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GEography and Earth Science (GEO/ESC) 

College of Science and Allied Health
Department Chair: Harun Rasid
2020 Cowley Hall, (608)785-8339
e-mail: rasid.haru@uwlax.edu 

Professors: Ahmed, Chu, Cravins, Rashid, Wilder, Wingate; 
Associate Professor: Berlin; 
Assistant Professor: Aritan. 

Geography Major (All colleges, excluding Teacher Certification programs) — 36 credits, including ESC 101, 221, 222, GEO 110, 201, 250, 401; one course in cultural geography elected from GEO 300, 306, 307, 309, 329, 409; one course in techniques elected from GEO/ESC 345, 390, 440, 451, 455, 481; one course in regional geography elected from GEO 204, 304, 312, 318, 328, 331; and electives in physical geography from GEO/ESC 323, 343, 422, 425, 426, 427, 460 or electives from courses listed above plus GEO 200, 202, GEO/ESC 450, 470, 490, 495 and 499. 

Geography Major: Environmental Science Concentration  (All colleges, excluding Teacher Certification programs) — 56-60 credits, including ESC 101, GEO 110, 201, 250, 401; five courses from ESC 221, 222, GEO 200; GEO/ESC 323, 343, 422, 425, 426, 427, 460, 490; three courses from GEO/ESC 345, 390, 440, 445, 450, 481, GEO 485; MTH 145 or 250, 305; C-S 101 or demonstrated skills; and either BIO 103, 204, and 210, or CHM 103, 104, 301; three credits of GEO 499 may be applied to the major. 

Geography Major: Geographic Information Science Concentration (All colleges, excluding Teacher Certification programs) — 52 credits, including ESC 101; GEO 110, 201, 485; GEO/ESC 250, 345, 401, 481; two courses from ESC 221, 222, GEO/ESC 323, 343, 422, 425, 426, 427, 460; one course from GEO 300, 309, 409; one course from GEO/ESC 390, 440, 445, 451, 455, one course from GEO 450, 490, 499; plus MTH 145 or 250, 305, C-S 120, 224.

Geography Major (Teacher Certification programs) — 36 credits, including ESC 101; GEO 110, 201, 204, 250, 300, 306, 309, 401, and electives in geography. GEO 200, EFN 200, and C-I 381 also are required. Three credits of GEO 499 may be applied to the major.  

Geography Minor  (All colleges, excluding Teacher Certification programs) — 26 credits, including ESC 101; GEO 110, 201; one course in physical geography elected from ESC 221, 222; GEO/ESC 323, 422, 425, 426, 427, 343, 460; one course in cultural geography elected from GEO 202, 300, 306, 307, 309, 409; one course in techniques elected from GEO/ESC 250, 345, 390, 440, 451, 481; one course in regional geography elected from GEO 204, 304, 312, 318, 328, 331; and electives. 

Geography Minor (Teacher Certification programs) — 24 credits, including ESC 101; GEO 110, 201, 204, 306, 309 and electives in geography. GEO 200, EFN 200 and C-I 381 also are required. 

Geographic Information Science Minor (All colleges, excluding Teacher Certification programs) — 21 credits, including GEO/ESC 481, GEO 485; at least twelve credits from GEO/ESC 250, 345, 390, 440, 445,450, 451, 455, 490, 499. (independent study, geography internship, and undergraduate research, must be with GIS topic); at least three credits from ESC 101, GEO 110, 200, 201, 300, 307, 309. Students in this minor are required to take MTH 145 or 250.  Not open to GEO/ESC majors and minors.  

Geoarchaeology Minor (All colleges, excluding Teacher Certification programs) — 22 credits, including ARC 195, ESC 222, ARC 310, GEO/ESC 323, 343, 426 and one course from ARC 403 or 404. Geography majors who select the geoarchaeology minor must take 18 credits in the courses listed above in addition to the 36 required for the major. Archaeological studies majors who select the geoarchaeology minor must take 19 credits in the courses listed above in addition to the 36 required for the major. 

Earth Science Minor (All colleges, excluding Teacher Certification programs) — 24 credits, including ESC 101, 221, 222; one course from  GEO/ESC 323, 343, 422, 425, 426, 427, 460; one course from GEO/ESC 250, 345, 390, 440, 451, 481 and electives in earth science. Geography majors who select the earth science minor must take 18 credits in the courses listed above in addition to the 36 required for the major. 

