GEO/ESC 2011-2013 Undergraduate Catalog
College of Science and Health
Department Chair: Cynthia Berlin
2004 Cowley Hall, 608.785.8333
Professors: Ahmed, Berlin,
Assistant Professors: Belby, Lin, Muehlenhaus, Perroy, Slocum
The Geography major is designed to provide students with a broad academic background. Geography majors have an extremely high level of flexibility in choosing from a wide breadth of elective courses that match their personal interests.
The major is designed to provide students with a strong background in Geography and Earth Science while offering flexibility in choosing relevant electives in Geography and in related support areas such as Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics.
GIS has become an integral part of the discipline of Geography. This major is structured to give a solid, well-rounded geography background with an emphasis on using geotechnology like GIS, remote sensing, and surveying equipment to solve problems. Students create and analyze maps, interpret satellite imagery, and collect field data to study the environment.
Social Studies Education (Broad Field) Major
(Early Adolescence-Adolescence Certification)
(Teacher Certification programs) 56-63 credits
Option A (Content Major)
37-44 credit major in Geography Education, History Education, Political Science Education, or Sociology Education
20 credits, with a minimum of three credits, from any two of the following areas outside of the major selected from Economics, Geography, History, Political Science, Psychology, or Sociology.
Note: Teacher certification candidates must also complete GEO 200 (3 credits) and EFN 200 (1 credit) to fulfill statutory licensing requirements. (Credits do not count toward the Social Studies Education (Broad Field) major.)
Option B (Content Minor)
18-24 credit minor in one of the following: Economics Education, Geography Education, History Education, Political Science Education, Psychology Education or Sociology Education
32 credits with a minimum of three credits from three of the subject areas outside of the minor selected from Economics, Geography, History, Political Science, Psychology, or Sociology.
ECO/GEO/HIS/POL/PSY/SOC 408 (4 credits)
Note: Teacher certification candidates must also complete GEO 200 (3 credits) and EFN 200 (1 credit) to fulfill statutory licensing requirements. (Credits do not count toward the Social Studies Education (Broad Field) major.)
Click here for additional teacher certification requirements.
As a discipline, geography borrows from many fields. It is the cross-disciplinary nature the appeals to students studying in many different fields. This program is designed to give students an applied, spatial perspective when analyzing local, regional, and global events and issues. Students will learn to apply their knowledge of patterns, distributions, and location towards solving problems in their chosen field.
Analyzing spatial information is not something unique to
geography. Nearly every discipline has issues of location associated
with it. Geographic Information Systems are a powerful tool for a wide
breadth of academic and professional fields.
GIS is a tool for studying spatial problems that has applications ranging from business planning to public health to ecosystem management. It links a database with map features in such a way that users can input, store, retrieve, and analyze geographic data. GIS users are constantly discovering creative new ways to solve problems.
Our GIS minor is an attractive option for students from many disciplines and academic backgrounds. It is flexible enough to meet individual needs and is a great companion to a variety of majors. Students studying a variety of disciplines can choose the GIS minor as a way to enhance their academic programs and resume making themselves highly marketable in their professional field of choice.
Geoarchaeology involves a number of sciences that can contribute to the interpretation of an archaeological site. Among the types of studies geoarchaeologists undertake are archaeological site location by physical and chemical methods, geomorphological analysis, stratigraphic studies, analysis of sediments and archaeological deposits, environmental analysis, and examining the relationships between human activities and the landscape.
The impact of human activities on our environment has been working its way to the forefront of scientific concerns. Scientists are just beginning to gain a good grasp of the complex interaction of natural phenomena and human activities. The Earth Science minor draws on topics and perspectives from the physical and social sciences as well as the humanities to underscore the interdisciplinary nature of environmental concerns. This program is designed to prepare students from all academic disciplines to become conversant in a range of environmental topics, in both their personal and professional lives.
The Geography minor Teacher Certification program is designed to provide students with a structured Geography and Earth Science background while allowing students flexibility to choose elective courses of their own interest if desired.
