Department of Geography

Karen Humes, Dept. Head (201 McClure Hall, 83844-3021; phone 208/885-6216;; Faculty: John Abatzoglou, Crystal Kolden Abatzoglou, Raymond J. Dezzani, Tim Frazier, Jeffrey Hicke, Karen S. Humes, Harley E. Johansen. Research Faculty: Vladimir Aizen. Affiliate Faculty: Elena M. Aizen. Affiliate Instructor: Edwin J. DeYoung. Adjunct Faculty: William J. Elliot, Andrew T. Hudak, Piotr Jankowski, Michael D. Jennings, Albert Rango, Dar A. Roberts, Hengchun Ye.

Geography explores the distribution and interaction of natural and human systems on global, regional, and local scales. Environmental issues involving natural resources, population, political, and economic systems are the subjects of, geography, along with practical issues in planning and resource management. Selecting locations, or designing optimal development or delivery systems are geographic problems common to business and government around the world. Geographic training in geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, spatial analysis, and cartography, along with knowledge of patterns and processes inherent in natural and human social systems provides the background necessary to work in the expanding fields of GIS applications and scientific or applied geography.

To prepare students for many rewarding and important career opportunities, the Department of Geography, in the College of Science, offers the B.S. Geography with options in physical science and environment, global and regional studies and geographic information systems (GIS).

Recent shifts in personnel have strengthened the department's programs in GIS, climatology, remote sensing and economic geography.

The department has over 50 undergraduate and 30 graduate majors. Students benefit from close contact with their instructors and hands-on experience within their course work and through internships with industries and agencies involved in geographic and cartographic applications.

Graduate Programs. M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in geography are offered. Geography graduate programs provide training in research methods and applications of theory and spatial modeling to problems in regional development, cartography, and the physical environment. Students learn problem definition, research design, and data analysis using a variety of techniques including GIS, remote sensing, spatial analysis, and computer assisted cartography. Students without an undergraduate degree in geography are usually required to complete some undergraduate courses in the department to provide adequate background.

Certificate Program in GIS. A certificate program in geographic information systems is available in addition to our degree programs. Requirements for this program are listed in the website

Career Opportunities. Geography and GIS applications continue to be one of the fast-growing job markets world-wide. Most jobs today involve the use and adaptation of geographic information systems in both the public and private sectors. Geographers also work in industry using their skills in research, locational analysis, site selection, mapping, and management of geographical information, with the aid of computers. Industrial jobs for geographers range from research, planning, and data management in primary resources to deciding where to locate a new supermarket or shopping mall. Many jobs for geographers involve computer mapping or GIS. Cartographers from our program are employed in a variety of positions working with map design, graphics, and production cartography, international employment with government agencies and NGOs, are increasing opportunities for geographers with the area studies and global systems option. Geographers are also employed in the public and private sector for jobs, which involve monitoring of air and water quality, management of natural resources and other environmental, and land management issues. The department arranges student internships with industries and agencies to provide on-the-job training and maintains a close relationship with the UI Career Services Center to aid students in their search for employment.

Faculty members in the department will answer questions about specific programs and courses. Prospective majors in geography or cartography should contact the department office (phone 208/885-6216), or visit the department's website,


See the course description section for courses in Geography (GEOG).