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Geography

GEOG 111 - Human Geography of Global Issues

Human geographers have been at the forefront of studying a range of global issues, paying particular attention to the spatial organization of human activity and of people's relationships with their environment. Their work frequently highlights the interdependence between regions, as well as the uniqueness of specific places. This course examines the basic concepts and processes that shape human geography. Global and local patterns of population, migration, environmental resources, agriculture, economy and urbanization are surveyed and the factors influencing these patterns are discussed. Distinctions between the more developed (core) and the less developed (peripheral) regions of the world are highlighted and regional examples are used to illustrate geographic concepts. This course is an alternative to GEOG 113 - World Regional Geography: People, Places and Globalization. Students should take one course or the other as an introduction to the field or the major. (Students can also earn credit equivalent to this course, GEOG 113 or GEOG 115 by scoring a 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement Exam in Human Geography.)

Frequency: Offered every year.


GEOG 113 - World Regional Geography: People, Places and Globalization

It is crucial to understand the biophysical and cultural particularities of different world regions as well as the forces that bind them together. This course begins with an exploration of global flows and connections, and then takes us on a scholarly tour of the world, with stops in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Asia and the Americas. Along the way we'll systematically investigate major human and physical geography themes such as population dynamics and migration, agricultural change, human-environment interactions, health and disease, economic change and development, urbanization, and cultural shifts. This course is an alternative to GEOG 111 - Human Geography of Global Issues as well as GEOG 115 - Thinking Geographically: The Fundamentals of Human Geography. Students should take one course or the other as an introduction to the field or the major. (Students can also earn credit equivalent to this course, GEOG 111 or GEOG 115 by scoring a 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement exam in Human Geography).

Frequency: Offered every year.


GEOG 115 - Thinking Geographically: The Fundamentals of Human Geography

Human geography studies the dynamic development of our world. Across sub-disciplines that may focus on cities, politics, economics, cultures, population, or many other subjects, human geographers share some fundamental conceptual tools to understand our world and embrace similar approaches to producing geographic knowledge about it. In this course, we will together explore these epistemological and methodological bases of the discipline. We will start with the histories and various traditions of geography and advance to key geographic concepts such as space, time, place, scale, landscape, system, nature, development, globalization and risk. We will also survey approaches of practicing human geography and consider vital questions like what data to use, which methods to employ, and what analyses to perform. By bringing the "knowing" and the "doing" of human geography together, this course aims to help students appreciate that human geography is not a collection of geographical facts, but an intellectual institution always open to new perspectives and approaches, and constantly evolving with our societies.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s): Not open to students who've passed Advanced Placement (AP) Human Geography.


GEOG 194 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

GEOG 203 - Introduction to Urban Ecology

Urban ecology is both a concept and a field of study. It focuses on the interactions between humans, urban ecosystems, and the built environment. With over half of the world's population now living in cities, cities have assumed a critical role in shaping local, regional, and global ecologies. In this course, we will examine the distinctiveness of the interconnected urban biophysical, socio-economic, and political processes. In order to disentangle the complexity of human-environment relations in cities, we will take an interdisciplinary approach and learn theories and concepts in natural science ecology, environmental studies, geography, urban planning, sociology, and public policies. We will use our campus and the Twin Cities as a "living laboratory" and apply these theories and concepts to laboratory exercises, field observation, case studies, and research on contemporary urban sustainability initiatives.

Frequency: Offered every year.

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 203


GEOG 204 - Earth and the Environment: Elements of Physical Geography

This course introduces the student to an area of study that brings together and interrelates patterns and processes that drive Earth's physical environments, including human interactions with the physical environment. Among other topics, we will learn about the principles and mechanisms of climate and weather, water resources, landforms, earth surface processes, landscapes, vegetation, and ecosystems at global and regional scales. We will also learn how the spatial and temporal patterns of these processes are interpreted and understood using maps produced from Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Position System (GPS) and satellite imagery. Using selected studies we will also examine the social forces that shape many of these systems to gain a broader understanding of the socio-environmental interconnections of these physical environments. The course consists of lectures, discussions, hands-on exercises, field excursions, and exams.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 204


GEOG 220 - Environmental Geology

The physical environment has begun to show signs of our earth's expanding population and the increasing need for natural resources. Geologic materials such as soil, water, and bedrock, and geologic processes such as earthquakes, volcanic activity, and running water often pose constraints on land use. This course is designed to introduce students to the relationship between humans and their geologic environment: the earth. We will focus on understanding the processes that shape the surface of the earth, and how these processes affect human activity. We will use current scientific methods to collect and analyze data. Topics include surface-water dynamics and flooding, groundwater and groundwater contamination, pollution and waste management, landslides, volcanic and earthquake hazards, and global climate change. Format: the course will include local field excursions, lectures, discussions and hands-on exercises; evaluation will be based on homework/classroom activities, short writing assignments, and exams.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 220 and GEOL 220


GEOG 225 - Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

This course provides an introduction to cartography, visualization, and analyses of geospatial data, as well as hands-on experience with geospatial technologies in the GIS laboratory. Students will learn the basics of mapping/cartography (e.g. scale, projections, map design) and Geographic Information Systems. Students will create maps with commonly used digital data (e.g., aerial photographs, census boundaries, digital elevation models, etc.), and master basic methods of spatial analyses. Both concepts and techniques will be taught in this course. Hands-on assignments include classification of demographic data and query/analysis of vector and raster data. One and one half laboratory hours per week required.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor.


