Below are answers to commonly asked questions to Faculty Advisors. 

How Do I Declare a Major? expanding section

You will need to submit a completed Change of Program form, which is an online survey. If you have further questions about this, please go to the Academic Services Office of the College of Science and Health (105 Graff Main Hall) or talk to your academic advisor. 

In addition to the Geography major, students can select a major with a concentration in Environmental Science or Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Note that Geography majors cannot do a Geography minor, a GIS minor, or a GIS certificate. Geography majors can minor in Earth Science or Geoarchaeology.

Can I Graduate Without a Minor? expanding section

In addition to their major and general education requirements, students must have a minor, second major, or complete the individualized option. This requirement varies depending on whether you are earning a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree. Students that complete the individualized option should select courses in consultation with their advisor. For more information on this College of Science and Health Core requirement, visit the Undergraduate Course catalog at this site.

Are There Scholarships Available for Geography Majors? expanding section

Scholarships are a great source for funding higher education. Students are often unaware of the wide variety of scholarships available to them. We encourage all our students to take full advantage of any opportunities they may qualify for. UW-La Crosse now offers students a searchable database of available scholarships with the ability to apply for them online. Be sure to also search for any keywords that may describe your situation, such as your specific college or year. For Geography-specific scholarships, please visit the "Scholarships & funding opportunities" page on the Geography website.

Is an Internship Required for This Major? Would One Be Beneficial to me? When Should I Start Looking For Internships? expanding section

While internships are not required for Geography majors, they are highly recommended. Internships further develop skills introduced in the classroom and often provide experiences that increase a student’s marketability when seeking employment. It is never too early to start looking for an internship experience. To learn more about internships, visit the Department of Geography and Earth Science’s Internships page and the UWL Career Services Internships page. In addition to these resources, students frequently find out about internship opportunities through internship fairs held on campus, Handshake, word of mouth from friends and family, and faculty in the Department of Geography and Earth Science.  

Can I Earn Department Credits While Doing an Internship (ESC/GEO 450)? expanding section

Yes! internships must be relevant to the field of Geography to earn credit. Students can take 1 to 12 internship credits graded on a pass/fail basis. If you are interested in an internship, talk to your academic advisor or the department chair for more information and check out the resources on UWL's Career Services page. 

How Do I Find Out Who My Advisor Is? expanding section

Log in to your WINGS account. Your "Program Advisor" is listed on the right side of your student center. Your advisor is typically a faculty member who teaches in the department of your major and knows much about the coursework required for your specific major/concentration/career path and can help you find answers to most of your questions. 

New freshmen and transfer students are not assigned an advisor until after the semester starts. If no advisor is assigned yet, contact the dean's office or the Academic Advising Center for help.

You should also call the College Dean's Office if you have questions about switching to a different advisor.

How to find your advisor in WINGS

How Often Will I Meet with My Advisor? expanding section

You should meet with your advisor at least once each fall and spring semester, prior to registering for the next semester’s classes. Email your advisor shortly after mid-semester in the fall and again in the spring to request a meeting time if your advisor has not already contacted you. Of course, if you have any questions or issues at other times, always feel free to contact your advisor (by email or phone) to discuss and/or set up an appointment. 

What Do We Do When We Meet for Registration Advising? expanding section

You should arrive at your meeting promptly with an outline of the courses that you want to take in the next semester (or the next two or three). Your advisor will discuss that list of courses with you and may suggest alternative options. It is our job as advisors to give you the best advice we can to help you navigate through your required coursework as swiftly as possible. However, you are the one who chooses which courses to take. You may ask other questions at your meetings, including ones about potential careers, internships, graduate school, and undergraduate research opportunities. It is recommended that you complete the Course Registration Planning Form in advance of meeting with your advisor. 

How Do I Know When Courses Will Be Offered? expanding section

To find out when courses will be offered and where they could fit in your schedule, you are encouraged to talk to your academic advisor, visit the "Courses for Next Semester" page on the Geography website, or refer to the Geography Course Catalog.

How Do I Register for Classes that Require Permission? expanding section

Some courses, such as GEO/ESC 499 and GEO/ESC 490/590 require instructor consent and you cannot register for those courses online. If you are interested in a course that requires permission, you can fill out the respective survey or talk to a faculty member about the process. 

What If the Class I Want is Filled? Can I Get An Override? expanding section

If there is a waitlist in WINGS for the class, follow the instructions in WINGS to add your name to the waitlist. Each instructor in the department handles overrides differently. Some instructors keep waiting lists, others give preference to majors and/or seniors, while others ask you to come to the first day of class. Your best bet is to contact the instructor of the course directly to determine the appropriate method for obtaining an override.

