraged to contact individual faculty to inquire about research opportunities. Geography majors interested in graduating with Distinction can learn more about the requirements in this document.

    Minor in Geography

    To complete a minor in geography, students must complete 18 credits in geography courses, of which a minimum of 12 credits must be upper division (i.e. 300-level or above).

    Minor in Environment and Society

    The minor in Environment and Society requires the completion of 18 credits. Students must take an introduction to environmental studies and an introduction to physical geography. The remaining courses must be selected from a list of primarily upper-division environmentally oriented courses identified by the E&S Director and Steering Committee. At least two elective courses completed for this minor must come from departments other than Geography.

    Complete requirements for a Minor in Geography and a Minor in Environment and Society are outlined in the Course Catalog.

    Ready to join our Maxwell Geography community?

    Visit our How to Apply page for information about the admissions process and resources.