GEOG 232 - People, Agriculture and the Environment

This course introduces you to the study of human-environment interactions from a geographic perspective, with a special emphasis on food and agriculture. We examine environmental issues in a variety of geographic contexts (Global South and Global North) and the connections between environmental problems in different locations. Beyond agriculture, we also explore other sectoral issues in relation to farming and food security. These themes include: human population growth, consumption, biodiversity, climate change, and environmental health. We try on a number of theoretical lenses from geography's broad human-environment tradition (such as physical geography, cultural ecology, commodity chain analysis, political ecology, resource geography, the human dimensions of global change, hazards geography and environmental justice). In other words, we not only explore a range of agricultural and environmental issues, but also grapple with theory and how this informs our understanding of the human-environment interface.

Frequency: Offered every year.

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 232


GEOG 234 - Migration, Environment and Place Identity(ies): Exploring Geographies of Home, Mobility and Place

Migration, and more broadly, (im)mobilities literatures challenge us to connect broad scale migration flows with local places and construct from these linkages a notion of "home". Home is intimately connected to place and broadly conceptualized environments. In this course we will engage with and draw upon several overlapping literatures grounded in inter-disciplinary perspectives offered in migration studies. Course topics may include migration, diaspora, home, environment and environmental change, identity, place, belonging, as well as material expressions of these ideas, including art, architecture, symbolic places and monuments. Through an exploration of case studies both here in the Twin Cities as well as those drawn from around the world, this course offers an introduction to the basic principles and theories of migration and the ways in which migrants shape and transform place and are in turn shaped and transformed by their experience of place and home. Migration challenges us to consider different conceptualizations of home, belonging and identity. As such, this course offers an introduction to these concepts through discussion, field excursions and student-designed projects.

Frequency: Alternate years.


GEOG 239 - Neotropical Landscapes

The Neotropical realm refers to the biogeographic region that includes the tropical terrestrial ecoregions of the Americas and South America's temperate zone. These areas provide a range of services-both locally and globally--including water sources, climate mitigation and biodiversity conservation. They are also home to various human populations and support the livelihood of local and global human populations. This course provides students a basic understanding of the most important biophysical and social characteristics of the dominant landscapes of the Neotropics. Among others, these include tropical rain forests, Andean páramos, tropical dry forests, wetlands, deserts and temperate forests of southern South America. For each of these landscapes, we will analyze the key climatological, biogeographical and ecological processes and also study the peoples that live in them including indigenous communities, afro-descendants, and mestizos. Finally, using examples of these areas, we also analyze human-environment interactions including land change processes, biodiversity, resource and cultural conservation, and climate change impacts.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Cross-Listed as: LATI 239


GEOG 241 - Urban Geography

This course introduces you to the interdisciplinary study of cities and emphasizes a geographical lens. The central point of the course is to examine how the built environments of cities are shaped by human activity and how, in turn, urban life is shaped by the built environment. The course focuses on American cities and Minneapolis-St. Paul in particular. This course takes advantage of Macalester's location by introducing you to the urban environment of the Twin Cities and connecting you to its history, landscapes, communities, and institutions through case studies, field study exercises, and visits with experts working in organizations and institutions in the local community. This course will demand a lot from you, but it should be a lot of fun and offer a formative learning experience, not only about cities, but about the discipline of geography, the liberal arts, and even yourself. Field work required.

Frequency: Offered every year.


GEOG 242 - Regional Geography of the US and Canada

This course explores the ways in which diverse groups of people interact with the natural environment to produce the contemporary landscapes (human and physical) and regional differentiation (social and cultural) of the U.S. and Canada. The course emphasizes patterns of human settlement, economic activity, and land use, with special attention given to social and legal issues relevant to Native populations in the U.S. and the historic and current status and development of Native lands. Case studies and a field study to the Boreal Forest region of northern Minnesota will be used to demonstrate broad themes at a more personal scale.

Frequency: Offered every year.


GEOG 243 - Geography of Africa: Local Resources and Livelihoods in a Global Context

This class goes beyond the superficial media interpretations of the world's second largest region to complicate and ground our understanding of this fascinating continent. As geographers, we will place contemporary African developments in a historical and global context. Africa has a long history of influencing and being influenced by the outside world. Among other issues, we will explore how colonialism, and even more recent 'development' initiatives, have influenced current structures in Africa. Furthermore, we will examine what restrictions, if any, the current world economic system places on development possibilities for the continent. The course provides a basic background in African history and bio-physical environments, leading to discussion of advanced topics in contemporary African studies. We will cover a broad range of sectoral themes, including: health and population dynamics; food and agriculture; cities and urbanization; rural life; parks and peoples; development and underdevelopment; politics and governance; and sociocultural geography and music.

