Major : GeographyCollege of Arts and Sciences

What you will learn

Geography, a science concerned with the spatial dimensions of human societies and the earth's environment, is increasingly critical to understanding the complexities of global change. Geographers contribute unique insights about past, present and future issues involving natural resources, culture, economics and politics. Geography is especially appealing to those having interests in travel, learning about other peoples and cultures, and understanding the environment from a systems perspective. Students can pursue either a B.A. or B.S. degree and may specialize in areas such as satellite remote sensing, geographic information systems, historical geography, regional studies or human-environment interaction. Geography majors develop a special understanding of the spatial dimensions of social, cultural, environmental and ecological issues. Students also learn how to use state-of-the-art technologies such as computer mapping, geographic information systems (GIS) and satellite remote sensing.

Career Opportunities

A degree in Geography can lead to a wide range of careers including environmental scientist, urban planner, market analyst, teacher, legislative research analyst, public health analyst, transportation planner, natural resource manager, park ranger, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analyst, cartographer, remote sensing specialist, regional economist, historic preservation specialist and many others. Recent employers of UNL Geography graduates include the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. State Department, Central Intelligence Agency, National Weather Service, Nebraska Legislative Research Department, Nebraska Department of Roads, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Leica Geosystems, GIS Workshop, GeoEye, Science Applications International Corporation, Watersheds Concepts/AECOM, and Black and Veatch Corporation.

The NEBRASKA difference

Geography is a unit of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) School of Natural Resources (SNR). The School is a unique cross-campus, multidisciplinary enterprise that includes faculty from both the UNL College of Arts & Sciences and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Geography faculty and students are affiliated with several SNR research centers including the Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies (CALMIT), the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) and the High Plains Regional Climate Center. Faculty and students in Geography also regularly collaborate with many other academic departments and research centers including UNL's Center for Great Plains Studies, the Community and Regional Planning Program, the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Some of the areas in which UNL geographers have recently focused research include: the political geography of U.S. elections, human and historical geography of the Great Plains, environmental perception and human behavior, map communication and design, remote sensing of land and water resources, GIS-based spatial modeling of natural hazards, land use change, drought impact assessment and surficial processes in Great Plains landscapes.

Undergraduate Geography majors and Geography graduate students work closely together in the Geography Student Organization, a group dedicated to professional development and community service. Students who excel academically can become members of Gamma Theta Upsilon, the international honorary society in Geography. Involvement in these organizations builds leadership, communication and organizational skills and helps students make new friends with those who have similar interests. In November of each year, Geography students sponsor Geography Awareness Week, including a Geography Bowl that attracts students from across campus.

Geography offices are located in Hardin Hall, a modern research and classroom facility that also houses other units of the School of Natural Resources. The facility includes specialized laboratories and several nationally-recognized research centers including the Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies (CALMIT), the High Plains Regional Climate Center and the National Drought Mitigation Center. Students have access to state-of-the-art computing including image processing and GIS software such as ArcGIS, ERDAS Imagine and ENVI. Through CALMIT, UNL geographers have access to a 29-hectare field research station at UNL's Agricultural Research and Development Center near Ithaca, NE; unique close-range remote sensing capabilities and an aircraft for support of remote sensing research. Faculty and students in Geography regularly collaborate with UNL's Center for Great Plains Studies, the Department of Community and Regional Planning, the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Faculty publications and honors (2011-2012):

  • Dr. David Wishart’s new book, The Last Days of the Rainbelt, will be published the University of Nebraska Press in 2013.
  • The Atlas of the Great Plains (University of Nebraska Press) co-authored by Professors Steve Lavin and Clark Archer was published in 2011.
  • Dr. Juan Ramirez (Lecturer in Geography), authored a new book entitled Geography of Latin America: A GIS Approach (Kendall-Hunt).
  • Journal articles and book chapters were published by Dr. Donald Rundquist, Dr. James Merchant, Dr. Gene Guan and Dr. Paul Hanson.