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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

Expedition to educate! A look into UNC study abroad

Dannon Cox with the Graduate Student Association recently published a podcast with special guest Dr. Karen Barton in which she discusses the impact study abroad programs have on students, as well as her upcoming expedition to Nepal. 


Geography student completed NASA DEVELOP internship

Jennifer Mehren worked with the Intermountain West Ecological Forecasting Team on developing predictive model to help locate potential locations for Lodgepole pine stands in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming in order to point to vulnerable stands in case of a future Mountain Bark Beetle infestation. Among other, more technical, deliverables her team produced a 3 minute video on their project and methods.

Watch the video

Geography & GIS Professor & Chair lead expedition to Canadian Arctic

Taking several students, Dr. James Dunn headed north into the Canadian Arctic in summer 2017 - 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 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. This certificate program is designed for working professionals, offering some evening and online coursework.

Learn more about the GIS Certificate

Geography Student Spotlight

Our GIS Major, Jenny Mehren was awarded this year’s Gilman Scholarship and travelled to Brazil over the summer to study at the Iracambi Research Center, which was founded by Robin and Binka Le Breton over 18 years ago.

Jenny Mehren 

Geography & GIS Student Spotlight

Logan Myers, an Anthropology and Geography major, had the opportunity to go overseas to Spain over the summer and conduct Underwater Archaeological research. The school he was a part of focused on an ancient Roman military port that was embedded in one of Spain's coastal bays. His team built off of previous seasons' data and expanded the school's knowledge of the bay's underwater environment. Their techniques for data collection involved scuba diving at a depth of about 10-25 meters while surveying the ocean floor for artifacts. When his team found an object of interest, the items data was collected via GPS points, pictures, and video to use for ArcGIS mapping, possible artifact recovery, and protection of the artifact from looters. Overall, this experience allowed him to travel to a foreign location surrounded by dedicated individuals doing what he loves and, in his opinion, the school was second to none as it sparked the beginning of his lifelong career. 

Logan Myers 

Journey to Iceland: Summer 2016

UNC students traveled to Iceland 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