Stephen F. Austin State University

Geography

About Geography at SFA

Geography is the science of place and space. Geographers ask where things are located, why they are located there, how places differ, and how people interact with the environment. Geography is unique in linking the social and natural sciences. Geography has been at SFA since 1926! SFA Geography has more job-related skills, field experience, and internships per student than most majors, building knowledge in geographic information systems, environmental monitoring, sustainability initiatives, city planning, international trade and development, cultural interpretation, and population analysis. For more information, see the Association of American Geographers careers website:http://www.aag.org/cs/jobs_and_careers or contact SFA geographers Dr. William Forbes (forbesw@sfasu.edu; 936-468-2373) or Dr. Jeffery Roth (rothjeffe@sfasu.edu)

Our Purpose

Geography Programs

We live in a finite world experiencing globalization, which is characterized by an ever-increasing population, technologically enhanced communications, expanding resource demands by advanced societies and those striving to become advanced, made more complex by frequent confrontations of world units of contrasting nature. Therefore, it is necessary that the informed citizen have some idea of the nature, causes and meanings of variations in earth and human resources. Geography helps impart this knowledge and understanding.

Geography seeks to define and study physical and human patterns of the earth, the relationships between them, the association of features giving personality or character to individual places or regions, the connections and movements between places, and the meaning to humans of the sameness and differences among places on the earth. Because geography presents an integrated view of the physical and social sciences, it is of significance to liberal arts and science programs, whether the subject is selected as the major, minor, or elective.


The geography program includes an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques in the curriculum. GIS is an emerging field becoming a basic competency for many career paths. Topics include building databases, thematic map analysis, spatial data manipulation, and GIS application development. GIS provides a research tool set for geographic application to solving society's problems.

Geography Majors (30 hours) and Minors (18 hours)

A first major in geography (30 hours) requires a nine-hour common core (GEO 130, 131 and 230) and at least one course from each of the following groups: techniques (GEO 220, 315, 320 or 410); physical (GEO 305, 434 or 443); human (GEO 310, 365 or 439); and regional (GEO 330, 332, 344 or 450). GEO 375 may be substituted, as appropriate. Nine additional semester hours of geography electives may be selected in any combination from one or more groups. Students with a first major in geography select either the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degree.

A second major in geography (24 hours) requires the nine hours core, three hours from each group and one elective.

The minor in geography (18 hours) requires the nine hours core, plus three hours from three of the four groups.

Suggested Programs

Geographers have broad interests and career goals. With that in mind, each student should plan a course of study in consultation with a departmental adviser who facilitates those interests and goals. Those considering graduate study should follow a general course of study within the field of geography, should take MTH 220 and SOC 378 and 379, and should spread the required nine hours of geography electives over three of the four groups listed above. Those considering a professional career should concentrate the nine hours of electives in the techniques group.

Teaching Certification

Students who expect to qualify for teaching certificates in Composite Social Stud­ies should also see the appropriate programs listed in the College of Education.