ProGeographer: Geography Education Graduate Certificate Program

The Program

Advanced Human Geography (Geography 520A) - Fall semester (taught online by Dr. Timothy Vowles)

Urban Geography (Geography 520B) - Spring semester (taught online by Dr. Timothy Vowles)

Teaching Geography (Geography 513) - Spring semester (taught online by Dr. James Dunn)

Field Geography (Geography 592) - Early August

The field course begins with online readings and preparation during the summer. You fly to Denver in early-August and make your way to Grand Junction, Colorado where you spend two days in Grand Junction studying water resource issues and urban geography in the west before you head out on a 3-day river trip field course on the Colorado River. Our trip ends at the head of Westwater Canyon in Utah.

The time on the river is spent exploring field methods used to study geographic problems. Rivers are great arteries that connect places, and the Colorado River is a perfect example of a natural link between the Never Summer range of the Rockies and the Gulf of California. It also distributes water, a critical resource in the west, to seven states and Mexico. You learn how to generate geographic questions, identify and practice selected field methods, and appreciate the value of collecting primary data.

Note: You may complete the program by starting at any point in the sequence of course offerings.

"I still use things I learned from that program in class. It was really one of the most useful and applicable programs I've taken. I think that my enjoyment (and success) of the ProGeographer program is part of what motivated me to look at graduate school."

—Suzanne Dickens, Fort Collins High School, 2008 graduate of ProGeographer


Non-Certificate Option

Students may take up to two classes individually for the non-certificate option.

ProGeographer Program Courses

4 courses @ 3 credits each = 12 credits

Advanced Human Geography (GEOG 520)— This online course looks at a variety of different sub-fields within the realm of human geography with a particular emphasis on examining the practical applications of geographic tools and thinking to such contemporary issues such as housing, globalization, public transport, food distribution, and retail location.

Urban Geography (GEOG 520)—Urban geography takes a spatial approach to understanding cities while population geography takes a spatial approach to understanding population. Geographers want to know where something is, why it is there, and why that location is important. In this course we are interested in spatial patterns in the city - they attempt to describe and explain the city's spatial layout. Among the urban topics addressed are urban form, urban origins, land use, and national urban systems among others. The most important goal of this online course is to teach you this spatial approach and to teach you how to see cities - and the word - geographically.

Teaching Geography (GEOG 513)— Teachers develop instructional units and go through formative trials in classrooms before publishing the unit on websites of local geographic alliances.

Field Course (GEOG 592)—Physical/human field methods and research initiatives in the Grand Valley, Colorado. This course examines the connections of a desert river to Western United States. It is seen from natural, cultural, physical, and political perspectives. It explores spatial analogs in other parts of the United States.

ProGeographer Timeline


January 9, 2017: Urban Geography begins and is completed by May 5, 2017

January 9, 2017: Teaching Geography begins and is completed by May 5, 2017

August 1, 2017: Field Course Begins: Land at Denver Airport in the morning to drive to Grand Junction on your own; or land at Grand Junction in the evening. You can use a KOA campground in Grand Junction for the night of August 1 and 2 (your cost). They have tent spaces and cabins. You can also stay at any nearby hotel.

August 2, 2017 (Wednesday): Urban field work in Grand Junction.

August 3-5, 2017: River camping. All gear and food provided (meals are prepared by river guides), except personal clothing, tents, and sleeping bags (you can rent these from the outfitter in advance).

August 16, 2017: Final Papers from this course are due.

August 21, 2017: Advanced Human Geography begins and is completed by December 8, 2017 


Spring Semester: Take Urban Geography (GEOG 520) and Teaching Geography (GEOG 513)

Summer Session: Field Course (GEOG 592)
The trip is usually done first week of August each year

Fall Semester: Take Advanced Human Geography (GEOG 520)

ProGeographer Program Costs


The 2016-17 program tuition is $495 per credit hour. Tuition for 2017-18 will be determined by June 2017.


  • Get yourself to Denver or Grand Junction (airfare or other travel expense) at the start of the field program on August 4. You also feed yourself and pay either hotel or camping fees during August 6-7 urban field work.
  • Outfitter guide fee: Centennial Canoe Outfitters charge $390 for the three-day river trip in 2016, including canoes, guides, meals, and group gear, including paddles and vests.
  • Camping/hotel cost the night of August 3 before the river trip begins.
  • You will need a sleeping bag and tent for the river trip. You can rent them at your expense with the outfitter (the outfitter will send an information packet to you with a gear list and other important information).
  • August 7: the program’s last meal is lunch. The program ends at 2 p.m. You are on your own after that.
  • All other incidentals such as entertainment and souvenirs

How to Apply

The Application Process and Admission Requirements

Applicants must apply to the University of Northern Colorado Graduate School before the program area reviews the applicant's request for admission. To apply, follow the instructions below. Failure to submit all required materials will delay the evaluation and screening of your application.

  • Apply the the UNC Graduate School
      • Complete the online application and pay the application fee (you will pay the fee after you complete all application questions and submit the application)
          • Domestic: $50 non-refundable application fee
          • International: $60 non-refundable application fee
      • Request one official transcript from every accredited college or universities attended or from which you earned credit, except UNC. Official transcripts may be send via mail in an unopened, sealed envolope or through an electronically secure digital program directly from the issuing institution. Electronic transcripts should be sent to Emailed, scanned, or PDF transcripts directly from the student are not accepted. Mailed transcripts should be sent to:

        UNC Graduate School & International Admisisons
        501 20th St., Campus Box 135
        Greeley, CO 80639
    • Once you have completed your graduate school application, you will then click on "myUNC" (or log back in later) to submit the following in the online application system once you have completed your graduate school application:
        • Submit two letters of recommendation - the system will help you initiate a request to be sent to your recommenders
        • Submit cover letter/personal essay

International applicants who do not speak English as a first language must meet UNC’s requirements for English proficiency

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Graduate School
Phone: 970-351-2831

Geography Field Trip on the Colorado River