Frequency: Offered every year.


GEOG 244 - Geography of Asia: the Political Economy

Whether the twenty-first century will be dominated by the "rising Asia" has spurred recurring debates in policy and academic circles. But what is Asia? How can we understand this diverse region where more than half of the world's population resides? In this course, we will first deconstruct the idea of Asia as a cartographic entity to excavate the layered social-cultural meaning and geographical diversity of the "Asias." We will also place the "Asias" in a global context to reveal how contemporary Asia anchors the changing world political economy and cultural imaginations outside the West. We will begin with important theoretical debates on (East) Asian development that prevailed in the 1980s and 1990s, including discussions about the colonial past, the path-dependency of development and uneven industrialization, regional disparities and mega-urbanization. We will then use these debates as the foundation to explore the contemporary globalizing Asia. What are the important connections between Asian countries, and with other parts of the world? What are the roles of the "Asias" in international governance and geo-politics? Can China replace the United States as the dominant geo-economic power? These are the questions we will explore in this course.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Cross-Listed as: ASIA 244


GEOG 247 - Regional Geography of the Middle East

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the variety of geographic factors that make up the area traditionally known as the Middle East (Egypt to Iran). Its aim is to enable the student to understand and appreciate the complex relationships of this fascinating region, both internally and to the rest of the world. We investigate the region from a variety of scales, including the individual, the ethnic group, the city and state. The course begins by laying a geographic foundation and then moving off into specific locales around the tri-continental hub. We will pay particular attention to how geography investigates some of the region's most contentious contemporary issues. Through a combination of lecture, discussion and case study activities the class will explore the region's resource base, history, politics, economy, religions and cultures. We will cover a wide variety of topics searching for the linkages between the cultural, physical and social geographies of the Middle East.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.


GEOG 248 - The Political Geography of Nations and Nationalism

This course investigates how nations and nationalism affect social identity and the organization of territory in our world. Political geography offers concepts and approaches to help us think through the complex intersections of people, place, and politics that constitute the struggle to create and maintain nation-states. Thus the first part of the course is devoted to enhancing your understanding of core concepts, such as nation, state, territory, sovereignty, scale, borders, and geographical imagination. The ultimate purpose of this first part of the course then is to assemble a framework for understanding why our contemporary organization of territory throughout the world looks the way it does. Equipped with these foundations, we explore topics in the second part of class that help you think critically about the stability of nations and the organization of territory into the nation-state system as well as challenges to these institutions. Toward this end, you will also conduct an independent research project on a single group's attempt to foster national self-determination. Throughout the course, we will bring our investigations to bear on everyday life, exploring how nations and nationalism shape our world in dramatic and mundane ways.

Frequency: Offered every year.


GEOG 249 - Environment and Society in Latin America

This course focuses on one of the world's most vibrant regions, Latin America and the Caribbean. Extending from the Rio Grande to Tierra del Fuego, this world region stretches across diverse landscapes, from tropical rainforests to the snowcapped peaks of the Andes, from mega-cities to verdant plains and sparsely populated deserts. This course is a broad introduction to Latin American environments and peoples from a geographic perspective, with emphasis on human-environment processes. Major topics include the dynamics of climate, physical geography, and natural hazards; how indigenous peoples of the Americas transformed their environments, especially through agriculture; how European colonialism and the Columbian Exchange altered patterns of land use, labor, and trade; the development patterns of modern nation-states within a globalized economy; the environmental and social impacts of commodity production (e.g. coffee in Central America, rubber in the Amazon); challenges to and persistence of small-scale agriculture in the Andean region; the causes and consequences of tropical deforestation; conflicts over land and natural resources; the resilience and political resurgence of indigenous groups and people of African descent, and the evolution of pluriethnic or multinational states; and the causes of mass urbanization and the environmental problems of cities. Along the way, we will examine the human-environment geography of various regions and countries such as The Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, Brazil, the Andean Countries, and Argentina.

Frequency: Offered every year.

Cross-Listed as: LATI 249


GEOG 250 - Race, Place and Space

In this discussion-based course we focus on the racialized places of U.S. cities, rural towns and suburbs in an effort to understand how social, historic, and spatial forces have colluded to bring about complex and enduring racial formations. We will look for race and related social categories in places around St. Paul and Minneapolis. By engaging theories about visuality and representation, urban development and suburban sprawl, and social movements for racial justice, we will develop a specialized vocabulary for explaining how race, place, and space are connected. This course requires prior exposure to at least one of the following areas: American Studies, human geography, sociology of race/ethnicity, or urban studies.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Cross-Listed as: AMST 250


GEOG 252 - Water and Power

This course develops an interdisciplinary approach to studying water resources development, drawing from geography, anthropology, history, politics, hydrology, and civil engineering. With a focus on large river basins, the course examines historical and emerging challenges to the equitable and sustainable use of transboundary waters. After first exploring the history of American water development, we will turn our attention to issues around sanitation, food production, gender and privatization in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): ENVI 220 or ENVI 232

