School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences

Geography (B.A.)

Geography is the science of place and space. Geographers ask where things are located on the surface of the earth, why they are located where they are, how places differ from one another, and how people interact with the environment. It is inherently interdisciplinary and international, and has been revolutionized recently by new technologies such as geographic information systems, global positioning systems and remote sensing.

Geographers forge close ties with many others including urban and regional economists, sociologists and planners, as well as with those who study international trade and economic growth. Geographers who explore environmental relationships become skilled in earth science (for example, geomorphology or climatology) or become leaders in the development of cultural ecology, linking closely with anthropology and archaeology. Geographers play leading roles in such policy arenas as urban and transportation planning, area studies, regional and international development, risk analysis, and environmental management. And they increasingly contribute their technological skills in geographic information systems, remote sensing and spatial analysis.

Mission and Objectives

The mission of the Bachelor of Arts in Geography program is to provide students a rigorous education in the fundamental theories, concepts, quantitative tools and analytical research methodologies central to the field of geography. The program fosters an understanding of the local and global ways in which humans interact with spatially distributed phenomena, organize their activities in space, and use and manage the earth’s resources and environments. So equipped, UT Dallas geography graduates will effectively participate as global citizens, successfully compete for professional jobs requiring strong analytical geographic skills and an integrative spatial perspective, and be admitted to the best graduate schools globally.

Students in the program will:

  • Demonstrate their knowledge of the fundamental theories and concepts central to the field of geography.
  • Apply quantitative tools and analytical research methodologies to spatial issues central to the field of geography.
  • Analyze and evaluate the local and global ways in which humans interact with spatially distributed phenomena, organize their activities in space, and use and manage the earth’s resources and environments.

Options

UT Dallas offers three degree options to its geography majors: a general B.A. degree, a B.A. with certification in Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies, and a B.A. with a concentration in Regional Development and International Studies.

Those who elect the general BA degree are provided an educational experience to allow them to put their degrees, backgrounds, and experience to use in a wide variety of post-graduate educational and occupational positions, including:

  • Graduate School in Geography (or a related social, policy or environmental science discipline, including UT Dallas' own graduate programs in Geospatial Information Science, Public Policy and Political Economy, and Public Affairs);
  • Urban, Environmental or Transportation Planning;
  • The travel industry;
  • Public Policy or Management;
  • Marketing, Real Estate or Location Analysis;
  • Employment in federal, state and local government agencies.

Those who elect the option for certification in Geographic Information Systems have added opportunities as GIS analysts in many of these same areas, as well as other areas such as natural resource exploration, cartography, crime analysis, and geospatial intelligence.

The concentration in regional development and international studies is interdisciplinary and serves a group of students who cross the disciplines of geography, political science, economics, sociology, and the humanities. Graduates with a specialization in this area will possess the skills that are necessary to meet the needs and demands of the international diplomatic and business sectors, in particular, students will be prepared to identify and develop solutions to current problems in public and international affairs, including regional development. Students also will be prepared for analytical and administrative positions and responsibilities in the government, policy-making, or private sector. The program builds on requirements in foreign language, regional/comparative studies, and an international foundation. Students choose from three fields of study: Globalization and Development, International Political Economy, and Culture and Politics. Each field of study combines theory and social science research methods to provide students with the skills and ability to deal effectively with international issues. The Globalization and Development field focuses on issues related to the global economy and regional development. The International Political Economy field allows students to understand how economic policy is formulated by political leaders, providing a means to better understand complex interactions at the local, national, and international levels. The Culture and Politics field allows students to explore the mutual engagement of culture, space, and political power adding a new and crucial dimension to the study of international affairs.

Bachelor of Arts in Geography Degree Requirements (120 hours)

I. Core Curriculum Requirements1: 42 hours

    A. Communication (6 hours)
    B. Social and Behavioral Sciences (15 hours)
    C. Humanities and Fine Arts (6 hours) D. Mathematics and Quantitative Reasoning (6 hours)
      3 hours Mathematics (at or above the level of College Algebra)
      4 hours Quantitative Reasoning (SOCS 3405)2
    E. Science (9 hours)

    1 Curriculum Requirements can be fulfilled by other approved courses from accredited institutions of higher education.
    2 The courses listed in parentheses are the most efficient way to satisfy both Core Curriculum and Major Requirements at UT Dallas.

