What is geography?
Geography is about the relationship between people and the environment. It provides important insights into the spatial transformations associated with some of the world's most urgent challenges, including globalization, environmental change, economic inequality, migration, health, development, gender inequality, and many other contemporary processes. The Department of Geography has a strong commitment to social justice and public scholarship, and provides a rich undergraduate experience for those who are passionate about exploring our world and understanding the social and spatial processes that shape it.
Geographers use ethnographies, statistical analysis, databases, scholarly research, and observation to construct models, maps, and other tools for understanding, and to address pressing social and environmental issues. Geography provides students with critical and analytical skills, but also offers a sense of hope that these daunting problems can be solved and that individuals can make a difference.
Why study geography?
- Study your passion: Geography is an interdisciplinary field that draws on theories across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences to consider how things that are important to us in our everyday lives are mapped, represented, and understood in a changing world.
- Build strong relationships: Our passionate faculty and staff are committed to creating an inclusive learning environment and supporting your undergraduate experience in many different ways. For example, our annual undergraduate research symposium features undergraduate research projects conducted by individuals and research teams. Our undergraduate research journal, Plenum, publishes outstanding undergraduate research articles.
- Make a difference in your community: Our students are deeply engaged in community service through internships, service learning, and senior projects, which center upon questions of environmental and social justice.
- Deepen your understanding of the world: Geographers research and engage the world. Geographers assert the importance of space, environment, context, location, place, and scale in relation to societies’ most pressing environmental and social concerns.
- Expand your career opportunities: Our undergraduate majors employ social and political theories; develop the ability to create and analyze maps and other forms of geo-visualization; gather, analyze and interpret quantitative and qualitative data; and write clear and compelling research reports and papers. These skills prepare you for a diverse range of careers and internships.
What programs do we offer undergraduates?
- Scholarships & Financial Support: There are scholarship and financial aid options that help make paying for college as affordable as possible. With the Husky Promise, UW guarantees to cover the full cost of tuition and standard fees for qualified students who otherwise could not afford to attend.
- Resources & Opportunities: Our undergraduate research journal Plenum, department events, the Interdisciplinary Writing Studio, and more.
- Career Preparation: Our students graduate with confidence and interdisciplinary skillsets that help them to excel in a wide range of careers.
How do you major in geography?
The geography major is open, which means there are no prerequisites or special admissions requirements. Students in good academic standing may declare the major at any time. If you are ready to declare the geography major, please complete this form to begin the major declaration process. If you have additional questions, please contact an adviser via the Advising page. You can also learn more about joining the Department of Geography as a transfer student.
How do you meet with a geography department adviser?
You can meet with an adviser during drop-in advising hours or request an appointment online.