why study geography?
Geography is often called the science of where, and geographers use their expertise
to figure out where to build a hospital, a bridge, or a highway. By understanding
the complicated relationship between human beings and their environment, geographers
find real-world solutions to tough problems, making cities and towns better places
to live, helping companies market their products, and protecting and preserving the
Career possibilities are boundless. A land use planner works to expand a city's downtown, plan parks and open spaces, or route a new highway. A location specialist works for a mall developer, finding just the right spot to build. A mapping specialist uses the latest in computer and remote-sensing equipment to construct maps for the U.S. Department of Defense. A teacher inspires students to explore their world. What connects all of these professionals? There's a good chance they were geography majors.
National recognition for geography education is on the rise, too. A recent national education initiative identified geography as one of five core curriculum subjects that Americans will be required to master throughout their elementary and secondary school careers during the next decade.
Geography majors have places to go, and Southern's Geography Department can help them get there in a setting that encourages the adventurous spirit and fosters professional goals. Besides rigorous courses and close contact with faculty, geography majors forge ties with other future geographers in the Geography Club, gain academic recognition in the Geographic Honor Society, learn and network at professional seminars and workshops, and enter the world of the working geographer through land use planning internships.
Students earning the B.A. or B.S. develop an understanding of geographic systems by analyzing how world economic and political activities relate to their physical settings. They explore patterns of population and develop expertise in the principles of land use planning. Through interpreting air photos, creating maps, and using geographic computer programs, students learn to use the tools of the professional geographer. Working in the field, whether on a downtown street or halfway up a mountain, students learn important field techniques firsthand. And in courses targeted at specific regions, from Latin America to the Middle East to Africa, they delve deeply into the physical, cultural, and political realities of the world's countries.
AREA OF SPECIALIZATION
Students earning the B.S. in planning also receive expanded training in the skills needed to launch a career in planning: geographic information systems, map interpretation, land use, and cartography. To equip themselves for their careers, these students work extensively with computers and statistics and complete a series of courses in either calculus or a cognate area related to geography like environmental studies, urban studies, or courses tailored to the student's primary interests.