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Geography Program

Geographers study the earth and its landscapes, features, and inhabitants, ranging in scale from local to global.  The discipline of Geography is unique in bridging the social sciences and the natural sciences, offering a holistic perspective with which to analyze and engage with the world. Geographers pursue rewarding careers in education, business, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

The Geography major is designed to develop the skills needed to interpret and understand the existence, distribution, and interrelationships of the earth's physical and sociocultural patterns. Geography’s holistic approach is best suited for students interested in decision-making to address multidimensional environmental and social development issues. The program creates a foundation for understanding issues and solving problems that confront the community and environment. It provides a multidisciplinary education that integrates hands-on field experiences with lab work. The degree is an extended major that does not require a minor. Within the Geography major, students must choose a concentration in either Physical Geography or Sustainability.


You can review major, minor and concentration requirements by clicking on the links below or by visiting the EAS Degree Check Sheets section of the EAS website. 


For additional information, advise or to confirm your catalog year, please consult with an EAS Academic Advisor.

The mission of the geography program is to provide a multidisciplinary education that integrates physical and social science with spatial analysis. This provides a foundation for understanding problems and implementing solutions to improve the quality of human-environment dynamics. The geography curriculum combines general courses in the natural and social systems of the landscapes of the Earth. The vital thread of human relationships to the environment links concentrations in Physical Geography and Sustainability.

The Physical Geography concentration allows students to focus on the environmental processes that shape earth’s surface – including landforms, soils, hydrology, climate and vegetation. Physical geography includes topics studied in other physical and natural sciences such as meteorology, geology, and environmental science. However, it is more than a composite of these other sciences. It takes a uniquely holistic approach to the processes occurring in the natural environment, often with an emphasis on human-environment interactions. The concentration develops competence in the description, recognition, and explanation of earth's physical systems and their connections to human activities. This concentration is appropriate for students who want a broad, interdisciplinary understanding of the earth sciences. 

Physical, B.A.

The concentration in Sustainability offers courses in the socio, economic, and ecological dimensions of sustainability to reflect the increased need for professionals versed in the crucial, emerging field of sustainable development. The sustainability concentration provides the analytical tools for understanding the causes and magnitude of environmental problems as well as the professional skills required to address unsustainable practices. 

Sustainability, B.A.

Geography aims to understand how physical processes and sociocultural configurations operate at different scales, from the global level down to the local and individual level. This minor provides students with an introduction to geography and its methods of spatial analyses. Geography’s holistic approach is best suited for students interested in decision-making to address multidimensional environmental and development issues.

Geography Minor

There is an increased need for professionals versed in issues and practices of sustainable development. This Sustainability Studies Minor is designed for students seeking to develop sustainability competencies to broaden their career  opportunities in both the private and public sectors. The minor provides students the analytical and conceptual framework of sustainability and provides practical tools for strengthening professional practice. The curriculum considers sustainability with respect to water, resources, energy, and development. Faculty from the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences teach the core courses that review the ecological, economic, and social equity dimensions of sustainability. The minor can be integrated with different fields such as economics, sociology, political science, management, business, tourism, education, engineering technology, and a variety of other interrelated fields where professional opportunities exist in sustainability.

Sustainability Studies Minor

  1. To prepare students for professional practice that stresses critical analysis and innovative problem solving.
  2. To introduce and train students to multidisciplinary, sustainable approaches to address the natural and social systems of landscapes of the earth.
  3. To use spatial analysis as a tool for explaining the occurrence, distribution, and interrelationships of the physical earth systems and human activities.
  4. To develop a competency in obtaining, comprehending, and presenting geographic data though fieldwork and use of geospatial techniques.
  5. To prepare students for a professional career while encouraging students to engage in life-long learning.
  6. To emphasize current and future global problems as well as the best practices to deal with the problems.
  7. To encourage social learning through community engagement and creative problem-solving activities.
  8. To strengthen institutional linkages between academic programs at MSU Denver with public and private sector entities in the Metropolitan Denver region.

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Examine and identify the relationship between human and physical patterns on Earth.
  2. Discuss the interaction among natural and social factors and explain their influence on the landscapes of Earth.
  3. Demonstrate competency in both writing and oral presentation of geographic information using appropriate technology.
  4. Select and apply an array of analytic tools to examine spatial issues, problems, and conflicts.
  5. Design, plan, and evaluate solutions for complex multi-dimensional geographical problems.

Please contact a Geography professor or the EAS advisor if you are interested in the major, minor, or certificate to get advising and set up the most efficient plan for your success.


Geography Advisors:

Dr. Antonio Bellisario Dr. Gabrielle Katz Karen Becker
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