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 scientific methods to explain and predict people's impact on the planet and the planet's impact on people.

UWM's Geography students graduate with an exceptional ability to intellectually and technologically process spatial 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 facts and diverse values. They also are adept at presenting information visually - for example, maps!

Some examples of research topics being tackled by today's geographers include climate change, population shifts, land use patterns, and animal migration. These are all examples of how geographers focus on human's relationship with man-made and natural environments.

Geographic Information Science (GIS) is a growing specialty within geography. GIS is a technology-based system for capturing, storing, and checking different types of data in relation to its position on Earth. It is a tool that enhances decision-making in both the private and public sector. For example, a rural town in the Rocky Mountains may use GIS data to determine where and when to place fire stations and personnel based on the patterns of forest fires and permanent and tourist populations. A corporation may use GIS to plan the location and layout 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