The impact of human activities on our environment has been working its way to the forefront of scientific concerns. Scientists are just beginning to gain a good grasp of the complex interaction of natural phenomena and human activities. The Earth Science minor draws on topics and perspectives from the physical and social sciences as well as the humanities to underscore the interdisciplinary nature of environmental concerns. This program is designed to prepare students to become conversant in a range of environmental topics, in their professional lives.
Geography/Earth Science Department Honors Program
15 completed credits in the major
3.25 grade point average in the major and a 3.00 cumulative grade point average
Recommendation by two faculty members in the department
Completion of the major program in Geography and Earth Science
GEO/ESC 490 - Independent Study, 2-3 credits.
GEO/ESC 495 - Seminar in Geography/Earth Science (Honors Seminar), 1 credit
Cumulative 3.50 grade point average in the major and a cumulative grade point of 3.00 at graduation
Distinguished performance on a paper/project in GEO/ESC 490
Presentation of paper/project to the faculty and students in the department.
Geographic Information Systems Certificate
This program is a joint offering by the department of geography and earth science and the Office of Continuing Education.
Applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) range from business planning and public health to ecosystem management. Essentially, GIS is a tool for studying spatial problems. It links a database with map features in such a way that users can input, store, retrieve, and analyze geographic data. Students choosing this program acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to apply GIS in their chosen field of study.
The GIS Certificate is earned by taking two GIS courses and the completion of a GIS internship or undergraduate research project.
(All Colleges) 12 credits – one of the following sequences: GEO 208 and 308 or GEO 385 and 485; six credits from GEO 450 and/or 499. (Not open to geography majors)
Note: This certificate program currently is not available.
* indicates a General Education course.
ESC 101 - Earth Environments - Cr. 4
This course concentrates on understanding the earth’s dynamic environments through the study of processes and physical and human interactions related to the lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. A scientific approach is used to examine fundamental concepts in earth and environmental science related to topics such as plate tectonics, landform development, atmospheric processes, global climate, and water resources, in order to provide an understanding of how the earth system functions and the human role in these phenomena. Lect. 3, Lab. 2.
GEO 102 - Maps and Society - Cr. 3
This course introduces all aspects of maps and how they affect the individual in society. It examines the evolution of maps, the map as an art form, the map as a communication medium for spatial knowledge, the meaning of maps and their relationship to culture and society past and present, the influence of maps on an individual through mass media and the Internet, and the way maps reflect personal and societal points of view. It focuses on privacy and civil liberty issues of the individual in the age of digital information where maps and map databases can disclose the privacy of personal space. In addition, today’s GIS maps (in planning, in marketing, in hazard controls, etc.) embed substantial amounts of personal information that can affect personal security and how our lives are directly, indirectly, knowingly and unknowingly influenced.
GEO 110 - World Cultural Regions - Cr. 3
This course provides an understanding of the global distribution of world cultures. The cultural, economic and natural patterns and their interrelationships are examined on a global and regional scale. The development and distribution of cultural regions within countries are included when appropriate.
GEO 200 - Conservation of Global Environments - Cr. 3 *
Introduction to natural resources, resource management, environmental and land use ethics, environmental impacts of resource utilization and strategies to resolve environmental conflicts. Course examines the relationships between society and the environment from the global to the local scale.
GEO 201 - Geography of United States and Canada - Cr. 3
Physical and cultural characteristics of United States and Canada. Changing patterns of land use and the accompanying economic and cultural development of the various regions.
GEO 202 - Contemporary Global Issues - Cr. 3 *
This course will offer a contemporary multi-disciplinary perspective regarding the major issues and trends confronting the global society as it enters the 21st century. Emphasis will be given to a critical review and assessment of the origin and present condition of the plethora of situations and problems affecting modern global society. The student will also learn to critically evaluate current and future events. The course will incorporate the views and approaches of the following disciplines: sociology/anthropology, economics, geography, political science and history. (Cross-listed with ANT/ECO/HIS/POL/SOC 202; may only earn credit in one department.)
