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College of Arts & Sciences

Office of Dean - College of Arts & Sciences
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg PA 17257
(717) 477-1151

Department of Geography/Earth Science

Shearer Hall 104
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA
(717) 477-1685
Department Website

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Office of the Provost
OM 308
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1371

The School of Graduate Studies
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
Phone: (717) 477-1148
Fax: (717) 477-4016

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Geographers are in demand, with opportunities for employment continually expanding.

The Undergraduate Geography Degree at Ship

Geography is both a natural science (because it deals with the physical environment) and a social science (because it is concerned with the distribution of cultural phenomena). The demand for geographers has grown with the increased concern over our environment. The geographer is challenged to interpret the constantly changing physical and human landscapes.

Students who like to work outdoors, are committed to understanding and improving our environment, and are interested in a holistic understanding of the natural and social sciences should consider studying geography. Our graduates are enthusiastic about research and the ability to organize and interpret data, and they like to share geographic information by teaching, writing, and research to provide for a sustainable earth. Ship provides hands-on learning opportunities, tools and resources to help undergraduate geography students excel within the program.

Spatial analysis is extremely important in geoenvironmental studies. All areas of employment are using geographic information systems (GIS) to portray and analyze data. A variety of computer mapping and analysis courses are available from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and the Department of Geography/Earth Science. Such courses may include GIS, cartography, remote sensing, quantitative methods, and image processing.

Geography Admission and Degree Requirements

Shippensburg University geography students are required to take 48 credits of general education and receive a background in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, mathematics, history, English, and communication skills. Majors take discipline-specific courses in geography with allied courses in psychology, sociology, government, economics, computer science, and the natural sciences.

The Bachelor of Science (BS) in geography offers students three different concentrations:

All these majors share a 13-credit core of courses that give a general overview of geography and then an additional 18 credits of coursework in one of the three areas of interest. By choosing from one of these three areas, students can work towards an undergraduate degree in PA that truly matches their passions and skill sets.

The Geography Social Studies Education (BSEd) program allows students to teach in the social sciences and geography at the middle school, junior high or high school levels. It provides background in the social sciences and 24 credits of major courses in geography.

The Earth-Space Science Education (BSEd) program allows students to teach earth science, general science, and environmental science at the middle school, junior high, and senior high school level.

The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) minor (18 credits) allows any non-major to develop knowledge and an array of skills using GIS and other geospatial technologies. The GIS minor is an excellent complement to any major that focuses on people, economics, resources, or the environment.

The GIS Certificate program is a short program (12 credits) designed for students in any major who want a solid hands-on introduction to GIS and exposure to a range of applications.

Careers in Geography

Located on 200 acres in south central PA, Ship provides an undergraduate geography degree that equips students with the skills necessary to succeed in a variety of geography-related careers.

The Bachelor's of Science in geography at Ship prepares graduates for a wide range of employment opportunities. Some examples are, consulting firms, federal, state, and local governmental agencies, as well as in higher education. Many employment opportunities are available for individuals trained in environmental planning, geographic information systems, cartography, remote sensing, and computer mapping.

The bachelor of science in education degree programs prepare students for teaching in the middle school, junior high, and senior high levels. Because many elementary and high school programs have added or strengthened geography courses, the demand for good geography teachers has increased.

Geography Internships

Most geographers eventually work in four basic career fields: business, government, planning, or teaching. At Ship, a strong internship program and alumni network has been developed to assist majors in the job selection process. This helps students find employment in well-respected positions following graduation. Over the past 20 years we’ve assisted thousands of students in landing quality internships and jobs in the environmental field.

Some sample geography internships include:

  • County planning organizations — Franklin County Planning Commission and Tri-County Planning Commission

  • Consulting firms — Martin and Martin, Inc., Technologies, Skelly and Loy, and KCI

  • National Audubon Society

  • State agencies — Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

  • Tri-County Regional Planning Commission

  • Metropolitan Transit Authority, Washington, D.C.

  • Topographic Engineering Center, Virginia

  • Department of Environmental Protection

  • West Penn Power and Allegheny Power Systems

Education majors student teach for one semester during their undergraduate studies. The student teaching placement provides background in teaching geography, earth science, general science, and environmental education.

Student Organizations

Three student organizations are available to all geography majors: Gamma Theta Upsilon, an international honorary society in geography-earth science; the Student Environmental Action Committee, in which students can become more actively involved with environmental issues both on campus and in the community; and the Geography-Earth Science Organization (GESO), which sponsors many environmentally oriented programs, field trips, and outdoor activities.