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Undergraduate Geography at UConn

Why Study Geography?

Geography is a multidimensional discipline that analyzes the interactions between people and their environments. Our geographers teach courses and engage in research on a wide range of relevant and timely topics such as urban sprawl, the nature and impact of migration, globalization of the economy and international trade, the spatial prevalence of disease, regional development, climatic change, environmental degradation and restoration, watershed and landscape change, and the analysis and display of spatial data using geographic information systems (GIS) technology. Because our living environment has its origins in physical processes and human activities, geographers need preparation in natural and social science, and specialized techniques of analysis – especially those that underlie GIS applications and the emerging field of geographic information science.

Geography students are prepared to enter a wide range of careers in business, planning, government, and teaching. In private sector firms, geographers select locations for capital investment, determine market or service areas, assess the impact on the environment of proposed changes in land use, and develop effective strategies for planning. Geographers also work in teams with other disciplinary experts at all levels of government. Many geographers work in municipal and county planning and engineering departments, and in economic development, housing, and environmental agencies at the state level. Geographers also work for federal agencies, including the Bureau of the Census, the Department of State, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Park Service, to name a few. The UConn undergraduate program also provides students with the background to pursue graduate degrees in geography or in related fields such as urban and regional planning.

Geography majors enjoy academic and social activities sponsored by the department and two student organizations: the UConn Geography Club and Friends of Geography. UConn also has a chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon [geography’s national honor society], and provides annual cash awards for student excellence in human geography, physical geography, and geographic information sciences.

Currently the median annual salary of geography major graduates is $54,000*. The first quartile salary is $38,000 and the third quartile is $75,000. Those with analytical skills and facility in utilizing GIS (a particular strength of UConn Geography) may expect to earn more. For more information about employment opportunities in Geography see www.aag.org/cs/jobs_and_careers/what_geographers_do/overview.

Students interested in obtaining more information about geography, the geography major, and course offerings may contact any member of the Geography Department faculty, especially Professor Andy Jolly-Ballantine (john-andrew.ballantine@uconn.edu, or 860-486-3656), the Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies.

*Salary source: www9.georgetown.edu/grad/gppi/hpi/cew/pdfs/socialscience.pdf