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Explore the geography bachelor's degree program at UW-Eau Claire

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's geography bachelor's degree is designed for those interested in understanding people and places, their cultures and environments, and the relationships within. 

The curriculum within the major will provide you with a solid foundation in human geography, physical geography, regional geography and nature-society relationships. Rich in field-based courses, the program could take you to places like Hawaii, New York City, New Zealand, Turkey or the Great Lakes region. Through these experiences, unique projects and internship opportunities, you'll learn a wide variety of field, laboratory and social/natural science research methods, tools and techniques — giving you real-world experience before you even graduate.

Known for offering unparalleled research opportunities to undergraduate students, UWEC offers plenty of ways for geography majors to take their learning to the next level. Alongside faculty, you’ll have a chance to participate in groundbreaking research, bringing your findings back to labs equipped with top-notch tools and industry-standard software. Many students go on to present their discoveries at both regional and national competitions.

Graduates of our geography department leave with valuable experience solving real-world problems, gathering and analyzing data, interpreting earth surface processes, functioning as part of interdisciplinary research teams, and producing professional presentations and reports. Upon graduation, you'll have the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary for a successful career in dozens of different industries. 

Make your mark with a degree in geography

From state-of-the-art tools to student-faculty research to conferences, internships and field studies, UWEC's geography major offers it all. And you can be a part of it. 

With a major emphasis on applying what you've learned in the classroom to the real world, Blugolds gain firsthand experience in the field, all while building communication, analytical and critical-thinking skills. Our grads go on to pursue a variety of careers in the areas of business, resource management, law, education, planning, tourism, international relations, demography, government/public affairs and health sciences.

Watch to learn more about what sets our program apart from the rest. 

Why geography at UW-Eau Claire?

Inspirational world travels. Take what you learn from our expert professors and experience it firsthand. Countless opportunities to explore the world are available to you at UWEC. Study physical geography in Hawaii, regional geography in Oregon, human and environmental geography in Texas Hill Country or biogeography in Honduras. Take it from our grads: These travels will change your perspective of the world and stay with you for the rest of your life.

State-of-the-art tools and technology. At UW-Eau Claire, you have the chance to work with the same technology professionals use out in the field today. Learn how to operate equipment like unmanned aerial systems (UAS), global positioning system (GPS) and ground-penetrating radar (GPR). It’s experiences like these that set you apart from other candidates when applying for jobs.  

Innovative facilities. The university library is also a federal map depository, with a collection of over 92,000 maps in its Simpson Map Library, which can be used for research and study. In addition, the geography and anthropology department has two computer labs dedicated to geospatial science (cartography, GIS and remote sensing) and is well-regarded for its interdisciplinary work with departments across campus.

Fascinating, personalized curriculum. A variety of electives within the geography major allows you to pursue multiple passions and study the topics that most interest you. Explore courses in climatology, environmental hazards, the geography of food, cartographic design and the geography of Western Europe. This flexibility gives you the chance to become an expert in multiple areas and opens doors to even more career paths. 

94% employed

or continuing education after graduation

2020-2021 Graduate Report

Doug Faulkner and students on Chippewa River bank

UWEC student-faulty research garners national attention

A more-than-decadelong study on how the Chippewa River came to have its current characteristics — and how its valley became a suitable place to establish a city like Eau Claire — is finally complete, thanks to multiple faculty members and more than 100 UWEC geography students. 

And because the study is one of very few like it, the team’s research is now being celebrated as a new model that can be applied to the study of river systems around the world. It also recently received the G.K. Gilbert Award for Excellence in Geomorphological Research, a national award from the Geomorphology Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers. 

"The role that undergrads played and how evidence from undergraduate researchers can lead to significant findings says a lot about this place and about what we do," said Dr. Doug Faulkner, professor of geography and anthropology and one of the study authors. "The research here is not just an academic exercise. Students working on these various aspects were part of the project in a meaningful way.”

Quick facts

Geography program details
  • Program length: four years
  • Offered: in person
  • Campus: Eau Claire
  • This major requires a minor or certificate.
  • This program is also available as a minor.
  • Students majoring in this program may choose either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree.
Student organizations
  • Geography and Anthropology Club
  • Gamma Theta Upsilon

What can I do with a geography degree from UWEC?

Geographers are everywhere in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Explore careers in education, environmental engineering and consulting, land-use planning, resource management, emergency management, public utilities, infrastructure management, travel, international business or the retail sector.

As an integrative discipline, geography connects the local with the global, providing the tools and knowledge that allow graduates to be flexible and adapt to a dynamic job market. 

Where are geography alumni now?

Geography career paths

UW-Eau Claire has helped me to identify what I want my mark to be on the world and has given me the tools to make it happen.

Josie Myers Geography
Geography students spent 10 days studying urban development in cities in Ohio and Tennessee.

Field study explores relationships among history, race and place

An opportunity to travel with classmates to Cincinnati, Ohio, and Chattanooga and Knoxville in Tenessee for a geography field seminar left quite an impression on geography major Shannon Rose.

Through visits to museums, interviews with local residents, projects and conversations with professionals and local experts who know the history and aspirations of the cities, the students were able to connect what they learned in the classroom to the real world. As a result, they have a better understanding of everything from urban planning and development to gentrification, history, race and technologies — all facets of geography.

"We learned about history, culture, gender, urban development, tourism, industry and more in 10 short days — and we were surrounded by people who are passionate about their jobs and what they are doing,” Shannon explained. “Geographers can benefit and learn so much by traveling to new places and seeing different cultures and landscapes. It makes me want to be as passionate and knowledgeable as these people in my work."

Geography bachelor's degree program curriculum

The curriculum within the geography major is interdisciplinary and all-encompassing. In addition to core classes, students will choose multiple electives in advanced geography approaches. Areas of emphasis include physical geography, human-environmental geography, human geography, geography techniques and regional geography. 

A required capstone seminar integrates theory and methodology, quantitative and cartographic techniques as well as fieldwork. Students can expect to enhance their skills in literature review, research design, data collection and presentation. 

What classes do geography majors take?

Your classes may cover topics like: 

Learn more about the geography major in the UWEC course catalog.

Learn more about the geography minor in the UWEC course catalog.

Related programs at UW-Eau Claire

Thinking about a bachelor’s degree in geography? Here are other programs you might be interested in exploring.

Department information

Photo of a student on a Yosemite immersion experience

Geography and Anthropology

Phillips Science Hall 257
101 Roosevelt Avenue
Eau Claire, WI 54701
Visit the Geography and Anthropology department website

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