In high school, your geography class probably focused on maps and locations – but the field is so much broader than that. Geography bridges the physical and human world, using both scientific and humanistic methods to explain, predict, and interpret people's impact on the planet and the planet's impact on people.

UWM's geography students graduate with exceptional abilities, both intellectual and technological, to analyze data about space, place, and people - and how they relate to each other. They understand how to make sense of seemingly unrelated pieces of information by bringing together diverse facts and values. They also are adept at presenting information visually - for example, maps!

Some examples of research topics that today's geographers are tackling include climate change, land use patterns, environmental justice, racial segregation, migration and refugees, natural hazards, and animal migration.

Geographic Information Science (GIS) is a growing specialty within geography. GIS is a technical system for capturing, storing, and analyzing diverse types of data in relation to location on Earth, and it enhances decision-making in both the private and public sectors. For example, a small town may use GIS data to determine where to place fire stations and personnel based on patterns of forest fires and populations; or a corporation may use GIS to plan the location of a new store based on shopping and traffic patterns.

Related Programs

For the teaching major and minor, see the School of Education section of this catalog. A related special major is International Studies. Related certificate programs include Asian Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Middle Eastern and North African Studies.


The geography minor requires the completion, with a GPA of 2.0 or above in all geography courses attempted at UWM, of 18 credits in geography courses, at least 9 of which must be at the 300 level or above taken in residence at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.0 GPA on all courses attempted in the minor, including transfer work. The following are required:

Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Human Geography
The World: Peoples and Regions
Geography of Race in the United States
Globalization and Economic Development
Our Urban Environment: Introduction to Urban Geography
Geography of Asia
Muslim Geographies: Identities and Politics
GEOG 120Our Physical Environment3
or GEOG 125 Introduction to Environmental Geography
GEOG 215Introduction to Geographic Information Science3
or GEOG 405 Cartography
Select 9 credits9
Total Credits18

Cross-listed Courses

The following courses offered by the Department of Geosciences may be used to fulfill the requirements of the undergraduate major or minor in geography.

GEO SCI 401General Soil Science3
GEO SCI 409Process Geomorphology4