GEO 204 - Geography of Wisconsin - Cr. 3
Geographic patterns in Wisconsin. Physiographic regions, climate, population distribution, resources and their use, agriculture, industry, transportation and urban growth.
GEO 208 - Applications of Geographic Information Systems I - Cr. 3
An introduction to applied aspects of Geographic Information Systems. GIS software, with an emphasis on ArcGIS, will be used to develop working proficiency with basic GIS procedures and applications. Topics include data input and output, forming queries, data overlay processes, and creating map layouts. (Not open to geography majors).
ESC 211 - Global Warming and Climate Change - Cr. 3 *
This course explores the scientific basis of global warming and climate change, and their current and likely impacts on human society and the environment, before addressing the action that could be taken by governments, by industry, and by individuals to mitigate the effect. Discussion of global warming is situated in the context of models of climate change, focusing on alternative interpretations of the effects of anthropogenic greenhouse gases on global warming.
ESC 221 - Introduction to Climate Systems - Cr. 4
An introduction to physical principles and the dynamic processes that govern the behavior of the atmosphere at global and regional scales. Spatial and temporal variations of energy, moisture, circulation, and weather systems; and the patterns of the world climate systems are discussed. Lect. 3, Lab. 2. Prerequisite: ESC 101.
ESC 222 - Landforms: Processes and Regions - Cr. 4
An introduction to the earth surface processes that are dominant in forming various types of landforms Spatial variations in landform will be studied both at the local scale and as the outcome of large-scale global processes, including the effects of plate tectonics and global climatic change. Lect. 3, Lab. 2. Prerequisite: ESC 101.
GEO/ESC 250 - Fundamentals of Cartography - Cr. 3
Methods for the collection of geographic information from various sources. Techniques of representation on maps. Emphasis on the theoretical/fundamental aspects of display of cartographic data, symbolization, map design and planning, and map evaluation through lectures and exercises. (Cross-listed with ESC; may only earn credit in GEO or ESC.)
GEO/ESC 270 - Geographic Themes - Cr. 1-3
Specifically selected topics or skills which may be designed for the interest of special groups will be offered with formalized instruction and methodology appropriate to geography and/or earth science. This course may be counted as an elective in the geography major or earth science minor at the discretion of the Geography/Earth Science Department. Prerequisite may be required at the discretion of the department. Repeatable for credit — maximum six. (Cross-listed with ESC; may only earn credit in GEO or ESC.)
GEO 300 - Population Geography - Cr. 3
A systematic analysis of the populations of the world and the geographic factors influencing human existence. A study of the origin and distribution of populations and the cultural features with which they are associated.
GEO 304 - Geography of Europe - Cr. 3
Geographic factors in the changing physical, political, cultural and economic patterns in Europe. Emphasis on northwestern, central, and southern Europe and their importance in world affairs.
GEO 306 - Economic Geography - Cr. 3
This course introduces students to the global economic patterns which have shaped and conditioned the world of the 1990s, and the salient economic geography models and approaches which help to explain such patterns. Elements emphasized include the evolution of social and economic organization; the globalization of economic activity since the late 1400s; the interconnectivity of development and underdevelopment; and the relationship between development and social environmental problems. Prerequisite: GEO 110 or ECO 110 or HIS 101 or ANT/ECO/GEO/HIS/POL/SOC 202.
GEO 307 - Political Geography - Cr. 3
A real differentiation and analysis of relationships between geographic factors and political entities. This includes physical environment, organization of space, cultural influences and economic capabilities.
GEO 308 - Applications of GIS II - Cr. 3
Advanced exploration of geographic information systems tools and applications. GIS software, with an emphasis on ArcGIS, is used to develop advanced GIS skills. Topics include: working with coordinate systems, editing and managing relational databases, working with ArcGIS extensions, and GIS project management. Prerequisite: GEO 208. Not open to geography majors.
GEO 309 - Urban Geography - Cr. 3
Geographical study of cities, their form, function, site and situation. Classification of cities, urban land use patterns and the role of the city within its region.
