In the Department of History, Political Science, and Geography

Eugene Thompson, Department Chair
Sean Cannon
Staff Departmental Office (208) 356-1472

Geography has an ancient intellectual heritage which has persisted as humans have attempted to understand the complexities and interrelationships of world physical and cultural systems. Rooted in both the physical and social sciences, geography functions as a synthesizing discipline providing a "bridge" between these two often disparate interests. The Geography Department strives to perpetuate this long-standing objective by providing classes which investigate both the physical and cultural world. Geography students are trained to think in locational and spatial terms. In this context, students consider where physical and cultural phenomena are located and why they occupy this space. These principles, when combined with the interaction of earth systems, are the central focus of the discipline and the Geography Department.

Our courses are designed to fulfill several purposes: (1) To unequivocally support the mission of BYU-Idaho and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.(2) Provide exposure to the thinking of influential scholars of the discipline, both past and present. (3) Prepare prospective teachers in geographic fundamentals to facilitate teaching those fundamentals to their students. (4) Encourage an understanding of geographic vocabulary. (5) Introduction to research methodology, and introduce students to “leading edge” technology in geographic research and practice, in areas such as GIS and land-use planning. (6) Help students gain geographic literacy and certification as teachers of Geography at secondary level.

Career Opportunities It is recommended that those with an interest in becoming geographers seek a broad background in many fields, especially in the Social and Earth Sciences. Geography majors may choose from careers in travel and tourism, cartography, business, government, education, planning and resource management or Geographic Information Systems.

A Geography-based, “Travel and Tourism” four-year degree program is available at BYU. This program is for students interested in careers as travel agents, tourism specialists, and other travel and tourism related careers. You can complete two of the core courses of this program (Geog 101 and Geog 120), while at BYU-Idaho. Contact Department of Geography for further information.


Minor Geography

Requirements for a minor (18 hours)

1.   Complete the following courses (12 hours):
Geog 101 Introduction to Phys Geog
Geog 101L Physical Geography Lab
Geog 120 Geography & World Affairs
Geog 230 Introduction to GIS
Geog 240 Maps & Remote Sensing

2.   Take 2 of the following courses (6  hours):
Geog 320 Geography of North America
Geog 321 Geography of Dev Nations
Geog 350 Cultural Geography
Minor Geography Education

Requirements for a teaching minor (21 hours)

1.   Complete the following courses:
Geog 101 Introduction to Phys Geog
Geog 101L Physical Geography Lab
Geog 120 Geography &World Affairs
Geog 230 Introduction to GIS
Geog 240 Maps & Remote Sensing
Geog 320 Geography of North America
Geog 321 Geography of Dev Nations
Geog 350 Cultural Geography 
NOTE: A composite Social Science Education degree will be offered. Please refer to the History Department catalog section for the requirements to obtain this degree.


Geog 101**Introduction to Physical Geography (3:3:0)
The study of man’s physical environment: weather, climate, vegetation, soils, and landforms. Emphasizes their interrelationships, distribution, and significance to man.

Geog 101L**Physical GeographyLab (1:0:1)
Prerequisite: concurrent registration in Geog 101, or consent of instructor
Field trips will be required and fee assessed

Geog 110 Introduction to Geography (3:3:0)
This course is designed to introduce elementary education majors to the fundamentals of physical and human geography in preparation for teaching in public school systems. The basic themes of Physical and Cultural Geography includes map usage, weather, climate, landforms, natural resources, economic geography, population and demographics, urban geography and regional studies in geography.

Geog 120*Geography and World Affairs (3:3:0)
The study of human cultures as they interact with each other and with their physical environment. Its focus is on such topics as population, urbanization, language, religion, political patterns, and economic development as these express themselves in world affairs.

Geog 230 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (3:2:2)
This introductory course is designed to provide a general overview of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) including background, development, trends and prospects for the use of this rapidly developing technology in a variety of professions and academic fields. Basic components and analytical functions of GIS will be introduced along with additional spatial and geographic concepts, cartographic communication, automated mapping characteristics, map projections and map scale, geocoding, coordinate systems, and the nature of spatial area.

Geog 240 Maps & Remote Sensing (2:1:2)
Introduction to the principles of mapping and various types of remote sensing. Students will be expected to understand various map projections and their use, produce some rudimentary maps, and learn to use representative computer mapping software. They will also be introduced to various types of remote sensing, including aerial photos and satellite imagery.

Geog 320 Geography of North America (3:3:0)
This course will explore the relationships between the environmental, cultural, economic, and demographic processes reshaping North America as an example of the geography of developed nations and the nature of regional geography.

Geog 321 Geography of Developing Nations (3:3:0)
Will focus on underdeveloped regions of the world to examine major themes related to development and underdevelopment, poverty and wealth, equality and inequality. It will take a geographical approach to present and explain the diversity in development of countries and regions and how these development patterns have let to today’s distribution of important economic, environmental and sociocultural dimensions of human welfare.

Geog 350 Cultural Geography (3:3:0)
The primary goal of this course will be to examine the various aspects of culture and the man/land relationship from the geographic perspective.

Complete General Education listing

Credit Hour Designations/Abbreviations (e.g., 3:3:3)

BYU-Idaho | Catalog