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 252 and POLI 252


GEOG 254 - Population 8 Billion: Global Population Issues and Trends

This course challenges students to critically examine contemporary global population issues and link these patterns and processes to local events and situations. Using the lens of Geography, we will investigate the dynamic interplay between individual, local, regional, national, and international scales and the implications of scale, culture and perspective in dissecting current population issues. We will also use individual countries as case studies to examine population policies. Students will acquire a working knowledge of the data and methods used by population geographers to describe and analyze changes in human populations at sub-national scales, and will implement these skills in an independent research project.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 254


GEOG 256 - Health Geography

This course examines the geographical dimensions of health and disease, emphasizing global and domestic public health issues. Key approaches and themes include the social determinants of health; health equity; how place influences individual health; health equity; epidemiological mapping and spatial analysis; environmental health; environmental justice; the relationship among demographic change, economic development, and population health; the geography of pandemics; the disease ecology approach to infectious and vector-borne diseases; and the challenges of global health governance in the 21st century, with special emphasis on emerging infectious diseases.

Frequency: Offered every year.


GEOG 258 - Geography of Environmental Hazards

The study of environmental hazards stands at a key point of intersection between the natural and social sciences. Geography, with its focus on human-environment interactions, provides key analytical tools for understanding the complex causes and uneven impacts of hazards around the world. We will explore the geophysical nature and social dimensions of disasters caused by floods, droughts, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, and wildfires. For each of these hazard types, we apply theoretical concepts from major hazards research paradigms, including quantifying the human and economic impacts of disaster; assessing, managing, and mitigating risk; and reducing the impacts of disaster, not only through engineering works but also by reducing social vulnerability and enhancing adaptive capacity. Looking into the future, we will discuss how global-scale processes, such as climate change and globalization, might affect the frequency, intensity, and geographical distribution of environmental hazards in the decades to come.

Frequency: Offered every year.

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 258


GEOG 261 - World Urbanization

We now live in a world where the majority of the population already lives in cities. And yet every year, hundreds of millions of people continue to move into cities to pursue a better future. The contemporary social, economic, and political changes are intrinsically linked to divergent urban processes across the world. This paramount shift poses important theoretical and empirical questions to our age. This course uses the critical perspective of "global urbanism" to both contextualize and connect different urban experiences across places. We will introduce various urban settings and demonstrate how complex relations between urbanization, globalization, and economic development produce spatial unevenness and social inequality. We will study the dominant paradigm of world and global cities, which prioritizes development trajectories of cities in the global North, and discuss contesting views focusing on "ordinary cities" from the global South. Drawing on case studies in the developed and less-developed world, we will also learn how to apply the relational comparative urbanism approach as well as regionally based theoretical perspectives to comprehend the diverse urban landscapes around the globe.

Frequency: Offered every year.


GEOG 262 - Metro Analysis

This course focuses on the foundations of American urban development, from economic development to land use to housing patterns, and examines how and why urban housing markets operate as they do within American metropolitan regions. Topics covered in the course include: the metropolitan economy, land use patterns, urban housing supply and demand, the geography of urban housing markets, racial residential segregation, suburbanization, transportation, and public policy debates. By the end of the course, students will have mastered some of the methods used to describe metropolitan organization and change, and be able to analyze how changes in the economy and society relate to metropolitan land use.

Frequency: Offered every year.


GEOG 263 - The End of Public Space? Searching for the Inclusive City

This course investigates the ways that public spaces in cities function in theory and in practice to support democratic life. Our investigation will critically assess geographer Don Mitchell's provocative claim that we may be seeing "the end of public space." Privatization trends in urban development (including "hostile design") and a narrowing scope of who qualifies as part of "the public" has certainly born out this claim. At the same time, there's also a renewed interest among citizens and urbanists alike in the importance of public space as well as grassroots and professional efforts to re-claim and re-program open space for public purposes and use digital technologies to create new types of space to support public engagement. These tensions prompt questions about how to design socially inclusive public spaces. Such questions are at the heart of this course. Toward this aim, the course examines theoretical and philosophical perspectives regarding the ways in which the design and use of public spaces are thought to support democratic citizenship and build inclusive cities. We will also learn about the social and political institutions that govern the decisions affecting how public spaces are created and managed in a variety of contexts. Our consideration of the "end of public space" thesis will draw extensively on students' field work in the Twin Cities and the course will take several field trips to public spaces in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Students will learn and practice field methods crucial to the study of public spaces. Using frameworks and methods learned in the class, students will complete an independent field study project of a particular public space in the Twin Cities. This will entail routine visits to off-campus locations for several weeks in order to observe and study the use and design of public space. Individual work will be incorporated into A Field Guide to Public Spaces, https://publicspaces.guide, a digital platform for public scholarship concerning public space. Collectively, the projects will inform our critical examination of the claim that in cities today, we are witnessing the end of public space. Fieldwork is required.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.