GEO 312 - Geography of Africa - Cr. 3
Cultural, physical and economic characteristics including the bases of problems in socio-economic development are investigated from a geographic perspective. Resources, regions, and world ties are studied.
GEO 318 - Geography of Latin America and the Caribbean - Cr. 3
The cultural and physical characteristics of Latin America and the Caribbean region are systematically examined and explained. This includes an examination of diverse physical and “built” environments that encompass this region, from the borderlands of northern Mexico to the Tierra Del Fuego of the south; from the lush tropical environments of the Amazon, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico, to the Altiplano and arid regions of the west; from disparate lowlands to the startling mountain zones of the Andes. Indigenous civilizations which developed out of unique arrangements with these complex environments as well as those imposed and imported since 1500 will be explored in depth.
GEO 328 - Geography of East and Southeast Asia - Cr. 3
The geography of China, Japan, the Koreas, and Mongolia; the geography of the 10 states of Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, and Burma. Contemporary geopolitical problems and prospects; East Asia and the world; primordial and historical factors contributing to identity and conflict. The course emphasizes human-cultural patterns, salient physical characteristics, and the relationship between these.
GEO 331 - Geography of the Middle East, Central and South Asia - Cr. 3
Cultural, physical and economic elements of this predominantly Islamic domain are examined from a geographic perspective for a better understanding of this region of the world. Cultural and socio-economic impact of these regions on other regions and cultures of the world, including their resources, are investigated.
GEO/ESC 345 - Remote Sensing of the Environment - Cr. 3
Introduction to remote sensing, emphasizing satellite multispectral observations of the earth applied to such fields as agriculture, forestry, water resources, urban and regional planning, and environmental assessment. Upper Midwest and selected areas worldwide are explored with visual and digital image processing techniques. (Cross-listed with ESC; may only earn credit in GEO or ESC.)
GEO/ESC 385 - Introduction to Geographic Information Systems - Cr. 3
An introduction to both theoretical and applied aspects of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS software, with an emphasis on ArcGIS, will be used to explore geographic questions. Hands-on exercises pertaining to environmental science, natural resource management, business, and urban planning will be used to complement lecture material. Topics will include data organization, database structure, input and output, data quality, and geographic analysis of spatial and attribute data. (Cross-listed with ESC; may only earn credit in GEO or ESC.)
GEO/ESC 390 - Geographic Field Methods - Cr. 3
Covers fundamental concepts of field methods as applied to physical, cultural, urban and environmental geography. Students will gain experience in sampling, field surveying, GPS mapping, and observational data collection techniques. Includes reconnaissance and detailed surveys using current methods, GPS and field equipment; and practical integration of field data into a geographic information system. Prerequisite: GEO/ESC 385 or concurrent enrollment. (Cross-listed with ESC; may only earn credit in GEO or ESC.)
GEO/ESC 401 - Focus on Geography: A Capstone Course - Cr. 1
A seminar-style course designed to prepare students for graduate school and/or a career in geography/earth science. This course will cover the basic concepts of interviewing, graduate school application, oral presentation of a topic, and the writing of professional abstracts. The development of the field will be studied by the reading and discussion of landmark articles in geography and earth science. Students are expected to actively participate in the assessment of their major. Prerequisite: senior standing. (Cross-listed with ESC; may only earn credit in GEO or ESC.) Pass/Fail grading.
GEO/ECO/ HIS/POL/PSY/SOC 408 - Cr. 4 -
Teaching and Learning History and Social Studies in the
This course will be integrated with a field experience. In the context of a real classroom, teacher candidates will learn how to plan for and assess student learning in history and social sciences. With a focus on content knowledge, teacher candidates will plan a variety of meaningful learning experiences, assess student learning, and monitor and modify instruction to best support the individual learners in the classroom. The teacher candidate will design, enact, and assess activities that advance student understanding to more complex levels. Teacher candidates will gain experience in monitoring the obstacles and barriers that some students or groups of students face in school and learn how to design learning experiences to support all learners. Prerequisite: EDS 351. (Cross-listed with ECO, HIS, POL, PSY, SOC; may only earn credit in ECO, GEO, HIS, POL, PSY, or SOC.)
