Geography & Geosciences



Geography & Geosciences

» Course Offerings

Course Offerings


One unit of credit equals four semester hours.

GEO 102 Earth System Science
Scientific study of the connection between working systems of the Earth, their characteristics, patterns, and shaping processes. Topics include rocks and minerals, theory of plate tectonics, and landforms created by rivers, glaciers, wind, and ocean processes. Tools used include topographic maps, aerial photographs and spatial analysis software. Course includes a brief analysis of landform regions of the United States in a regional approach. GEO 101 is not a prerequisite. Includes laboratory with required materials fee. Offered in a hybrid format.

GEO 103 Ocean Studies
(BID 103)
This is an interdisciplinary approach to studying the ocean realm. The biological and geological processes of the oceans mediate global cycles. This course will present the principles of physical and chemical oceanography as well as a survey of ocean ecosystems. Topics will include plate tectonics and ocean basin formation, sea water chemistry, ocean circulation, nutrient cycles in the ocean, diversity of marine organisms, and the environmental issues related to marine systems. This course will provide an introduction to quantitative analysis of oceanographic data sets and oceanographic computer modeling methods. Includes laboratory.

GEO 105 Introduction to Atmospheric Science    
Study of the major characteristics, patterns, and processes of dynamic change that distinguish the Earth's weather and climate and its related influence on the biosphere. Topics include: solar and earth radiation, air temperature, air pressure and winds, precipitation, air masses and fronts, circulation patterns, severe weather occurrences, storms, and climate. The impact of human technology on weather and climate and the biosphere is discussed as a major social and ethical issue. Includes laboratory with required materials fee. Also offered in online format.

GEO 111 Regional Study of the Modern Industrial World
A geographic overview of the distinctive characteristics. patterns, problems, and trends that distinguish life in the modern, industrial areas of the world where Western cultural influence has been pervasive, e.g., United States, Canada, Europe, European Russia, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

GEO 112 Regional Study of the Developing World
A geographic overview of life in the traditional societies of Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The distinctive identities of these regions and the current issues which influence their development are examined in light of major concepts and theories in geography, the cultural heritage of each region, and the global political-economic structure of the world.

GEO 207 Introduction to Spatial Thinking
An introduction to spatial cognition and spatial concepts, and cartographic design, which enhance visual communication processes. This course examines the visualization, processing, compilation, and symbolization of spatial data used to create thematic maps and emphasizes the ability to produce technically correct maps. Tools such as geographic information systems (GIS) and virtual globes will be introduced. Windows-based mapping and spatial software are used. Materials fee required. Prerequisite: GEO 102 or concurrent enrollment or consent of instructor. Offered in a hybrid format.

GEO 218 Geography of Religion
This course approaches the diversity of practice and belief of the major world religions from a geographical perspective. Key topics include development of religious hearths, processes in the diffusion of religion, the role of place within and among religious systems, their subbranches and denominations, religious efforts to exert cultural territoriality over secular space, and the meanings and uses of sacred space at various scales. The relationship between religion and place is examined with emphasis on how religions change and adapt to new locales, particularly in the US. Contested religious spaces will be analyzed along with the geographical implications of religious fundamentalism.

GEO 302 Urban Applications of GIS
Examination of urban infrastructure systems, problems, and environmental concerns from a spatial perspective. Urban infrastructure systems include water systems, air pollution concerns, and land issues as well as population migration trends in the form of urban sprawl. Case studies of resources in northeastern Illinois and field trips. Use of GIS methodology is stressed. Prerequisite: GEO 207 or concurrent enrollment or consent of instructor. Offered upon request.

GEO 308 Remote Sensing Techniques
Interpretation of the Earth's physical and cultural phenomena from aerial and satellite photogrammical imagery. Air photo measurement techniques and digital processing are introduced. Applications include urban and rural land use analysis; environmental applications; resources exploration; and temporal and spatial detection. Of special interest to biology and urban studies majors. Prerequisites: GEO 101, GEO 102, and GEO 207. Spring Term.

GEO 309 Introduction to Spatial Analysis
The first portion of the spatial analysis sequence of GEO 309 and GEO 400, this intermediate/advanced GIS course emphasizes real-world applications. Topics include: cartographic communication skills, working with projections, integrating disparate data sources, geometrical operations on discrete and continuous data, techniques for proximity and overlay analysis, and basic spatial statistical analysis methods.  Students will complete a portfolio of exercises demonstrating broad GIS technical skills. Prerequisites: GEO 102, and GEO 207; or consent of instructor. Fall Term.

GEO 311 Regional Study of Europe
A geographic analysis of Europe, excluding the former Soviet Union. The analysis includes the physical and cultural characteristics of Europe. Emphasis is placed on the development of cultural spatial patterns, especially the language, religious, political, urban, and economic patterns. Fall Term, even-numbered years.

GEO 315 Regional Study of United States and Canada
A systematic/regional analysis of the United States and Canada. Major emphasis on the relationship of the physical environment to the economic, political, and social characteristics, patterns, problems, and trends of the region. Spring Term, even-numbered years.

GEO 317 Regional Study of Latin America
A systematic/regional study of Latin America which emphasizes the relationship of the physical environment to economic, political, and social patterns, problems, and trends of the region. Latin America's increasing role in Western Hemispheric relations is also examined. Spring Term, odd-numbered years.

GEO 390 Geography and Geosciences Cultural Study and Off-Campus Experience
Directed field and travel study of geographical topics with a cultural theme determined by faculty experience and student interest. Experiential learning course if a Study Away offering. Offered as needed.

GEO 400 Advanced Spatial Analysis
The second portion of the spatial analysis sequence (including GEO 309 and GEO 400), this advanced GIS course extends the analytical use of geospatial information through  basic spatial analysis techniques, including explorative spatial data analysis, global and local analyses of spatial data, spatial regression, point pattern analysis, and surface trend analysis. This course exposes students to a variety of spatial analysis applications, including crime mapping, epidemiology and demographics. Students learn the key concepts and principles of spatial data analysis, develop spatial data manipulation and analysis skills, and gain hands-on experience through the use of Geoda, ArcGIS Spatial Statistics and Geostatistical Analyst tools. Prerequisites: GEO 101, GEO 102, GEO 207, GEO 309 and MATH 345 or MATH 346; or consent of instructor. Spring Term.

GEO 411 Urban Geography
This course is a theoretical and practical inquiry into the geographic principles that influence the size, spacing, internal organization and external relations of cities. Specific attention is given to the spatial structure of cities, their transportation systems and to their political and economic roles and organization. This course is of specific interest to urban studies and logistics and supply chain management students.

GEO 412 Political Geography
The study of how geographic factors, concepts, and theories influence political decisions and government policies at the local, national, and international levels. Also, attention is given to how political decisions and policies, in turn, impact people and their environments. This course may be of special interest to political science and international business majors. Spring Term, odd-numbered years.

GEO 413 Economic Geography
An examination of the principles and factors which influence the development and spatial organization of agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and retail activities. Location models are emphasized to help explain contemporary economic land use patterns and practices. Of special interest to business and economics majors. Fall Term, odd-numbered years.

GEO 440 Teaching Geography in the Secondary School
.50 or 1.00 credit
An overview of some of the major themes of teaching modern geography in the secondary school. Topics include organizational goals and content of modern geography in the high school curriculum; instructional materials; and different teaching strategies and methodologies used in effective geographic education. Prerequisites: SEC 300, SEC 310. Fall Term.

GEO 452 Special Topics in Geography and Geosciences
Allows students and faculty to study topics which are not included in the normal course offerings of the department. Topics very from semester to semester based on the interests of faculty and students as well as current trends in the discipline. Depending on the topic, consent of the instructor may be required.  Consult appropriate term schedules for specific topic offerings and possible prerequisites. Prerequisites depend on the course topic. Offered as necessary.

GEO 468 Geography/Geosciences Internship/Field Experience
A geography internship designed to allow junior/senior majors the opportunity for work experience with private or governmental planning agencies. Required of applied geospatial technologies majors. Pass/No Pass only. Prerequisites: major in geography and consent of department chair. Upon request.

GEO 470 Research Methods in Geography
.50 credit
A course required of all majors in the Department of Geography and Geosciences. In a formal seminar setting, students will learn to undertake research and use various means to compile information and data required to undertake a formal research project. The student will develop a research project from the initial stages incorporating methods of geographic research and knowledge gained as a geography or geospatial technologies major. To be taken in the first term of the senior year. The student will select and work collaboratively with a faculty advisor in the department, based on area of interest. Prerequisites: major in geography or geospatial technologies and consent of department chair; senior standing.

GEO 471 Senior Research Seminar
.50 credit
A course required of all majors in the Department of Geography and Geosciences. Based on what was learned in GEO 470, students will undertake original research and use various means to complete a formal research project.  The student will work closely with their advisor, learn to meet professional deadlines, and satisfy the requirement of presenting the research results in a formal setting such as a professional conference or workshop. To be taken in the final term of the senior year. Prerequisites: major in geography or geospatial technologies and consent of department chair; senior standing, GEO 470. Concurrent enrollment in ENG 303 is strongly recommended.

GEO 492 Independent Study
.50 or 1.00 credit
An opportunity to pursue additional research in topics of interest raised in any other geography course. The form of this offering is determined by nature of topic, student, and instructor. The student may receive transcript credit for this course more than once, with a maximum of two courses. Prerequisite: consent of the department chair. Upon request.

GEO 495 Honors Independent Research
.50 credit
This course affords Honors Program students the opportunity to design and implement a significant research project in the field of geography and geosciences culminating in an appropriate public dissemination of the research methods and findings. This course must be taken concurrently with another 300-400 course in the major or minor, facilitating faculty supervision and guidance. Repeatable for credit. Permission of the faculty supervisor and the director of the Honors Program required prior to registration. Fall Term, January Term, Spring Term, Summer Term.

January Term Courses
January Term courses offered by the Department of Geography and Geosciences provide students an opportunity for in-depth study of special topics using varied teaching formats which are not easily replicated in the regular term. These courses can be applied towards a major or minor in the department. Topics include geology of national parks, global climate change, and cultural study of various lands and peoples. Honors geography courses may also be offered.

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