Home Home
College of Arts and Sciences

Geography

408A Smith Hall
206-543-5843
Website
Faculty Website
geog@uw.edu

Geographers assert the importance of space, environment, context, location, place, and scale in relation to our most pressing concerns. We draw from interdisciplinary theories to consider how these concerns are mapped, represented, and understood in a changing world, and to offer theoretically informed and empirically based responses.

 Undergraduate Programs


Geography

415 Smith Hall
206- 543-3246

 Program of Study: Major: Geography


Program Overview

Geographers research and engage the world by asserting the importance of space, environment, context, location, place, and scale in relation to societies’ most pressing environmental and social concerns. We draw from interdisciplinary theories across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences to consider how these concerns are mapped, represented, and understood in a changing world, and to offer theoretically informed and empirically based responses. Our students are deeply engaged in community service through internships, service learning, and senior projects, which center upon questions of environmental and social justice. Our undergraduate majors employ social and political theories; develop the ability to create and analyze maps and other forms of geo-visualization; gather, analyze and interpret quantitative and qualitative data; and write clear and compelling research reports and papers.

This program of study leads to the following credentials:
  • Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Geography
  • Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Geography: Data Science
Recommended Preparation

Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: Any 100- or 200-level GEOG course. Courses that develop strong writing, analytical, and qualitative- and quantitative-reasoning skills. Geography is inherently interdisciplinary, so exposure to many social science fields of study in the first two years is ideal.

Admission Requirements
  1. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA.
  2. Completion of any GEOG-prefix course at 200-level or higher with a minimum grade of 2.0.
  3. Visit department website for instructions to declare the geography major.

 Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Geography


Completion Requirements

60 credits

  1. Foundations (30 credits): See departmental adviser for approved track courses.
    1. GEOG 315
    2. One methods course from the following: GEOG 317, GEOG 326, GEOG 425, GEOG 426, or faculty approved methods course
    3. One Cities, Citizenship, and Migration Track course (5 credits)
    4. One Environment, Economy, and Sustainability Track course (5 credits)
    5. One Globalization, Health, and Development Track course (5 credits)
    6. One GIS, Mapping, and Society Track course (5 credits)
  2. Track (20 credits): Students select one of the following four tracks:
    1. Cities, Citizenship, and Migration
    2. Environment, Economy, and Sustainability
    3. Globalization, Health, and Development
    4. GIS, Mapping, and Society

    Four upper-division (300- and 400-level) geography courses are required for the track the student selects, at least two of which must be at the 400 level. As an alternative to one of the four defined tracks, students may also customize their own hybrid focus along more thematic or issue-driven lines, such as inequality, race/class/gender studies, etc. See department website for approved track courses, and/or geography adviser for details.

  3. Electives (10 credits): GEOG electives at the 200 level or above; 300- and 400-level courses preferred.
  4. Additional Degree Conditions and Program Features
    1. Students must complete a minimum of 25 upper-division credits (300- and 400-level) in geography in residence through the UW.
    2. Students are encouraged to take appropriate elective courses outside the Department of Geography in fields that support their track. Courses appropriate to various tracks are available on lists supplied by geography advisers, or may be recommended by the faculty adviser. Students should be aware that 300- and 400-level courses in other departments likely have prerequisites.
    3. 5 credits of internship (GEOG 496) or independent study (GEOG 499) may apply toward the required 60 credits.
    4. No single course may be counted toward more than one degree requirement.
  5. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA in courses applied to the major.

 Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Geography: Data Science


Credential Overview

The B.A. in Geography with Data Science Option builds on geography coursework in data management, data visualization and the societal implications of data science while offering students additional opportunities to engage in coursework in programming, machine learning, and advanced statistics and probability. This series of coursework allows students to graduate with evidence of data science experience on their transcript.

Completion Requirements

66 to 69 credits

  1. Foundations (30 credits): GEOG 258, GEOG 315, GEOG 317 or GEOG 326, GEOG 360, GEOG 381; one additional course from either the Environment, Economy, and Sustainability track or the Globalization, Health, and Development track
  2. Data Science Electives (36-39 credits):
    1. Programming: CSE 142 or CSE 160; either CSE 143 or CSE 163
    2. Machine Learning: either STAT 311 or STAT 390; one of CSE 416/STAT 416, STAT 435, or INFO 371
    3. GIS, Mapping, and Society: GEOG 458, GEOG 461, GEOG 465, GEOG 482
  3. Additional Degree Conditions and Program Features
    1. Students must complete a minimum of 25 upper-division credits (300- and 400-level) in geography in residence through the UW
    2. No single course may be counted toward more than one degree requirement
  4. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA in courses applied to the major

 Program of Study: Minor: Geography


Program Overview

Geographers research and engage the world by asserting the importance of space, environment, context, location, place, and scale in relation to societies’ most pressing environmental and social concerns. We draw from interdisciplinary theories across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences to consider how these concerns are mapped, represented, and understood in a changing world, and to offer theoretically informed and empirically based responses. Our students are deeply engaged in community service through internships, service learning, and senior projects, which center upon questions of environmental and social justice. Our undergraduate majors employ social and political theories; develop the ability to create and analyze maps and other forms of geo-visualization; gather, analyze and interpret quantitative and qualitative data; and write clear and compelling research reports and papers.

