Geography is both a natural science and a social science as it examines people and their environment and serves as a bridge between the physical and cultural worlds. Individual geographers tend to emphasize different aspects of the spatial continuum. Some specialize in physical geography by devoting their studies to the natural environment, including the analysis of climate, vegetation, soils and landforms. Others concentrate on the spatial associations of the human environment that result from the political, social and economic activities of people. While some geographers focus their studies at home, others engage in the study of foreign lands. Geography is currently experiencing rapid growth in data collection, resulting in increased use of data-processing techniques such as statistical analysis, aerial photograph interpretation, remote sensing, computer mapping and geographic information systems (GIS).
The department also offers a liberal arts major with an environmental emphasis which examines the natural physical landscape as well as human-environment interaction. A program certificate in cartography and geographic information systems is available to geography majors and to students in other programs.
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