The Department of Geography offers theoretical and practical work in physical geography, including climatology, hydrology, geomorphology, and biogeography; conservation of natural resources, including environmental education; human geography, including urban, social, economic, political, cultural, and population geography; geographic information science (GIS), including spatial analysis using GIS, remote sensing, computer cartography, GIS and society, and geography education; and regional analysis, including mountains, natural hazards, and specific regional courses. To complement its curriculum, the department offers internship opportunities to geography majors.
The Department of Geography offers BA, MA, and PhD degree programs in geography.
The undergraduate degree in geography emphasizes knowledge and awareness of:
In addition, students completing the degree in geography are expected to acquire proficiency in:
To fulfill a MAPS deficiency in geography, students may take any one of the following courses: GEOG 1982, 1992, 2002, or 2412, or pass the Geography Exemption Exam. For more information on the exemption exam, contact Testing Services at 303-492-5854 or careerservices.colorado.edu/testing.cs.
The course code for theis program is GEOG.
Students must complete the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences and the required courses listed below. Students must complete at least 36 and no more than 45 credit hours in geography courses with grades of C- or better (22 hours must be upper division). No pass/fail grades are allowed in the major. Transfer students majoring in geography must complete at least 12 credit hours of upper-division geography courses at CU-Boulder.
Required Courses and Semester Credit Hours
Consult the Four-Year Guarantee Requirements for information on eligibility. The concept of “adequate progress” as it is used here only refers to maintaining eligibility for the four-year guarantee; it is not a requirement for the major. To maintain adequate progress in geography, students should meet the following requirements:
Students interested in participating in a special honors program should contact the departmental honors advisor during their junior year.
To complement its curriculum, the department offers geography majors internship opportunities in which students earn academic credit in GEOG 3930 Internship while working in selected positions in public agencies and firms.
Geography students specializing in environmental issues may want to consider the Baker Residential Academic Program. Students may visit the geography department office or refer to Residential Academic Programs section.
A minor is offered in geography. Declaration of a minor is open to any student enrolled at CU-Boulder, regardless of college or school.
One of the following four courses—GEOG 1982, 1992, 2002, and 2412—are prerequisites to all upper-division courses listed below. Additional prerequisites are listed.
Two of the following four courses—GEOG 1982, 1992, 2002, and 2412—are prerequisites to all upper-division courses listed below. Additional prerequisites may be listed.
1000- and 2000-level courses in physical and human geography are prerequisites to all upper-division courses listed below.
Additional prerequisites may be listed or permission of instructor required.
Students wishing to pursue graduate work in geography leading to candidacy for advanced degrees should read carefully the requirements for advanced degrees in the Graduate School section. Graduate-level course work at the Boulder campus may be combined with graduate courses offered at the Denver and Colorado Springs campuses. Additional information should be obtained from the Department of Geography. The following are departmental requirements.
Prerequisites. For admission without deficiency and to meet the department mandatory requirements for a knowledge of basic geography, all entering graduate students are required to have the kind of knowledge presented in the department introductory courses in physical geography (GEOG 1001 Environmental Systems/Climate and Vegetation and GEOG 1011 Environmental Systems/Landscapes and Water) and human geography (GEOG 1982 World Regional Geography, GEOG 1992 Human Geographies, GEOG 2002 Geographies of Global Change, and GEOG 2412 Environment and Culture). It is the responsibility of the student to obtain this knowledge as part of his/her preliminary exam. Students may gain the required knowledge by formally taking the introductory courses, by auditing the courses, by reading the textbooks, or by other means. This knowledge will enhance the student ability to perform at the level expected in the GEOG 5152–5161 core series. In addition to knowledge of basic geography, it is desirable that the student has course work in at least two areas outside geography in cognate fields in the social and natural sciences. Students are encouraged to have some background in college math, statistics, and computer skills.
General Requirements. The minimum requirements for an MA in geography may be fulfilled by completing 30 semester hours of graduate work, including a thesis, which carries up to 6 credit hours (i.e., 24 hours of course work at the 5000 level or above, plus a minimum of 4 but not more than 6 hours of thesis). Master students may, with the written approval of their advisor, use a maximum of 6 hours of 3000- or 4000-level course work to reach the required 30 hours.
Prerequisites. The minimum requirements for admission to the PhD program are normally a master degree, significant published research, or equivalent standing.
General Requirements. The PhD degree is not conferred merely upon the satisfactory completion of a course of study. The candidate must also demonstrate proficiency in some broad subject of learning, and be able to critically evaluate work in the field, show the ability to work independently in the chosen field, and make an original contribution of significance to the advancement of knowledge.
The minimum requirements are 30 credit hours of course work numbered 5000 or above and 30 credit hours of dissertation. Ordinarily the number of course work hours and dissertation hours will be greater than 30 each. At least 20 of these hours must be taken at the University of Colorado; up to 10 credit hours from another institution may be transferred upon approval.
A 3.000 (B) average or higher must be maintained in all course work.
Six semesters of residence are required beyond the bachelor’s degree, of which four must be at the University of Colorado; this may include two semesters for the master degree. Students with a University of Colorado master degree in geography, with departmental approval, may apply all credit hours from 5000 or above courses (except thesis credits) to the PhD requirements.
The department offers an interdisciplinary graduate certificate in development studies. Development Studies is a well-established, interdisciplinary field of research with institutional centers at a number of major universities and several scholarly journals dedicated to it's study. The certificate provides interdisciplinary training in development studies to graduate students through a structured yet flexible program built around courses taught by CU faculty in a number of social science departments. Because development issues such as agrarian change, labor migration, new social movements, industrial growth, urban planning, and natural resource use cut across disciplinary divides, the study of development demands interdisciplinary approaches. For more information, visit geography.colorado.edu/grad_program/certificates.