CU Geography on

Degrees & Courses

The objective of the geography program is to provide an understanding of the interrelationships between people and their cultural and physical environments. Factual information is combined with geographic theories to identify, through critical thinking, the spatial relationships found on the Earth’s surface. Attention is also given to the geographic tools and techniques used to analyze the natural and human patterns found on the Earth’s surface. 

Students seeking the Bachelor of Arts degree may earn a major or a minor in geography as outlined below. 

The Bachelor of Arts

The degree of Bachelor of Arts, with a major in geography, requires successful completion of 120 semester hours, including (1) the Program of General Studies; (2) the geography program listed below; and (3) a program of electives or a minor as worked out with the student’s adviser. Students are encouraged to enroll in foreign language courses. Junior/Senior students may also complete a 3-to-6-hour internship subject to the approval of the geography faculty.

MAJOR IN GEOGRAPHY—36 HOURS (Progression sheet
GEOG 101, 200, 300, 311, 465; nine hours of regional studies courses and twelve hours of systematic geography courses.
*One of the following courses may be taken in lieu of a systematic geography course: APST 300; ECON 201 or 202; MATH 105, 201; SOC 310, 399. Two of the following geology courses may be taken in lieu of the corresponding number of systematic geography courses: GEOL 101, 202, 205, 341.

MINOR IN GEOGRAPHY—15 HOURS 
GEOG 101, 200, and nine hours of geography electives with consultation from student’s adviser.

MAJOR IN GEOGRAPHY WITH AN AREA OF EMPHASIS IN CARTOGRAPHY AND GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS—45 HOURS (Progression sheet)
GEOG 101, 200, 300, 311, 411, 465; one course from the following: GEOG 312, 412; nine hours of regional studies courses; MATH 103, 105, 201; two courses from the following: GEOG 360, GEOG 450, 460 (Geomorphology), GEOL 101, 205, 341, 385, 420 (Environmental Remote Sensing), PHYS 105, CIET 110 (offered at Bluefield State College). This concentration will prepare students for careers and graduate work in Cartography and Geographic Information Systems. 

AREA OF EMPHASIS IN PRE-ENVIRONMENTAL LAW—33 HOURS (Progression sheet)
POSC 104, 202, 225, 401; GEOG 200, 300, 320; BIOL 101, 102, 201. This area of emphasis will prepare students for graduate work in public policy, public affairs, or environmental law. It can be used to supplement any major.

Geography Courses

Introductory Courses
Note: GEOG 101 and 200 are the prerequisites for all other courses in geography.

All Geography prerequisites may be waived with the consent of the geography faculty.

101 Principles of World Cultural Geography. (3)
A survey course covering the culture regions of the world. Emphasis is placed on the geographic themes of place, location, movement, regions, human/environment interaction and landscape. (F, S)

200 Principles of Physical Geography. (3) 
An introductory course that studies the Earth as the environment of humans. It emphasizes the physical pattern of climates, landforms, soils, vegetation, and natural resources. (F, S)

Regional Courses

250 Regional Studies. (3)
Regional studies focus on selected portions of the Earth’s surface and the interdependency of nations. Regional geography courses prepare students to be aware of and understand people culturally different from themselves. Courses include the following: Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, Russia, Southeast Asia, The Appalachians, Latin America, the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, North America, and Mountain Geography. Regional courses may be taken repeatedly for credit, so long as there is no duplication of the area studied. Region of study will be reported on the student’s transcript. (F, S)

Human-Cultural Systems

240 Popular Culture. (3)
Examines elements of popular American culture such as icons, heroes, myths, and rituals, which reflect the ideas, beliefs, and values of the culture.  Particular emphasis will be placed on the role of contemporary technologies, such as gaming, social networking and the Internet.

300 Sustainable Development. (3)
A study of the need for conservation, its practice and philosophy. Emphasis on the interaction of people and the environment they inhabit.

301 Economic Geography. (3)
A study of the nature, distribution, and spatial dynamics of economic activities.

320 Geopolitics. (3)
A study of the role of geographic conditions and considerations in local, national, and international politics. Special attention is given to political problems and topics of current interest. 