GEOG 265 - Contemporary Mongolia: Livelihoods, Economies and Environments

The "land without fences" has long existed in the travelers' mind as a place of expansive landscapes and nomadic cultures. After emerging from more than 60 years of communism, Mongolia transitioned to a democratic form of governance and capitalist economy in 1989 and by 2013 Mongolia's economy was noted as one of the fastest growing in Asia, although this growth has since slowed. Along with these monumental changes in governance structure and economy, Mongolia's peoples witnessed profound changes in their livelihoods and experienced a rapid transition to new and emerging economies. This course takes a thematic, geographic perspective on the contemporary issues facing Mongolia and its citizens and bringing together such themes as development, gender, environment, migration, ethnicity and culture in this rapidly changing region of the world. Our task for the semester will be to consider the multiplicity of changes occurring across Mongolia and contextualize these within broader debates within the discipline of geography.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Cross-Listed as: ASIA 265


GEOG 277 - Qualitative Research Methods in Geography

Social scientists use qualitative methods to understand the ways in which societal associations operate and how people experience, contribute to, or try to change these associations. Qualitative methods are thus concerned with analyzing processes and how people experience them. This course trains students to use qualitative research methods to collect data, analyze it, draw authoritative conclusions, and observe professional research ethics. The course emphasizes how qualitative methods contribute to scientific research and how ethical treatment of research participants affects the practice of qualitative research. Above all, the course focuses on training students to conduct qualitative research that contributes to our understanding of human geographies. Students will develop these skills by engaging in a semester-long research project.

Frequency: Offered every year.

Prerequisite(s): GEOG 111 or GEOG 113 or GEOG 115, or permission of instructor.


GEOG 294 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

GEOG 320 - Asian Cities

Since the last century, Asia has experienced rapid urbanization. It is now home to over half of the world's most populated cities. By 2010, the urban population in the Asia-Pacific region had surpassed the population of the United States and the European Union combined. In this course, we will focus on cities in East, Southeast and South Asia. We will first contextualize the rapid urbanization in the region's changing political economy, and identify urban issues that are unique to this region. We will further explore different theoretical approaches to understand Asian cities; several of them challenge mainstream urban theories rooted in the experiences of West European and North American cities. Upon the completion of this course, students will acquire substantive knowledge on contemporary trends of urban development in Asia, and develop familiarity with related ongoing theoretical debates. In addition, students will conduct individual research projects to develop a deeper and more concrete understanding of the contemporary urbanization processes in Asia.

Frequency: Offered every year.

Cross-Listed as: ASIA 320


GEOG 341 - City Life: Segregation, Integration, and Gentrification

This course connects students with urban social geography, which studies the social and spatial dimensions of city life. In this course, we will explore some of the ways in which urban society is organized geographically. We will also consider how the spatial patterns of urban life influence public policy issues in the North American context. Topics covered in this course include causes of racial segregation, debates about gentrification, sustainable urban development, the transition to shared governance in cities, and the delivery of urban services that affect the welfare of urban populations. Students will learn current research, engage debates about critical urban issues, and learn techniques useful for analyzing spatial patterns in the urban landscape.

Frequency: Offered every year.

Prerequisite(s): GEOG 241 or GEOG 261 or GEOG 262 or permission of instructor.

Cross-Listed as: AMST 341


GEOG 362 - Remote Sensing of the Environment

This course is designed to introduce the student to the theory and application of digital imagery data analysis in research. It emphasizes fundamental remote sensing concepts and utilizes remotely-sensed data for analyzing human-environmental issues such as deforestation, urban expansion, or other changes in land surface across space or time. The focus of this course is on the interpretation and applications of data from spaceborne systems (e.g. Landsat, Sentinel-2), but other sources of remote sensing data (e.g. unmanned aerial vehicles) will be introduced too. The course consists of lecture periods to provide a comprehensive understanding of concepts, labs that take you through the major mapping and analysis methods, and student projects. A basic understanding of geographic data is necessary to take this class. Students can satisfy this requirement by completing GEOG 225 (or showing equivalent knowledge) or by completing an asynchronous module provided by the instructor through Moodle.

Frequency: Offered every year.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor.

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 372


GEOG 363 - Geography of Development and Underdevelopment

This course introduces students to the geographic study of development around the world, with a particular emphasis on the Global South. The geographic approach emphasizes: the highly uneven nature of development; processes that link and differentiate various areas of the world; connections between development and the natural resource base; and the power relations inherent in development discourse. The course has three main sections: an introduction to development theory; an investigation of various development themes; and an intense exploration of what works and what doesn't in development practice. While much of the development literature has focused on failure, a specific aim of this course will be to uncover and interrogate success stories.

Frequency: Offered every year.


