Geography & Geospatial Analysis


The following is a list of courses offered in this program at Western. The official University Catalog contains more detailed and specific information about degree requirements for this major.

 ANTH 320 - CULTURAL ECOLOGY (3 credits)

An examination of key perspectives, theories, and methods in the study of ecological anthropology. Students learn about the use and definition of the environment by groups from different cultural backgrounds, and build a comparative perspective in so doing. The focus is on contemporary groups, but archaeological examples are used as comparison and to build time-depth in our understanding of cultural ecology. Prerequisite: ANTH 107 or instructor permission.


An overview of organismal diversity and ecology. Through a taxonomic survey, students are introduced to prokaryotic and eukaryotic diversity including microorganisms, plants, and animals. Organismic anatomy and physiology, as well as fundamentals of ecology, are also considered. Laboratories introduce students to the process and methods of science through investigative experiences. This course is designed for the science major. Prerequisites: A year of high school biology and a year of high school chemistry or CHEM 101 or CHEM 111.


An overview of organismal diversity and ecology. Through a taxonomic survey, students are introduced to prokaryotic and eukaryotic diversity including microorganisms, plants, and animals. Organismic anatomy and physiology, as well as fundamentals of ecology, are also considered. Laboratories introduce students to the process and methods of science through investigative experiences. This course is designed for the science major. Prerequisites: A year of high school biology and a year of high school chemistry or CHEM 101 or CHEM 111.

 CS 190 - COMPUTER SCIENCE I (3 credits)

An introduction to software development. Students develop applications using modern programming languages and techniques. Emphasis is placed on good software engineering practices for problem analysis, program design, documentation, testing and debugging. The course uses an industry standard programming language.


A critical examination of key perspectives, economic and political processes, policy actors, and institutions involved in global environmental issues. Students analyze ecological, cultural, and social dimensions of international environmental concerns and governance as they have emerged in response to increased recognition of global environmental threats, globalization, and international contributions to understanding of these issues. The focus of the course encourages students to engage and evaluate texts within the broad policy discourse on globalization, justice, and the environment. Prerequisites: ENVS 100; ECON 201, ENVS 200 or SCI 202; junior standing or instructor approval.


A survey of the major regions of the contemporary world-defined according to a combination of biophysical, cartographic, cultural, religious, linguistic, political, and economic criteria. Emphasis is given to understanding regional characteristics and processes, and to relationships between events and processes occurring in different regions. Current events of major importance are incorporated where appropriate.


A thematic study of cultural landscapes and the processes by which people create and modify them. Topics of discussion range from ancient to modern, rural to urban, local to international, and include themes as diverse as the origins and spread of agriculture, migration and immigration, urban morphologies and social interactions, ethnicity, development and underdevelopment, and environmental concerns.

 GEOG 222 - OUR DIGITAL EARTH (3 credits)

Using primarily on-line data and sources of maps, aerial photographs and satellite images, students develop and apply understanding of basic principles and techniques of map interpretation, communication with maps, and the appropriate use and interpretation of aerial photographs and satellite images. The course emphasizes both the skilled use of these standard tools of geographic analysis and visualization and communication of data and analysis with free on-line mapping tools and location-enabled mobile phone applications. 


A survey of the major biophysical, cultural, and economic regions of the United States and Canada. Major themes of human geography including demography, migration, land use change, and ecological concerns are addressed in appropriate regional contexts. Prerequisite: GEOG 120 or sophomore standing.


An introduction to the concepts and techniques of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Topics covered include fundamentals of mapping, data formats, data acquisition, and quantitative analysis of spatial data. The laboratory component emphasizes practical applications of GIS to contemporary problems including but not limited to watershed analysis, land-use planning, environmental assessment, and market analysis. Prerequisites: GEOG 222 or GEOL 105; college-level mathematics requirement with a minimum grade of "C-"; junior standing or instructor permission.


