Geography, Environmental Geography, Comprehensive Major

Liberal Arts (Code 140-007)

University Requirements

Credit Requirements
Minimum total for graduation 1120
Upper division credits (courses numbered 300 and higher)39
Liberal Education Core36
Academic Concentrations
Grade Point Requirements 2
Total2.00 average
Resident2.00 average
Major2.00 average
Minor2.00 average
Certificate2.00 average
University Residency Requirements
Minimum total30
Senior year23
Major, Standard, upper division in residence12
Major, Comprehensive, upper division in residence21
Certificate25 percent of credits
Procedures Required for Graduation
Obtain admission to the degree program and/or the College offering it.
Apply for graduation on CampS.

Certain programs exceed this minimum.


See special requirements in each College.

Applicability of Credits Toward Graduation

Junior College or Two-Year College Credits. A maximum of 72 semester credits earned in a junior college or two-year college will be accepted as degree credits at UW-Eau Claire.

Extension Credits. Credits earned in credit outreach courses offered by UW-Eau Claire are treated as resident credits. Credits earned in extension courses offered by other units of the University of Wisconsin System are treated as transfer credits. All other (non-UW) extension and correspondence credits are normally limited to one-fourth of the total required for graduation from any curriculum.

WTCS Credits. A maximum of 72 semester credits earned in college parallel programs at Madison Area Technical College, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Nicolet Area Technical College, or Chippewa Valley Technical College may be accepted as degree credits at UW-Eau Claire. A set number of general education courses will be accepted from other technical schools. Occupational and technical courses may also be considered for transfer if the quality and content of the course work from the technical college is judged to be comparable to course work at UW-Eau Claire. Refer to the Transfer Credit Wizard or contact the UW-Eau Claire Admissions Office for information about the current transfer policy.

USAFI Credit. UW-Eau Claire will accept up to 32 semester credits for work done through the United States Armed Forces Institute, under the provision for non-UW correspondence credit (see Extension Credits above).

Activity Credit (band, chorus, drama, KINS 100-184 courses) Students may count toward graduation no more than one credit of KINS 110-184 courses. Students may count toward graduation no more than four credits earned in any single activity course and no more than 12 credits resulting from any combination of activity courses (excluding KINS 110-184 courses). 

Other Restricted Credits. For other University restrictions, see the following: Cooperative Education; Credit by Examination; Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Registration; Transfer of Credits. College or departmental restrictions may also be placed on Independent Study (399-499 courses), Directed Study (395-495), and other types of credits.

Total degree creditmaximum 12
Major, Standardmaximum 1 course
Major, Comprehensivemaximum 2 courses
Minormaximum 1 course
Credit by Examination
Total degree creditmaximum ¼ of total
Major or minormaximum ½ of total
Two-Year College Credits
Total degree creditmaximum 72 credits
Activity credit (band, chorus, drama, KINS 100-184)
Total KINS 100-184maximum 1 credit
Total Band, chorus, dramamaximum 12 credits
Single course band, chorus, dramamaximum 4 credits
Extension credits
UW-Systemno maximum
Other extension/correspondencemaximum ¼ of total
USAFImaximum 32 credits

Liberal Education Core

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire measures learning outcomes to ensure that its graduates have achieved a liberal education and prepared themselves to contribute to a complex society. Upon graduation, each undergraduate will have met the five learning goals of our liberal education core and the 12 learning outcomes they comprise. 

