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), Dr. Darrel McDonald (dmcdonald@sfasu.edu; 936-468-2330), or Dr. Jeffery Roth (rothjeffe@sfasu.edu; 936-468-6652).

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 credits) and Minors (18 credits)

Students with a major in geographymay choose either the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Sci­ence degree. A major in geography requires 30 credits.

GEO 130: Physical Geography (3 credits)
GEO 131: World Regional Geography (3 credits)
GEO 230: Cultural Geography (3 credits)
One of the following geographic techniques courses (3 credits):
GEO 220: Introduction to G.I.S. or
GEO 315: Cartography or
GEO 320: G.I.S. Social Applications or
GEO 410: Remote Sensing
Additional upper-level geography courses (18 credits)

A minor in geography requires 18 credits: GEO 130, 131, 230; GEO 220 or 315 or 320 or 410; and 6 additional credits in geography, all of which must be advanced. (If GEO 220 is used for the minor, then 9 rather than 6 additional credits in geography are required, all of which must be advanced.)

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.