General Distribution Requirement
All geography courses count toward the general distribution requirement in social science except courses numbered GEOG 116, GEOG 614, GEOG 624, GEOG 634, and GEOG 644. GEOG 116 and GEOG 120 count toward the general distribution requirement in mathematics and natural science.
General Education Requirements
Courses that meet the general education requirements in writing, quantitative thinking, internationalism and US identities and differences will be posted on the Registrar's web page in advance of registration for each semester.
Additional information about general distribution requirements and the general education requirements can be found in the graduation requirements section of this catalog.
The geography department participates in the honors program. Eligibility requirements, application procedures and specific project expectations for the department are available from either the department office or the Academic Programs and Advising Office.
Over the past several years the department, in cooperation with the Career Development Center, has sponsored preprofessional internships in a variety of natural resource and planning agencies, consulting firms, and community organizations. In some internships, students are paid for their work.
To meet requirements for graduate study, students with majors or minors in geography should select supplementary courses from the social sciences, the natural sciences, and the humanities and fine arts in consultation with their department advisors. It is also desirable that students preparing for graduate study take an advanced GIS course (e.g., GEOG 364 - GIS and Community Partnerships, GEOG 365 - Urban GIS, GEOG 366 - GIS for Global Urban Environments, or GEOG 368 - Health GIS), GEOG 377 - Qualitative Research Methods, and one of the 400-level research seminars in the department.
For other opportunities in related areas of study, see the catalog description of urban studies, international studies, environmental studies, computer science, community and global health, and various area studies programs.
The National Council for Geographic Education and American Association of Geographers Award for Excellence of Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding senior majoring in geography. The David A. Lanegran Award, named for the longest serving member of the department, is presented to a student or students in recognition of significant contributions to the community life of the department. The Hildegard Binder Johnson Prize in Geography, named for the founder of the department, is awarded annually to academically outstanding students in geography. In addition, exceptional majors and minors in geography are eligible for membership in Epsilon Kappa, the Macalester chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon, the national honor society in geography.
Examination of special topics of interest to faculty and students, such as a study of the processes by which the spatial environment is cognitively organized by people, geographical problems in economic development, regions of the world, etc. To be announced at registration. (4 credits)
The department offers independent study options in the form of independent projects, internships, preceptorships and Honors independent projects. For more information contact the department and review the Curriculum section of the catalog.
The geography major consists of nine courses. The classes comprising the major will be selected in a manner that builds from the introductory classes to the advanced seminars and will include the following:
- One foundation course: GEOG 111 - Human Geography of Global Issues or GEOG 113 - World Regional Geography: People, Places and Globalization
Note: Students can earn credit equivalent to GEOG 111 or GEOG 113 by scoring a 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement Exam in Human Geography. Students who do so are still required to take nine geography courses for the major.
- Two research methods courses: GEOG 225 - Introduction to Geographic Information Systems and GEOG 378 - Statistical Research Methods in Geography
- One area studies course, which may be satisfied through one of the following:
- A regional geography course in the department (e.g., GEOG 242 - Regional Geography of the US and Canada, GEOG 243 - Geography of Africa: Local Resources and Livelihoods in a Global Context, GEOG 244 - Geography of Asia: the Political Economy, or GEOG 249 - Environment and Society in Latin America)
- An approved study abroad program
- The student may petition to count a comprehensive area studies course in another department for regions not covered by the geography department
If the student fulfills the area studies requirement through a study abroad program or a non-geography course, they must still take nine geography courses for the major.
- Four intermediate courses -- 200 or 300 level
- One research seminar course:
- GEOG 472 - Global Urbanism
- GEOG 475 - Medical Geography Seminar
- GEOG 476 - Transportation Geography Seminar
- GEOG 477 - Comparative Environment and Development
- GEOG 478 - Cities of the 21st Century: The Political Economy of Urban Sustainability
- GEOG 479 - Migrants, Migration and the Global Landscape of Population Change
The senior capstone requirement in geography will be satisfied by completing one 400-level research seminar course. GEOG 377 - Qualitative Research Methods is strongly recommended for majors planning to attend graduate school.
The department supports four types of emphases within the major: 1) urban and economic geography, 2) nature-society geography, 3) cultural and political geography, and 4) geographic information sciences (GIS). Majors should take care to sample a breadth of courses across the discipline, while striving to develop depth in one of these areas through a few courses. That said, it is not a requirement to have a specific focus within the geography major.
A minor in geography may be achieved by completing five courses selected in consultation with a department faculty member. One of these five courses must be GEOG 111 - Human Geography of Global Issues or GEOG 113 - World Regional Geography: People, Places and Globalization.
A minor in geography with an emphasis in GIS/Cartography may be achieved by completing five courses, four of which must be in the Geography department:
GIS courses in Geography (Choose 3):
- GEOG 294 or 394 topics courses when GIS- or Remote Sensing-related
- GEOG 364 - GIS and Community Partnerships
- GEOG 365 - Urban GIS
- GEOG 366 - GIS for Global Urban Environments
- GEOG 368 - Health GIS
- GEOG 614 - Independent Project (with specific GIS focus)
- GEOG 624 - Internship (with specific GIS focus)
GIS-related courses in Geography or other disciplines (Choose 1):