Geography is the discipline that studies where and why physical and human phenomena, such as cities, crime, poverty, pollution, landforms, climate, and various resources, are distributed as they are. Geographers also develop ideas and recommend how different policies and relocations of phenomena, such as health care facilities, political boundaries, waste disposal sites, public service agencies, and business firms might better serve humans and their environment.
The four traditions in geography suggest the broad range of interests addressed within the discipline and the discipline's bridging role between the natural and social sciences. These traditions are: 1) the earth science tradition or physical geography; 2) the human-land tradition devoted to investigating the interactions between human and physical phenomena; 3) the regional-international tradition which involves the study of world regions and international trends and relationships; and, 4) the spatial analysis tradition which stresses systematic and technical training for analyzing topics, problems and plans at various geographic scales, ranging from global to regional to an individual city or neighborhood.
Owing to the primary locational concern of the discipline, many geography graduates have found employment in public and private organizations engaged in location analysis, transportation planning, urban and regional planning, real estate development, resource management and local, state and federal government positions, in addition to positions in teaching. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) skills are of growing importance to the discipline and prepare students for various careers and graduate school. Fischer Scholarships are available each semester for students enrolled in a College of Education program and majoring or minoring in geography. Interested students should contact the Department of Geography.