II. Major Requirements: 52 hours

    Major Preparatory Courses (9 hours)
    ECON 2302 Principles of Microeconomics*
    GEOG 2303 People and Place: An Introduction to World Geographic Regions
    GEOG 2302 The Global Environment*
    GEOS 1103 Physical Geology Laboratory2
    GEOS 1104 History of Earth and Life Laboratory2
    GEOS 1303 Physical Geology2
    GEOS 1304 History of Earth and Life2
    Major Core Courses (25 hours)
    GEOG 3304 Tools for Spatial Analysis
    or GISC 3323 Geographic Information Systems
    GEOG 3377 Urban Planning and Policy2
    SOCS 3405 Introduction to Social Statistics with Lab2
    Four of the following:
    GEOG 3331 Urban Growth and Structure
    GEOG 3359 Human Migration and Mobility: Global Patterns
    GEOG 3370 The Global Economy
    GEOG 3372 Population and Development
    GEOG 4380 Spatial Concepts and Organization
    One of the following:
    CRIM 3301 Theories of Justice
    ECON 4320 Public Sector Economics
    PSCI 4364/SOC 4364 Civil Rights Law and Society
    SOC 4361 Law and Society
    Major Related Courses (24 hours)
    18 hours Geography upper-division electives
    6 hours Major and Related electives3

    2 A Major requirement that also fulfills a Core Curriculum requirement. Hours are counted in Core Curriculum.
    3 Most students take upper-division GEOG courses. However, subject to advisor approval, courses from other disciplines may be used to satisfy this requirement.
    * Indicates a prerequisite to be completed before enrolling in upper-division GEOG courses.

III. Elective Requirements: 26 hours

    Advanced Electives (6 hours) All students are required to take at least six hours of Advanced Electives outside their major field of study. These must be either upper-division classes or lower-division classes that have prerequisites.
    Free Electives (20 hours)
    This requirement may be satisfied with lower- and upper-division courses from any field of study. Students must complete at least 51 hours of upper-division credit to qualify for graduation.

Specialization Areas

GIS Certification

This specialization area requires admission into the Fast Track program. Students interested in this specialization should take the following sequence of courses within the Major Related Requirements.

Major Related Courses (9 hours)
9 hours Geography upper-division electives3
GIS Certification (15 hours)
GISC 6381 GIS Fundamentals
GISC 6382 Applied GIS
GISC 6387 GIS Workshop

Two additional GISC courses

Regional Development and International Studies Concentration

Students interested in this specialization should take the following sequence of courses within the Major Related and Elective Requirements.

Major Related Courses (12 hours)
12 hours Geography upper-division electives3
Regional Development and International Studies (32 hours)
Regional and Comparative Studies (9 hours)
These must be from the same area (e.g. Latin America, Europe, Africa, or The Middle East). See an advisor for a
list of approved courses.
International Foundation (9 hours)
Choose 3 of the following:
ECON 4360 International Trade
ECON 4382 International Finance
PSCI 3328 International Relations
PSCI 3350 Comparative Politics
PSCI 4329 Global Politics
Field of Study (14 hours)
Students must choose from Globalization and Development; International Political Economy; or Culture and Politics. All hours must be taken in the same field of study. See an advisor for a list of approved courses.
Advanced Electives (6 hours)
6 hours in the same foreign language. These must be either upper-division classes or lower-division classes that have prerequisites.
3 Most students take upper-division GEOG courses. However, subject to advisor approval, courses from other disciplines may be used to satisfy this requirement.

Minor in Geography (18 hours)

For a minor in Geography, students must take GEOG 2302, GEOG 3304, GEOG 3370 and three additional Geography (GEOG) or Geographic Information Sciences (GISC) courses, with no more than one at the lower division (100 or 200 level).