Knowledge Goal
Knowledge Outcome 1 (K1): Natural SciencesTwo (2) learning experiences
One experience in laboratory science must be selected from either K1 or K2.
Knowledge Outcome 2 (K2): Social SciencesTwo (2) learning experiences
One experience in laboratory science must be selected from either K1 or K2.
Knowledge Outcome 3 (K3): HumanitiesTwo (2) learning experiences
Knowledge Outcome 4 (K4): Fine ArtsOne (1) learning experience
Skills Goal
Skills Outcome 1 (S1): Written and Oral CommunicationTwo (2) learning experiences
Skills Outcome 2 (S2): MathematicsOne (1) learning experience
Skills Outcome 3 (S3): CreativityOne (1) learning experience
Responsibility Goal
Responsibility Outcome 1 (R1): Equity, Diversity, and InclusivityTwo (2) learning experiences
Responsibility Outcome 2 (R2): Global PerspectivesOne (1) learning experience
Responsibility Outcome 3 (R3): Civic and Environmental IssuesOne (1) learning experience
Integration Goal
Integration Outcome 1 (I1): IntegrationTwo (2) learning experiences
Service-Learning Goal
Service-Learning30 hours

College Degree Requirements 

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science Degree (B.A./B.S.)

University Graduation Requirements. All candidates for degrees must fulfill the requirements for credits, curriculum, GPA, and University residency as specified in the section of this catalog titled University Graduation Requirements.

College Graduation Requirements: Grade Point Averages. All candidates for degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences must earn minimum resident and total GPAs of 2.00 in the major, the minor, and the certificate. The resident and total GPAs for the major are computed using all attempted credits applicable to the major including those offered by departments other than the major department. The resident and total GPAs for the minor and the certificate are computed similarly.

Major-Minor and Major-Certificate Requirements. A standard major (a minimum of 36 credits) must be supplemented by a minor (a minimum of 24 credits) or by a certificate (12 to 18 credits) to meet graduation requirements for completing a first and second degree program. No minor or certificate is required with a Comprehensive Major (60 or more credits) or with two majors of 36 or more credits each.

Certain degree programs, which include Comprehensive Majors, may require more than the minimum of 120 credits for graduation.

Acceptable academic program combinations are determined at the college level. A major and a minor or a major and certificate or two majors (if available) may not be elected in the same department or program, except in the approved combinations listed here.

College Credits. Earn at least 90 credits in courses offered by the College of Arts and Sciences.

Bachelor of Arts Degree in the College of Arts and Sciences (B.A.)

Fulfillment of all University Graduation Requirements (which includes the Liberal Education Core); all College-level degree requirements (major and minor/certificate emphases, GPAs, earning at least 90 credits in Arts and Sciences course work); foreign language competency at the 102 level.  Foreign language competency may be met in one of two ways:  (1) Achieve a score on the foreign language placement test that qualifies the student to enter the 201-level course in a foreign language.  (2) Earn a grade of at least C (not C-) or a mark of S in a 102-level foreign language course (or AIS 112 or AIS 122 / LANG 122 or CSD 103).

Bachelor of Science Degree in the College of Arts and Sciences (B.S.)

Fulfillment of all University Graduation Requirements (which includes the Liberal Education Core); all College-level degree requirements (major and minor/certificate emphases, GPAs, earning at least 90 credits in Arts and Sciences course work); mathematics competency at the MATH 111, MATH 112 or MATH 113 level.  Mathematics competency can be met in one of three ways:  (1) Achieve a score on the mathematics placement test that qualifies the student to enter MATH 114.  (2) Earn a grade of at least C (not C-) or a mark of S in MATH 111, MATH 112, or MATH 113.  (3) Achieve a satisfactory score on the MATH 112 competency test.  This test may be attempted no more than two times.

Major Requirements

Liberal Arts (Code 140-007)

Environmental Geography

Requires completion of the core courses, the required credits, and departmental and non-departmental electives to total at least 60 credits. 

A minimum of 60 semester credits, including completion of the following:

Geography Major Core Requirements
GEOG 104Planet Earth: The Physical Environment4
GEOG 111Planet Earth: Human Geography3
GEOG 178Planet Earth: Conservation of the Environment3
GEOG 200Foundations of Geography3
GEOG 335Geographic Information Systems I3
GEOG 370Quantitative Methods in Geography3
GEOG 401Capstone Seminar3
Five additional courses to be selected from three of five Advanced Geography Approaches 1

One of the additional courses must be GEOG 368 - note that the Advanced Geography Approach to which it applies may vary by semester.

