Geography 211

GEOG 211

Catalog Entry

GEOG 211 Perspectives in Geography. (SS)
Three hours lecture (3).

Prerequisites: Declared major in Geography.

Seminar which examines the points of view of the discipline of geography and introduces the methods used by professional geographers in the collection, analysis, and presentation of spatial data. Assists students in designing courses of study that support their interests and career goals. Required of all incoming majors.


Detailed Description of Course

There are three distinct sections: 1) an overview of geography as an academic discipline, including the history of its development and the concepts and perspectives that guide it; 2) an examination of geography’s methods of data collection, its data sources, spatial data analysis (qualitative and quantitative), and spatial data presentation (e.g., GIS, maps, graphs, written and oral reports); and 3) the selection by each student of one or more concentrations and planning of a course of action to acquire knowledge, skills, and experience to become a professional geographer.


Detailed Description of the Conduct of the Course

Students are involved in reading, listening, writing, discussing, interviewing and other participatory exercises as appropriate to each section of the course. They are encouraged to explore and collaborate in order to gain a fuller understanding of the dimensions and opportunities of their chosen discipline.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Students successfully completing this seminar will:

1. Appreciate the unique perspective of geography and how professional geographers apply this perspective.
2. Know what the methods and essential skills of professional geographers are
3. Be able to articulate the issues or focus within the broad scope of Geography with which they wish to be involved and select the concentration(s) most appropriate to preparing them to pursue their interests upon graduation. Each student will have mapped a course of action to acquire the knowledge, skills, and experience that will help qualify them for entry level positions or graduate programs in their field of choice.


1. Students will gain an understanding of the field of geography by examining

a. Pedagogical tools used in secondary education such as the Five Themes and the National Standards.
b. A historic overview of the discipline
c. Current professional journal articles for content and methodologies
d. Current job opportunities in geography and related fields

2. Students will be introduced to methods and essential skills in the collection, analysis, and presentation of spatial data. This introduction will include identification of

a. Major data sources: maps, censuses, remotely sensed imagery, field surveys, archival or library searches
b. Analytical methods, including how and why geographers use statistical data
c. Techniques for mapping and graphing spatial data
d. Professional writing skills, including acceptable formats for papers, footnotes, and bibliographic citations
e. Other methods of presentation including PowerPoint, Poster Papers, and web pages
f. On-campus services, courses, and other opportunities that help develop skills, gain experience, and build a resume.

3. Students will examine the requirements and electives in each of the concentrations offered by the Geography Department and select a course of study best suited to their academic and career goals.


Assessment Measures

Students will be assessed according to their written and oral articulation of the perspectives and methods and their degree of participation in exploratory assignments. At the end of the course they must declare one or more concentrations in geography and provide a course of study supported by a statement of their personal goals and objectives within Geography.


Other Course Information




Date Action and Approved By
September 2005 Bernd H. Kuennecke