This program of study leads to the following credential:
  • Minor in Geography

 Minor in Geography


Completion Requirements

30 credits

  1. 30 credits in geography, including 15 upper-division geography credits with at least 5 credits at the 400-level. No more than 5 credits applied to the minor may be from 100-level classes. Independent learning and internship credits (GEOG 494, GEOG 496, GEOG 497, GEOG 499) may not be counted as part of the 30 credits.
  2. A minimum 2.0 grade for each course counted toward the minor.
  3. At least 15 credits of upper-division geography courses must be taken through the UW.
Additional Information

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: Geographers address some of the world's most urgent challenges, including global and environmental change, economic and social inequality and poverty, world hunger, global health and healthcare, social justice in the city, migration and immigration, and what it means to be a global citizen in the twenty-first century. Responses to such questions are complex and partial, and these issues are not "fixable" by one-dimensional solutions. Geography's contribution to these public issues and solutions is through evidence-based, multi-scalar analyses and mapping of socio-spatial and environmental change. Social justice, community engagement and activism, and an accountability to place inform our inquiry and study.

    In geography classes students learn how to design and conduct research, employing quantitative and qualitative methods; use statistical and demographic analysis; and interpret and analyze data, discourses, and texts and images in order to address significant topics and questions in human geography. Students combine classroom study with internships, community service, and independent research to develop integrated, rich, and relevant learning experiences. These experiences help develop and refine critical and analytical research and communication skills, offer hopeful and engaged responses to daunting problems, and emphasize that individuals can make a difference.

    Typical lines of inquiry in each track include:

    1. Cities, Citizenship, and Migration: Why do people move, and where do they go? What are the constraints and opportunities for migrants as they settle and integrate in new cities and new nations? How are cities formed and what are the forces that impact their economic and cultural development? The courses in this track focus on themes of urbanization and human movement, emphasizing the importance of labor and housing, as well as cultural processes and historical forms of discrimination that shape where people live and work. Students in this track develop an understanding of the intersections of power and place as they pertain to migration and immigrant life, citizenship and belonging, and the production of urban space.
    2. Environment, Economy, and Sustainability: Courses in this track study the reciprocal and often contradictory forces of economic activity, environmental policy, and sustainability. Using such key geographic concepts as scale, place and location, they analyze relations between such complex processes as: land use, labor markets, corporate location, international trade, energy policy and consumption, environmental regulatory policy, resource use, and food systems.
    3. Globalization, Health, and Development: How does globalization shape life and death around the planet? How can development initiatives address global health disparities? Providing geographical answers to such questions, this track traces the extraordinarily uneven effects of global trade, global finance, and market-led development on food systems, health, and the geography of impoverishment. By putting global health challenges in a global socio-economic context, the track simultaneously highlights how social movements and social organizing can make a difference, including differences in formal policies affecting human well-being directly as well as innovations in the ethics of care. Courses in the track provide frequent opportunities for service learning as part of the goal of helping students engage with real world challenges. All classes also approach these themes through a geographical lens: charting global-local relations and the links between nature, society, and political-economy in particular places. This geographical approach in turn enables us to explore how nutrition, health, and development are intertwined with other processes ranging from the personal experiences of migrant farm workers, to urban and regional redevelopment, to global financial reforms. Specific questions that frame our classes include: What are the links between life and debt (GEOG 123)? How have sixty years of development increased in-country inequality (GEOG 230)? How do global disease etiologies reflect other global interconnections (GEOG 280)? How does agricultural modernization relate to hunger (GEOG 371)? And what are the implications for food security, health security, and developmental security when they are re-framed in terms of geopolitics and the global security challenges of international relations (GEOG 375)?
    4. GIS, Mapping, and Society: In courses that comprise the GIS, Mapping, and Society track, students learn to use GIS, web-based geospatial applications, and database management systems for problem solving in relation to a diverse range of societal concerns, such as those within the other geography tracks. Students learn a range of analytical and critical methods for cartographic representation, spatial analysis, geovisualization, and database management. Further, students learn about the politics, ethics, and values of mapping and geospatial technologies, and integrate their social and technical skills to undertake projects with research partners in the region.
    5. Geography Data Science:The data science option builds on geography coursework in data management, data visualization and the societal implications of geospatial data while offering students additional opportunities to engage in coursework in programming, machine learning, and advanced statistics and probability.

