UMass Geography

Geography  spans and integrates the social and physical sciences. At UMass it is part of the Department of Geosciences (the former Department of Geology and Geography), and the School of Earth and Sustainability. Please use these pages to explore the diversity of Geography at UMass, from degree programs to research projects. Click here to read more about the field of geography…

The UMass Geography Program offers two undergraduate degrees (B.A. and B.S.), a minor in Geography, an undergraduate certificate in GIST, a one-year professional M.S. degree in Geographic Information Science and Technology, and an M.S. degree in Geography.  Graduate students can also earn a Ph.D. in Geosciences with a concentration in Geography. All geography majors complete the UMass Geography Undergraduate Core Curriculum, which emphasizes basic courses in both human and physical geography and skills acquisition in writing, field research, statistics, mapping, and geographic information science and technology.

The BA Program in Human Geography:

Click here for a media overview of the BA Concentrations

The BA degree in Human Geography is a broad, disciplinary degree for students interested in:

  • society/nature relations
  • sustainability
  • environmental and conservation policy and practice
  • environmental history
  • climate change
  • water geographies
  • national parks and protected areas
  • urban studies
  • political geography
  • US and world regional studies.

Students in the program gain valuable research and career skills in ethnographic fieldwork, landscape analysis, cartography, statistical analysis, remote sensing, and Geographic Information Science.

Geographers pursue rewarding careers in education, business, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

The B.A. program includes six concentration choices

Human Geography
Environmental Geography and Sustainability
Climate Change and Society
Globalization and International Studies
Urban Geography
Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST)

For detailed degree requirements, see Geography BA Concentration Tables

All six BA concentrations help students to:

  • Establish a Foundation:

    Develop a solid foundation in geographical theory, concepts, and methodology, emphasizing geographic literacy, including spatial patterns and processes involved with worldwide diversity, globalization, and sustainability.

  • Understand Diversity:

    Appreciate the diversity and spatial variation of peoples, cultures, identities, and political, economic, social, socio-ecological, and ecological systems and conditions.

  • Learn about People and Environment:

    Understand the historically and geographically complex and dynamic relationships and interactions of people and environment, including socio-ecological systems, current environmental issues and policy debates, and key conservation, development, and sustainability concepts and approaches.

  • Focus on a Theme: 

    Develop a background in a concentration, with choices for BA concentrations in human geography, environment and sustainability, international studies, climate change and society, urban geography, or Geographic Information Science and Technologies (GIST).

Would you like to learn more?  Click here to make a geography advising appointment.

 The BS Program in Physical Geography:

Geography offers students the opportunity to study the dynamics of global and local environmental change and to place their local experience in a global perspective. Physical geography involves studying the physical processes, both natural and anthropogenic, that affect the earth’s surface, atmosphere, and biosphere. The department has strengths in the study of climate, climate change, landforms and land surface processes, remote sensing of the environment, and GIS analysis and applications.

The BS degree in Physical Geography is a broad, disciplinary degree for students interested in:

  • climatology and climate change
  • geomorphology
  • biogeography

BS students in physical geography build on a foundation of math, chemistry, physics, geology, and computer science.  The degree begins with the UMass geography core curriculum and adds three advanced physical geography courses and four additional electives. Click here for the Geography BS Degree Requirements.

Would you like to learn more?  Click here to make a geography advising appointment.

In addition, UMass offers wintersession, evening, summer, and online courses in Geography through the Department of Continuing Education.

The program offers Departmental Honors in Geography through Commonwealth College.

Each spring, graduate and undergraduate students in Geography are eligible to apply for modest financial support from the Department of Geosciences for summer research activities.

UMass Geographers are actively engaged with campus sustainability initiatives.  Click here for the UMass Sustainability webpages.

(The UMass Geography pages were originally prepared by students in Geosciences 314, Writing in Geography, Spring 2009)