GEOG 364 - GIS and Community Partnerships

In this course we collaborate with a local partner to collect, analyze and present geospatial information. Our primary tool is a Geographic Information System. Through meetings and discussions with our partner, we develop a plan for data collection and analysis and then work collaboratively to finish the project. This course may include field excursions to local sites as well as significant time devoted to working in groups and individually. We focus on the basics of project management as well as technical skills. In previous semesters we have collaborated with partners engaged in natural resource management, urban studies, and geographic education. Topics covered in the course include data collection, data quality and metadata, data structures, visualization, and spatial analysis and modeling. Laboratory work is required.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): GEOG 225 and permission of instructor.


GEOG 365 - Urban GIS

This course allows students to participate in a "real world" application of their GIS knowledge and skills in a collaborative research project setting. Project focus is on urban GIS and questions developed by and for neighborhoods and other community research organizations. Content of the course includes development of the research project, acquisition and utilization of data used in urban analysis, data manipulation and analytical techniques unique to urban GIS, and geographical data visualization. Laboratory work is required.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): GEOG 225 and permission of instructor.


GEOG 367 - Environmental Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

This course is designed for upper-division undergraduate students seeking greater understanding of GIS theory, technology, and application in environmental issues. It includes an expansion of GIS theory and its implementation through the applied techniques of GIS. The course first introduces resources to help students succeed in the class. It then covers how to obtain data, customize it for a particular study site, input it into a GIS analysis, and then interpret and present the results. The course also provides a series of environmental case studies demonstrating a variety of analysis tools and techniques. Lectures and labs cover all aspects of GIS analysis, in sequence from data acquisition, manipulation, creation, visualization, analysis and GIS application. Few of the environmental case studies covered in the class are wetland restoration and invasive species mapping, REDD analysis, tree height and forest density measurement using LiDAR data, land use and land cover change analysis, forest fragmentation analysis and hydrological modeling - DRASTIC model. Laboratory work is required.

Frequency: Offered infrequently.

Prerequisite(s): GEOG 225 and permission of instructor.


GEOG 368 - Health GIS

This course builds on skills learned in the introductory Geographic Information Systems (GIS) course, focusing explicitly on geospatial techniques used for analyzing problems in public health. Mainly through lectures, discussions, hands-on lab exercises, and collaborative group work, students will learn to use advanced GIS tools to visualize and analyze public health issues, including: health disparities; neighborhood effects on health; spatial clustering of disease events, such as cancers; environmental health and environmental justice; infectious and vector-borne disease; and accessibility of populations to health care services. The course builds skills in spatial thinking, statistical and epidemiological reasoning, logical inference, critical use of data, geovisualization, and research project design. Students will be required to complete a final independent project on a topic of their choice. Laboratory work is required.

Frequency: Offered every year.

Prerequisite(s): GEOG 225 and permission of instructor; completion of GEOG 256 and/or STAT 125 is highly encouraged before taking this course.


GEOG 370 - Advanced Cartography and Geovisualization

In our increasingly visual culture, displaying, analyzing and interpreting data visually is becoming more important than ever. Governments, non-profits, marketing agencies, corporations and activists are striving to communicate with the public and policy makers using data visualization. Geovisualization adds a spatial component to data visualization, tying locations to stories. Geovisualization is both a process for displaying data and an interdisciplinary field of study that develops new methods and tools for data visualization. Cartography plays an important role in geovisualization, lending design principles and techniques to this new and emerging field of study. This course is a combination of discussions on current topics, hands-on lab exercises, and projects. You will have the opportunity to create a static (print) visualization and a dynamic (interactive/web) visualization. Discussion and lab topics may include cartography, typography, geovisualization, spatio-temporal mapping, interactive mapping, user experience design (UX/UI), web mapping, 3D and animated mapping, critical cartography and location-based services. Esri's ArcGIS suite, Adobe Creative Cloud, and online open source software are used to complete lab assignments. Laboratory work is required.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): GEOG 225 and permission of instructor.


GEOG 372 - Advanced Remote Sensing

This course introduces students to advanced topics in remote sensing analysis and is directed to students who want to work on a research project of their own choice. Introduction to some advanced remote sensing techniques such as the use of machine learning algorithms in image classification analysis (e.g. Random Forests) and time series analysis will be provided, but ultimately topics will be defined by students' interest. Advanced remote sensing techniques will be learned using Google Earth Engine (GEE). GEE is a cloud-based geospatial analysis platform that uses JavaScript and that enables large scale processing of satellite and other types of imagery. No previous coding experience is required and given the project-based nature of the class, students can opt to use GEE or another geospatial software for their projects. Students are expected to build a body of literature related to a topic of their choice, lead discussions, analyze data, peer-review other projects, and other steps related to the production of a scientific paper. The ultimate goal is to produce a "research manuscript" by the end of the semester and the majority of the grade will come from completing the steps leading to manuscript production.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s): GEOG 362

