University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Geography

Why UVM's geography program?

  • one of the largest geography departments in New England
  • a history of excellence: established in 1966
  • faculty members who are experts in their field
  • 75 inquisitive undergraduate majors
  • a wide variety of course choices; many of which will take majors around the world
  • specialized facilities

Discover Geography

Why study geography?

It is not unusual for geographers to be asked what it is they "do." In response, geographers often say that we study the "why of where." This is a shorthand way of saying that geographical curiosity is grounded by an enduring interest in the patterns of human and natural phenomena, and the interaction of both, as they are manifested in particular locations, environments, and places.

As historians study time, geographers study space

The curiosity of a geographer is virtually unbounded; we are observers and analysts of space, place, and environment on scales from the local to the global. Geography is a multifaceted discipline that bridges the social sciences, the humanities, and the physical sciences.


Geographers study:

  • neighborhoods
  • international trade
  • urban life
  • economic patterns
  • the ways in which cultures — past and present — leave their imprint on the land and landscape
  • the movements of people across space — from local commuting patterns to global refugee flows
  • geopolitical patterns — the changing power relationships within and between nations and states
  • the ways in which human relationships to places, spaces, and environments are shaped by — and, in turn, shape — class, ethnic, race, and gender identities
  • natural hazards, biogeography, climate change, and earthquakes
  • they map the world, literally as well as metaphorically, and employ the newest technologies of geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing and satellite imagery to better understand the world's constantly changing natural and human landscapes

What skills will geography teach me that an employer will want?

  • geography studies equips students analytical and conceptual skills
  • the understanding of the spatial dimension of physical, environmental, and human phenomena
  • trains students to appreciate the importance of a broad, international, and comparative perspective
  • provides students with technical skills, a focus on environment and society, and local/global interpretive capacity that is increasingly important for an informed citizenry
  • a high proportion of our students go on to graduate work, in geography or cognate fields, and we have placed students at some of the best graduate programs in the country.

Students who want more information on the study and practice of geography can pick up several brochures in the department office including "Careers in Geography" and "Geography as a Discipline."

What kind of courses will I take?

The Geography Department offers a wide variety of course choices; many of which will take majors around the world For example, students can sign up for regional geography courses on Canada, Vermont, Africa, or the USA. Other introductory offerings include courses on the geography of race and ethnicity, "geotechniques," and our ever-popular introductory classes in world regional geography and world natural environments. Intermediate-level classes include political geography, cultural ecology, geography and gender, international development and political ecology, urban geography, biogeography and intermediate courses in GIS and remote sensing. At the advanced level, we offer classes that include spatial analysis, research methods, climate and hazards, and global economic restructuring.

Interdepartmental ties: The commitment to an Area Studies focus in our department is strengthened by close ties to the International Studies and Canadian Studies Programs at UVM. Similarly, we regularly cross-list courses and work in concert with a number of other departments at UVM, including the Environmental Program, Women's Studies, Political Science, Geology, Anthropology, and Natural Resources.

What kind of job will I get with a geography degree?

Last modified November 04 2016 03:37 PM