Courses

Geography professors offer exciting courses on a range of important issues like sustainability, global climate change, industrialization, globalization, resource management, agricultural change, urbanization, land use, deforestation, and hydrology. Geographers emphasize the study of space, place, pattern, and scale within these interconnected topics.

Geographers encourage students to explore the Earth’s human and natural processes through critical thinking, spatial theory, and geospatial technology. Our classes stress experiential learning. Natural science courses feature field laboratory components that clarify the complexities of the Earth. Participatory social science and humanities classes focus on how humans interact with their surroundings and each other. Theories of space, place, landscape, connectivity, and scale deconstruct processes at the macro, meso, and micro levels, helping students understand global connections.

Students will learn advanced geospatial techniques, including Remote Sensing, Geographic Information Science (GISc), and location intelligence, to prepare them for exciting employment and research opportunities in many different fields across the globe.

Geography, Environment, and Sustainability

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  • GEOG 210 Planet Earth: People and Place

    Units: 1

    Fulfills General Education Requirement(s): AI-Social Inquiry (AISO), IF-Embodied Communication (IFEB)

    Description
    Introduction to our earth as home to people and place through geographic approaches that analyze cultural, societal, economic, political, and environmental change. Topics include: human dimensions of climate change; sustainability; spatial analysis techniques and theories; population distributions and migration; cultural geographies; global economic development and its distribution; urbanization; political geography; and human-environment relations. (Same as Global Studies 210.)
  • GEOG 215 Geography of the James River Watershed

    Units: 1

    Description
    Study of the local environments and protected areas within the James River watershed. Explores the natural and human connections that define the resource challenges and opportunities within this urban watershed.
  • GEOG 220 Ecotourism

    Units: 1

    Fulfills General Education Requirement(s): AI-Social Inquiry (AISO), IF-Power/Equity/Identity/Cult (IFPE)

    Description
    Ecotourism integrates environmental protection, education, empowerment, local livelihoods, and responsible travel. The study of ecotourism allows students to document and analyze complex interactions between society and nature.
  • GEOG 240 Weather, Climate, and Society

    Units: 1

    Description
    This course provides students with an understanding of the processes that drive weather patterns, the general circulation of the atmosphere, and climate on earth. In this class, we will develop an understanding of why weather happens, and why weather changes. We will learn how to interpret weather maps. We will gain new quantitative skills while learning about physical laws that govern weather and climate patterns. We will learn about the climate system, and the physical basis for climate change today compared to the past. And, we will understand the myriad ways, minor and major, that weather, climate, and society are intertwined.
  • GEOG 250 Planet Earth: Wind, Water, and Fire

    Units: 1

    Fulfills General Education Requirement(s): AI-Natural Science (AINS), IF-Quantitative Data Literacy (IFQD)

    Description
    Basic concepts of earth systems science and physical geography. Topics include: introduction to mapping, GIS and remote sensing; weather and climate; drought, floods, and environmental hydrology; earthquakes, volcanos, landforms and geomorphology; and the interactions of all of the above with humans and the earth’s biota. Climate change and the spatial inequalities in environmental pollution and resources are emphasized. (Same as Environmental Studies 250.)
  • GEOG 260 Foundations of Geospatial Analysis

    Units: 1

    Fulfills General Education Requirement(s): IF-Quantitative Data Literacy (IFQD)

    Description
    Concepts of mapping, cartography, and spatial data science primarily through the lens of ESRI's ArcGIS software suite. Includes spatial data visualization, vector and raster-based spatial analyses, site selection model build, local indicators of spatial autocorrelation, the creation of spatial and tabular data, and the introduction to a number of different tools.
  • GEOG 280 Selected Topics

    Units: 0.25-1

    Description
    May be repeated when topics vary.
  • GEOG 315 Landscape Ecology

    Units: 1

    Description
    Studies interactions between physical environment, biodiversity, and human activities. Using spatial analysis and ecological modeling, this applied science informs conservation, land management, and urban development. (Same as Biology 315).
  • GEOG 316 Biogeography and Global Change

    Units: 1

    Description
    Study of the Earth’s biological diversity, the spatial distribution of species, and how these distributions change over time. Combining basic concepts in ecology and geography, this course provides a foundational understanding of biogeography and critically examines how these concepts can be used to understand and conserve biodiversity during a time of increasing human impact, globalization, and climate change. (Same as Biology 316).
  • GEOG 320 Power, Space, and Territory: Geographies of Political Change

    Units: 1

    Fulfills General Education Requirement(s): AI-Social Inquiry (AISO), IF-Power/Equity/Identity/Cult (IFPE)

    Description
    Analyses of and explorations into the spatial dimensions and geographic characteristics of global, regional, and local political change; and the political economy and ecology of globalization. Topics include: imperialism; world systems theory; nationalism; regionalism; electoral geography; race, class and gender; political economy of trade and foreign aid; and political ecology.

