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Geography is a practical discipline which studies the distribution and movement of people, things and ideas across the complex surface of Earth.  It offers great intellectual breadth by way of integrating knowledge from many disciplines in the social and natural sciences.  At the same time it focuses sharply on the spatial dimension, leaving geographers best suited to answer complex questions such as why things are where they are, where they are likely to be in the future, and where they might best be located.  These skills are applied at any scale to any issue where space and location play a role.  For example, one might determine where to best locate a business or how to predict or manage trade.  One might study neighborhood dynamics in a chang­ing economy, or plan for urban growth and change.  One might study natural hazards, resource use and distribution, or climate change; or perhaps migration, suburbanization, tourism.  When location is relevant, geography plays a pivotal role.

Department Website

Admission to the Program 

Freshmen: 19 composite ACT or 890 combined SAT or top 50% class rank. Transfer: Cumulative 2.0 GPA (on 4.0 scale) from all colleges and/or universities attended and be in good academic standing.

Degree Requirements 

Cartography and GIS

Geography integrates information from many fields in the context of location and place.  This often involves making and interpreting maps.  Most geography majors take classes in cartography, aerial photo interpretation, and/or remote sensing. They must take an introductory course in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), a software program which harnesses the power of maps, databases, and statistical analysis.  GIS is now widely regarded as an essential planning tool and is one of the fastest growing areas of employment.  Major electives may include the 5-course sequence which leads to a Certificate in GIS. 

Urban Geography

The Department offers a series of courses which focus on urban systems.  These may be taken as electives.  Students will learn how cities are structured from a planning and functional perspective as well as from a social/cultural view.  Many classes meet in the field. 

Physical Geography

Students focusing more on the natural environment will enjoy the physical geography courses we offer.  These cover landforms, soils, climates, vegetation, wildlife, natural hazards, ocean resources, energy resources, water, and more.

Bachelor Degree Requirements

A minimum of 120 semester hours must be earned by every undergraduate student to be eligible to graduate from Northeastern.

Additional Requirements

1.  General Education Program:  All undergraduate students must complete the General Education Program requirements consisting of 39 semester hours in the following distribution areas:
Social/Behaviour Sciences (12 hours)
Natural Sciences (9 hours)
Mathematics (3 hours; grade of "C" or higher at college level)
Humanities (9 hours)
Fine Arts (6 hours)
2.  University Requirements:  English Composition I (grade of "C" or higher) and one Improving Human Relations course (consult the schedule of classes or catalog for listing of courses).
3.  Residency:  The last 30 consecutive credit hours must be taken at Northeastern, unless permission is received from the Office of Enrollment Services.

4.  Upper Division:  Students must complete a minimum of 24 semester hours at the 300 level and 18 semester hours at the 200 or 300 level.
5.  Academic Major and Minor:  Undergradute students must complete a major.  Some majors require a minor or set of cognate courses.  Students must earn a grade of "C" or higher in all courses counted toward the major, the minor, cognate and profressional sequences.  No "P" grades will count toward a major, moinior or approved area of study.  All grade point average requirements must be met for successful completeion of a program of study.
6.  Grade Point Average:  To be eligible to graduate, a student must have a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA (overall "C" average).  Some academic programs and departments have other specific grade requirements.  Check with your academic advisor.
Requirements are subject to change so please refer to the current catalog for up-to-date information.



Program Requirements


21 Credit Hours

GES 104: Introduction to Geography 3 cr
GES 205: Physical Geography 3 cr
GES 250: Writing in the Discipline - G&ES 3 cr

GES 291: GIS Across Disciplines


GES 391: GIS 1

3 cr

ONE Human Geography Course from the following:

  • GES 212: Economic Geography
  • GES 213: Cultural Geography
  • GES 217: Urban Geography
  • GES 314: Political Geography
  • GES 362: Population Geography
3 cr
ONE Regional Geography course from the 302 Series 3 cr

ONE Field Course

* Field courses are those which spend at least half of class hours outside of the classroom. They are identified as field courses in department notes. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • GES 341: Field Methods in Water Resources
  • GES 344: Chicago River Issues
  • GES 380: Field Methods
  • GES 388: Field Camp
3 cr


* Electives are approved by your Departmental Academic Advisor.

15 Credit Hours



36 Credit Hours


Careers & Employment 

Geography graduates will be able to collect relevant information from many sources, integrate and interpret it, and then communicate visually with maps as well as in writing and orally.  There is a saying that the three most important rules of doing business are “location, location, and location” – geographers understand location best.  Students find work in governmental, non-profit, and the private sectors, working with the natural or human environment, or both.  Employers appreciate their breadth of knowledge, keen understanding of the location, place, and space, and their powerful conceptual and technical skills. 

Program Contact Information 

Financial Aid

For Financial Aid Information, call (773) 442-5160 or visit the web at  Clock on Financial Aid & Scholarships. 
Northeastern's Federal School code is 001693.
For Foundation Scholarship information, contact Michelle Morrow at or visit the web at   Go to the Prospective Student tab and click on Financial Aid & Scholarships.

Admissions Counseling

Meet an Admission Counselor in the Admissions Counseling Office.  Prospective students are seen on a walk-in basis.  Admissions Counselors are availble:
Monday thru Thursday
9:00am to 6:30pm
9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Admissions office:  (773) 442+4050
For further information, please call (773) 442-6111.


Subject to change. See current catalog for up-to-date information. For further information call (773) 442-5640.

Arts and Sciences

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