Jul 25, 2024  
College Catalog 2016-2017 
College Catalog 2016-2017 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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Full Time Faculty: Holly R. Barcus (Chair), I-Chun Catherine Chang, Eric D. Carter, David A. Lanegran (Emeritus), William G. Moseley, Laura J. Smith, Daniel Trudeau

The mission of the geography department is to advance the frontiers of geography through teaching, research and applications of geographic theories and insights in efforts to better understand global and regional situations and to resolve community issues. Our department curriculum contains courses that convey knowledge of the ways human activity in space is organized and the interactions between human activities and the physical environment. Geography possesses an integrated approach to human knowledge and has a global viewpoint.

Through classroom and laboratory experience, field work, and community involvement, students are provided with the knowledge and skills required to carry out locational analysis, and appreciate the diversity of people and places, the integration of places on the surface of the earth, and the spatial processes that affect contemporary society. To achieve our goals the faculty and students engage in a variety of research projects, and we offer a range of courses for Macalester undergraduates, workshops and institutes for in-service teachers and informal learning activities for the community around us. The geography department plays an active role in Macalester’s civic engagement initiatives.

Career Orientation

The study of geography prepares students to enter a wide range of planning and analytical careers, as well as the field of education. Students go on to graduate programs in geography, architecture, business, urban and regional planning, community and international development, and environmental management. In recent years, several graduates have gone into careers in cartography, geographic information science, non-profit management and international affairs.

General Distribution Requirement

All geography courses count toward the general distribution requirement in social science except courses numbered GEOG 116 , GEOG 614 , GEOG 624 , GEOG 634 , and GEOG 644 GEOG 120  and GEOG 116  count toward the general distribution requirement in mathematics and natural science.

General Education Requirements

Courses that meet the general education requirements in writing, quantitative thinking, internationalism and US identities and differences will be posted on the Registrar’s web page in advance of registration for each semester.

Additional information about general distribution requirements and the general education requirements can be found in the graduation requirements  section of this catalog.

Honors Program

The geography department participates in the honors program. Eligibility requirements, application procedures and specific project expectations for the geography department are available from geography department advisors.


Over the past several years the department, in cooperation with the Career Development Center, has sponsored preprofessional internships in a variety of natural resource and planning agencies, consulting firms and community organizations. In some internships, students are paid for their work.

Further Preparation

To meet requirements for graduate study, students with majors or minors in geography should select supplementary courses from the social sciences, the natural sciences, and the humanities and fine arts in consultation with their department advisors. It is also desirable that students preparing for graduate study take an advanced GIS course, e.g., GEOG 364 - GIS and Community Partnerships  or GEOG 365 - Urban GIS  or GEOG 366 - GIS for Global Urban Environments , GEOG 377 - Qualitative Research Methods  and one of the 400-level research seminars in the department.

For other opportunities in related areas of study, see the catalog description of urban studies, international studies, environmental studies, computer science, community and global health, and various area studies programs.


The National Council for Geographic Education Award for Excellence of Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding senior majoring in geography. The David A. Lanegran Award, named for the longest serving member of the department, is presented to a student or students in recognition of significant contributions to the community life of the department. The Hildegard Binder Johnson Prize in Geography, named for the founder of the department, is awarded annually to academically outstanding students in geography. In addition, exceptional majors and minors in geography are eligible for membership in Epsilon Kappa, the Macalester chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon, the national honor society in geography. 

Topics Courses

GEOG 194 , GEOG 294 , GEOG 394 , GEOG 494  

Examination of special topics of interest to faculty and students, such as a study of the processes by which the spatial environment is cognitively organized by people, geographical problems in economic development, regions of the world, etc. To be announced at registration. (4 credits)

Independent Study

The department offers independent study options in the form of independent projects, internships, preceptorships and Honors independent projects. For more information contact the department and review the Curriculum  section of the catalog.


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