Why study geography?

The BA and BGS degrees each offer a different educational experience and students should carefully consider which degree is most appropriate to meet their educational goals.

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

The Bachelor of Arts in Geography provides a broad liberal arts education and touches on all aspects of Geography. Study includes a minimum of 33 credit hours in Geography: a core of eighteen hours in regional, physical, human, and statistical geography plus another fifteen hours of electives. Students need to meet the KU Core requirements and/or requirements set by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences including a non-English language. Students taking the B.A. degrees should note that most Geography graduate programs require a statistics course, e.g., GEOG 316, and we highly recommend a basic course in GIS, e.g., GEOG 358.

Bachelor of General Studies (BGS)

The Bachelor of General Studies degree allows for more specialization in a student’s main area of interest while still providing a solid foundation.  There are fewer principal courses required, but students must complete a concentration (three upper division courses) or a minor in a second field of study (usually 18 hours). There is no non-English language requirement for the BGS. Please note that most geography graduate programs require a statistics course, e.g., GEOG 316, and we highly recommend a basic course in GIS, e.g., GEOG 358.

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Undergraduate Admission

Admission to KU

All students applying for admission must send high school and college transcripts to the Office of Admissions. Unless they are college transfer students with at least 24 hours of credit, prospective students must send ACT or SAT scores to the Office of Admissions. Prospective first-year students should be aware that KU has qualified admission requirements that all new first-year students must meet to be admitted. Consult the Office of Admissions for application deadlines and specific admission requirements.

Visit the International Support Services for information about international admissions.

Students considering transferring to KU may see how their college-level course work will transfer on the Office of Admissions website.

Admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Admission to the College is a different process from admission to a major field. Some CLAS departments have admission requirements. See individual department/program sections for departmental admission requirements.

Geography Programs

The B.A., B.G.S., and B.S. in geography provide general liberal arts enrichment, preparation for graduate work, and training for careers in geography and related fields. Geography may be combined with another program as a double major, or courses in another area may simply be added to those in geography.

First- and Second-Year Preparation

Students should begin the major by meeting the core requirements and preparing for major courses.

Requirements for the B.A. or B.G.S. Major

Geography Core Knowledge and Skills
Majors must complete a course in each of the following areas:
Introductory Physical Geography. Satisfied by one of the following:
GEOG 104
GEOG 105
Introduction to Physical Geography
and Introductory Laboratory in Physical Geography
5
GEOG 140Global Environment I: The Discovery of Environmental Change5
or GEOG 144 Global Environment I: The Discovery of Environmental Change, Honors
Introductory Human Geography. Satisfied by one of the following:
GEOG 100World Regional Geography3
or GEOG 101 World Regional Geography, Honors
GEOG 102People, Place, and Society3
or GEOG 103 People, Place, and Society, Honors
GEOG 142Global Environment II: The Ecology of Human Civilization5
or GEOG 145 Global Environment II: The Ecology of Human Civilization, Honors
Geographic Information Science. Satisified by:
GEOG 358Introduction to Geographic Information Systems4
Geographic Mapping. Satisfied by:
GEOG 111Mapping Our Changing World4
Geographical Analysis. Satisified by:
GEOG 316Methods of Analyzing Geographical Data4
Senior Capstone in Geography. Satisfied by:
GEOG 500Senior Capstone in Geography3
Geography Required Elective Hours
8-10 additional credit hours selected from any GEOG 177: First Year Seminar course, and from any 300-600 level GEOG classes for a total of at least 33 credit hours in major courses.

Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses (above), majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 33 hours of major courses.

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major.

Major Junior/Senior (300+) Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 12 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior (300+) Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

A sample 4-year plan for the BA degree in Geography can be found here: Geography, or by using the left-side navigation.

Sample 4-year plans for the BGS degree in Geography can be found here: Geography, or by using the left-side navigation.

Departmental Honors in Geography

To be accepted as a candidate for honors, an undergraduate major must have completed at least 9 hours of upper-division credit in geography with a grade-point average of 3.5 in all geography courses and of at least 3.25 overall. In addition to outstanding work in geography, the program requires GEOG 499, an independent study course consisting of an honors paper.

The student presents the results of this paper in an oral examination to a committee of at least 2 faculty members, normally from the geography department, chaired by the GEOG 499 supervisor. To graduate with honors, the student must complete the paper and the examination and maintain the 3.5 and 3.25 grade-point averages.