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Geography & GIS: 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

"Social Determinants of Health in Colorado" project receives grant

Jieun Lee and Ivan Ramirez (Instructor, University of Colorado) received a grant of $41,298 from Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab Funding for their project “Social Determinants of Health in Colorado:  Spatial Analysis of Housing Affordability, Health  Issues, and Health Care Accessibility.” Using statewide data at the census-tract level, this study will employ Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to investigate the spatial relationships between asthma prevalence, lead exposure, and mental health (defined as suicide mortality, alcohol consumption, and substance overdose) as compared to availability of affordable housing and medical/mental health care accessibility. This study will result in a series of maps that can assist the state and other governmental partners to more effectively implement affordable housing and health care accessibility strategies.

Learn more about the project

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. 

Listen to the podcast

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 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. 

Jimmy Dunn and students in the Canadian Artic

Into the Artic

Professor Jimmy Dunn and a crew of five students headed north for summer research and discovery in the Canadian Artic.

"I don't think there's a more profound way to learn than to do something like this"

Read more about the Artic Journey

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