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Undergraduate

The Department of Geography and Urban Studies combines the discipline of geography and the field of urban studies to offer a major emphasizing geographic theory and methods, as well as the study of urban and regional processes and problems in U.S. and international settings.

Degrees and Programs of Study

Major in Geography and Urban Studies

This is an innovative major combining the analytical frameworks of the discipline of geography with the study of urbanization and environment, in both U.S. and international settings. Introductory courses help students develop an understanding of geographical principles and bases of knowledge, allowing them to then cultivate their specific interests through a series of upper level electives. Within this framework, students can choose courses that focus on human geography, multi-method approaches to urban problems, spatial approaches to human-environment relations, and methods of spatial analysis and geovisualization.

Many students choose GUS as a major in their second year after taking an introductory course in the field. As we are a small department, we are able to offer our students accurate, timely and friendly academic advice. Majors can be assigned to a faculty mentor in their area of specialization.

View a current description of the Geography and Urban Studies Major and its requirements on the undergraduate bulletin.

Double major with the College of Education

Students may elect to earn certification in secondary school social studies by combining a major in Geography and Urban Studies with a major in Social Studies Education. Students may also earn certification through a GUS major and education minor following the 5-year BA/MA program.

Major in Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary major offered by the Department of Geography and Urban Studies that examines the nature, causes and consequences of human interactions with the environment. Students in Environmental Studies gain the intellectual and methodological tools to understand and address the crucial environmental issues of our time and the impact on individuals, society, and the planet. Students are introduced to a physical lab science, an understanding of the economic system, and social science methods in order to prepare for our core courses.

The Environmental Studies core courses are designed to develop the theoretical and methodological frameworks and tools necessary to understand the relationships between people and their environment as they interact through local to global connections. Students examine environmental policy and the role of political institutions; environmental decision-making; natural hazards and risk assessment; environmental ethics and legal issues; and environmental justice. The electives give students the opportunity to develop an area of emphasis around their particular interests.

We encourage our students to incorporate a semester abroad and/or an internship into their plan of study. Each student’s program is developed with a departmental advisor to suit individual interests and is designed to maximize educational and career opportunities. Our graduates find employment with government environmental agencies, nonprofits (domestic and international), citizens’ organizations, consulting firms, and corporate environmental affairs departments. Many also go on to graduate programs in environmental studies, law, geography, planning, and other fields.

View a current description of the Environmental Studies Major and its requirements on the undergraduate bulletin.

Minors

Curriculum

Geography and Urban Studies

Students majoring in Geography and Urban Studies are equipped with the intellectual and methodological tools necessary to understand and address a wide range of environmental, economic, social, and political challenges that are central to the well-being of billions of people around the globe in an urbanizing world. The courses for the GUS major focus on the themes of globalization, sustainability, and social justice, all increasingly central to understanding these sorts of challenges and opportunities. Geographic methodology and analytical approaches constitute a fourth theme, and oftentimes unifying and illuminating overlaps among the other three.

Environmental Studies

The Environmental Studies core courses are designed to develop the theoretical and methodological frameworks and tools necessary to understand the relationships between people and their environment as they interact through local to global connections.  Students examine environmental policy and the role of political institutions; environmental decision-making; natural hazards and risk assessment; environmental ethics and legal issues; and environmental justice. The electives give students the opportunity to develop an area of emphasis around their particular interests.

Study Abroad

We encourage students to study abroad for one semester, which can be a critical part of undergraduate education either through a Temple or other accredited university program. Study abroad is the fastest way to learn a second (or third) language and it can open the door to future international work.