Geography combines the natural and social sciences.
At Augustana, your fascination with landscapes and human-environment interactions can take you down many career paths: urban planning, community development, environmental management and protection, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), cartography, teaching, foreign service and more.
Augustana offers a major and minor in geography. Students use social and natural science techniques and geospatial technologies to understand human-environment relationships and key global and local issues like climate change, sustainability, urbanization, resource management, and environmental justice.
In the interdisciplinary field of geography, you’ll make connections between related fields throughout the liberal arts. And through your professors’ connections to community partners and resources, you’ll find career-boosting opportunities such as internships, work and field experience in the Quad-Cities metro area along the Mississippi River.
You’ll also embark on field trips with class groups or the whole department, investigating site-specific issues and exploring the geography of more distant places. Recent destinations include the Pacific Northwest, Louisiana Gulf Coast, Colorado and Great Plains, Intermountain West, California, Nevada and Southern Illinois.
What you'll learn
• Two states, three counties and 14 municipalities comprise the Quad Cities (pop. 450,000) along the Mississippi River — a great area for hands-on geography-related experience. The offices of several national environmental agencies and the Rock Island District Headquarters of the Army Corps of Engineers are located here.
• The geography department’s research boat, The Scholarship, takes students and faculty out onto the Mississippi and Rock rivers for research on water resources, urban planning, transportation and biogeography. Some geography students also assist faculty on research projects for area agencies.
• Augustana's Upper Mississippi Center mobilizes students and faculty to help area communities solve their social, economic and environmental challenges. Communities often lack the resources to develop and implement innovative solutions to sustainability challenges. Students and faculty put their expertise and knowledge to work in these real-world settings.
• Many Augustana geography graduates enter graduate programs in geography, urban planning, geomorphology, landscape architecture and environmental studies.
• The geography and the geology departments are housed in Swenson Hall of Geosciences, a proximity that encourages cross-disciplinary work and interests in the earth sciences. Swenson Hall also houses the Fryxell Geology Museum and the bulk of the David M. Loring Map Library, which holds more than 100,000 climatic, geologic, hydrologic, topographic and transportation maps and 6,000 aerial photographs.
A project led by Ben Castro '21 to better understand uneven food access and food insecurities within QC MetroLINK’s service area placed fourth in a national competition. The project is tied directly to Castro’s Senior Inquiry for his geography major.
Three students researched the painted dog species this summer in Zimbabwe. Offered through Augustana's CORE office, the internship aligned perfectly with what the students want to pursue in the future — wildlife conservation and rehabilitation, and wildlife medicine.
Augustana College students, in conjunction with faculty from Augustana and St. Ambrose University, will use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to map the region's growing bike infrastructure network and to identify locations where safety for cyclists can be improved.