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Atmosphere | Geology | Human Geo | Land Use | Mapping | SustainabilityWater


Regions, history, urbanization, transportation, regional economics, disease & the environment, methods, sustainability

Geography, literally translated from Greek would be gē meaning "earth" and -graphia meaning "writing".  Geography is therefore the characterization and communication of the Earth and its components.  While physical geographers concentrate on topics such as weather, climate, soils, landforms, etc... human geographers investigate the ways in which people interact with the Earth and each other.  Human geographers investigate how people interact with their environment and how their environment influences the ways in which they act. In other words, human geographers focus on people and their activities, such as culture, economics, political systems, transportation, and history.

Although every geographer tends to be familiar with most aspects of the discipline (e.g. climate scientists understand the role that humans play in climate change), each discipline within geography approaches a problem from a different perspective. Where a climate scientist may try to quantify the amount of additional atmospheric carbon attributable to automobiles, a transport geographer may examine changes in the road network that would help minimize atmospheric carbon—same basic problem (atmospheric carbon) but examined from a different point of view. As we develop a deeper understanding of the role that humans play in altering their environment, the role of the human geographer becomes increasingly important. For example, climate scientists have identified the problem of climate change and its magnitude and human geographers must now take that information and help to develop actionable plans that will help mitigate climate change and help communities across the globe. Both perspectives are needed to fully address the problem.

Students interested in cultural geography can take a wide range of courses within the context of several of our departmental majors.  Students outside of the department may also opt to take courses toward a minor.  Interested students are encouraged to contact a faculty member or their advisor to discuss potential courses and projects.


Example Courses:

The department is continually updating our courses to keep them current and impactful for your future success. Official course descriptions are available in the university catalog here:
Undergraduate Earth ScienceUndergraduate Geography  
Graduate Earth Science | Graduate Geography   

However, check with your instructor for the most up to date course outline and content as updates may be made.

Example Earth Science Courses (ESS)

ESS 108: Introduction to Environmental Sustainability

Example Geography Courses (GEO) 

GEO 101: World Geography
GEO 103: Geography of the United States and Canada
GEO 105: Physical Geography
GEO 140: Human Geography
GEO 230: Economic Geography
GEO 308: Geography of Latin America
GEO 310: Transportation Geography
GEO 313: Geography of South and Southeast Asia
GEO 320: Historical Geography
GEO 322: Urban Geography
GEO 326: Political Geography
GEO 391: Geography Seminar
GEO 402: Medical Geography
GEO 415: Regional Geographic Studies
GEO 441: Quantitative Methods
GEO 450: Geography-Geology Field Studies
GEO 514: Urban Environment
GEO 532: Disease and the Environment

Contact the Geography & Earth Science Department 104 Shearer Hall, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257 Phone: 717-477-1685 Fax: (717) 477-4029