Why study Geography Minor at UB?
*Not a baccalaureate degree program
Geography is concerned with the location and arrangement in space of human and natural phenomena, and with the interrelationships between people and their environments. The Department of Geography has four major areas of concentration. Earth Systems Science focuses on the fundamental processes that dominate the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere, their characteristics and complex interactions, and their impact on human life and society. Geographic Information Systems focuses on the theoretical foundations geographical information science, the development and use of state-of-the-art software and emerging technology, and the collection, processing, and interpretation of geospatial information. International Trade focuses on economic and business geography, and it prepares students to critically assess the process of globalization operating in the world today, including the growth of multinationals and foreign direct investment, international trade, the internationalization of capital and financial markets, new international divisions of labor, and the rapid development of technology and innovations. Urban and Regional Analysis focuses on a wide variety of economic and social problems related to transportation, land use, urban environment, housing, work and welfare, population changes and migration, and health within a geographical context.
Upon successful completion of all requirements, students will obtain foundational knowledge in general geography and in the areas of international trade, geographic information systems, Earth systems science, and urban and regional analysis, they will acquire knowledge in quantitative and qualitative analytic methods, and they will develop skills and abilities in laboratory, field, software, and statistical methods and techniques necessary to address geographic issues.
The Learning Environment
A key component of the geography degree is access to the Geographic Information and Analysis Laboratory. This multipurpose computing facility supports the teaching and research needs of geospatial sciences and statistics, and it enables faculty and students to pursue active learning experiences. Students also gain practical experience using field and laboratory equipment employed by researchers and practitioners in Earth surface processes and environmental science. Introductory courses include relatively large enrollment classes that embrace a range of media sources, active learning exercises, technology, and online options to enhance the learning experience. Upper-division courses tend to include relatively smaller class sizes with unrivaled 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. The collection, processing, and presentation of digital information obtained from a variety of sources are critical components to the study 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. The department also houses UB’s Canada-United States Trade Center (CUSTAC), whose mission is to conduct new research on international trade and investment, and the social, environmental and economic development impacts associated with trade and investment patterns and policies.
About Our Faculty
Geography has a diverse faculty in terms of disciplinary focus, composition, and real-world experience. The department has 19.5 faculty that can be grouped into the following specializations: Earth Systems Science, Geographic Information Science, International Trade, and Urban and Regional Analysis. Faculty members represent the global community (hailing from North America, Europe, and several locations in Asia), and they come to the University at Buffalo after pursuing graduate degrees or post-doctoral or tenure-track positions at major national and international universities, conducting research at federal laboratories, or working in industry. 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.
Human geographers work in the fields of urban and regional planning, social services, transportation, marketing, real estate, tourism, and international business. Physical geographers study patterns and interactions of climates, land forms, vegetation, soils, and water.
Geographers also study linkages between human activity and natural systems. Geographers are active in the study of global warming, desertification, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, groundwater pollution, and flooding.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (US Department of Labor) lists geography as a stable employment sector, with excellent growth potential in some sub-disciplines (such as geographic information systems and statistics). More than half of all geographers in the US are employed by the federal government.
- Computer analyst
- Environmental scientist/manager
- GIS specialist
- Health care
- Market research analyst
- Natural resource manager
- Urban and transportation planner
Work settings include:
- Consulting companies
- Engineering and marketing consultants
- GIS software development, implementation
- Government agencies
- Local, city and/or state planning offices
- Multinational corporations
- Real estate developers
- Social services organizations
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 curricula 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.