Undergraduate Programs


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?

How do you major in geography?

The geography major is a minimum-requirements major, which means students must meet the following requirements in order to declare the major:

  • Complete any GEOG-prefix course at the 200-level or higher with a minimum grade of 2.0.
  • Minimum cumulative UW GPA of 2.00.

Students who meet the minimum requirements listed above may declare the major in any quarter. There is no application required. If you are ready to declare the geography major, please visit Declare the Geography Major to begin the two-step 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.