Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
The Geography program is housed in the Earth and Atmospheric Science Department at the Metropolitan State University of Denver located on the Auraria campus in downtown Denver. Geographers study Earth and its land, features, and inhabitants, ranging in scale from local to global. Geography is unique in bridging the social sciences and the natural sciences. Geographers pursue rewarding careers in education, business, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. We offer a B.A. in Geography with concentrations in Physical Geography or Sustainability. We also offer a Geography Minor and a Sustainability Studies Minor.
Geography Major Physical Concentration
Physical geographers are concerned with the occurrence, distribution, and interrelationships of physical (natural) earth systems and their connection with human activities. The Physical Geography concentration is designed to develop competence in the description, recognition, and explanation of geographic phenomena. Geographic research, through the use of spatial analysis techniques, is emphasized to develop skills so that students can construct applied solutions to problems arising from human use and modification of natural resources. This concentration is appropriate for students who want a broad, interdisciplinary understanding of the Earth Sciences. The major prepares students for professional careers in both the private and public sectors as well as for graduate studies.
The Geography degree with a concentration in Sustainability provides a multidisciplinary education that integrates physical and social science with planning and spatial analysis. This provides a foundation for understanding problems and implementing solutions to improve the quality of the built environment in a manner that promotes sustainability and social justice. The curriculum 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 major provides the analytical tools for understanding the causes and magnitude of environmental problems, is broad in scope, prepares students to initiate, foster, and manage the pace of change, and can be applied to a number of career objectives and graduate school opportunities. Professional opportunities exist in different areas such as urban and regional planning, environment and resource management, sustainable business practices, education, and a variety of other interrelated fields.
Geography aims to understand how physical processes and sociocultural configurations operate at different scales ranging from global to local. Geography is unique in bridging the social sciences and the natural sciences. Exploring specific case studies helps geographers place theory into practice. This minor provides students with an introduction to geography and its method of spatial analyses. The holistic approach of geographers is best suited for majors interested in decision-making to address multidimensional environmental and development issues.
There is an increased need for professionals versed in issues and practices of sustainable development. This SustainabilityStudies 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.
Mission and Student Learning Outcomes
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.
- To prepare students for professional practice that stresses critical analysis and innovative problem solving.
- To introduce and train students to multidisciplinary, sustainable approaches to address the natural and social systems of landscapes of the earth.
- To use spatial analysis as a tool for explaining the occurrence, distribution, and interrelationships of the physical earth systems and human activities.
- To develop a competency in obtaining, comprehending, and presenting geographic data though fieldwork and use of geospatial techniques.
- To prepare students for a professional career while encouraging students to engage in life-long learning.
- To emphasize current and future global problems as well as the best practices to deal with the problems.
- To encourage social learning through community engagement and creative problem-solving activities.
- To strengthen institutional linkages between academic programs at MSU Denver with public and private sector entities in the Metropolitan Denver region.
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:
- Examine and identify the relationship between human and physical patterns on Earth.
- Discuss the interaction among natural and social factors and explain their influence on the landscapes of Earth.
- Demonstrate competency in both writing and oral presentation of geographic information using appropriate technology.
- Select and apply an array of analytic tools to examine spatial issues, problems, and conflicts.
- Design, plan, and evaluate solutions for complex multi-dimensional geographical problems.