Land Use

Land use investigates the human use and modification of natural environments, whether for agricultural, technological, industrial, residential, or other uses. The pattern of land use is often influenced by various physical and cultural controls.

Understanding the pattern of land use change, and the reasons for these changes is critical for geographers and earth scientists. As global populations grow, so too does the demand for natural resources for infrastructure development to support the human population. Major land cover changes include:

  • Deforestation
  • Urban sprawl
  • Extension of impervious surface areas
  • Soil erosion
  • Soil degradation and salinization
  • Desertification

These changes result in modification of critical ecosystems, and environmental changes that impact our access to resources, and ultimately our own health and safety.

The Department of Geography and Earth Science at Shippensburg University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography with a concentration in Land Use. Our undergraduate students who are interested in this field have a number of research experiences available to them.

Studying Land Use at Ship will give you the opportunity to learn about the relationship of people to the land and how technological advances and expanding population have created a variety of complex land use dilemmas that affect all levels of society, including the following topics:

  • Rural to urban migration
  • Energy-consumptive settlement patterns
  • Urban sprawl
  • Private land ownership and control
  • Federal, state and local land use regulations

You'll also study the spatial pattern of land-use development in rural and urban areas and interactions between urbanization and the environment, among other topics that will prepare you for a variety of employment options.

There are plenty of resources and opportunities for undergraduate research within this concentration, including:

Many geographers pursue rewarding careers in education; business; local, state, or federal government agencies; and nonprofit organizations. If you are interested in people, you may find urban development or planning as an appropriate career choice. There are also global integration specialists who create maps using computer software. Geographers may also hold jobs in the public health sectors, for security specialists, and disaster relief efforts.

The average salary for land use jobs in PA is $51,000.

To earn a Bachelor of Science in Geography with a concentration in Land Use, you must complete the required core courses as well as 51 credits of courses related specifically to the concentration, including a 3-credit internship. See the Undergraduate Catalog for specific course requirements, or speak to a faculty advisor in the department.  

Geography/Earth Science
Shearer Hall 104, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1685
Department Website