Geography Old

Goals and Objectives

  • to provide students with unique skills and perspectives based on the interdisciplinary and integrative nature of the field;
  • to teach students to integrate information from both the physical and cultural realms to understand ourselves, our relationship with the Earth, and the complexities of our growing global interdependence;
  • to broaden students’ perceptions and understanding of the world in which they live;
  • to develop competencies in quantitative analysis, computer-based map-making, animation, and geographic information systems (GIS); and
  • to provide awareness of the scientific, artistic and ethical responsibilities in creating a good and professional map.


The geography and mapping sciences department offers a full range of over 25 undergraduate courses leading to a major (36 credits) or minor (21 credits) in the College of Arts and Sciences or a minor in the College of Education and Professional Studies. Majors may follow sequences in physical, human or applied geography. In addition, the department supports a separate GIS/Cartography minor program (21 credits) with a full array of courses focusing on map design and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The GIS/Cartography minor is open to all students regardless of the student’s major. The minor is designed to expose students to all facets of processing and mapping geographic information from map design to Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

A fully networked and integrated computer laboratory houses the cartography and GIS hardware and software within the geography and mapping sciences department at UW-River Falls. This facility is integrated into the curriculum and features state of the art computer hardware and software. All geography majors and minors and GIS/Cartography minors gain experience in the use of computers and in computer applications to problem solving.


The geography and mapping sciences department consists of four full-time faculty members with expertise in the major sub-fields of the discipline, including cultural and historical geography, physical and environmental geography, economic geography, and cartography
and geographic information systems. All members of the department are professionally active through research publications, presentation of papers at professional meetings, and serving as consultants to publishing companies and organizations. Two geography faculty have served as president of the Wisconsin Geographical Society.

Career Opportunities

Opportunities for geographers are as varied as the discipline itself. Students graduating with majors or minors in geography are uniquely well-prepared to meet the growing demand for employees with a broad background in both the social and physical sciences. Business firms engaged in commercial planning, population projections, transportation, locational analysis, and the travel industry traditionally find candidates for employment among geography students. Government on all levels employ people with training in urban and regional planning, cartography, geographic information systems, conservation, environmental planning and management, as well as cultural and physical geography. UW-River Falls geography graduates are presently employed by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Census Bureau, several local mapping and engineering firms, the U.S. Geological Survey and Wisconsin and Minnesota Departments of Natural Resources, as well as other state, county, and local government agencies. Teaching on the elementary, secondary, and university levels offers increased opportunities to graduates in geography as the level of geographic awareness increases among Americans. A growing number of our graduates pursue advanced degrees in Geography.


Geography and Mapping Sciences . . .

is the key to understanding the interrelationships between people and the physical environment, and interactions between places on earth. Geography strives to make sense of the often complex cultural and physical environments around us. More than ever, there is a need for knowledge of geography, an integrating discipline that focuses on the study of place. Through the study of relationships of people and their environments and how people of different cultures and levels of technology create distinctive landscapes, the geographer is prepared to assist in understanding the world's complexity and in seeking solutions to its problems. For these tasks, maps are the geographer's best known tools. Design, analysis, and construction of maps, using computers, are some of the varied practical applications of this discipline.

Department of Geography and Mapping Sciences
344 Kleinpell Fine Arts Building


University of Wisconsin-River Falls
410 S. 3rd Street, River Falls WI 54022 USA
Campus Information 715-425-3911