Earth Science Minor  (Teacher Certification programs) — 24 credits, including ESC 101, 221, 222; one course from GEO/ESC 323, 343, 422, 425, 426, 427, 460; one course from GEO/ESC 250, 345, 390, 440, 451, 481 and electives in earth science.  GEO 200 and C-I 381 also are required. 

Note: The earth science minor may be used as partial fulfillment of the requirement for a teacher certification broadfield                science major. See p. 108.


Broadfield Social Studies Major (Teacher Certification program) — See description of this broadfield major on p. 108. 

Geography/Earth Science Department Honors Program
    I. Admission
         A. Junior standing
         B. 15 completed credits in the major
         C. 3.25 grade point average in the major and a 3.00 cumulative grade point average
         D. Recommendation by two faculty members in the department

   II. Program 
 A. Completion of the major program in Geography and Earth Science
 B.  GEO/ESC 490 — Independent Study, 2-3 cr.
 C.  GEO/ESC 495 — Seminar in Geography/Earth Science (Honors Seminar), 1 cr.

  III. Evaluation
 A. Cumulative 3.50 grade point average in the major and a cumulative grade point of 3.00 at graduation
 B. Distinguished performance on a paper/project in GEO/ESC 490  
  C. Presentation of paper/project to the faculty and students in the department.  


+ above a course number indicates a  
General Education course.  

ESC   101   Cr. 4  
Earth Environments  
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   110   Cr. 3  
World Cultural Regions  
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   Cr. 3  
Conservation of Global Environments  
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   Cr. 3  
Geography of United States and Canada  
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   Cr. 3  
Contemporary Global Issues  
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 SOC, ANT, ECO, GEO, POL, and HIS 202; may only earn credit in one department)  

GEO   204   Cr. 3  
Geography of Wisconsin  
Geographic patterns in Wisconsin. Physiographic regions, climate, population distribution, resources and their use, agriculture, industry, transportation, and urban growth. Offered occasionally.  

ESC   221   Cr. 4  
Introduction to Climate Systems  
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. Offered Sem. I.  

ESC   222   Cr. 4  
Landforms: Processes and Regions  
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. Offered Sem II.  

GEO/ESC   250            Cr. 3  
Fundamentals of Cartography  
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.  

GEO   300   Cr. 3  
Population Geography  
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   Cr. 3  
Geography of Europe  
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   Cr. 3  
Economic Geography  
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 101or GEO/ECO/POL/ANT/SOC/HIS 202.  

GEO   307   Cr. 3  
Political Geography  
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   309   Cr. 3  
Urban Geography  
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   Cr. 3  
Geography of Africa  
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. Offered Sem. II.  

GEO   318   Cr. 3  
Geography of Latin America and the Caribbean  

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. Not open for credit to students who have completed GEO 316 or 317.  

GEO/ESC   323            Cr. 3  

A systematic analysis of surface processes that shape the origin and evolution of the earth’s topographic features. Emphasis is placed on the fundamental principles and methods of geomorphology. Prerequisite: ESC 222 and junior standing. Offered Sem. I, odd-numbered years.  

GEO   328   Cr. 3  
Geography of East and Southeast Asia  
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   329   Cr. 3  
Historical Geography of the United States  
Reconstruction and portrayal of the geography of the United States at selected times. Geographical factors operative as the frontier of European settlement progressed across the continent. Prerequisite: junior standing. Offered occasionally.  

GEO   331  Cr. 3  
Geography of the Middle East, Central and South Asia  
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. Offered Sem. I.  

GEO/ESC   343            Cr. 3  
A pro-seminar on the contribution of earth sciences to the interpretation of archaeological contexts. Emphasis is placed on the methods of geoarchaeology and the applications of selected earth science fields to archaeological problems. Prerequisite: ESC 222 or GEO/ESC 323 or 426; or ARC 205 or 310 or 455. Offered  Sem. II, odd-numbered years.  

GEO/ESC   345            Cr. 3  
Remote Sensing of the Environment  
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. Offered Sem. I.  

GEO/ESC   390            Cr. 3  
Field Methods  
Training in sampling techniques, interviewing procedures, and field surveying methods. Includes reconnaissance and detailed surveys using current methods and equipment. Prerequisite: junior standing. Offered Sem. I.  

