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ProGeographer: Geography Education Graduate Certificate Program


The Program

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

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

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

Field Geography of Western Colorado (Geography 592) - Late July

Note: We are often asked about when you start the program. You may complete the program by starting at any point in the sequence of course offerings. You may take up to two courses ala carte. You can take a semester off as well.

"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

Geography of Human Action (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 Landuse & Landscapes (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 Geography of Western Colorado (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


Spring Semester 2021

January 13, 2021: Urban Landuse & Landscapes begins and is completed by May 8, 2021

January 13, 2021: Teaching Geography begins and is completed by May 8, 2021


Summer 2021

Field Course: Field Geography of Western Colorado begins May 5, 2021 on Canvas with assigned readings and access to all urban and physical fieldwork maps and files.  You make your way to Grand Junction, Colorado where you spend two days 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.

Field Course Dates:

May 5, 2021: Course begins on Canvas with assigned readings and access to all urban and physical fieldwork maps and files.

July 27, 2021: Field Geography of Western Colorado meets in Grand Junction: Travel to Grand Junction on your own and arrive in the evening or earlier. You can use a KOA campground in Grand Junction for the night of July 27 and July 28 (your cost). They have tent spaces and cabins. You can also stay at any nearby hotel.

July 27 and 28, 2021 (Tuesday and Wednesday): Urban field work in Grand Junction.

July 29 to 31, 2021: 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 14, 2021: Final Papers from this course are due.


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

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

Fall Semester: Take Geography of Human Action (GEOG 520)


ProGeographer Program Costs


Graduate tuition is set annually by the University.


  • Get yourself to Denver or Grand Junction (airfare or other travel expense) at the start of the field program on July 23. You also feed yourself and pay either hotel or camping fees during July 23rd and 24th urban field work.
  • Outfitter guide fee: Contact Centennial Canoe Outfitters to obtain the fee they  charge for their services and gear, including canoes, guides, meals, and group gear, including paddles and vests.
  • 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).
  • July 28: 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.

Additonal questions can be directed to James.Dunn@unco.edu


Admissions Deadlines

  • Fall admission: July 1
  • Spring admission: Nov. 1
  • Summer admission: March 1

Admission Requirements

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

Each applicant must:

  • Possess a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university or a comparable degree from a foreign institution.
  • Have a GPA of 3.00 or better (on a 4.00 scale) for the most recent degree earned or current degree in progress.

    • If you are still completing your bachelor's degree at the time you apply, admission will be based on your current cumulative GPA, and you will need to re-submit your official transcript (showing your conferred degree and final GPA) during your first semester. If your final GPA fell below 3.00, you will be given additional academic stipulations to remain enrolled at UNC.

    • If you have completed a master's degree, or at least 18 credit hours towards a master's degree, the GPA of your master's work will be used.

Take the following steps to be considered for admission:

Step 1: Complete the Application

Complete the online application and pay the application fee (The application fee process will appear once you complete all application questions and submit the application.)

  • Domestic Students: $50 non-refundable application fee
  • International Students: $60 non-refundable application fee

Step 2: Transcripts

Request one official transcript from any accredited college or university where a bachelor’s degree or higher was earned or is in progress (if you have earned multiple degrees, bachelor’s level or higher, an official transcript is required from each college or university where a degree was conferred). If you received a degree from UNC, you do not need to request a transcript from UNC. The Graduate School & International Admissions Office reserves the right to request that applicants provide official transcripts from other colleges or universities as needed. Applicants who have earned or are directly pursuing a higher degree from an accredited institution without receiving a bachelor’s degree (i.e. PharmD) may be eligible to apply to the Graduate School without the conferral of a bachelor’s degree.


  • If an applicant intends to use Veteran’s Education Benefits, an official transcript from all colleges or universities attended will be required in order to maintain compliance with Veteran’s Affairs policies.
  • Per program requirements, some programs may require that official transcripts from each college or university attended be submitted for admission consideration. Currently, applicants to the following programs must list all colleges or universities attended and provide official transcripts for each:  

    • Biomedical Sciences MBS
    • Sport and Exercise Science — Biomechanics Emphasis (M.S. and Ph.D.)

Official transcripts from U.S. institutions should be sent via mail directly from the educational institution in an unopened, sealed envelope or through an electronically secure digital program from the issuing institution.

Mailed transcripts should be sent to:
Graduate School and International Admissions
University of Northern Colorado
Campus Box 135
501 20th Street
Greeley, CO 80639

Electronic transcripts from U.S. institutions should be sent directly from the educational institution to: grad.applicationmaterials@unco.edu.

The Graduate School and International Admissions does not accept email, scanned or PDF transcripts directly from applicants. All official transcripts, submitted as part of the application process, are retained by UNC and not returned to applicants or admitted students.

UNC retains submitted transcripts, from institutions other than UNC, for admitted students for up to five years after graduation or date of last attendance at UNC. Transcripts provided by applicants who were not admitted, denied admissions or did not complete their application are destroyed after one (1) year. The Graduate School will make every attempt to use previously-submitted transcripts if they are within these timeframes. However, if the Graduate School cannot locate previously submitted transcripts, the transcripts fall outside the timeframes listed above, or they are considered illegible, applicants must provide new transcripts.

Applicants with academic credentials from outside the U.S. will need to follow the requirements for submission of foreign transcripts. Click on the Transcripts tab for information about international transcripts.

Step 3: Supplemental Items

You will need to log back into the online application system, scroll down and click on "Submit Supplemental Items" to do the following:

  1. Upload the item below:
    • Statement of goals
  2. Request two letters of recommendation (click on "start" to initiate each recommendation request).

Once you apply to the UNC Graduate School and your application packet is complete, your application will be reviewed by the Graduate School and then sent to the faculty/program for an admission decision. The timing of the admission decision depends on each individual program’s deadline and review process.

International Applicants

International applicants (non-U.S. citizen/non-U.S. Permanent Resident) please refer to the International Admissions Requirements page for further information about submitting transcripts, English proficiency scores, passport copy and financial documentation.

For More Information
For more information about the admission process, please email the Graduate School at grad.school@unco.edu, or call 970-351-2831.

Geography Field Trip on the Colorado River