GEO/ESC 422/522 - Meteorology and Weather Forecasting - Cr. 3
Various principles and laws which govern the behavior of the atmosphere are investigated. Laws of gases and radiation, energy exchange between the earth and the atmosphere, laws of motion, various forces governing atmospheric motion, atmospheric moisture and psychometric, condensation, preciptable water and precipitation, atmospheric stability/instability, thermodynamic characteristics of the atmosphere, vorticity, and synoptic meteorology are discussed. Surface and upper-air charts, synoptic patterns, thermodynamic charts, radar and satellite images, and weather patterns are analyzed for weather forecasting. Prerequisite: ESC 101 or equivalent. (Cross-listed with ESC; may only earn credit in GEO or ESC.)
GEO/ESC 425/525 - Biogeography - Cr. 3
A systematic analysis of the geographic distribution of organisms from historical, ecological and regional perspectives. Emphasis is placed on the principles and the methods of biogeography. Special reference is made to bio-geographic regions, the distribution of organisms in space and time, and ecological biogeography. Prerequisites: ESC 221; junior standing. (Cross-listed with ESC; may only earn credit in GEO or ESC.)
GEO/ESC 426/526 - Soil Morphology and Genesis - Cr. 4
A comprehensive study of soils around the world and the factors and processes that drive their formation and dynamic evolution. Emphasis is placed on soil morphology, pedogenesis, and biogeochemical influences within the soil environment. A one-credit lab section is devoted to the hands-on exploration and study of soils through laboratory and field exercises. Prerequisite: ESC 221 or 222. (Cross-listed with ESC; may only earn credit in GEO or ESC.)
GEO/ESC 427 - Water Resources - Cr. 3
A study of physical water resources systems and management and utilization of water as a resource. Class activities will include seminars on critical water resource management issues and hands-on analysis of pertinent data, including exercises in Geographic Information Systems. Prerequisite: ESC 221 or 222. (Cross-listed with ESC; may only earn credit in GEO or ESC.)
GEO/ESC 430/530 - Fluvial Geomorphology - Cr. 3
A systematic study of the interactions between flowing water and surface landforms. Emphasis is placed on watershed and stream development, sediment transport and storage, flow frequency analysis, and applications of fluvial principles to river management and stream restoration. Class activities will include field exercises in the La Crosse region, mathematical analysis of hydrologic variables, and spatial analysis with Geographic Information Systems. Prerequisite: ESC 221 or 222. (Cross-listed with ESC, may only earn credit in GEO or ESC)
GEO/ESC 440/540 - Geographic Interpretation of Aerial Photographs - Cr. 3
Systematic applications of aerial photographs in the interpretation and analysis of geographic problems. Emphasis is placed on the interpretation of digital photographs within a geographic information system. Topics include urban and rural land use, natural resource and environmental assessment. Lect. 2, Lab 2. Prerequisites: GEO/ESC 385; junior standing. (Cross-listed in ESC; may only earn credit in GEO or ESC.)
GEO/ESC 445/545 - Advanced Remote Sensing - Cr. 3
Advanced techniques of digital satellite and airborne image analysis and processing, emphasizing theory and applications in natural resource, land use and environmental assessment. Includes practical approaches to integrating imagery with geographic information systems for spatial analyses and decision making. Data acquisition, integrity, manipulation, formatting, storage and retrieval are also examined. Prerequisite: GEO/ESC 345. (Cross-listed in ESC; may only earn credit in GEO or ESC.)
GEO/ESC 450 - Geography Internship - Cr. 3-12
Practical experience with a variety of organizations where the student’s geographic background and training can be utilized to advantage. Students are placed in carefully selected positions screened by the department. Actual work supervision is accomplished by personnel of the selected agency and the department staff coordinator. A maximum of five credits may be counted toward the non-education major. Prerequisites: geography major; junior standing; overall grade point of 2.25 with a minimum of 2.75 in geography. (Cross-listed with ESC; may only earn credit in GEO or ESC.) Pass/Fail grading.
