The Bachelor of Arts in Geography (B.A.) offers students a broad liberal arts education touching on all aspects of Geography. As part of this degree students need to meet the KU Core Requirements and/or requirements set by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. College requirements are the same as those for the Bachelor of General Studies degree, and require a minimum of 33 credit hours in Geography. Course work includes 18 hours of fundamentals courses and 15 additional hours selected from four topical groups: physical, human, techniques and regional.
The Bachelor of General Studies in Geography (B.G.S.) is unique to the University of Kansas. The intent of the degree is to allow for more specialization in the student's main area of interest while still maintaining a liberal arts program. Compared to the B.A. degree, there are fewer principal course requirements: there are only two required courses in each of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Another difference is that this degree has no foreign language requirement. It does, however, require students to complete a concentration (3 upper division courses) or a minor in a second field of study (usually 18 credit hours). Geography core requirements are the same as those for the B.A. degree, and require a minimum of 33 credit hours in Geography. Course work includes 18 credit hours of fundamentals courses and 15 additional credit hours selected from the four topical groups: physical, human, techniques and regional.
The Bachelor of Science in Geography (B.S.) is a much more specialized degree, with fewer general education requirements and a much more concentrated specialization in one of two aspects of Geography. There are two B.S. degree options:
- Physical Geography Option. Students prepare for a career in environmental assessment and problem solving. Basic requirements include preparation in chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics. Advanced course work includes the study of the processes that affect the physical environment (soils, vegetation, climate and geomorphology), and techniques for performing statistical and computational analysis of these processes (statistics, GIS and remote sensing).
- Geographical Information and Analysis Option. Students prepare for a career in the area of geographic information science and problem solving using a variety of spatial analysis techniques. Basic requirements include preparation in mathematics, science and computer science. Advanced course work includes work in cartography, GIS, remote sensing, spatial statistics, spatial analysis and data presentation and visualization. In addition, students are expected to take some coursework in one of the other areas of geography (physical, human, and regional).
Beyond the basic requirements listed under each option, both Geography B.S. degrees have a common set of general education requirements, including courses in English, mathematics, communications, humanities, social sciences and a history or philosophy of science course. Some courses are shared by the two options; however, different course selection menus apply for the remaining requirements. Specific requirements are shown in the worksheets for each option.
Students taking the B.A. and the B.G.S. degrees should note that most Geography graduate programs require a statistics course, e.g., GEOG 316, and we highly recommend a basic course in GIS, e.g., GEOG 358
This guide uses worksheets to show the course requirements for each degree. It is highly recommended that students consult a faculty advisor when preparing their course of study. Members of the undergraduate committee are always available for advising and to help solve program and curriculum problems. We also recommend that, at the outset of their studies, students talk to a number of faculty members in the department about their interests. This will help in the selection of courses that best match individual interests. It will also help identify special courses or research opportunities that might enhance the overall educational experience at the University of Kansas. Finally, the University has special scholarships for undergraduate research programs, and we highly recommend you consider the Study Abroad Program for a semester or summer. You should consider this before your junior year.
During the final year in the program, students are required to do a graduation check. Final degree checks are done by the Student Academic Services staff of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (109 Strong Hall). As part of this check, students will also need to meet with the Undergraduate Advisor in the Geography Department to check the Geography or Atmospheric Science major requirements. It is strongly recommended that students consult with a Geography advisor on a regular basis to make certain that, at each stage in their program, they are meeting all of the requirements for the degree.