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Undergraduate Program



Geographers study the earth much as you encounter it in your everyday life--in its entirety. That's what makes geographers unique. We are interested in so many different kinds of things, and in seeing how seemingly unrelated facts and ideas fit together to explain the world around us. Geographers take a more integrated view of the world, and think about it more holistically than practitioners of most other disciplines. So if you are interested in more than two of the following kinds of phenomena, you are on your way to becoming a geographer:

  • Places
  • Enviornment
  • Maps
  • Education
  • Cultures
  • Religions
  • History
  • Population
  • Human migrations
  • Land use
  • Cities
  • Urban planning
  • Economics
  • Human behavior
  • Natural resources
  • Climate change
  • Geology
  • Environmental perception
  • Natural hazards
  • Wildlife habitat
  • Politics and policy
  • World futures

The next step is to take a course or two from us to see if our approach to understanding the world fits well with your own.

When you decide you want to major in Geography, goto the forms page on our website and complete the application for the major in Geography.

The Major

Geography Major Requirements

All students who wish to major in geography must have a 2.25 minimum GPA in all coursework taken up to the time of admission.

Only students who have completed at least two Geography core classes (Geog 101, Geog 107, Geog 108, Geog 203, and Geog 250) with no grade lower than a C- in any of those classes, may be admitted to the Geography Major.

To remain in good standing:

Geography Majors must earn a C- or better in each of the courses in their major contract. In addition, students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.0 every quarter. Failure to maintain these minimum standards will result in the student being placed in probationary status. Students who remain on probation for two consecutive quarters will be required to re-apply to the major.

Major Contract and Advising

Once you have been admitted to the program, you will be assigned an academic advisor in the Geography Department. He or she is available to help answer any questions you have about the major. The courses you choose for your major program will vary from those of other students because we try to tailor your individual program to your interests.

Major Programs and Graduation Requirements

Geography puts considerable emphasis on increasing your facility for writing, graphic communication (especially the use of maps), and in speaking in front of groups. These skills are not unique to geographers, but they are important. We also expect all of our majors to have acquired a measure of competence in two or three marketable skills by the time they graduate: Cartography, Air Photo Interpretation, Policy Analysis, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and/or Remote Sensing and Image Processing.

The Geography Major requires that students:

  • apply for acceptance into the Geography major;
  • have a 2.25 minimum GPA in all coursework taken up to the time of admission;
  • earn a C- or better grade in each of the courses that count towards the completion of the Major.

Please see the online CWU Catalog for more detailed information.

Core Requirements of the Geography Major

In order to allow you the flexibility to develop your own major program, we require only six specific core classes, which total 25 credit hours. These six classes will expose you to the major areas of geographic thinking. In addition to these six courses, you will select 20-35 credit hours of electives which are appropriate to your chosen specialization and which must be approved by your advisor. Among these electives, however, you are required to take one upper division geography course in each of the five identified subfields of the geography discipline: physical, human, regional, resource, and techniques.

Required Core Courses (20 credits):
GEOG 101, World Regional Geography (5)
GEOG 107, Introduction to Physical Geography (5)
GEOG 108, Introduction to Human Geography (5)
GEOG 203, Introduction to Maps and Cartography(4)
GEOG 250, Natural Resource Conservation (4)
GEOG 489, Geography Capstone (2)

Required Advanced Courses (14-20 credits to be chosen with advisor):
Advanced Regional Geography (3-5 credits)
Advanced Physical Geography (4-5 credits)
Advanced Human Geography (3-5 credits)
Advanced Techniques Geography (4-5 credits)
Advanced Resource Geography (3-5 credits)

You can learn more about the available options in each category here.

Geography Major - Bachelor of Arts - 60 Credit Option
The 60 credit major is intended for students who wish to develop further depth and breadth, typically within a particular area of Geography, in preparation for a career or graduate study in Geography. Students taking this major are not required to have a second major or minor, although you are not precluded from doing so. In addition to the core classes listed above, each student would then choose any number of approved elective courses (5-9 upper division credits chosen with advisor), to achieve a total of 60 credit hours.

We also strongly encourage you to study the guidance available on this website in choosing courses that will help you to launch the career of your choice.

Internships, Writing and Speaking Skills, Language Study, Math & Science Preparation

  • In addition to the foregoing specific requirements, we would like to recommend several courses that will make you more "marketable." For example, we strongly encourage you to try to arrange an internship as part of your education. Such work experiences for which you receive course credit are very helpful-occasionally they lead directly to jobs. Even if an internship does not result directly in employment, many employers look upon an internship as that all-important "first real job" when they see it on your resume.
  • The university's requirements for competence in the use of the English language are more than simple routine harassment. We have found that the greater our graduates' abilities to write and speak correctly and articulately, the better the jobs that they are able to secure. It is for this reason that we place a great emphasis on your ability to write and speak.
  • Studying a world language may not sound appealing, but it too can be helpful in getting a job. As you learn a second language, you also have to learn more about your first language, its structure, its vocabulary, and the categories it imposes on your thoughts. The ultimate expression of multiculturalism is to learn another's language.
  • Similarly, the more supporting work you take in mathematics, science, and statistics courses; or economics and political science, the more competitive you will be in the employment market.

International Study

Finally, we want to encourage you to think seriously about spending a quarter or two studying outside the United States. Central is linked to international study programs in more than seven different countries in Asia, Latin America, and Europe. International study and travel is much less a luxury than it was even ten years ago. With the increasing globalization of nearly everything, it is more important than ever to develop a working knowledge of how people in other countries think and work. Studying overseas is also the best of all ways to learn another language.

Take the Next Step to Becoming a Wildcat.