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Major in Geography

Geography is a broad and exciting subject that allows students to learn a variety of critical and technical skills and ways to understand the spaces of our world. Geography majors at Rutgers approach spatial phenomena by specializing in one of three tracks: (1) Global Culture, Economics, and Society; (2) Environment; or (3) Geographical Techniques. Because it is such a diverse field representing multiple interests, a degree in Geography at Rutgers prepares undergraduates for work in many different directions depending on the ways students tailor their focus within the three tracks. Graduates of our program have continued on in careers with environmental agencies, government service, regional and city planning, international humanitarian aid, private sector business, and have pursued graduate degrees in Geography and related fields. Geography is a subject that will deepen your knowledge about the spatial dimensions of life on Earth, through looking at the climate and the physical landscape, the human relationship to environmental concerns, as well as global social, political, and economic systems.

Global Culture, Economics, and Society Track

Classes within this track are primarily focused on human geography, and address topics such as global political systems, dynamics of race, gender, and other aspects of identity, international development, urbanization, international economic networks, and regional geographies such as in The Caribbean, Africa, Eastern Europe, or Latin America.

Environment

Classes in the Environment track cover a range of environmental topics from both human and physical geography. Students who choose this track will gain specialized knowledge about environmental hazards and disasters, the dynamics of global climate change, the Earth’s physical geography, and different human responses to global environmental issues.   

Geographical Techniques

Students who focus on the Geographical Techniques track will be developing their expertise by using spatial data to create maps and other visual tools. Classes in the Geographical Techniques track focus on cartography, the use of remote sensing data, GIS (Geographic Information Systems), spatial data analysis, as well as how we can critically understand maps and the power that they hold.

Major Requirements

A minimum of 36 credits are required.

  • 9 credits from 450:101 (Earth Systems), 450:102 (Transforming the Global Environment), and 450:103 (Human Geography: Space, Place, and Location
  • 3 credits from 450:330 (Geographical Methods)
  • 3 credits from 450:470 (History and Theory of Geography)
  • 12 credits from the student’s track of specialization. Tracks are: Global Culture, Economics, and Society, Environment, or Geographical Techniques. See courses for each track below.
  • 6 credits from the other tracks (3 credits from each of the other tracks)
  • 3 credits in elective courses (choose any Geography course at 200 level or above)

No more than 3 credits earned at 100- or 200-level courses may be used to satisfy the 12 + 6 credit track specialization

No more than one course with a grade of D may be used in the Geography major.

Depending on the content of the course, Internship Geography (485 and 486), Geographic Problems (491 and 492), Geography honors thesis (495 and 496) may be applied to any track at the discretion of the undergraduate director

Global Cultures, Economics, and Society track courses

  • 450:205 World Cultural Regions
  • 450:222 Cultural Geography
  • 450:250 Cities
  • 450:262 Geographic Background to Current World Affairs
  • 450:309 Economic Geography
  • 450:331 New Jersey
  • 450:332 Eastern Europe and Eurasia
  • 450:334 Western Europe
  • 450:335 Caribbean Borderlands 
  • 450:336 Latin America
  • 450:338 Africa
  • 450:341 South Asia and the Middle East
  • 450:342 East Asia
  • 450:361 Gender Geographies
  • 450:363 Geography of Development
  • 450:365 Geographies of Race and Ethnicity in the United States
  • 450:405 Political Geography 

Environment track courses

  • 450:211 Environment and Society
  • 450:213 The Global Climate System
  • 450:214 Conservation
  • 450:306 Global Ecosystems and Biodiversity
  • 450:311 Natural Hazards and Disasters
  • 450:313 Climate Change
  • 450:331 New Jersey
  • 450:360 Cultural and Political Ecology
  • 450:370 Climate Change and Society
  • 450:404 Advanced Physical Geography
  • 450:413 Climate System and Global Climate Change
  • 450:414 Geographical Hydrology

Geographic techniques track courses

  • 450:208 Maps, Power and the Digital Age
  • 450:320 Spatial Data Analysis
  • 450:321 Geographic Information Systems
  • 450:322 Remote Sensing
  • 450:355 Principles of Cartography
  • 450:356 Advanced Cartography
  • 450:421 Advanced Geographic Information Systems

The Rutgers catalog is the final authority regarding courses and academic requirements.

Contact Us

Department of Geography-Rutgers University
Lucy Stone Hall
54 Joyce Kilmer Avenue
Piscataway, NJ 08854-8045
Voice  848.445.4103 or 848.445.4107
Fax  732.445.0006
Email: Cleo.Bartos@rutgers.edu