Bridging Natural and Social Science

Students in UNC’s Geography program study the environmental, cultural, political and economic processes that produce distinctive local, regional and global patterns across the Earth’s surface. Geography is one of the few academic disciplines that bridge the gap between the natural and social sciences.

Geographers analyze how complex interactions among these spatial processes create constantly changing human and natural landscapes across the world.

Students can choose from one of three emphasis areas: Geographic Information Sciences (GIS), Global and Area Studies, and Secondary Teaching. The department also has a dedicated Geographic Information Sciences (GIS) laboratory and paleoenvironmental research laboratory.

Announcements and News

Two UNC students awarded NASA DEVELOP internships for Fall 2017

NASA’s DEVELOP internships are a part its Applied Sciences Program which addresses environmental and public policy issues through interdisciplinary research projects that apply the lens of NASA Earth observations to community concerns around the globe. Bridging the gap between NASA Earth Science and society, DEVELOP builds capacity in both participants and partner organizations to better prepare them to address the challenges that face our society and future generations. With the competitive nature and growing societal role of science and technology in today’s global workplace, DEVELOP is fostering an adept corps of tomorrow’s scientists and leaders.

Jennifer Mehren (current Geography & GIS major) will be based at the USGS in Fort Collins, CO and her project is “Montana Climate: Utilizing NASA Earth Observations for Drought Detection in the Upper Missouri River Watershed to Generate Web Applications for Real-Time Drought Monitoring.”

Emily Doerner (B.A. 2017; GIS minor) will be base at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA and her project is “Pacific Southwest Cross-Cutting II: Assessing and Enhancing Land Cover Change Detection Methods in Habitat Conservation Plan Areas Using NASA Earth Observations.”

Geography & GIS Professor & Chair leads expedition to Canadian Arctic

Taking several students, Dr. James Dunn is heading north into the Canadian Arctic - where he did research about 40 years ago - to determine changes in spruce tree growth since his last vist. Due to climate change, the northern limit for these trees has likely changed, a conclusion that this trip will confirm.

Read more about the expedition

Introducing the NEW graduate certificate in Geographic Information Science

Expand your geospatial technology skills with small class sizes and independent projects by collaborating with community partners, and interacting with the exceptional faculty at the University of Northern Colorado.

Keep your job and earn a certificate! This certificate program is designed for working professionals, offering some evening and online coursework.

Learn more about the GIS Certificate

geog honorees

Students from the Geography & GIS Department were recognized for academic excellence at the annual HSS Honors Convocation on Sunday, April 9th, 2017. Congratulations to Laya Buchanan, Anthony Preston, Brandon Oppenheimer, and Theron Verna! View the full list of honorees here and check out more photos on the HSS Facebook page.

Student Research Selected for National Conference

Congratulations to Geography and GIS student, Emily Doerner, along with Melissa Chowning (Anthropology) and Everardo Reyes (Sociology), on being selected to present their research at the 31st annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research, which was held in Memphis, Tennessee in April.

Geography Field Trip

University of Northern Colorado students attend a geography field trip on the Colorado River. Instruction by Professor Jimmy Dunn and outfitted by Centennial Canoe Outfitters, Inc.

Learn more about the upcoming 2017 Field Courses


Journey to Iceland: Summer 2016

UNC students traveled to Iceland this summer with Geography & GIS faculty member, Dr. Karen Barton, and explored the cultures, landscapes, and natural resources of Iceland. Photo essay by Bryant Walkinshaw.

Career Paths in Geography

When you choose to pursue a career in Geography and GIS at UNC, you'll have many options and opportunities for specialization and focus. Career paths include work in business, with community organizations, in GIS, government, natural science, planning, resource management, teaching and transportation. Take a look at the type of work you'll be doing, and read about some of our alumni in the field. 

Visit Geography and GIS Career Builder

Geography and GIS Career Options