How Do I Request a Time Conflict Override? expanding section

The Deans' Offices and Records and Registration Office have agreed to continue time conflict approvals to happen by email going forward. Please follow the steps below to get approve by email:

  1. Email the instructor who is making the accommodation in their class (i.e., letting the student leave early, letting the student miss on Fridays, making up missed classes online, etc.). That instructor, if they approve, emails the student their approval.
  2. The student forwards that approval to the instructor of the other class involved in the time conflict. That instructor adds their approval (if they are giving it) and emails it back to the student.
  3. The students forwards what is hopefully one email string to the Academic Services Director in the Dean's Office of their college (the college that houses their first major). In their email request, if it is not already stated, that student should include a brief description of how the missed time/work will be made up or accommodated.
    1. If they end up getting the instructors' permissions separately, they should forward both emails to the Dean's Office.
  4. The Academic Services Director will review and if they approve, will forward their approval on the entire email string to the Records and Registration Office ( for them to register the student.
What If I'd Like More of a Challenge or New Learning Experiences? expanding section

Geography and Earth Science majors have numerous opportunities to get involved in undergraduate research projects, internships, and other summer professional activities. Talk to your faculty advisor about research opportunities, or consult the UWL Undergraduate Research and Creativity Page to learn about other opportunities, events, and how you may get started. Internships (paid or unpaid) may be taken for academic credit, usually during your junior and/or senior years. The UWL Career Services Office coordinates most internship opportunities. 

How Do I Register for Undergraduate Research OR Independent Study? expanding section

Talk to the faculty member with whom you are interested in pursuing undergraduate research or an independent studyComplete the appropriate form on the Geography Department’s Course Resources page.

How Do I Get Funded to do My Research? expanding section

There are many opportunities for your research to be funded. Common sources of funding include UWL Undergraduate Research and Creativity Grants, College of Science and Health Dean’s Distinguished Fellowships, and College of Science and Health Travel and Supply Grants. Visit the UWL Undergraduate Research and Creativity website for more information about funding your project.

What If I'm Interested in Studying Abroad? expanding section

Faculty in the Department of Geography and Earth Science occasionally lead study abroad trips coordinated through the Office of International Education and Engagement and through non-UWL affiliated companies or institutions. Some students have also worked internationally with faculty on research projects. Many students also take courses at universities in other countries and transfer the credits back to UWL. You are encouraged to discuss opportunities with your course instructors, academic advisor, and advisors in the Office of International Education and Engagement. 

If I'm Transferring From Another University With Some General Education Courses, Will These Satisfy Some of My General Education Requirements at UWL? expanding section

You should make an appointment with the department chair or Carla Burkhardt in the Dean's Office and bring a copy of the syllabus from the other university. If the course is similar to the one taught at UWL, the general education courses from another university can usually be transferred. You can also check out the Transfer Wisconsin (if you are transferring from another UW institution) or Transferology (if you are transferring from a private or out-of-state institution) websites to get a good idea of how courses will transfer. 

What If I'm Struggling Academically? expanding section

There are a number of resources on campus for students experiencing difficulties with their coursework. First, you should consult the instructor of the class in which you are struggling. The instructor may have recommendations on how to study or who else to ask for help. 

The Murphy Learning Center (251 Murphy Library) employs Geography tutors and some faculty members hold office hours there as well. Check their website for tutoring hours and courses. 

The UWL Counseling & Testing Center (2016 CENT) has learning specialists on hand to assist with study skills and test anxiety. Their Self-Help Page might be a good place for you to start in seeking some online assistance. 

The UWL Student Life Office is also an excellent advocate for students and provides various means of student support. 

If you believe that dropping a course is in your best interest, be aware of all drop deadlines and methods (consult the Records and Registration pages or feel free to visit any of our Academic Service Directors [Carla Burkhardt or Guy Herling] located in the CSH Dean’s Academic Services Office, 105 Graff Main Hall, 608-785-8218).

It is highly encouraged that you reach out to your academic advisor, especially if you are considering dropping a course. Your advisor can help review your progress and check if dropping the course will cause a delay or other problems for graduation.

How Do I Apply to Graduate? expanding section

Complete the “Apply for Graduation” form found within your WINGS Student Center. It is recommended that, as you approach the time to register for your final semester of classes, you make an appointment with one of our Academic Service Directors (Carla Burkhardt or Guy Herling) located in the CSH Dean’s Academic Services Office, 105 Graff Main Hall, 608-785-8218) to do a credit check and assure that you are on track to graduate. Be sure to complete the Geography Major Exit Survey in your final semester at UWL. 

The Application for Graduation can be found in the Student Center in WINGS. Click the drop-down arrow found under the Academics section of the Student Center. Click Apply for Graduation and click the double arrow icon (this will go to the My Academics page). Click on the Academic Program link. Select the Expected Graduation Term and select Continue. Read the Graduation Instructions and Continue. Verify all of the information is correct. If so, click on Submit Application. If not, click the Select Different Program and make the necessary adjustments.  

What Are My Options After Graduation? expanding section

Geography majors are highly sought after and find well-paying careers in many exciting areas. Check out our Career Opportunities page to learn more about career opportunities for Geographers and to join the Department’s LinkedIn and Facebook groups to see what our alumni are up to. 

What If I Want to Continue My Education? What Should I Do to Prepare for Graduate School? expanding section

If you are interested in pursuing educational opportunities beyond an undergraduate degree, you are encouraged to speak with your academic advisor. Additional resources can be found on the "Graduate school" page on the Geography website.