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.


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 Office of International Student and Scholar 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 (19)
Majors must complete a course in each of the following areas:
Principles of Physical Geography. Satisfied by:
GEOG 104Principles of Physical Geography (Required Geography Courses)3
Introductory Laboratory in Physical Geography. Satisfied by:
GEOG 105Introductory Laboratory in Physical Geography2
Principles of Human Geography. Satisfied by:
GEOG 102People, Place, and Society3
or GEOG 103 Principles of Human Geography, Honors
Geographic Information Science. Satisified by:
GEOG 111Mapping Our Changing World4
or GEOG 358 Principles of Geographic Information Systems
Geographical Analysis. Satisified by:
GEOG 311Introductory Cartography and Geovisualization4
or GEOG 316 Methods of Analyzing Geographical Data
Senior Capstone in Geography. Satisfied by:
GEOG 500Senior Capstone in Geography3
Geography Required Elective Hours (0)
Majors must complete five courses (15 hours) at the 200-500 level, in addition to the core above, from at least 3 of the following 4 groups, one of which must be a regional course:
Physical Studies. Satisfied by:
Scientific Principles of Environmental Studies
Environmental Conservation
Climate and Climate Change
Glaciers and Landscape
Introduction to Soil Geography
Introduction to Environmental Hydrology and Water Resources
Introduction to River Systems
Topics in Physical Geography: _____
Topics in Physical Geography: _____
Soil Geography
Soil Chemistry
Soil Physics
Topics in Physical Geography: _____
Soil Geomorphology
Advanced Geomorphology
Geoinformatics. Satisifed by:
Mapping Our Changing World
Introductory Cartography and Geovisualization
Methods of Analyzing Geographical Data
Topics in Techniques: _____
Principles of Geographic Information Systems
Computer Programming for Mapping and Spatial Analysis
Geographical Information Systems: _____
Advanced Cartography and Geovisualization
Applied Multivariate Analysis in Geography
Remote Sensing of Environment I
Spatial Databases
Intermediate Geographical Information Systems
GIS Application Programming
Location Modeling
Topics in Geospatial Technologies: _____
Advanced Topics in Geovisualization: _____
Advanced Geostatistics
Remote Sensing of Environment II
Geographic Information Science
Human Studies. Satisfied by:
Environment, Culture and Society
Economic Geography
Introduction to Cultural Geography
Environmental Geopolitics
Environmental Policy
Political Geography
Vulnerability and Adaptation
Urban Geography
Topics in Cultural Geography: _____
Topics in Urban/Economic Geography: _____
Seminar in Urban Geography
Geography of the Energy Crisis
Geography of American Indians
Topics in Cultural Geography: _____
Cultural Geography of the United States
Human Dimensions of Global Change
Geopolitics and Genocide
Migration, Diasporas and Development
Sustainable Food Systems and Food Security in the Global South
Indigenous Peoples of the World
Cultural Ecology
Development of Geographic Thought
Topics in Urban/Economic Geography: _____
Topics in Cultural Geography: _____
Environmental Geopolitics
Regional Studies. Satisfied by:
Africa's Human Geographies
Geography of the United States and Canada
Environmental Issues of: _____
East Asia
Geography of Kansas and the Plains
Topics in Regional Studies: _____
Environmental Issues in Africa
Geography of African Development
Exploring Oceania
Understanding Central Asia
Geography of Latin America
Middle American Geography
Geography of Brazil
Latin American Regions: _____

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 34 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.