Geography is an integrative discipline that bridges the natural and social sciences. Its distinctiveness is as much a product of its unique approach to the study of the earth and its human inhabitants as it is the subject matter itself. Thus, geography employs a spatial framework for organizational purposes analogous to the chronological framework employed in history.
Central to geographic inquiry is a concern with the human occupance of the earth, the character of the human environment, and the interrelationships that link humans and the physical world. In sum, geography seeks to provide a broad understanding of the world, its people, and its problems and to provide applied specializations and technical skills that can address economic, social, and environmental problems at scales that range from local to global.
Not surprisingly, the subject matter of geography is diverse. Geographers examine and analyze patterns of rural and urban settlement, resource exploitation, land use, social and cultural phenomena. They are concerned with the natural features and processes of the earth's surface, the ways in which nature has conditioned the human occupance of the earth, and the ways in which people have modified natural landscapes.
The department's instructional programs are designed to address several objectives. First, for the larger number of our students, we provide a greater understanding of the world as an element of a liberal education. Second, we conduct programs for majors and minors in geography that assure a depth of knowledge in subject matter and technique. Third, we serve those students in related disciplines who wish to strengthen programs of study through a selection of courses in geography.