A thematic study of the physiographic and cultural regions of Latin America and the major historical and contemporary geographic processes that characterize the region. Major topics of discussion include climate and physiography, environmental concerns and human rights, the nature of Latin American cities, pre-Hispanic and modern agriculture, and the nature of contemporary economic processes in the region. Prerequisite: GEOG 120 or sophomore standing

 GEOG 360 - 'NATURAL' DISASTERS (3 credits)

This course examines a variety of natural processes which have the potential to inflict dramatic damage and loss of life and a wide range of social, economic, political, and other factors that tend to increase exposure to those events and reduce the abilities of certain populations to respond to them—causing natural processes to become disasters. Prerequisite: GEOG 120 or instructor permission


Students enhance their understanding of concepts, skills, and techniques learned in an earlier GIS course by applying additional training in advanced vector and raster analysis, utilization of satellite imagery, and geospatial analysis methods to inform analysis of landscape change processes such as wildfire, deforestation, urbanization, reforestation, drought, flooding, climate change, and agricultural intensification. Prerequisite: GEOG 340.


Provides the opportunity for advanced students to apply skills and knowledge gained from course work to an applied setting typical of those in which geographers are employed. Prerequisite: junior standing and completion of all other geography requirements.

 GEOL 101 - PHYSICAL GEOLOGY GSC2 (3 credits)

An introductory class that emphasizes the environmental aspects of geology. The course covers the basic principles of physical geology, such as minerals, rocks, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, and origin of landscapes by mass wasting, rivers, glaciers, ground water, and nearshore processes. Throughout this course, focus is on the effect of geology on human society through the study of geologic hazards, energy resources, and mineral resources.

 PHYS 120 - METEOROLOGY GSC2 (3 credits)

A summary of the structure of the Earth's atmosphere, worldwide weather disturbances, weather forecasting, and snow avalanches. This course may not be taken for credit toward the Physics Minor.

Geographers study places, natural and human-altered landscapes, and processes by which people make their livelihoods and give their lives meaning and in so doing, create and modify their environments. The Geography & Geospatial Analysis Program at Western emphasizes the study of human geography, while providing background in sciences that improve our understanding of the natural environment through courses offered by other disciplines.

A minor in Geography & Geospatial Analysis complements a major in many other disciplines, including Biology, Business Administration, Economics, English, Environmental Studies, Geology, History, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology.

Next Steps

If you're interested in Western's Geography & Geospatial Analysis Program, we invite you to take the next steps towards becoming a part of the Mountaineer family. 

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  2. Get more information about the program.
  3. Schedule a campus visit so you can meet professors, see the beautiful Gunnison Valley, and find out if Western is the perfect school for you.
  4. Start the online application process - apply online now.
  5. Find scholarships, grants, or financial aid that match your interests and situation.


Scholarships associated with academic programs usually have a specific scholarship application form that can easily be obtained by contacting that academic program's office or visiting that academic program's web page. If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid office at 970.943.3085 or 800.876.5309. To find scholarships based on year of study (e.g. - Freshmen Scholarships), please see the navigation to the left.

 Western Presidential Scholars Award

The Western Presidential Scholars Award is a full tuition scholarship available to Valedictorians of Colorado high schools (residents only) aimed at increasing the number of high achieving students attending Western State Colorado University.  The scholarship is renewable for eight consecutive semesters (four years) and will cover full in-state tuition charges after the COF stipend is applied.  The Western Presidential Scholars Award would replace any other merit scholarship that may have already been awarded to the student.  The Western Presidential Scholars Award is a competitive scholarship (application is required) as there are a limited number of awards available each year.  Below are some details you should know:

Minimum Criteria

  •          3.80 cumulative High School GPA 
  •          25 ACT score/1200 SAT combined score
  •          Be ranked #1 on high school transcript or certified as ‘valedictorian’ by high school official

Application Process

To apply students must submit a letter of application, one letter of recommendation, and provide verification of Valedictorian status.  Completed applications must be received by April 1st of each year.

Renewal Criteria

  •          Must enroll in and successfully complete 12 credits each semester (24 credits each year)
  •          Must maintain a 3.0 GPA at Western 

Faculty & Staff


Professor of Geography
B.A., Trinity Western University;, M.A., Ph.D., University of Texas-Austin.
Phone: (970) 943-2800
Office Location: Kelley Hall 220
Lecturer in Geography
Phone: 970.943.3021
Office Location: Kelly Hall 211