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Majors & Minors

Geography Major | Geography Minor | Geospatial Science Minor

General Distribution Requirement

All geography courses count toward the general distribution requirement in social science except courses numbered GEOG 220GEOG 614, GEOG 624, GEOG 634, and GEOG 644GEOG 220GEOG 204GEOG 372, and GEOG 378 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.

Honors Program

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 Exploration Office, 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.

Further Preparation

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 geospatial course (e.g., GEOG 362 - Remote Sensing of the EnvironmentGEOG 364 - GIS and Community PartnershipsGEOG 365 - Urban GIS, or GEOG 368 - Health GIS), or a geographical analysis course, GEOG 277 - Qualitative Research Methods in Geography, 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, food, agriculture and society, and various area studies programs.


The Macalester Geography 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. 

Topics Courses

GEOG 194, GEOG 294, GEOG 394, GEOG 494 

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)

Independent Study

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.

Geography Major

Major Requirements

A major in geography 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:

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.

The senior capstone requirement in geography will be satisfied by completing one 400-level research seminar course. GEOG 277 - Qualitative Research Methods in Geography is strongly recommended for majors planning to attend graduate school.

Geography Minor

Minor Requirements

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:

Students may earn credit equivalent to GEOG 111, GEOG 113 or GEOG 115 by scoring a 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement (AP) Exam in Human Geography. Students who do so are still required to take five geography courses for the minor.

Geospatial Science Minor

Minor requirements

A minor in Geospatial Science may be achieved by completing five geospatial courses, four of which must be in the Geography department. No more than two courses can count toward any other major, minor, or concentration.

Required course:

Geospatial courses in Geography (Choose 3):

Geospatial-related courses in Geography or other disciplines (Choose 1):