Undergraduate Learning Goals

Learning Goals for the Major in Geography

The geography curriculum allows students to specialize in one of three tracks: Global Culture, Economics and Society; Environment; or Geographical Techniques. The Geography program has general learning goals for the entire program, and specific goals for each of the three tracts, as listed below.

General Learning goals

  1. Use a spatial perspective to critically examine how human and physical components of the world interact
  2. Understand how geographic concepts apply to social and environmental justice
  3. Acquire frameworks, methods and spatial models to identify and explain key geographical issues with attention to multi-scalar processes and connections between people, places, and environments
  4. Understand how a geography degree can support career prospects

Global Culture, Economics, and Society

  1. Synthesize and examine critically a range of cultural, economic and societal issues, particularly those connected with globalization, geopolitics and processes driving environmental change
  2. Assess structural inequalities throughout the globe (e.g. systemic racism, wage gap, austerity)


  1. Understand and apply the terminology and frames of reference used in physical and social environmental research
  2. Identify and explain key physical and social environmental issues (e.g., environmental justice, climate change, and land-surface transformation).

Geographical Techniques

  1. Demonstrate the fundamental principles and concepts of geographic technologies (e.g. geographic information systems, remote sensing) used in the acquisition, processing, and analysis of spatial data
  2. Locate, access, manipulate, display and communicate spatial data effectively
  3. Acquire frameworks and methods for analyzing how the uses of geographical technologies are power-laden practices


Learning Goals for the Major and the Minor in Environmental Studies

These programs has four learning goals. Students who complete the programs will:

Environmental Literacy – understand and be able to articulate, both orally and in writing, the core principles, concepts, and theories that form the field’s interdisciplinary foundation in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.

Environmental Justice – be aware of the ways that social inequality and unequal power structures shape people’s exposure and vulnerability to environmental risks/problems.

Environmental Methods/Techniques/Strategies of Interpretation – be able to demonstrate proficiency in at least one method, technique, or strategy of interpretation for environmental inquiry in the natural sciences, social sciences and/or humanities.

Environmental Problem Solving – be able to apply perspectives from the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities in an integrated fashion to analyze concrete environmental problems and evaluate diverse approaches to addressing these problems.

Learning Goals for the Minor in International and Global Studies

This program has three learning goals:

  1. Global Literacy Gain an understanding of the degree to which forms of   human difference shape a person’s experiences of and perspectives on the world.
  2. Regional Understanding Apply this understanding to a specific world region and situate this region in broader human and societal processes.
  3. Language Training Complete language training through the intermediate level as both a mode of communication and vehicle for cultural understanding.