Geographers study the spatial distribution of cultural and physical features across the Earth's surface. Using a spatial perspective, geographers seek to understand why things are located where they are, how people interact with their environment, the movement and changes in physical and cultural phenomena over space and time, and what makes regions distinctive. This spatial perspective is one strength of geographic study because it can be done at any level of scale, from the local to the global.

The Department of Geosciences offers both a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Science in Geoscience with a geography concentration. In addition to the basic Geoscience requirements, students concentrating in the Geography Track must take 28 hours in cultural geography, maps and remote sensing, GIS, and a variety of human and physical geography courses to fulfill the geography requirement of 28 hours. The Geography Track gives students the flexibility to tailor the degree toward specific interests in physical and/or human geography.


Graduate Student Support

Full time-time ($1000/month) and half-time ($600/month) teaching assistantships are often available for graduate students. Full-time TA's teach two or three lab sections per week; half-time TA's usually teach one lab section and assist in one other. Departmental TA's usually last for two years and include a tuition waiver. Research assistantships are also often available to graduate students. RA's are usually required to teach labs in addition to working on a research project. The amount of the monthly RA stipend is dependent on a particular project and grant but can be as much as $1500/month plus tuition waiver. For more information on the graduate program in the Department of Geosciences please contact Dr. Mike Brown, Graduate Coordinator.



Geography Courses

GR 1123: Introduction to World Geography - A multi-sensory course. A brief introduction to the physical aspects of the earth is followed by a tour around the world. Various geography themes or concepts are emphasized with each realm. The realms will be "made to come alive" with music, slides, stories, current news topics, and costumes. Fifteen map quizzes during the semester will broaden your knowledge of world locations.

GR 2013: Cultural Geography - Examples from all regions of the world provide an insight into the cultural diversity and its spatial patterns. Cultural geography explores the relationship between people and their environment in many cultural aspects, including language, religion, population, folk and popular culture, political geography, agricultural practices, and settlement patterns.

GR 2313: Maps and Remote Sensing - A hands-on course where students learn to use maps as valuable research tools. The course includes history of maps, latitude and longitude, Universal Transverse Mercator coordinates, map projections, working with scale to find distance and area, introduction to aerial photography interpretation, the electromagnetic spectrum, and introductions to remote sensing, GIS (geographic information systems) and GPS (Global Positioning System).

GR 3113: Conservation of Natural Resources - A survey of the Earth's natural systems and the impact of human activities on those systems. Topics such as global warming, depletion of the ozone layer, deforestation, plant and animal extinction, pesticide use and associated environmental issues are discussed. Other topics include environmental regulations and legislation, soils and soil erosion, wetland and tropical rainforest destruction, and human population growth dynamics. Conservation and management strategies are included. Handouts, videos, and class discussion are integral parts of the class.

GR 4103/6103: Geography of Tourism - Geography of Tourism focuses on the spatial aspects of recreation and tourism. The course examines effects of tourism on local and regional economies, cultures, and the impact on the environment.

GR 4203/6203: Geography of North America - This course uses a topical approach to study the United States and Canada. Beginning with the physical geography of the region, the course then moves on to look at the historical geography and settlement patterns of the continent, it's cultural, economic, urban, ethnic, population, and industrial geography, and why they are unique in North America. The course ends with a summary of the various subregions within the continent.

GR 4213/6213: Geography of Latin America - The physical geography of the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and South America provide the background to the study of this region. A study of the region's historical geography includes the Iberian cultural influences, geography of the conquest, and the Columbian exchange of plants, animals, and diseases between the Old and New Worlds. Throughout the course, students examine the historical and current geographies of the racial and ethnic makeup of Latin America, economic development, agriculture, mining and manufacturing, urbanization and population growth, political change, and various cultural aspects of the region.

GR 4223/6223: The Geography of Europe - A regional survey of Western and Eastern Europe, including western Russia, with a focus on the physical environment and special cultural relationship between Europe and the rest of the world. Topics such as the internal cultural regions, nationalism, economic development, political systems, and military history are discussed. Map work, videos, handouts and class discussions are integral parts of the class.

GR 4233/6233: The Geography of Asia - A regional survey of the area east of the Ural mountains and the Mediterranean Sea to the Pacific Ocean, with emphasis upon place names, physical geography, cultural diversity and landscapes, geopolitical conflicts and environmental issues. The Middle East is included. Map work, handouts, videos and class discussions are part of the class.

GR 4243/6243: The Geography of Russia and the Former Soviet Union - A regional survey of Russia and the region surrounding it. Topics such as its physical characteristics and the development of Russia from a local trade center to the Soviet Empire and its aftermath are discussed, with special attention to Russian culture, history, politics, art and natural resources. Special attention is devoted to environmental, economic and military issues as they pertain to Russia and the former Soviet satellites. Map work, videos, handouts and class discussions are important parts of the class.

GR 4253/6253: Geography of Africa - A survey of the African continent starts with a close examination of its physical geography, especially of the unique geologic aspects that make Africa different from the other continents. While studying the historical geography of the continent, students will become familiar with the spatial aspects of past civilizations and their influences, the introduction of Islam, the coming of European explorers and settlement, the slave trade, European colonization and independence. The course continues by examining the geographical aspects of economic development, agriculture and the Green Revolution, rapid population growth, urban geography, changing political geography, and patterns of movement throughout Africa. Discussion of the prospects for the continents future include such topics as AIDS, the demise of apartheid, and continuing ethnic warfare.

GR 4263/6253: Geography of the South - Perhaps the most unique region within the United States, the South is often misunderstood. The many sub-regions of the South give special character to the geographically diverse areas in the region. The historical development of the South as an individual region provides a framework to examine its unique character. Students examine the historical geography that includes the beginnings of the plantation system and slavery, the geography of cotton, antebellum economic development, the geography of the Civil War, the post-war plantation and settlement changes in the rural and urban landscapes, population migrations out of the region, the great changes that occurred with in the South resulting from the two world wars, the cultural contributions to national culture through the blues, country music, and rock and roll, and the particular geography of the Civil Rights era. The course ends by looking at the economic renaissance of Southern agriculture and industry, the Sun Belt phenomena and population migrations into the South, and whether the South is becoming more like the rest of the country, or whether the rest of the United States is becoming more Southern.

GR 8542: Geographic Literature - As it is currently structured, this course is designed to assure the faculty that graduate students are fluent in the use of computers for writing, graphics, and data analysis. Students are required to pursue a research project resulting in a written paper that demonstrates mastery of the computer skills mentioned above.

GG 8561: Geoscience Seminar - This course has the purpose of teaching graduate students how to prepare and deliver a professional presentation. Students are required to use Powerpoint or a similar computer program to construct an oral presentation equivalent to those commonly delivered at professional meetings and conferences. Student presentations are delivered before the entire faculty and graduate students each spring semester.

GR 8990: Research Methods - This course was designed for graduate students following our non-thesis track. Since those students do not write a thesis, the faculty use this course to ensure that research skills are learned. Students learn the framework of a research project--use of scientific inquiry to pose a question, observe and collect information, analyze data, and draw conclusions. Written results and oral presentations are required.

All photos by Grady Dixon






Department of Geosciences • 108 Hilbun Hall • P.O. Box 5448 • Mississippi State, MS 39762-5448

phone: 662-325-3915 • fax: 662-325-9423