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Academic Programs / Liberal Arts
Geography & Urban Studies
Sanjoy Chakravorty, Chair
The Department of Geography and Urban Studies combines the discipline of geography and the field of urban studies to offer a major that allows students to examine a range of approaches to key topics in the social sciences. Students choose from introductory courses and supplement them with a variety of intermediate and upper-level electives.
Students may choose courses that focus either on geography or urban studies or combine the two. Students examine the growth and development of cities and regions, environment and society, spatial analysis and industrial location, and the major distributions of physical and natural phenomena across the globe. Students may also choose to explore 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. We encourage students to combine spatial and urban courses as well as take advantage of offerings in cartography and geographic information systems (GIS). We encourage students to study abroad for one semester as a critical part of their undergraduate education. Each student's program is developed with the departmental advisor to suit individual interests and is designed to maximize educational and career opportunities. Upon graduation, alumni successfully pursue graduate studies in a range of fields, or find work in nonprofit (domestic and international), planning or government agencies.
Requirements for the Major
All Temple students must take a minimum of two writing-intensive courses. The specific writing-intensive courses required for this major are listed above and are identified by "WI" in the RCI column.
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 3.5 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
We nominate students for membership in the National Honorary Society in Geography on the basis of GPA. Students, who are initiated annually, can submit articles to the GTU journal and apply for national scholarships.
We encourage students 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 is complemented by a seminar in which students discuss their experiences. Contact Marilyn Silberfein (email@example.com) for more details and for information on possible internship sites.
Students may elect to earn certification in secondary school social studies by combining a major in Geography and Urban Studies with a major in Social Studies Education. Students may also earn certification through a Geography and Urban Studies 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. For more information please see the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management.
The courses in this certification program examine all the world's culture regions and the linkages among them. Students can elect courses relevant to either 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.
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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