In addition to the core requirements for the geography major, students in the Environmental Geography Emphasis must take:
12 credits from environmental courses from other disciplines (selected with consent of advisor)12
Geography electives to complete 60 credits; at least one elective must be an upper level Physical Geography course and one elective must be an upper level Human-Environmental Geography course

Advanced Geography Approaches

Five courses from at least three advanced approaches are required for major programs. Four courses from at least three advanced approaches are required for minor programs. 

Physical Geography

GEOG 304Introduction to Geomorphology4
GEOG 340Climatology3
GEOG 345Quaternary Environments3
GEOG 350Soils and the Environment4
GEOG 355Biogeography3
GEOG 363Watershed Analysis4
GEOG 364Fluvial Processes and Landforms4

Human-Environmental Geography

GEOG 270Introduction to Urban and Regional Planning3
GEOG 341Weather and Society3
GEOG 361Environmental Hazards3
GEOG 365Tourism Geographies3
GEOG 375Environmental Quality3
GEOG 377U.S. Environmental and Sustainability Policy3
GEOG 378International Environmental Problems and Policy3
GEOG 445Historical Geography3

Human Geography

GEOG 155Economic Geography3
GEOG 288Cultural Landscapes of North America3
GEOG 312Space, Society, Subject3
GEOG 313Culture and Transnational Dynamics3
GEOG 322Native Geographies3
GEOG 352Business Geographics3
GEOG 354Sustainable Placemaking and Community3
GEOG 366Geography International Immersion Experience1-3
GEOG 367Landscape Analysis: Cultural3
GEOG 369Geography of Food3
GEOG 444Legal Geographies of Race in the U.S.3
GEOG 446Political Geography3
GEOG 470Urban Geography3

Geography Techniques

GEOG 280Introduction to Cartography and Visualization3
GEOG 335Geographic Information Systems I 13
GEOG 336Geospatial Field Methods3
GEOG 337Geographic Information Systems II3
GEOG 338Remote Sensing of the Environment3
GEOG 339Applied Cartography and Geovisualization3
GEOG 358LiDAR Analysis & Applications3
GEOG 370Quantitative Methods in Geography 13
GEOG 390Geospatial Applications of UAS3
GEOG 435Geographic Information Systems III3
GEOG 438Remote Sensing Data Analytics3
GEOG 455Web Geographic Information Systems3

Regional Geography

GEOG 301Geography of Western Europe3
GEOG 308Geography of Russia and Eastern Europe3
GEOG 319Geography of the Middle East and North Africa3
GEOG 321Geography of Latin America3
GEOG 325Geography of the United States and Canada3
GEOG 379Geography of Wisconsin3

Other Geography Courses

The following courses can be applied to any of the five approaches with consent of the advisor:
GEOG 368Geography Field Seminar 13
GEOG 395Directed Studies1-3
GEOG 399Independent Study - Juniors1-3
GEOG 491Advanced Special Topics1-3
GEOG 498Geography Internship1-3
GEOG 499Independent Study - Seniors1-3

Required courses.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students completing this program will be expected to meet the following learning outcomes:

