College of Letters and Sciences


Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Mapping your future.

If you’re wondering how to become an urban planner, what degree you need for GIS careers or which major is best for emergency management planning or conservation jobs, you might want to consider geography and geology.

This is a vast field covering human and physical geography; it explores cultures, landscapes and civic engagement — from digging up fossils to mapping the world’s natural resources.

UW-Whitewater’s programs provide you with the foundational knowledge and technical skills you need for rewarding and in-demand jobs.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that through 2028, the need for urban and regional planners will grow 11% and demand for GIS professionals/cartographers will increase by 15%, a rate much faster than the average occupation.

4-year plan


Why UW-Whitewater for your Geography and Geology degree?

UW-Whitewater offers several degree and emphasis options for students interested in pursuing geology, geography and GIS careers, as well as for future social studies educators.

There are many other reasons to study geography and geology at UW-Whitewater:

  • highly engaged faculty members and academic staff
  • high-tech equipment and other learning resources
  • various merit-based scholarships for geography majors, including the Fischer Scholar program
  • paid research and lab assistant work-study positions

What our Geography and Geology students do

Icon of a magnifying glass and a piece of paper on a purple background.

Make discoveries in the Undergraduate Research Program

Graphic of a location icon and a map on a pink background.

Gain hands-on mapping experience through client and capstone projects

Icon of a mountain, clouds and sun on an orange background.

Get outdoors to explore local landscapes

Hands-on learning experiences

As a major in Geology or Geography at UW-Whitewater, you’ll get plenty of real-world experience.



Uncharted territory: Undergraduate research
Geography and Geology majors are engaged in their own research projects or in collaboration with faculty mentors. These experiences often lead to publications and conference presentations, and sometimes they involve travel to places like Hawaii and Iceland.


Finding the way: Field and travel study

Students walk on a path of rugged terrain.


Explore landscapes in Utah, Nevada and at national parks (like Yellowstone) as part of our interdisciplinary field study programs. International travel studies have taken our students to Panama, Scotland and China.

Our facilities

The GIS Center
The GIS Center at UW-Whitewater allows students to experience projects with a ground-controlled drone for activities in three-dimensional mapping. This provides opportunities for students and faculty members to collaborate on computerized mapping projects and cutting-edge research for real-world clients and prepares our majors well for GIS careers in Wisconsin and beyond.


A student is indoors with his professor, using technology to test soil samples.


Labs and classrooms
Our program features dedicated research and instrumental labs for undergraduate research opportunities:

  • two computer labs dedicated to mapping, introductory and advanced GIS, and remote sensing
  • a campus weather station offering access to real-time and archived weather data
  • several teaching and research labs, including soils analysis and geology

Off-campus locations
Field work experiences will take you to our 40-acre campus nature preserve and into nearby wetlands, forests and other natural areas.

Campus and community involvement

A student holds a sign that says Geo Science Club during the Involvement Fair.  

As a Geography major, you might want to participate in student groups such as the Geo-Science Club, Whitewater Geography Association, Students Allied for a Greener Earth, Ecology Club or Gamma Theta Upsilon, the geography honors society.

Community engagement projects could take you to the nearby Ice Age Trail to staff a table filled with fossils and rock samples, into local schools for STEM-education programs, or across campus to participate in Earth Day activities.

What our graduates do

Icon of maps and a location icon.

GIS specialists and analysts

An icon of a rolled up map shows a building outline.

Urban and area planners

A hand underneath an icon of the Earth.

Environmental and natural resource technicians

GIS jobs and more: What can you do with a Geography or Geology degree?

You might be surprised at the range of geography jobs available today. Here’s just a sample, including geoscience careers UW-Whitewater students found after graduation:

  • Engineering technician
  • Cartographer/real estate specialist
  • Field systems operator
  • Geospatial analyst
  • A range of GIS job titles:
    • GIS analyst
    • GIS asset management coordinator
    • GIS planning technician
    • GIS programmer
    • GIS specialist
    • GIS technician
  • Groundwater field technician
  • Industrial radiography testing technician
  • Intelligence analyst
  • Neighborhood fishing coordinator
  • Park ranger
  • Water resources specialist
  • Watershed project coordinator


Our graduates have found work at companies such as:

  • City of Madison
  • City of Peoria
  • Continental Mapping Consultants
  • Data Dimensions
  • Florida Department of Transportation
  • Garmin
  • Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage
  • Nicor Gas
  • Roadview
  • Ruekert & Mielke Civil Engineering
  • UDC (formerly Utility Data Contractors)
  • U.S. National Park Service
  • Wilcox Environmental Engineering
  • Wind Lake Solutions
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
  • Wisconsin Department of Transportation



Mastering the field: Graduate school

Our students are competitive graduate students across many disciplines and a broad array of universities. In the last five years, our students have been admitted to graduate programs (often with funded positions) at universities including Georgetown, Colorado State, Auburn, Arizona State, Florida State, University of Illinois, UW‐Milwaukee, San Diego State, University of Minnesota, University of Rhode Island, Miami (OH) University, UW‐Green Bay, and the University of Chicago.

Students are working on or have garnered graduate degrees in geology, sustainability, geography, geographic information systems, oceanography, and international development.

Our Geography and Geology faculty

Our geography faculty members are active researchers with expertise in areas across the map, including:

  • Aquatic ecosystems
  • Biogeography
  • Cartography
  • Climatology
  • Cultural Geography
  • Ecology
  • Geographic Information Science
  • Geomorphology
  • Geoscience
  • Mammal communities
  • Marine Environments
  • Migration
  • Mineralogy
  • Paleontology
  • Planning and social theory
  • Political ecology
  • Private land conservation
  • Remote Sensing
  • Soil Science
  • Structural Geology
  • Urban geography

Not only do we publish in academic journals, but we’re committed to our “public scholar” reputation by informing the community about important developments in the field.

As an example of the continued practical research happening in our department, we received an NEH grant for a water-humanities integration project, involved various UW-Whitewater faculty members and students. One of our professors was awarded a Wisconsin Teaching Fellow and Scholarship to support his efforts in curriculum development.


Meet our faculty

Want to learn more about earning a geography and geology degree?
262-472-1071 |

UW-Whitewater offers the following Geography undergraduate options:

Teaching licensure:



In addition to UW-Whitewater’s general education requirements, as a geology or geography major, you’ll take a variety of core and elective classes which will vary based on your chosen emphasis. Here’s an example of classes many students will take:

  • Physical Geography
  • Human Geography
  • GIS I: Mapping Our World
  • Elements of Geology
  • Environmental Geography
  • GIS in Water Resources

There’s also flexibility to choose advanced courses based on your career interests. Students interested in teaching geography will also take education courses required for state certification.

To apply, you’ll complete the UW-Whitewater standard application for admission and indicate your interest in earning a degree in Geography.

Apply Now

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