"Physical Geography Major Requirements"

"Physical Geography" overlaid on photo of river rapidsPhysical Geography Concentration

Physical geography integrates and inter-relates landforms, water, soils, climate, and vegetation as the major natural elements of the environment.  The focus of physical geography is on the zone of the land, ocean, and atmosphere containing most of the world’s organic life.  Physical geography not only describes natural phenomena near the surface of the earth but, more importantly, seeks explanations of how and why the physical and biological processes act as they do.  Physical geography includes processes studied in other physical and natural sciences such as meteorology, geology, biology, and soil science, however, physical geography is more than a mere composite of these other sciences.  It takes a comprehensive approach to the processes of the natural environment, often with an emphasis on human modifications to the environment. 

 

Students must complete at least 37 and no more than 45 credit hours in Geography with grades of C- or better (23 hours must be upper division). No pass/fail grades are allowed in the major. Transfer students majoring in Geography must complete at least 12 hours of upper-division Geography courses at CU-Boulder. No course may be used to fulfill more than one requirement for the major.

Required Courses and Semester Credit Hours Human Geography Concentration

  • GEOG 1001 Environmental Systems: Climate and Vegetation - 4
  • GEOG 1011 Environmental Systems: Landscapes and Water - 4 
  • One of the following human geography courses:
    • GEOG 1962 Geographies of Global Change  - 3
    • GEOG 1972 Environment-Society Geography  - 3
    • GEOG 1982 World Regional Geography - 3
    • GEOG 1992 Human Geography - 3
  • GEOG 3023 Statistics and Geographic Data - 4
  • One of the following mapping courses:
    • GEOG 2053 Mapping a Changing World - 3
    • GEOG 3053 Geographic Information Science: Mapping - 4
  • One of the following methods courses:
    • GEOG 4023 Advanced Quantitative Methods for Spatial Data (prereq GEOG 3023) - 4
    • GEOG 4043 Advanced Geovisualization and Web Mapping (prereq GEOG 3053) - 4
    • GEOG 4093 Remote Sensing of the Environment - 4
    • GEOG 4103 Geographic Information Science: Spatial Analytics (prereqs: GEOG 3053; GEOG 3023 or equivalent introductory statistics course) - 4
    • GEOG 4173 Research Seminar - 3
    • GEOG 4722 Field Methods in Human Geography - 3 
  • Take one of the following:

Physical Geography Concentration

  • Take Calculus I & 2 (one of the following sequences)
    • MATH 1300—5 and MATH 2300—5
    • APPM 1350—4 and APPM 1360—4
  • Take three semesters (total) of Physics and Chemistry, including related labs.
    • PHYS 1110—4
    • PHYS 1120 (and PHYS 1140 lab)—5
    • CHEM 1113 (and CHEM 1114 lab)—5
    • CHEM 1133 (and CHEM 1134 lab)—5
  • Take two of the following (GEOG 1001 and GEOG 1011, or equivalent, required for all 3000 and 4000 level courses):
    • GEOG 3351 Biogeography—3
    • GEOG 3511 Introduction to Hydrology—4
    • GEOG 3601 Principles of Climate—3
    • GEOG 4241 Principles of Geomorphology—4
  • Take two electives from the following list (GEOG 1001 and GEOG 1011, or equivalent, are prereq. for all 3000 and 4000 level courses):
    • GEOG 3251 Mountain Geography—3
    • GEOG 3301 Analysis of Climate—3
    • GEOG 3351 Biogeography—3
    • GEOG 3511 Introduction to Hydrology—4
    • GEOG 3610 Principles of Climate—3
    • GEOG 4120 Special Topics—3
    • GEOG 4201 Biometeorology—3
    • GEOG 4241 Principles of Geomorphology—4
    • GEOG 4251 Fluvial Geomorphology—4
    • GEOG 4261 Glaciers and Permafrost—3
    • GEOG 4271 Arctic Climate—3
    • GEOG 4311 Watershed Biochemistry—3  
    • GEOG 4321 Snow Hydrology—3-4
    • GEOG 4331 Mountain Climatology – 3-4
    • GEOG 4371 Forest Geography—3
    • GEOG 4401 Soil Geography—3
    • GEOG 3930 Internship (3), GEOG 4173 Research Seminar (3), and GEOG 4990 Senior Thesis (3) may be applied to the concentration on a case-by-case basis.
  • Take one upper division elective in Geographic Information Science, Environment and Society, or Human Geography.
  • Take upper and lower division electives within Geography if necessary to reach 37 total credits and 23 upper division credits in the major.