GEO/ESC 455/555 - Applied Map Design and Production in Cartography and GIS - Cr. 3
This course explores both manual and digital methods in cartographic design and production, map design theory, perceptual aspects of map symbols, methods of production for small format and large format maps, cost efficiency factors, design environments in GIS packages, production of both monochromatic and color maps, map publishing. Prerequisite: GEO 250. (Cross-listed in ESC; may only earn credit in GEO or ESC.)
GEO/ESC 460/560 - Environmental Hazards and Land Use Planning - Cr. 3
Environmental processes are investigated in light of the hazards they might pose for development and how they may be avoided or mitigated by proper land use planning. Prerequisite: ESC 221 or 222. (Cross-listed in ESC; may only earn credit in GEO or ESC.)
GEO/ESC 470/570 - Special Topics in Geography/Earth Science - Cr. 1-3
Specifically selected topics or skills which may be designed for the interest of special groups will be offered with formalized instruction and methodology appropriate to geography and/or earth science. May be counted as an elective in the geography major or earth science minor at the discretion of the Geography/Earth Science Department. Prerequisite may be required at the discretion of the department. Repeatable for credit — maximum six. (Cross-listed in ESC; may only earn credit in GEO or ESC.)
GEO/ESC 476/576 - Geography/Earth Science Topics for Teachers - Cr. 1-3
Selected topics in geography and/or earth science pertinent to applications in the teachers’ classrooms. Courses are designed to meet the needs of teachers so that they may implement the course material into their classroom teaching. (Cross-listed in ESC; may only earn credit in GEO or ESC.)
GEO 485/585 - Advanced Geographic Information Systems - Cr. 3
Advanced theories in geographic information systems database structures, advanced applications, database transfers, database management, use of census data, spatial analysis, and decision-making. Emphasis on ARCGIS and its applications. Integration of GIS with remote sensing and GPS. Prerequisites: MTH 145 and GEO/ESC 385.
GEO 488 - Spatial Data Analysis - Cr. 3
Theory, methods, and techniques for quantitative analysis of spatial data. Students will learn and employ basic quantitative techniques for describing, modeling, and analyzing spatial data. This course explores point pattern analysis, methods for continuous data, and spatial regression. Focus will be on the interpretation and the application of spatial data analysis techniques to address geographic problems. Prerequisite: MTH 145.
GEO/ESC 490/590 - Independent Study - Cr. 2-3
Individual readings and investigation of selected problems in geography. Open to senior majors and minors with a “B” (3.00) average in geography. Registration with consent of regular adviser, instructor, department chairperson, and the dean of the college in which the student is enrolled. Maximum credit applicable to major — three; maximum credit from any instructor — three. Repeatable for credit — maximum six. (Cross-listed in ESC; may only earn credit in GEO or ESC.)
GEO/ESC 495/595 - Seminar in Geography/Earth Science - Cr. 1-3
Investigation into various topics in geography or the earth sciences. Varying topics will be offered at intervals with a specific title assigned to each. Prerequisite: two semesters of geography and/or earth science. Additional prerequisite may be required by the instructor. Repeatable for credit — maximum six. Variable topics; check semester timetables. (Cross-listed in ESC; may only earn credit in GEO or ESC.)
GEO/ESC 499 - Undergraduate Research - Cr. 1-3
Individual research by an advanced student under the supervision of a faculty member in the geography/earth science department. The student must present a written report and either have their work published in an appropriate journal or presented either orally or by poster at a conference acceptable to the department chair and adviser. A contract must be signed by the student, the project adviser, the student’s adviser and the geography/earth science department chair. Repeatable for credit — maximum six. Three credits may be applied to a major or minor in geography and earth science. Prerequisite: 12 credits of geography and/or earth science with six of the credits numbered 300 or above, or consent of the instructor and department chair. (Cross-listed in ESC; may only earn credit in GEO or ESC.)