Cross-Listed as: COMP 272


GEOG 375 - Rural Landscapes and Livelihoods

This course introduces students to Rural Geography, a sub-discipline within Geography. Using a sustainable development framework this course emphasizes the linkages between human and physical landscapes through the evaluation of landuse and community change in rural areas throughout the US and other Global North countries. We will explore the implications of demographic (including migration and immigration), economic, cultural, and environmental changes for rural environs using several case studies from across the US and Western Europe, including an overnight field trip to northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. Rural community strategies for adapting to and accommodating competing demands for water and landuse will be considered, including pressure for new housing developments, recreation opportunities (boating, fishing, hiking, biking), and conservation needs. Students will be exposed to theoretical and empirical approaches to rural development in different regional contexts, as well as problems associated with these development paradigms. We will explore the rapidly changing rural environments in a Global North context in order to deepen our understanding of the interconnectedness of human and physical systems more broadly.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 375


GEOG 378 - Statistical Research Methods in Geography

This course focuses on the statistical methods that geographers use to describe and analyze places and themes. Students will learn both descriptive and inferential statistical methods for use in geographical research, including exploratory data analysis techniques, spatial statistics, geographic sampling, hypothesis testing, and regression analysis. The course provides students with experience in the application of statistical methods to spatial problems through the use of statistical software. Students will also learn to evaluate and develop statistical research designs, including preparation and presentation of an original research project.

Frequency: Offered every year.

Prerequisite(s): Geography major or permission of instructor.


GEOG 394 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

GEOG 472 - Global Urbanism

The 21st century is an urban century. Half of the world's population now lives in cities, with the most rapid growth happening in the developing world. The globalized urban processes compel us to rethink existing urban theories as well as the very definition of cities. In this senior capstone seminar, we will explore three strands of scholarly works that expand our knowledge about contemporary global urbanism. The first focuses on the scholarship of neoliberal urbanism, which prioritizes North American and Western European urban experiences and shapes the mainstream thinking of cities. The second consists of on-the-ground variegated contestations, which reveal diverse urban living experiences and propose alternative approaches to the capitalist urbanization process. Finally, there is the scholarship challenging mainstream urban theories with a different epistemological stance. Among other things, it seeks to re-conceptualize urbanization from the global South. In addition to studying these important ways of thinking about global urbanism, students will conduct individual research projects to develop a deeper and more concrete understanding of the contemporary urbanization processes.

Frequency: Generally offered every other year.


GEOG 474 - Our Changing Planet: A Seminar in Land-Change Science

Changes in land use and land cover are cause and consequence of global environmental change. Land Change Science (LCS) seeks to understand these processes as coupled human-environment systems to address theory, concepts, models, and their applications to environmental and societal problems. The purpose of this seminar is to provide a conceptual basis of LCS, as well as to review the approaches and analytical techniques used in LCS research. We will utilize readings, discussions and, to a lesser extent, lectures to review foundational LCS scientific literature and student-selected readings. Students will conduct a semester-long research project on a case study of their own interest to explore a LCS question. using appropriate methodological approaches including in-depth literature reviews, modeling, Geographic Information System (GIS), remote sensing, spatial analysis, or other geographical tools.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s): Junior or senior standing.


GEOG 475 - Health Geography Seminar

A research seminar in which students conduct individual inquiry into problems in medical geography. Also known as health geography, this is a growing subdiscipline in geography that stands out for its theoretical debates, methodological diversity, and engagement with other disciplines from the natural and social sciences (e.g. biology, biomedicine, ecology, epidemiology, sociology, economics, anthropology, critical theory), while always grounded in the traditions of geographical inquiry. Topics and approaches to be covered include historical paradigms in medical geographic thought; international health and development; disease ecology; emerging infectious diseases; the social determinants of health; place or neighborhood effects; environmental justice; spatial epidemiology; and critical approaches to health, the body, and power. Since this is a seminar course we will also emphasize developing your skills in scholarly research and writing, as well as learning how to evaluate and integrate insights from different disciplines.

Frequency: Generally offered every other year.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Completion of GEOG 256 prior is encouraged.


GEOG 476 - Transportation Geography Seminar

A research seminar in which students explore and discuss current transportation research and issues and conduct an individual inquiry into transportation geography, from the effects of transportation on urban form and land use to the environmental and human dimensions of transport. Through readings, discussions, guest speakers, and local field experiences, students are introduced to a variety of research areas and applications, data sources, and research methods. We will also take advantage of our location within the Twin Cities metropolitan area to host alumni who are currently working in transportation, in order to gain exposure to a professional view of the field.

Frequency: Generally offered every other year.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor.


GEOG 477 - Comparative Environment and Development

A concern for the relationship between nature and society has been one of the pillars of geographic inquiry, and has also been an important bridge between other disciplines. By the 1960s, this area of inquiry was referred to variously as "human ecology" or "cultural ecology." Since the 1990s certain forms of inquiry within this tradition have increasingly referred to themselves as "political ecology." The purpose of this seminar is to review major works within the traditions of cultural and political ecology; examine several areas of interest within these fields (e.g., agricultural modernization, environmental narratives, conservation, ecotourism); and explore nature-society dynamics across a range of geographical contexts. Towards the end of the course students will explore how one might begin to think in practical terms about facilitating development in marginal environments.

Frequency: Offered every other year.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Prior completion of a geography course(s) with an environmental or development focus is encouraged.

