Geography

Geography isn’t just about knowing your way around a map.
It’s about knowing your way around our ever-changing world.

The Department of Geography at the University of Oregon is one of the top ten geography programs in the country. We feature faculty and students researching and teaching on the cutting edge of important societal issues, such as racism, climate change, water resources, economic development, land use, conflict, migration, spatial data science, cartography, and more. We offer two majors, Geography and Spatial Data Science and Technology, and minors in Climate Studies and Geography.

60+
Years of high-impact research, teaching, and service
6
faculty research labs
40%
of undergraduates participating in research

What you can do with a degree in Geography

The career possibilities are endless with a Geography degree. Are you looking to work with people, the environment, or data? There are many careers that can fulfill your interests, as well as utilize the skills you develop in your undergraduate career. Examples of recent alumni placements include:

  • Cartographer at National Geographic
  • Head of development and fundraising at a nonprofit
  • Independent drone operator
  • Data analyst for the U.S. Census
  • GIS analyst for utility company
Geography undergraduate director Leslie McLees

How the Department of Geography Launches Your Career

“Students are told they need to go to college to get a degree, but rarely told how to translate their experiences into a career. I’ve spent several years working to bring career readiness to geography students, providing career advising and developing a course to help students translate their experiences into something that sets them up well for both a career and to be an effective global citizen. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is seeing a student who thinks they have no skills transform into someone confidently speaking about what they can do.”

—Leslie McLees, undergraduate director

Our Degree Programs

Undergraduate and graduate programs in the Department of Geography feature courses that span the range of the discipline, but allow students to develop a depth of knowledge in their interest areas. Courses offer topics that range from political economy and cultural analysis to climate change and water systems that help examine the depth and breadth of human-environment relationships in the past, present, and potential futures. We have a range of courses that focus on the concepts and technology involved in geographic analysis, including GIS, remote sensing, and cartography.

Geography professor Dan Gavin teaching a class in the wood

Learn from Experts in the Field

Our world-class faculty regularly publish in high-quality journals and bring funding to support their research, including student assistants. Geography faculty are passionate about the subjects they teach because, like any geographer, when they look out at the world, they want to understand the change, inequality, and injustice that shapes our experiences. Our connections to our alumni and local organizations help students visualize the many pathways open to them.

Drone taking off with student in background

Get Real-world Experience

We offer a variety of ways for students to understand and apply the ideas they develop in their coursework to the world. We strongly support internships and study abroad; we offer positions in labs; and we offer ways of interacting with recent alumni through Geography Club. Many of our courses have a fieldwork component, and in others you will get experience asking and answering questions like a geographer through independent course projects.

Scholarships & Funding

The Department of Geography offers several scholarship and funding opportunities for students. Some involve an application and others are based on nominations from faculty. Opportunities include:

  • A variety of graduate employee (GE) positions as teaching assistants, graders, and researchers
  • The Trussell Family Scholarship for undergraduates
  • The Bill Loy Award for Cartographic Excellence

Undergraduate Scholarships 
Graduate Funding

Academic Support

The Department of Geography offers support for students who face many challenges while attending university. Advising for undergraduates is more than just choosing classes, but also checking in, exploring issues facing the student, and finding resources on and off campus that can help support them. We also focus on career readiness in advising and coursework, with the first permanent class in the College of Arts and Sciences to be focused solely on translating college experiences to a potential career.

Undergraduate Advising 
Support for Graduate Students

Geography News and Events

May 30, 2024
GEOGRAPHY - On May 23, 2024, Professor Mark Carey gave a keynote address to the Chilean Congress of Cryospheric Science. According to Carey's abstract on his research, research on the human dimensions of glaciers and the cryosphere has increased substantially during the last decade, including in new subfields such as “ice humanities” and “cold humanities.”
April 15, 2024
ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES, GEOGRAPHY - Fire is a dynamic process and requires a multidisciplinary approach to appreciate its complexities. Researchers in the College of Arts and Sciences are combining their unique perspectives to gain a comprehensive understanding of fire and its impacts on West Coast communities.
February 6, 2024
GEOGRAPHY, PHILOSOPHY, ROMANCE LANGUAGES - Three CAS faculty members—Mark Carey, Diana Garvin, and Colin Koopman—were awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

All news »


Coming to Oregon Graduate Student Group
Jul22
Coming to Oregon Graduate Student Group Jul 22
Coming to Oregon Graduate Student Group - evening session
Jul22
Coming to Oregon Graduate Student Group - evening session Jul 22
University of Oregon Night at the San Francisco Giants
Jul30
University of Oregon Night at the San Francisco Giants Jul 30 Oracle Park
Coming to Oregon Graduate Student Group
Aug19
Coming to Oregon Graduate Student Group Aug 19
Coming to Oregon Graduate Student Group - evening session
Aug19
Coming to Oregon Graduate Student Group - evening session Aug 19
UO Cinema Studies Alumni Gathering: Los Angeles
Aug25
UO Cinema Studies Alumni Gathering: Los Angeles Aug 25 Everson Royce Bar
Graduate Employee Day of Teaching
Sep25
Graduate Employee Day of Teaching Sep 25 100 Willamette Hall
The BIG 10+ Academia Career Fair
Oct16
The BIG 10+ Academia Career Fair Oct 16
Bob Bussel Labor History Lecture
Apr24
Bob Bussel Labor History Lecture Apr 24 William W. Knight Law Center

All events »