GEO/ESC   401            Cr. 1  
Focus on Geography:  A Capstone Course  
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. Pass/Fail grading.  

GEO   409   Cr. 3
Geographic Elements of Land Use Planning  
A study of the spatial organization of land as determined by the physical limitations placed by the environment, the social needs of the people as expressed by the population on the land, and the economic forces acting to change land use. The course focuses on the application of land use planning processes to a specific case study area wherein students are asked to demonstrate their ability to integrate geographic determinants in planning land use. Prerequisite: ESC 222, GEO 309.  

GEO/ESC   422/522      Cr. 3  
Meteorology and Weather Forecasting  
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 psychrometry, 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. Offered Sem. II.    

GEO/ESC   425/525                             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. Prerequisite: ESC 221 and junior standing. Offered Sem. II, even-numbered years.

GEO/ESC   426/526      Cr. 3  
Soil Morphology and Genesis  
A systematic analysis of soil morphology, weathering, factors of soil formation and soil-forming processes. Emphasis is placed on soil landscapes and the field study of soils. Special reference is made to current systems of soil classification. Prerequisite: ESC 221 or 222 and junior standing. Offered Sem. I, even-numbered years.  

GEO/ESC   427            Cr. 3  
Water Resources  
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. Offered Sem II.  

GEO/ESC   440/540      Cr. 3
Geographic Interpretation of Aerial Photographs  
Systematic applications of aerial photographs in the interpretation and analysis of geographic problems. Emphasis is placed on drainage, landforms, vegetation, soils, urban and rural land use and transportation. Lect.2, Lab 2.  

GEO/ESC   445/545      Cr. 3  
Advanced Remote Sensing  
Techniques of digital image processing emphasizing computer-assisted processing of satellite/airborne, digital data applied to natural resource, agricultural, land use, archaeological, and environmental problems. Study of data sources, acquisition, data integrity, manipulation, formatting, storage and retrieval; integration with a geographic information system for spatial analyses and decision-making. Lect. 2, Lab. 2. Prerequisite: GEO 345. Offered Sem. II.  

GEO/ESC   450            Cr. 3-12  
Geography Internship  
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. Prerequisite: geography major, junior standing, overall grade point of 2.25 with a minimum of 2.75 in geography. Pass/Fail grading.  

GEO/ESC   451/551      Cr. 3  
Multimedia Cartography and Internet Geographic Information Systems  
Application of digital methods of Multimedia Thematic Cartography and Internet based Geographic Information Systems (GIS); emphasis on the production of web-based interactive maps, mapping on the Internet, spatial data acquisition and integrity issues, delivery of GIS databases through the Internet, Metadata issues, and thematic mapping through the querying of spatial information. Prerequisite: GEO/ESC 250 and MTH 145 or 250. Lect. 2, Lab. 2. Offered Sem. I.  

GEO/ESC    455/555      Cr. 3  
Applied Map Design and Production in Cartography and GIS  
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.  

GEO/ESC    460/560      Cr. 3  
Environmental Hazards and Land Use Planning  
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.  

GEO/ESC   470/570   Cr. 1-3  
Special Topics in Geography/ Earth Science  
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 6.  Offered occasionally.

GEO/ESC    476/576   Cr. 1-3  
Geography/Earth Science Topics for Teachers  
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. Offered occasionally.  

GEO/ESC    481/581      Cr. 3  
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems  
An introduction to both theoretical and applied aspects of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS software, with an emphasis on ARCGIS, will be used to analyze management of resources, environmental assessment, business location, and urban/regional planning. Topics will include data organization, input techniques, map design, map output, data quality, and geographic analysis of spatial data. Lect. 2, Lab. 2. Prerequisite: MTH 145 or 250.  

GEO   485/585 Cr. 3  
Advanced Geographic Information Systems  
Advanced theories in GIS 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. Prerequisite: GEO 481.  

GEO/ESC   490/590   Cr. 2-3
Independent Study
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— 3; maximum credit from any instructor — 3. Repeatable for credit — maximum 6. 

GEO/ESC   495/595   Cr. 1-3
Seminar in Geography/ Earth Science
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 6. Variable topics; check semester timetables. Offered occasionally.

GEO/ESC   499            Cr. 1-3  
Undergraduate Research  
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 advisor, the student’s adviser and the Geography/Earth Science Department chair. Repeatable for credit — maximum 6. 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.  


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