325 Geography Goes to the Movies. (3)
The purpose of this course is to provide graphic representation of the geographic concepts of Place and Location, Society and Environment, Landscape, Diffusion, Perception, and Regions.  It demonstrates through video, that places, settings, and human environments are crucial to an understanding of the human condition.  The course focuses on American and International cinema.

321 Advanced Cultural Geography. (3)
A systematic survey of culture through the topics of human origins, demographics, agriculture, politics, language, religion, folk societies, ethnicity, and urban life. There is an emphasis on popular culture. Advanced Cultural Geography is also listed as SOC 310.

330 Geography of Tourism and Outdoor Recreation. (3)
A study of the patterns of pleasure travel and processes of recreation, with emphasis on the geographic factors which influence demand, usage, and development of recreation areas and facilities. (Also listed as RTM 340.) 

385 American Indians and Indigenous Cultures. (3)
This course explores American Indian and indigenous cultures beginning with the Pleistocene settlement of the Americas and the Hawaiian Islands.  It follows native cultures through the period of European contact, treaty system, and removal to reservations.  It ends with contemporary issues of casinos, and other social issues such as alcoholism, education, and suicide. 

410 Urban Geography. (3)
Examines the historical, social, economic, and political processes shaping the urban landscape. Studies geographical models of urban land use. The course also covers contemporary issues facing North American cities.

420 Transnational Migration. (3)
This course invites students to situate current transnational migration with specific historical circumstances which have continued to determine social processes both within the postcolonial South and postcolonial North.  The goal is to make students come to an understanding and appreciation of both the interconnectedness of the world's peoples and crucially, the world's histories.


Environmental Systems

340 Geography of Soils and Agricultural Land Use. (4)

A study of those soil physical and chemical properties that influence a soil’s agricultural suitability. Field analysis and soil sampling, land capability assessment, water infiltration and retention studies, and soil texture and nutrient status analysis are done in the field and laboratory. Three hours lecture, two hours laboratory. 

360 Meteorology and Climatology. (4)
Prerequisite: GEOG 200 or permission of instructor.
A study of the earth-atmosphere system’s energy flows, dynamic climatology, the principles that produce the climate patterns of the past and the present, and of the climate change forcing mechanisms that will generate the climates of the future. Three hours lecture, two hours laboratory.

380 Biogeography and Environmental Change. (4)
Prerequisites: GEOG 200 or BIOL 101; MATH 105
The objectives of this course are to examine environmental problems in the biosphere using a multi-scale approach and through the application of theoretical, field, and laboratory methods.  Emphasis is placed on understanding past environments in the context of rapid, human-induced environmental change.

Cartography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

311 Computer Cartography. (3)
The construction, interpretation, and analysis of maps and aerial photography. Students will use cartographic computer software and peripheral equipment to accomplish these course objectives.

312 Advanced Computer Cartography. (3)
Prerequisite: GEOG 311.
Advanced issues and techniques in the construction, interpretation, and analysis of maps. Students will master an expanded variety of cartographic computer software and peripheral equipment to accomplish these course objectives. 

411 Geographic Information Systems. (3) 
Prerequisite: GEOG 311. 
The construction, maintenance, analysis, and display of computerized geographic databases. 

412 Advanced Geographic Information Systems. (3)
Prerequisites: GEOG 311, 411; MATH 105.
Advanced issues in the use and design of Geographic Information Systems. 

Special Courses

450 Field Methods, Internships, and Research in Geography. (3-6) 
Prerequisites: Upper-class standing and consent of instructor. 
Classroom, field, and library experience in the tools and methodology of geographic research. A faculty approved internship may be substituted in lieu of the above. Students will develop a topic and present a formal paper based on their research.

460 Special Topics in Geography. (3)
Advanced study in specific geographic topics. May be taken repeatedly for credit. Topic of study will be included on student’s transcript.

465 Geography Capstone. (3)
Prerequisites: GEOG 101, GEOG 200
The course is intended to provide students with an integrated overview of the discipline of geography and to prepare students for careers in geography.

4601 Special Studies in Geography. (1)
Provides concentrated study on a specific topic. It may be repeated for credit, and the title of the special study will be included on the student’s transcript. Examples of special studies include: Introduction to Geographic Thought, GPS Applications in GIS, and Readings in Geography.