The Geography Major and Minor
The geography major is designed to enable you to
- Develop a broad understanding of geography (achieve breadth),
- Dig deeply into a specialized area within geography (attain depth),
- Acquire skills needed to carry out independent research and lifelong learning.
You will achieve breadth by taking a core course in each of the four major geographic areas offered at Clark:
- Nature-Society and Global Environmental Change
- Globalization, Cities, and Development
- Geographic Information Science
- Earth System Science
You will attain depth by focusing on a specialization within one of the four core areas and by completing at least three advanced courses in this specialty area. You can also design your own specialization in consultation with your faculty advisor in geography.
You will develop research skills by studying research methods and selecting, with the advice of your faculty adviser, other skills courses that fit your goals and special interests. Together, the skills courses will enable you to ask good questions about geographic problems and to assemble and analyze the information needed to answer these questions. In a research applications course, you have the opportunity to use the research skills you've learned in other courses.
Pulling it all together
Your program of study as a geography major culminates in a senior year capstone course that provides perspective on your interests in geography.
In consultation with your faculty advisor, you will develop a learning plan, which will help you to identify your long-term goals and to design a program of study that will enable you to meet those goals.
Honors Program in Geography
The honors program in geography provides qualified students majoring in geography and global environmental studies an opportunity to conduct a major independent research project on a topic of interest. See Guidelines to the Honors Program.
Combining Geography With Other Programs
A Geography major is a good fit with the Urban Development and Social Change (UDSC) concentration. This concentration provides students majoring in any field with a structured program of study that enables them to understand the historical, social, economic and political factors that have shaped U.S. cities and how cities have, in turn, affected the lives of their inhabitants.
Geography is also a good fit for International Studies Stream (ISS) students. Many of the requirements for the ISS program can be completed through geography courses. The International Studies Stream is an innovative option within Clark’s Program of Liberal Studies, which offers students the opportunity to structure their broad liberal-arts education by focusing on international themes and issues.
Hands-On Opportunities: Internships and Research
Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of internship and research opportunities as a complement to classroom work and to build relevant career experience.
To learn about paid and unpaid internship opportunities, talk to the professor you are working with, visit the geography internship page or Career Services. In most cases an internship can count as a specialization course toward the major.
There are several ways to get involved in research. The HERO program, a prestigious undergraduate summer fellowship, offers students paid research employment and the possibility of authoring publishable research papers. In addition, every year the department awards the Peter Condakes Fellowship, which provides a stipend of $1,000 for an undergraduate geography major to work as a summer research assistant with a geography faculty member. The university also sponsors the Steinbrecher Fellowship Program, which awards stipends for student-designed projects, including research. Finally, don't hesitate to inquire of a professor whose works interests you. See what kinds of research undergrads have been involved with.
The department encourages students to spend at least one semester studying abroad, an added reason to consult your advisor early in your geography program. More information about studying abroad can be found here.