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Geography Major

The Geography major requires a minimum of 46 credits in Geography (or specifically noted Environmental Studies or Asian Studies) courses.  At least 9 Geography courses must be taken for a letter grade. A grade of C- or better is required for any course applied towards the major, and a GPA of 2.25 or better is required in courses used for the major.

A major check sheet (affectionately known as the ‘Green Sheet’) summarizes the requirements below.

See our Preliminary Course Offerings for 2020-2021

Our Geography Course List breaks down the courses that satisfy each requirement category (see below)

During the COVID-19 outbreak and campus shutdown, the Undergraduate Advisor Leslie McLees will be available via email at If you would like the opportunity to have a video conference you can set up a time via email. 

General Requirements for the B.A. or B.S. in Geography

Bachelor of Science

All Geography majors seeking a B.S. degree will be required to complete any math sequence that satisfies the University’s math requirement for a B.S. degree.  Math classes must be passed with a grade of at least C- or P.

  • For the Geographic Information Science Track, we recommend a computer programming sequence.
  • For students interested in biophysical geography we recommend either a statistics sequence or a calculus sequence based on your interests:
    • for geomorphology we recommend a calculus emphasis;
    • for biogeography we recommend a statistics emphasis; and
    • for climatology, we recommend a calculus or computer programming emphasis.

Bachelor of Arts

All Geography majors seeking a B.A. degree must demonstrate proficiency in a second language either by passing the third quarter of a second-year university language course with a grade of C- or better or by an examination indicating an equivalent level of proficiency.

If you are considering applying to graduate school in the future, we strongly recommended that you complete both the math and language requirements.

Group Requirements

All undergraduates must satisfy group requirements. For details see Group Requirements in the Bachelors Requirements section of the UO Catalog. Geography majors should consult their advisor to determine which group-satisfying courses best support their major.

Please note that for students who have Geography as their first major can only use ONE course with the GEOG subject code to satisfy the Group Requirements.

Four-Year Plan

Below is a four-year plan or road map for Geography majors (click to enlarge). It includes not just courses, but other ways of gaining experience to ready you for your post-graduate plans, no matter if or how they change. (pdf available here)

Major Requirements

At least 9 Geography courses must be taken for a letter grade. A grade of C- or better is required for any course applied towards the major, and a GPA of 2.25 or better is required in courses used for the major.

Click here for a pdf of this checksheet

1. Fundamentals

Everyone needs the fundamentals. These introductory and advanced (both required) courses will stretch your horizon, sharpen your critical thinking skills, synthesize core principles, ignite a passion for learning, and might even surprise you. Let the discoveries begin.

1a Introductory Core (3 courses, 12 credits)

  • GEOG 141: The Natural Environment
  • GEOG 142: Introduction to Human Geography: Our Globalized World
  • GEOG 181: Our Digital World

1b Advanced Core (2 courses, 8 credits)

  • GEOG 391: Social Science Research & Inquiry (required for all students)

One of the following:

  • GEOG 201-214: Regional Course (pick one regional course)
  • GEOG 281: The World of Big Data

2. Breadth (3 courses, 12 upper division credits)

With roots in exploration and travel, Geographers traverse a wide range of topics and specialties. Here, students will gain the necessary breadth to put all the pieces together. Choose one course from each of the following:*

  • GIScience
  • Biophysical Geography
  • Human Geography

3. Concentration (3 courses, 12 upper division credits)

With this requirement, students gain greater depth of knowledge and skills. The concentration helps translate Geography for careers. Choose one of the following concentrations and take three courses:*

  • Culture, Politics & Place (BA): Social, economic, and political processes that shape and connect places
  • Environment, Economy & Sustainability (BA or BS): Human-environment interactions and sustainability
  • Geographic Education (BA or BS): Preparation for teaching K-12 courses
  • Water Science & Policy (BA or BS): The social, political and physical processes that shape water and its use
  • Environmental Systems (BS): The biological, climatological, and geomorphological processes that shape the earth’s surface
  • Geographic Information Science (BS): Using spatial data to understand processes that shape the earth

4. The Launchpad (1 course, 2 credits)

What can Geography do for you, beyond the classroom? Here, students will gain tangible skills in research, professional development, leadership, and applying geographical concepts and skills beyond college. Chose one of the following:

GEOG 401: Research Experience
GEOG 403: Thesis (requires a GPA of 3.6 or higher)
GEOG 406: Field Studies
GEOG 409: Practicum/ Internship
GEOG 419: The Professional Geographer

To see descriptions of courses, see the UO Course Catalog

To add or drop the geography major or a change a concentration: