Geography & Geospatial Analysis

  • Pair with any bachelor's degree
    • Minor

    Get Involved

    A college education is more than just taking courses. Meet new people, apply your skills and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Make your education an experience.

    Opportunities in Complementary Programs


    • Backyard Laboratory: Tenderfoot (aka “W”) Mountain, just one mile away from campus, is home to structures dating to the Paleo Indian period—more than 10,000 years ago. Western has conducted field schools on the site since 2001.
    • Research: Anthropology students have many opportunities to research in the field and have access to state-of-the-art technology and sites. All students are encouraged to develop and present their own creative and relevant research projects at conferences.
    • Study Abroad: Travel to India, Ecuador, Prague, London, Italy or Belize through Extended Studies.

    Business Administration

    • Career Fairs: Connect with future employers during the various career fairs in the School of Business and around Colorado.
    • ICELab: The Innovation + Creativity + Entrepreneurship (ICE) Lab on upper campus is a space that provides startups and expanding businesses with the materials and support needed to succeed.
    • Office of Career Success: Business students have a department-specific career services professional.
    • Study Abroad: Experience Harlaxton College in the English Midlands.


    • Capstone Experience: Senior economics majors incorporate the tools learned throughout the program to engage in an in-depth analysis of increasing economic inequality.
    • Internships: Recent students have interned with local government agencies and businesses to analyze current economic data.
    • Model United Nations: Compete in the National Model United Nations event in New York City.
    • Study Abroad: Experience Harlaxton College in the English Midlands.

    Energy Management

    • Info Sessions & Interviews: Companies come to campus each semester to hire and network with students. 
    • Internships: Students have found internships with more than 50 companies across the West with hourly wages of $25 or more. 
    • Professional Development: Students have access to personal brand and interview coaching as well as resume development sessions. 

    Environment & Sustainability

    • Clubs & Organizations: Join the Organics Guild, Sustainability Coalition or Wildlife Society. 
    • Coldharbour Institute: Experiment with sustainable building design, resilient food systems or community organizing in the Gunnison Valley.
    • Conferences: Attend the Headwaters Conference, the Colorado Water Workshop and Sage Grouse Spring Symposium.
    • Earthship Academy: Learn how to construct a self-sustaining building capable of producing food and saving energy.
    • High Country News: Check out the independent news source's new satellite office located in Kelley Hall.
    • Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory: Find a research assistantship at one of the premier biological research stations in the world. 
    • Solar Energy International: Engage in the local, regional or global conversation about the renewable energy era.


    • Fieldwork: Students explore the Elk, West Elk and San Juan ranges; the Black Canyon and Gunnison Gold Belt; the active tectonics of the Rio Grande Rift and more. 
    • Geology Club: The Geology Club is active in fundraising for student experiences, including field trips and attending professional conferences. 
    • Geology Scholarships and Awards: Four annual scholarships, from generous geology alumni donations, are awarded to geology students to help offset educational costs. 
    • Research Funding: The Bartleson-Prather Fund provides students with scholarships and research stipends. 


    • Field Experience: Seniors travel to historical locations, such as the Sand Creek Massacre and Bent’s Old Fort national historical sites to study the role of commemoration and memory.
    • History Honor Society: Join Iota Nu Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, one of Western’s oldest academic honor societies.
    • History League: Sponsors activities including a book club and catapult construction.
    • Internships: Land an internship with the Crested Butte Heritage Museum.
    • Study Abroad: Travel to India, Ecuador, Prague, London, Italy or Belize through Extended Studies.

    Politics & Government

    • Events: Global Justice Film Series, visiting speakers, political debates and voter registration.
    • Internships: Students intern with political candidates, elected officials, nonprofit organizations and legal professionals.
    • Mock Trial: Introduces students to real criminal or civil cases to prepare for trial after graduation.
    • Model United Nations: Competes in the National Model United Nations event in New York City.
    • Politics Clubs: A student-led club that tackles political topics, provides professional development opportunities and works to bring dynamic debate to campus.


    • Alpha Kappa Delta: A society of scholars (undergrad, graduate and professional) that promotes excellence in sociology, conducts research on social problems and involves itself in other activities which attempt to improve the human condition. 
    • Sociology Club: A student organization meant to engage students in academic and social activities outside of the classroom.
    • Undergraduate Research Conference: A regional conference (sometimes hosted here at Western) where students present their own research in a professional setting.


    Institutional Scholarships

    Common Scholarships

    Western offers approximately 70 common scholarships for which a wide variety of students are eligible (e.g., locals, veterans, transfers). Apply for any number of these common scholarships using Western’s Common Scholarship Application, which is due April 1. For more information, visit

    Early Action Credit

    If a student is accepted to Western by Nov. 1 and qualifies for a merit scholarship, the student will receive an additional $500 for the first year. Use our Net Price Calculator to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

    Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

    Western Colorado University alumni can nominate prospective students for a $500 scholarship ($250 per semester) for first year only. Application deadline is typically June 1. For more information, visit

    Neighboring States Program

    Students with a permanent address from one of the seven contiguous neighboring states to Colorado who have demonstrated financial need are automatically considered for a special $1,000 per year grant, totaling $4,000 over four years.

    The Western Neighboring States program can be added to WUE, CP or merit scholarships. So, if you are a permanent resident of one of those seven states—and show financial need—you are eligible.

    For more information about the Neighboring States program, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

    Presidential Promise

    The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

    For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential promise, visit

    Tuition Discount Programs

    Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

    For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

    Western Merit Scholarship

    Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student's GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship. 

    For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit

    Faculty & Staff


    Philip L. Crossley, Ph.D. headshot
    Professor of Geography
    Phone: 970.943.2800
    Office Location: Kelley Hall 217
    Shannon Sprott headshot
    Lecturer in Geography
    Phone: 970.943.3021
    Office Location: Kelley Hall 211


    FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a sample of courses offered by Western Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the university course search.

     GEOG 110 - World Regional Geography (3 credits)

    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.

     GEOG 120 - Introduction of Human Geography (3 credits)

    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.

     GEOG 250 - Geography of North America (3 credits)

    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.

     GEOG 340 - Introduction of Geographic Information Systems (3 credits)

    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.

     GEOG 351 - Geography of Latin America and the Caribbean (3 credits)

    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.

  • Pair with any bachelor's degree
    • Minor

    Geographers study places, natural and human-altered landscapes, and processes by which people make their livelihoods and give their lives meaning. Geospatial analysts build on the traditional tools of geography by combining data, maps and aerial images to analyze landscape processes and change over time from perspectives not always visible from the ground. Western’s unique location in the Gunnison Valley offers insights into often clashing livelihoods, and its example allows students to study and recognize the influence of global trends on local spaces. 

    Students learn how to:

    • Recognize overlapping processes from the past and present, such as how a city's layout reflects centuries-old land ownership and the current economy. 
    • Identify multiple interacting processes, such as areas of urban growth and changes in a city's tax policies. 
    • Understand how places came to be through maps, photos and satellite images. 
    • Analyze spatial patterns of human activity using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). 

    Careers & Opportunities

    Geography and geospatial analysis skills allow you to work in a variety of fields, including: 

    • Archaeology
    • City and county planning
    • Corporate logistics
    • Criminal justice
    • Energy management
    • Humanitarian relief
    • Marketing
    • Peace Corps
    • Spatial analytics
    • Wildlife biology

    Learn More

    Reach out to Philip L. Crossley, Ph.D. for more information.