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Geographers are among the government officials, community leaders, activists, researchers and business people who use data-driven research to develop solutions to complex environmental, social, economic and political problems. Geography is unique in bridging the social sciences and the natural sciences, providing geospatial analyses of environmental and socio-economic problems. The program provides a foundation for understanding problems and implementing equitable solutions to improve the quality of human-environment dynamics. Engagement in environmental, social justice and ethical issues is facilitated through applied research and learning in the Denver Metropolitan Area.
The geography program combines fundamental courses in natural and social systems and geospatial science with specialized electives within four disciplinary sub-fields – Political Economy Approaches to Sustainability, Geographic Information Science, Physical Geography and Planning. Students have flexibility in choosing courses and pursuing their areas of interest. The major prepares students for professional careers in both the private and public sectors as well as for graduate studies.
Because MSU Denver stresses learning by doing, numerous MSU Denver Geography classes incorporate hands-on projects, fieldwork or travel study. So whether venturing to Utah, Alaska or Chile, or working to improve campus water usage, you will have the chance to not just study geography, you will explore the geography, too. Plus you can also complete an undergraduate research project that you can present at MSU Denver’s Undergraduate Research Conference.
Undergraduate research projects, carried out under the direction of geography faculty, allow you to delve more deeply into Geography topics and gain research skills. Recent research projects have included studies on sustainable planning and community development in Denver, the Colorado Water Plan, the cottonwood forest on the South Platte River and mapping the impacts of mining in Mongolia.
Our program in geography will prepare you for graduate study in a geography-related field in addition to careers such as the following:
Professor Antonio Bellisario is an expert on the intersections of international development planning and environmental geography. For the last four years, he has been traveling to the Aconcagua river basin in central Chile to study water vulnerability and the changing climate and propose sustainable solutions to improve the region’s water resilience. He is also analyzing how the current multi-year drought could be used to plan for the effects of future climate change on water resources.
Professor Gabrielle Katz is a physical geographer, with research and teaching specialties in biogeography, hydrology, conservation and ecological restoration. Her research looks at how river hydrology affects floodplain ecosystems and how these relationships are influenced by water management, invasive species, and restoration actions.
Lecturer Sara Jackson Shumate is a human geographer with teaching and research interests in political geography, sustainability studies, cultural ecology and economic geography. Her research experience includes investigating the impacts of mining infrastructure development in Mongolia and she has done research on immigration, ethnic and religious politics in North America.
Graduates of the MSU Denver Geography program have gone on to work for the Colorado state government (e.g., Colorado Parks and Wildlife), the United States Geologic Survey, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as well as for private firms.
Take advantage of MSU Denver’s geography-related facilities housed in the EAS Department, such as a dendroecology (tree ring) lab, undergraduate research lab plus two Geographic Information Systems classrooms with ESRI and ENVI software. You may also obtain ArcGIS software for use while enrolled in GIS classes.
Study Geography Abroad
MSU Denver’s Geography program offers a study abroad course that will introduce you to environmental problems and environmental policy in Chile. Learn about the ecological, political and social impacts that development and climate change are having on natural resources. Study best-planning practices that scientists, planners and community based-groups are devising to solve these problems. And acquire real-world field skills for the study of environmental and sustainability issues related to water resources.
Contact the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Located in Science Building Room 2028
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science
Campus Box 22
P.O. Box 173362
Denver, CO 80217-3362
Phone: (303) 615-1177
Email: [email protected]