     

    Prerequisites

    One of the following: GEOG210, GS210, ENVR210, GEOG201, or GS290

  • GEOG 325 Latin American Geographies: Transnational and Local Connections

    Units: 1

    Description
    Latin America is a culturally and ecologically diverse region with historical and contemporary connections to locations around the world, including Richmond, Virginia. Documenting the movement of people and flows of ideas, goods, and services, this course analyzes the political economy and ecology of transnational networks in areas such as immigration, security, transportation, communication, energy, and commerce while examining place-based consequences in local communities.
  • GEOG 333 Geographies of Amazonia

    Units: 1

    Fulfills General Education Requirement(s): IF-Power/Equity/Identity/Cult (IFPE)

    Description
    Explores the contradictions and connections of Amazonia. Considers the region's importance to the rest of the world through a study of the ecologies, histories, politics, and geographies of Amazonia. Looks at the Amazon biome basin as much more than the world's greatest rainforest, richest reserve of biological and cultural diversity, largest source of freshwater flow, and most important tropical sink of carbon.
  • GEOG 345 Globail Sustainability: Society, Economy, Nature

    Units: 1

    Description
    Examines environmental, social, cultural, and economic dimensions of sustainability and sustainable development. Examinations into foundations and theories behind the concept of sustainable development, discussions and debates about its real-world applicability, and explorations into case studies addressing relationships and contradictions between human desires for material well-being, environmental protection, and maintenance of cultural and/or social traditions. Builds a sustainability worldview with systems thinking, justice, sustainability knowledge, integration, and acting for positive change as key components.
  • GEOG 360 Environmental Remote Sensing

    Units: 1

    Fulfills General Education Requirement(s): IF-Quantitative Data Literacy (IFQD)

    Description
    Concepts of image acquisition, image interpretation, and satellite remote sensing. Includes electromagnetic spectrum concepts, acquisition of image data, visual characteristics of vegetation and landforms, image interpretation, classification and transformation, and integration of remotely sensed imagery into other spatial analysis systems. Student research projects.
  • GEOG 365 Advanced Spatial Analysis

    Units: 1

    Description
    Advanced topics in Geographic Information Systems and spatial data science theories and applications. Topics include use of the multivariate spatial visualization, 3-D analyses, Google Earth Engine, clustering algorithms, network analyses, spatially explicit regression models, advanced interpolation methods, and multiple applications of the techniques in biological, health, environmental, and social sciences issues.
  • GEOG 370 Global Climate Investment

    Units: 1

    Fulfills General Education Requirement(s): AI-Social Inquiry (AISO), IF-Power/Equity/Identity/Cult (IFPE)

    Description
    Geographic perspectives on economic development and spatial analysis of trends in the global economy. Topics include: natural resource location and distribution; commodity flows and chains; technological change and diffusion; international trade; entrepreneurship and innovation; industrial location theory; social and cultural dimensions of development; geographies of labor; and regional development theories and trends.

     

    Prerequisites

    One of the following: GEOG210, GS210, GS290, ENVR201, GEOG201, or SUST101

  • GEOG 380 Selected Topics

    Units: 0.25-1

    Description
    May be repeated when topics vary.
  • GEOG 388 Individual Internship

    Units: 0.25-1

    Description
    Supervised independent work. No more than 1.5 units of internship in any one department and 3.5 units of internship overall may be counted toward required degree units.
  • GEOG 390 Independent Study

    Units: 0.5-1

    Description
    Topics independently pursued under supervision of a faculty member. May be repeated four times for a total of up to two units.
  • GEOG 401 Geography Capstone

    Units: 1

    Description
    Capstone course is the culmination of the Geography major. The primary objective is to further develop students' ability to conduct geographic research through the practical application of geographic methods and theory. Students will synthesize their knowledge of geography with an individual thesis or group project.

     

    Prerequisites

    GEOG210 or GS210 and GEOG260 or ENVR 260 and ENVR201, GEOG201, or SUST 101 and GEOG250 or ENVR250

  • GEOG 406 Summer Undergraduate Research

    Units: 0

    Description
    Documentation of the work of students who receive summer fellowships to conduct research [or produce a creative arts project] in the summer. The work must take place over a minimum of 6 weeks, the student must engage in the project full-time (at least 40 hours per week) during this period, and the student must be the recipient of a fellowship through the university. Graded S/U.

     

    Prerequisites

    Approval by a faculty mentor.


  • SUST 101 Introduction to Sustainability

    Units: 1

    Fulfills General Education Requirement(s): IF-Power/Equity/Identity/Cult (IFPE)

    Description
    Provides a foundation for sustainability knowledge and problem solving. Explores the relationships between people and natural systems, examines pressing global challenges, and outlines leadership solutions to wicked challenges. Consideration of the most urgent concerns tied to living out of balance with the planet that sustains life.
  • SUST 345 Global Sustainability: Society, Economy, Nature

    Units: 1

    Description
    Examines environmental, social, cultural, and economic dimensions of sustainability and sustainable development. Examinations into foundations and theories behind the concept of sustainable development, discussions and debates about its real-world applicability, and explorations into case studies addressing relationships and contradictions between human desires for material well-being, environmental protection, and maintenance of cultural and/or social traditions. Builds a sustainability worldview with systems thinking, justice, sustainability knowledge, integration, and acting for positive change as key components.