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About Us

We are now the Department of Geography, GIS, and Sustainability!

The Department of Geography, GIS, and Sustainability (DoGGS or GGS) now includes the Environmental and Sustainability Studies program (formerly housed in UNC's University College) in addition to offerings in Geography and Geographic Information Science (GIS).

About Geography & GIS

About Geography & GIS

Geography is the study of the environmental, cultural, political and economic processes that produce distinctive local, regional and global patterns across the Earth’s surface. It 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. Our programs are student-centered, with abundant opportunities for interacting with faculty and pursuing personal and professional interests.

About the GIS Lab

The Department’s Laboratory for Geographic Information Science is used by both faculty and students within and outside of Geography & GIS. This lab contains 25 PCs with advanced graphics cards, an HP Designjet 4500 large-format plotter, 15 entry-level GPS units and 10 high-end Trimble Juno GPS units with associated Trimble Pathfinder software. The PCs have specialized software for cartography and geographic Information systems (GIS), including CorelDraw and ESRI’s flagship software ArcGIS. The GIS Lab also maintains a depository of paper map and air photo sets, and a large digital GIS database for campus use. The Department’s Paleoenvironmental Research Laboratory has equipment for sediment and tree-ring analysis.

About Environmental & Sustainabiilty Studies

About Environmental & Sustainabiilty Studies

Sustainability at UNC

Sustainability involves making decisions that support the environmental or social-cultural systems on which we depend.  It requires a coordinated approach involving personal lifestyles, workplace practices, and planning and policy-making that fosters diverse and flourishing ecosystems and healthy, diverse human communities marked by social and cultural integration with stable equitable economies.

Our Mission

Why: A major or minor in this program enables students to understand and address the significant challenges facing a growing human community dependent on finite resources.  We address human problems which require sophisticated understanding of interacting systems: natural, economic, historical, aesthetic, socio-cultural, spatial, and political. In order to prepare students for lives and careers that will address these challenges, we provide a dynamic approach that requires the study of multiple disciplines and perspectives.

How: We offer a challenging, integrative, and provocative education to help students understand concepts, principles and practices that ensure ecological sustainability while meeting human needs. We promote interactions with the public and policy makers in implementing practical solutions to local, state, national, and global environmental problems. We advocate experiential opportunities for students throughout the program through internships, field studies, case studies, and community engagement.

Graduation Expectancies: Stewardship of the earth is the hallmark of this program. Graduates will think systematically and critically about environmental sustainability issues and how solutions can be implemented. Graduates will examine, challenge, and reflect on contemporary assumptions about environmental sustainability and be able to analyze and evaluate how complex systems are integrated.

Program Learning Outcomes

Our students will:

  • Understand how past and present attitudes and ways of valuing the environment have created modern resource conditions and policies.
  • Apply knowledge of energy, resource, and waste flows to forge and apply ecological and economic models of sustainability that complement the interdependent aspects of the natural world.
  • Demonstrate how the environment fits into a sense of individual and multicultural community identity.
  • Recognize the interdependence of the natural world and the socio-cultural world created by humans.
  • Evaluate environmental issues and policies from a sustainability perspective.
  • Generate solutions to a set of given problems from a sustainability perspective.

Interdisciplinary Scholarship

Dedicated to an interdisciplinary approach to environmental scholarship, the Environmental and Sustainability Studies program at UNC aspires to the formation of a more ecologically sustainable society, both on our campus and around the world, through the education of effective local, national, and international environmental leaders. Our faculty contribute to the field of environmental and sustainability studies from a diverse background of interests and skills, with representation from many departments at UNC.