Department of Geography
- Contacts: Dr. James M. Leonard, Chair
- Website: http://www.marshall.edu/geography
Geography is the systematic study of the spatial aspects of human activity, the natural world, and human-environment interaction. The discipline of Geography occupies a unique position as a bridge between the social sciences (Human Geography), natural sciences (Physical Geography), and STEM fields (GIScience). As a result, the Geography Department offers both a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. Both degrees offer students broad exposure to the various subfields of Geography and provide specialized career training and preparation. From this interdisciplinary perspective, Geography helps us understand and address numerous contemporary challenges ranging from economic development, urban planning, and ethnic conflict to climate change, environmental sustainability, and natural resource management. Geography is a rapidly expanding discipline with diverse career opportunities across the environmental sciences, social sciences, and technological fields in both the public and private sectors.
The Geography Department prepares students to succeed as professionals in today’s job market through an innovative curriculum focusing on building critical thinking, technical expertise, and practical skills across a range of Human Geography, Physical Geography, and Geospatial Information Science (GIScience) courses. The curriculum includes a mixture of classroom and lab instruction, hands-on projects, and professional internship experiences that actively engage students in the learning process and provide the skills necessary for life-long learning. The Department maintains state-of-the-art facilities, including technology-enhanced classrooms, a Physical Geography lab, and a GIScience computer lab supporting students as they utilize the latest software and hardware. The Department provides a supportive learning environment where students work closely with faculty and peers while enjoying numerous opportunities to participate in campus, state, and national professional activities.
Geography alumni have successfully applied their knowledge and practical skills in a variety of career paths in both the public and private sectors, including urban and regional planning, economic development, environmental science, natural resource and energy management, weather forecasting, emergency response and homeland security, GIScience analysis, and education. Other alumni have continued with Geography studies at the graduate level. The Department also offers an Accelerated Master’s program which allows qualifying students to begin earning graduate student credit during their senior year.
All Geography majors are required to earn a C or better in their Geography courses if those hours are to count toward the major requirements.
- General Education Course
This critical thinking course provides a systematic examination of contemporary concepts and processes of human geography in global perspective, including economics, geopolitics, culture, nationalism, urbanization, governance, agriculture, population, and migration.
Systematic survey of earth-sun relationships, land-surface form, climate, soils, water, natural vegetation, and other natural content as a background for human geography.
Introduction to GIS concepts including GIS components, spatial and tabular data, database elements, data formats, and map design; hands-on experience with a GIS.
Introduction to photogrammetry and remote sensing thourgh the hands-on investigation of aerial photographs and satellite imagery using the latest technology.
Principles of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS); using your smartphone for Global Positioning Systems (GPS)/GNSS orientation, and data collection.
Students learn to build web maps, share GIS data on the internet, and create web GIS applications.
A systematic examination of world economic geography with a focus on population, agriculture, transportation, land use, urbanization, industry, energy, and the environment.
A survey of the geography of West Virginia including landforms, climate, settlement patterns, population, economics, resources, politics, and environmental changes.
Environmental issues have great emotional, political, and economic significance. The dynamics of global environmental problems, their complex interactions, and effects on potential stakeholders will be examined at the international scale.
Introduction to the composition of the atmosphere and weather phenomena, including thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes.
Provides an introduction to research methods in geography. Topics addressed include: data sources; sampling; data collection, storage, and management; descriptive measures and data visualization techniques; qualitative and quantitative analysis.
Pre-req: STA 225 with a minimum grade of D or STA 150 with a minimum grade of D or STA 150B with a minimum grade of D or MGT 218 with a minimum grade of D or PSY 223 with a minimum grade of D or SOC 345 with a minimum grade of D or GEO 440 with a minimum grade of D.
Survey of physical, historical, population, economic, political, cultural, and regional geographies of Canada and the United States, including an analysis of the multi-cultural nature of the societies.
World regions examined using a synthesis of physical and human geographical themes including environment, culture, landscape, climate, landforms, globalization, population patterns, urbanization, economies, and political geography.
Basics of earth and atmospheric hazards including flooding, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, and volcanic eruptions, and how to mitigate the impacts.
A study of the geography of Appalachia, including landforms, climate, settlement patterns, population, economics, resources, politics, and environmental changes.
An examination of the geography of Europe focusing on contemporary issues, including climate, culture, economics, environmental change, everyday life, international relations landforms, language, politics, population, religion, and urbanization.
A systematic and regional survey of world political problems and international relations stressing current geopolitical conflicts. An examination of contemporary patterns, processes, and problems of political geography in global perspective, including globalization, colonialism, imperialism, geopolitics, nationalism, diplomacy, international borders, governance, political representation, and future projections
An examination of contemporary patterns, processes, and problems of population geography in global perspective, including fertility, mortality, demographic change, migration, malnutrition, urbanization, natural resource sustainability, and future projections.
A study of settlement, transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, geopolitics, and natural resources of South and Middle American countries. Regional study of relation of man's activities to natural environment.
Study of the evolution, morphology and land use, functions, and problems of urban areas, with emphasis on governance, planning, and the social and environmental impacts of urbanization.
An examination of contemporary issues and problems in health and medical geography, including the spatial aspects of global health, health care policy, and disease origins, diffusion, and ecology.
This course is an introduction to cartography and is the cornerstone of Geographic Information Science. In this class you will learn basic map design, map interpretation and appreciation. We will explore the nature of spatial data, and learn what maps can and cannot represent. We will study maps as a data source for Geographic Information Systems, and as a graphic tool for scientific visualizations.
A geographic analysis of transportation and its spatial organization. Concepts, models, and analytical methods related to traffic demand, network configuration, and allocation of transport facilities are covered.
A study of elements of weather and climate, methods of climatic classification, and the distribution and characteristics of world climate regions.
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) principles, techniques, and applications for the social and natural sciences with emphasis on foundational geographic principles in a lecture/lab format.
GIS raster analysis, including local, neighborhood, and zonal operations, terrain analysis, building raster databases, distance modeling, and surface interpolation. Data collection and input from readily available sources, creation of custom data using GPS and advanced spatial analysis using GIS. (PR: GEO 429)
Application of principles of flood hazards preparation, disaster management, and mitigation using Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
Statistical methods applied to problem solving in geography and using GIS for display and analysis. Primary focus on descriptive and inferential spatial statistics, mapping, and spatial analysis of data.
Learn FAA rules and safety procedures; prepare for Remote Pilot licensing exam; operate drones to collect remote sensing data; process imagery for analysis; integrate sUAS imagery with existing GIS data.
Introduction to reading weather maps and meteorological analysis techniques including satellite and radar image interpretation and numerical weather prediction.
Cooperative learning experience with regional employer/government agency.
This senior capstone course combines research methods, data collection, and analysis to produce original research on questions and problems in geography. Par I: Pilot Project.
This senior capstone course combines research methods, data collection, and analysis to produce original research on questions and problems in geography. Part II.