  • Content: Geographic Foundation: Demonstrate geographical knowledge, understanding, and significance through analysis, explanation, and critique (Explain where things are located, why they are located where they are, what difference that location makes, and to whom).
  • Skills: 
    • Geographic Techniques: Effectively use and apply the tools of geographic inquiry (e.g., field and laboratory to gather quantitative and qualitative geographic data; GIS to acquire, manage, display, and analyze spatial data in digital form; cartography to display spatial information effectively; and spatial statistical methods to model and make inferences about spatial relationships and patterns).
    • Communication: Effectively explain how geographic approaches and perspectives are used to address socially/environmentally relevant questions and problems and why identifying the underlying spatial relationships is significant.
  • Responsibility:
    • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI): Use geographic knowledge and skills to evaluate assumptions, representations, and institutions in order to challenge existing structures in ways that respect diversity and foster social/environmental equity and inclusivity.
    • Ethics: Use geographic knowledge and skills to address social and environmental challenges in ways that maximize the benefits and minimize the harm to others.
  • Dispositions:
    • Interdisciplinary perspective: Synthesize the information, concepts, and methods of natural and social sciences for geographic research and applications.
    • Relational perspective: Explain how people, places, and regions are linked by networks and processes across space and scale (such as local-global, within regions, globalization, trade, immigration, internet technology, climate).
  • Comprehensive:
    • Environmental: Recognizes the geography of environmental issues, events, or problems and uses geographic knowledge and skills to properly understand and respond to them.

Sample Degree Plan

Geography, Environmental Geography, Comprehensive Major, B.S.  

The following is a sample degree plan, based on the 2023-2024 catalog. It is based on the 120-credit graduation requirement and assumes no transferred credits, no requirements waived by placement tests, no courses taken in the summer or winter, no repeated courses, and no remedial courses that may be required. This sample degree plan is intended for first-year students entering UW-Eau Claire in the fall semester. Your own degree plan may differ depending on the course of study selected (second major, minor, etc.). UW-Eau Claire cannot guarantee all courses will be offered as shown, but will provide a range of courses that may enable prepared students to fulfill their requirements in a timely period. This sample degree plan is just a guide. Please consult your advisor, your degree audit, and the catalog to create your own degree plan. Note: In order to earn the required minimum of 120 credits for the degree in four years, you should plan to take 15 credits each semester or 30 credits each year.

To earn a degree, students must fulfill all University Graduation Requirements, including the Liberal Education (LE) Core.  LE Core course work in the following sample degree plan uses abbreviations such as LE-K1, LE-S2, LE-R3, and LE-I1 to represent the learning outcomes students will meet via completion of their liberal education course work.  Please click here for a description of the Liberal Education Core outcomes and requirements.  Note that the LE Core may be completed through both course and non-course experiences.

Students in this major have the option to pursue either a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree.  The degrees are distinguished by foreign language competency for the B.A. and a higher level of mathematics competency for the B.S.

GEOG 178Planet Earth: Conservation of the Environment (LE-K1, LE-I1)3
WRIT 114Intensive Blugold Seminar in Critical Reading and Writing (LE-S1)5
Blugold Seminar in Critical Reading and Writing (LE-S1)
LE Option: Knowledge 3 (K3) Humanities3
LE Option: Skills 1 (S1) Written and Oral Communication3
GEOG 104Planet Earth: The Physical Environment (LE-K1 + lab)4
GEOG 111Planet Earth: Human Geography (LE-K2, LE-I1)3
LE Option: Knowledge 2 (K2) Social Sciences3
MATH 111A Short Course in Calculus (LE-S2)4
Precalculus Mathematics (LE-S2)
Trigonometry (LE-S2, 2 credits)
GEOG 200Foundations of Geography3
GEOG 335Geographic Information Systems I3
LE Option: Responsibility 1 (R1) Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity3
LE Option: Integrative Learning (I1)3
Environmental Elective3
GEOG Advanced Approach - Physical Geography a3
LE Option: Responsibility 1 (R1) Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity3
LE Option: Skills 2 (S2) Mathematics4
LE Option: Responsibility 3 (R3) Civic and Environmental Issues3
LE Option: Knowledge 4 (K4) Fine Arts3
GEOG Advanced Approach: Human-Environment Geography3
GEOG Elective3
GEOG Elective3
Elective b3
Environmental Elective c3
GEOG 368 (Advanced Approach): Geography Field Seminar3
GEOG 370Quantitative Methods in Geography3
Elective: Upper Level3
Environmental Elective3
GEOG 401Capstone Seminar (LE-S3)3
GEOG Advanced Approach: Human-Environment Geography3
Elective: Upper Level3
Environmental Elective3
GEOG Elective3
GEOG 369 (Advanced Approach): Geography Techniques3
GEOG Advanced Approach: Physical Geography3
Elective: Upper Level3
GEOG Elective3
Minimum total for the baccalaureate degree = 120 credits