    Geography students find positions in non-profit organizations, business, data visualization, geographic information systems, and community engagement. Refer to department website for resources including career exploration and preparation courses.

  • Instructional and Research Facilities: A map center in Suzzallo Library houses atlases, sheet maps, and aerial photographs. Departmental facilities include the Edward L. Ullman Geography Collaboratory and the John C. Sherman Laboratory, which houses a variety of computer workstations connected to the campus computer network. The Ullman Collaboratory in Smith Hall 415 provides a unique collaborative classroom with networked computer workstations. The Geography Commons also provides computer workstations for students. The Department of Geography is a member of the Center for Social Science Computation and Research, which maintains an extensive data archive and offers many statistical and software consulting services.
  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors (Completion of Honors Core Curriculum and Departmental Honors); With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors requirements in the major). Refer to department website for more information.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: More than 125 geography students participate each year in internships. For support with these opportunities, contact Geography Advising.
  • Department Scholarships: Gerald W. Halmo Geography Scholars Program. Refer to department website for more information.
  • Student Organizations/Associations: Plenum Journal of Undergraduate Geography; GeoDat: The Society for Geography Data Science at UW; Geography Graduate Students Association (GGSA).

Of Special Note: Students interested in GIS are encouraged to learn a high-level programming language such as C , C++, Java, Javascript, R or Python.

 Graduate Programs


Geography


 Program of Study: Doctor Of Philosophy (Geography)


This program of study leads to the following credential:
  • Doctor Of Philosophy (Geography)
Admission Requirements

Please see this program's Graduate Admissions page for requirements.

 Doctor Of Philosophy (Geography)


Completion Requirements

90 credits total

  1. Required Courses:
    1. GEOG 500
    2. GEOG 511
  2. Methods Course: Satisfactory completion of one graduate level methods course in- or outside the Department of Geography. Subject to advance approval by student's supervisory committee and the graduate program coordinator.
  3. Minimum three quarters of GEOG 598
  4. Two departmental research seminars: Course list maintained by the program. See department website for more information.
  5. Professional development course: GEOG 502 or GEOG 513
  6. Two graduate-level courses in a supporting field of concentration outside Geography.
  7. Dissertation (27 credits): GEOG 800 (up to 10 credits per quarter, 27 credits total)
  8. Electives (to meet required total): Additional credit 500-level and above

Additional requirements:

  1. Minimum 3.0 overall GPA. Minimum 3.0 grade in departmental courses. Minimum 2.7 grade in related courses.
  2. Minimum 60 credits through UW (including 27 GEOG 800 credits). An approved master's degree may substitute for 30 credits.
  3. Numerical grades in at least 18 quarter credits taken through UW
  4. General examination
  5. Final examination

Additional Information

Financial Aid: The department awards approximately 15 to 20 teaching assistantships for the academic year. Most assistantships are for teaching quiz sections for a larger lecture class. A few advanced doctoral candidates may teach a class. Normally several research assistantships are also available. In recent years, all the department's graduate students have been funded by internal or external sources.

 Program of Study: Master Of Arts (Geography)


This program of study leads to the following credential:
  • Master Of Arts (Geography)
Admission Requirements

Please see this program's Graduate Admissions page for requirements.

 Master Of Arts (Geography)


Completion Requirements

36 credits total; students may write either a thesis or two high-quality papers

  1. Required Courses:
    1. GEOG 500
    2. GEOG 511
  2. Methods Course: Satisfactory completion of one graduate level methods course in- or outside the Department of Geography. Subject to advance approval by student's supervisory committee and the graduate program coordinator.
  3. Minimum three quarters of GEOG 598
  4. Two departmental research seminars: Course list maintained by the program. See department website for more information.
  5. Thesis (9 credits): GEOG 700

Additional Requirements:

  1. Minimum 18 graded credits. With thesis, students complete at least 9 credits of GEOG 700 as part of the minimum 36-credit requirement.
  2. Minimum three full-time (at least 9 credits) quarters of residence credits. Part0time quarters may be accumulated to meet one quarter's worth of this requirement.
  3. Final Examination constituting a defense of the thesis or research papers.
  4. Students must earn a grade of at least 3.0 in all GEOG courses and minimum 2.7 grade in all related courses.
  5. All work completed within six years.

Additional Information

Financial Aid: The department awards approximately 15 to 20 teaching assistantships for the academic year. Most assistantships are for teaching quiz sections for a larger lecture class. A few advanced doctoral candidates may teach a class. Normally several research assistantships are also available. In recent years, all the department's graduate students have been funded by internal or external sources.

 Program of Study: Master Of Geographic Information Systems (not admitting)


This program of study leads to the following credential:
  • Master Of Geographic Information Systems (fee-based) (not admitting)
Admission Requirements

Contact department for requirements.

 Master Of Geographic Information Systems (fee-based) (not admitting)


Completion Requirements

Contact department for requirements.