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Geography and Urban Studies
Sanjoy Chakravorty, Chair
The Department of Geography and Urban Studies offers a major in which students gain an understanding of this combined field by taking several basic required courses, supplemented by upper-level electives.
Within these guidelines, it is possible for students to choose courses that focus chiefly on geographical studies, including the major distributions of physical and natural phenomena across the globe, the relationship of environment and society, and the concepts underlying spatial analysis and industrial location; or they may choose a program that emphasizes urban studies, exploring the social, political, economic, and historic aspects of urban life, including international comparisons of urban society and the policies that governments have devised to address urban problems. Curricular choices often overlap both fields and also take advantage of offerings in cartography and geographic information systems (GIS). Each student's program is developed with the departmental advisor to suit individual interests and is designed to facilitate career opportunities or further education.
Requirements for the Major
Distinction in the Major
Geography and Urban Studies students can graduate with distinction if they fulfill the following requirements: A GPA of 3.5 in the major and overall 3.00 GPA, enrollment in at least one graduate (or undergraduate course cross-listed with a graduate course), the completion of an honors paper under the supervision of a faculty member, and the presentation of a paper in a public forum. Students who think that they may qualify for distinction should contact the undergraduate advisor by their junior year.
The department has identified several informal areas of concentration to assist students in making course selections. These do not constitute formal requirements but rather provide guidelines for developing a personalized curriculum. Students can focus on the following themes:
Gamma Theta Upsilon
Membership in the National Honorary Society in Geography is available to majors selected on the basis of GPA. Initiations are held each year, and student members can submit articles to the GTU journal and apply for national scholarships.
Students are encouraged to apply their skills and knowledge in a credit-bearing internship that utilizes their academic training. Assignments at planning, social service and other agencies, as well as firms that specialize in mapping and geographic data analysis, have helped in securing employment opportunities. The Internship course also includes class meetings at which assigned articles and each student's work experience are discussed in a seminar format. See the Undergraduate Chair for more details and for information on possible internship sites.
It is now possible to become certified as a secondary school social studies teacher by combining a major in Geography and Urban Studies with a major in Social Studies Education. It is also possible to gain certification through a GUS major and education minor following the 5-year B.A./M.A. program. For more information on this opportunity, please contact the CLA Academic Advising Center.
Students may take a series of courses that examine the rapidly-growing fields of tourism and recreation from an urban/geographical perspective. Two certificates are available; please see the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management section for more information on these program requirements.
The courses in this certificate program examine all the world's culture regions and the linkages among them. Courses can be selected based on a student's interest in domestic or international tourism. Additional courses would then be chosen to help the student acquire a sense of place as well as strategies for learning about new locations. Some students might also want to study geographical information systems (GIS) to assess the character of specific tourist destinations.
Students in this program who are interested in urban recreation and sports can take courses related to urban social and policy issues, while those interested in outdoor/rural recreation can take courses on environmental issues. The course on geographical information systems (GIS) is particularly relevant to tourism planning.
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