Building Strong Departments > Curricula & Programs > Curriculum Design > Curriculum Profiles > Environmental Geosciences: Geography Track, Valdosta State University

Environmental Geosciences: Geography Track, Valdosta State University

Information for this profile was provided by Paul Vincent in 2009.

Valdosta State University is a public four-year institution, primarily undergraduate .

Overview and Context

Illustration of the Valdosta geography curriculum, constructed by Monica Bruckner, based on information provided by Paul Vincent. Click on the image to see a larger version.
The Geography track is designed to provide a broad overview of physical geography. The course sequence provides an introduction to the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere as well as tools and techniques used for their study.
The Geography track is one of two tracks available to students interested in the Environmental Geosciences. The track is designed to prepare students for graduate studies or a career in the geosciences.

Program Design

The curriculum is designed to give the students a broad background so they would have a wide range of possible careers. One of the things about our curriculum that we have found effective has been the implementation of a senior thesis sequence. The thesis has made many of our graduates attractive to industry and higher education because it provides a tangible product that demonstrates their ability to solve problems and communicate their findings.

Goals and Assessment


  • Provide a working knowledge of the basic research tools in physical and cultural geography, environmental research and in digital cartography.
  • Provide the knowledge required to evaluate and interpret environmental data, address and analyze regional environmental questions and synthesize and recommend solutions to a range of environmental problems.
  • Provide the analytical and technical skills necessary for geographical research including: spatial and temporal analysis, digital and conventional mapping, and analysis and interpretation of data.
  • Provide a range of computer-based spatial analysis skills using geographic information sciences and other techniques for digital mapping, data manipulation and analysis and applications issues.


These goals are tied to the University's mission and strategic plan. As such, we must undergo regular review by the Board of Regents as well as accreditation review.

The senior thesis sequence assesses the quality of the student's work.

We maintain an alumni database as a means to keep track of the destinations of majors after they graduate.

Courses and Sequencing

Entry into the program

  • Introduction to Landforms
  • Introduction to Weather and Climate

Core courses

  • Computer Cartography
  • Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
  • Introduction to Hydrology
  • Process Geomorphology
  • Cultural Geography
  • Senior Thesis I
  • Senior Thesis II
  • Senior Thesis Presentation


Students are required to take 18 credit hours (usually 5 courses) of electives, selected from the following list:

  • Global Climate Change
  • Advanced GIS (Prerequisite: Introduction to GIS)
  • Coastal and Fluvial Geomorphology (Prerequisite: Process Geomorphology)
  • Meteorology and Climatology
  • Hydrogeology
  • Geosciences Field Trip
  • Geology of Georgia
  • Environmental Soil Science
  • Geoscience Field Methods
  • Introduction to Biogeography
  • Geography of Europe
  • Geography of the Middle East
  • Statistics for Geoscientists

Other required courses

  • Unifying Principles of Biology
  • Physical Science
  • Chemistry I
  • Precalculus
  • Calculus
  • Elementary Statistics


  • Senior thesis presentation

Additional Materials

« BA, Geological Sciences, SUNY Geneseo       Environmental Studies, University of Pennsylvania »