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Geography BA - Earth Systems Science Concentration

(HEGIS: 22.06 GEOGRAPHY, CIP: 45.0701 Geography)

Department of Geography

105 Wilkeson Quad
Ellicott Complex
North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14261

Dr. Scott Mackay

Dr. Jared Aldstadt
Director of Undergraduate Studies

Associated Programs

Associated Subjects

Why study Geography BA - Earth Systems Science Concentration at UB?

The Earth Systems Science concentration within the Department of Geography examines current environmental problems through quantitative methods, analysis, and modeling grounded in basic and applied science and research. This curriculum introduces students to the fundamental processes that dominate the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere, their characteristics and complex interactions, and their impact on human life and society.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Earth Systems Sciences concentration, students will be proficient in collecting, describing, analyzing, and interpreting data on Earth surface processes, environmental science, and biogeography. Students will develop skill in using state-of-the-art equipment and geospatial technologies and models employed in research, industry, and government agencies. Students will have theoretical and practical experience in hydrology, terrestrial ecology, natural resources, and land management as well as addressing environmental issues such as global climate change and landscape degradation.

The Learning Environment

Three important components of the Earth Systems Science degree are computing facilities, field experience, and community engagement. Students have access to the Geographic Information and Analysis Laboratory, which is a multipurpose computing facility that supports the teaching and research needs of geospatial sciences. All students gain practical experience using field and laboratory equipment employed by researchers and practitioners in Earth surface processes and environmental science. Students also sit a capstone course in integrated environmental management working directly with stakeholders and government agencies of a topic of concern. Introductory courses include relatively large enrollment classes that embrace a range of media sources, active learning exercises, technology, and remote options to enhance the learning experience. Upper-division courses tend to include relatively smaller class sizes with unrivalled opportunities to engage students in research and thematic discourse, to use state-of-the-art technology and software, and to gain practical experience through independent projects, directed research, and internship opportunities with local stakeholders.

About Our Facilities

The Department of Geography maintains the Geographic Information and Analysis Laboratory, a multipurpose computing facility that serves the teaching and research needs of geospatial sciences. Additional teaching and research laboratories provide opportunities for active learning environments and specialized equipment and facilities used in Earth surface processes and environmental science, including hydraulic flumes, probes and sensors for water and soil quality sampling and testing, tree ring analysis, and traditional and current surveying devices.

About Our Faculty

Geography has a diverse faculty in terms of disciplinary focus, composition, and real-world experience. The department has around 20 faculty with specializations in Earth Systems Science, Geographic Information Science (GIS), International Trade, and Urban and Regional Analysis. Faculty within Earth Systems Science have expertise in watershed processes, terrestrial ecosystems, hydrology, environmental management, modeling, and remote sensing. All faculty have active research programs and are often supported with extramural funds from NIH, NSF, government agencies, and industry. Several faculty members have earned the rank of SUNY Distinguished Professor and have been awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities and Teaching, while others have been recognized for their contributions to international education and graduate student mentoring. The department is supported by about 12 teaching assistants and several adjunct instructors who assist in the learning experience.

Faculty List Directory

Please visit the Geography department website for additional information about our faculty.

Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (US Department of Labor), employment of geoscientists is projected to grow over the next decade at a rate faster than the average for all occupations. The need for energy, environmental protection, and responsible land and resource management will increase demand for Earth Systems Scientists worldwide.

Career Choices

  • Cartographer
  • Climatologist
  • Computer analyst
  • Ecologist
  • Environmental scientist/manager
  • Geomorphologist
  • Natural resource manager
  • Researcher

Work settings include:

  • Consulting companies
  • Engineering and marketing consultants
  • GIS software development, implementation
  • Government agencies
  • Local, city and/or state planning offices
  • Multinational corporations
  • Social services organizations
  • Universities

Academic Advising

The department provides a two-tiered support system for students. A fulltime staff person, the Undergraduate Secretary, is available to service the needs and queries of all undergraduate majors within the department. The Director of Undergraduate Studies is a faculty member who provides academic advising and has the authority to address curriculum issues.

Academic Advising Contact Information

Ms. Dawn Raffel
Undergraduate Secretary
Department of Geography
105E Wilkeson Quad
Phone: 716-645-0470
Email Ms. Raffel

Scholarships and Financial Support

The department gives annual awards to highly-qualified undergraduate students on a competitive basis. The McConnell/MacPherson Award in International Trade recognizes an academically outstanding graduating student in International Trade. The Greg and Susan Aldrich Undergraduate Research Award was established to provide funding to students to overcome barriers that obstruct their ability to perform meaningful research and/or creative activities. The Charles H.V. Ebert Scholarship for Physical Geography provides recognizes an academically outstanding graduating student in Earth Systems Science.

Students in our program may also qualify for scholarships and financial support from a number of other sources, including: Nationally Competitive Fellowships and Scholarships, and UB College of Arts and Sciences Scholarships and Awards.

Associated Programs

Associated Subjects

Published: Jan 25, 2023 07:59:01