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Geography and Urban Studies

Degree and Programs of Study

Major and Minor in Geography and Urban Studies

View current descriptions of the Geography and Urban Studies Major and Minor and their requirements on the undergraduate bulletin.

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. Gateway 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.

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.


A minor in GUS is available to any student enrolled at Temple University and many students choose to add a GUS minor as a complement to their program of study. This is an 18-credit minor, requiring students to take one Gateway course and five electives. More information about the GUS minor is available here.


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.

The GUS major requires students to complete a total of 39 credits, including two Gateway courses, four Methods courses, one International course, five Elective courses, and one Capstone course.

GUS students will acquire an understanding in the following areas:

  1. How space, place, and scale shape the interaction between environment and society;
  2. Critical thinking skills developed through examining a range of analytical approaches to investigate geographic, urban and environmental processes;
  3. Contemporary explanatory frameworks in both Geography and Urban Studies such as political ecology, feminist and poststructuralist theory, and development theory;
  4. The application of information technology skills such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial statistics to analyze spatial and temporal information, processes, and patterns through integrative research experiences; and
  5. Practical considerations of community and environmental organizational settings at the local and regional scales.

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.

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. To visit the study abroad office website, please follow the link here.


We encourage students to incorporate an internship into their plan of study. We have relationships with local employers and students can receive academic credit for completed internships. To see a list of organizations where our students have interned, please follow the link here.

Careers in Geography and Urban Studies

The GUS faculty offer broad expertise in a variety of topics as well as geographic technologies and methods that prepare students for the critical thinking and technological skills that employers are increasingly seeking in new hires. Our graduates find employment in governmental agencies, non-profits (domestic and international), citizen’s organizations, public service, and community development. Many also go on to graduate programs in geography, urban studies, planning, education, or journalism.

From Americorps, to Philadelphia city government, to community development, Geography and Urban Studies Studies majors find employment in a wide variety of fields, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Community Development
  • State and Local Government
  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
  • Non-Profits
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Spatial Analysis
  • Education
  • Outreach
  • Urban Planning
  • Public Service
  • Urban Agriculture