Geography majors must take 5 courses from any 3 of the 5 advanced geography approaches.  Environmental Geography comprehensive majors must take an upper level course in Physical Geography and in Human-Environment Geography.  One of these must be GEOG 368.  See catalog.


Electives need to be carefully selected to ensure that a student’s degree comprises at least 39 credits of upper division courses (300-400 level). While students are encouraged to take additional courses in geography, these can be selected from any discipline provided student meets course prerequisites. Required Geography courses plus Geography electives (and environmental electives from other departments) must equal at least 60 credits.


Environmental Geography comprehensive majors are required to take 12 credits of environmental course work outside of the major with consent of their advisor.

Note:  All students must complete the 30-hour Service-Learning Requirement via a non-credit or credit option (see Undergraduate Graduation Requirements).

Course Information

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire encourages all students to participate in High Impact Practices.  The following information identifies any specific recommendations that faculty in this major have concerning which HIPs might be most beneficial to students, and any recommendations about when those HIPs best fit into the degree plan. Students should also consult their faculty advisor for information on HIPs. There are many additional high impact opportunities available. Talk to your academic advisor for more information about incorporating HIPs like Study Abroad, Intercultural Immersion, Internship, and/or  Student/Faculty Collaborative Research into your time at UW-Eau Claire.

Required HIPs: GEOG 368: Geography Field Seminar and GEOG 401: Geography Capstone  
Optional HIPs: Study Abroad, National Student Exchange, Faculty-led International Immersions (FLIIs), Student-Faculty Collaborative Research

Liberal Education (LE) Core Guidance

Liberal Education Core (LE Core) 

The LE Core comprises 17 learning experiences across 11 learning outcomes. Students must complete a minimum of 36 credits in courses approved for the LE Core. 

  • K1 – Natural Sciences; two experiences (one lab science experience is required in K1 or K2). 

  • K2 – Social Sciences; two experiences (one lab science experience is required in K1 or K2). 

  • K3 – Humanities; two experiences. 

  • K4 – Fine Arts; one experience. 

  • S1 – Written and Oral Communication; two experiences (one experience must satisfy the University writing requirement). 

  • S2 – Mathematics; one experience (must satisfy the University math competency requirement). 

  • S3 – Creativity; one experience (can be fulfilled in a student’s major). 

  • R1 – Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity; two experiences (one experience must meet the UW System Design for Diversity (DD) requirement). 

  • R2 – Global Perspectives; one experience. 

  • R3 – Civic and Environmental Issues; one experience. 

  • I1 – Integration; two experiences (one experience can be fulfilled in a student’s major). 

  • SL—Service Learning; 30 hours 

Additional LE Core Information 

  • Most LE Core learning experiences are course based, and many courses meet more than one learning outcome (e.g., K3 and R2 or K1 and R3). 

  • Some learning experiences can also be met outside of a traditional course (e.g., undergraduate research (S3), study abroad (I1)). 

  • S1 – An English placement score that fulfills the University writing requirement fulfills one S1 experience. 

  • S1 – A foreign Language placement score that qualifies the student to enter the 102 level satisfies one S1 experience. 

  • S1, R2 – A foreign language placement score that qualifies the student to enter the 202 level satisfies one experience in S1 and the R2 experience. 

  • S2 – A math placement score that qualifies the student to enter Math 111, 112, 113 or 114 fulfills the S2 experience. 

  • S3 – Completion of two credits from any approved music ensemble fulfills the S3 experience. 

  • I1 – Any semester long study abroad program can fulfill one I1 experience.