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 477 and INTL 477


GEOG 478 - Another World is Possible: The Political Economy of Urban Sustainability

The purpose of this course is to understand the practices and concepts that constitute the movement for sustainable cities and investigate the ways in which urban sustainability initiatives are generated and how they vary geographically. The course adopts a political economy perspective to trace the complex interactions of institutions, politics, and economic systems that shape initiatives for more sustainable cities. Students will work in the first part of the course to enhance their understanding of core concepts and best practices that constitute the professional field of sustainable urban development and assemble a framework for analyzing the ways in which sustainability initiatives come to fruition and approach the idea of sustainability in a particular way. Equipped with this framework, we then analyze case studies in the second part of course that focus on the meaning of sustainability, its practice internationally, and the ultimate impact of these practices on ecological balance, economic sustainability, and social equity in the urban environment. Toward these ends, students will conduct a semester-long capstone research project that investigates a particular urban sustainability initiative in the world by tracing the political economy of its creation and considering its impact on society, economy, and environment.

Frequency: Generally offered every other year.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor.

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 478


GEOG 479 - Migrants, Migration and the Global Landscape of Population Change

Castles and Miller argue that we are living in the age of migration -- a period in history when a greater proportion of the human population is on the move than ever before. This course examines migration through a geographic lens seeking to elucidate the connections between theory and the changing and complex lived experiences of migrants. We will consider different approaches to studying migration including primary migration theories, the analyses of major flows, and micro models of individual decision-making behavior, life course, and livelihood perspectives and the implications of these movements for both sending and receiving communities. This course is organized as a senior capstone seminar. As such, we utilize readings, discussion, lectures, guest speakers and local events to enhance our understanding of the many dimensions and perspectives inherent in study of migratory movements, at scales ranging from global to local.

Frequency: Generally offered every other year.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor.


GEOG 494 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

GEOG 611 - Independent Project

A limit of eight credits for independent projects may be applied toward the major. An independent study that clearly focuses on GIS may be applied to the GIS minor in geography.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


GEOG 612 - Independent Project

A limit of eight credits for independent projects may be applied toward the major. An independent study that clearly focuses on GIS may be applied to the GIS minor in geography.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


GEOG 613 - Independent Project

A limit of eight credits for independent projects may be applied toward the major. An independent study that clearly focuses on GIS may be applied to the GIS minor in geography.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


GEOG 614 - Independent Project

A limit of eight credits for independent projects may be applied toward the major. An independent study that clearly focuses on GIS may be applied to the GIS minor in geography.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


GEOG 621 - Internship

Students work with a Twin Cities community organization, agency or business, learning particular skills, factual knowledge about "real world" operations and interpersonal communications. Internships are individually designed around students' interests, college studies and career goals. Not more than eight credits for internships may be included toward the major. An internship that clearly focuses on GIS may be applied to the GIS minor in geography. Only offered as a pass/fail (S/N) option.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Career Exploration Office.


GEOG 622 - Internship

Students work with a Twin Cities community organization, agency or business, learning particular skills, factual knowledge about "real world" operations and interpersonal communications. Internships are individually designed around students' interests, college studies and career goals. Not more than eight credits for internships may be included toward the major. An internship that clearly focuses on GIS may be applied to the GIS minor in geography. Only offered as a pass/fail (S/N) option.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Career Exploration Office.


GEOG 623 - Internship

Students work with a Twin Cities community organization, agency or business, learning particular skills, factual knowledge about "real world" operations and interpersonal communications. Internships are individually designed around students' interests, college studies and career goals. Not more than eight credits for internships may be included toward the major. An internship that clearly focuses on GIS may be applied to the GIS minor in geography. Only offered as a pass/fail (S/N) option.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with the Career Exploration Office.


GEOG 624 - Internship

Students work with a Twin Cities community organization, agency or business, learning particular skills, factual knowledge about "real world" operations and interpersonal communications. Internships are individually designed around students' interests, college studies and career goals. Not more than eight credits for internships may be included toward the major. An internship that clearly focuses on GIS may be applied to the GIS minor in geography. Only offered as a pass/fail (S/N) option.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with the Career Exploration Office.


GEOG 631 - Preceptorship

A student works with a faculty member in the planning and teaching of a course.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs and Advising.


GEOG 632 - Preceptorship

A student works with a faculty member in the planning and teaching of a course.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs and Advising.


GEOG 633 - Preceptorship

A student works with a faculty member in the planning and teaching of a course.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs and Advising.


GEOG 634 - Preceptorship

A student works with a faculty member in the planning and teaching of a course.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs and Advising.


GEOG 641 - Honors Independent

Independent research, writing, or other preparation leading to the culmination of the senior honors project.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


GEOG 642 - Honors Independent

Independent research, writing, or other preparation leading to the culmination of the senior honors project.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


GEOG 643 - Honors Independent

Independent research, writing, or other preparation leading to the culmination of the senior honors project.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


GEOG 644 - Honors Independent

Independent research, writing, or other preparation leading to the culmination of the senior honors project.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.