2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
    Mar 02, 2024  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geography Minor

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Geography Overview

Geography is the science of place, space, and environment. Each place on earth is distinguished by a unique mix of natural resources, cultural practices, economic activities, and political systems. Geographers study what makes each place unique and the connections and interactions between places.

With its highly ranked graduate and undergraduate programs, Clark University is one of the best places in the world to study Geography. Students have the opportunity to work with nationally and internationally known faculty to examine why places are different, how those differences shape how we live, and how we in turn shape our environment. The Geography major and minor at Clark are set up to give students a broad understanding of physical and human elements that comprise this field of study.

Clark’s School of Geography is the oldest sustained program of geography in the United States. The program is renowned for fostering a culture of innovation, which has made it a key site for the development of new topical fields and geographic technologies. Its faculty and students were pioneers in fields as diverse as human-environment, risk-hazards, critical geography, animal geography and feminist geography. The school is the only program of geography to have five of its members elected to the National Academy of Sciences and five to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The School has awarded more Ph.D.’s in geography than any other program in the United States. The National Research Council ranked Clark Geography’s doctoral program among the top five US geography programs in 2011. Clark was the only geography department in the ranking’s top ten that is located in a liberal arts, student contact intensive research university.

Special facilities include the Jeanne X. Kasperson Research Library at the George Perkins Marsh Institute, the Guy H. Burnham Map and Aerial Photograph Library, the Clark Labs for Cartographic Technologies and Geographic Analysis, and the Earth System Science teaching and research laboratories in Polar Science, Forest Ecology, and Terrestrial Ecosystem Physiology.



Undergraduate Program

Geographers use the perspectives of place and space to address societal and environmental challenges. Geographers address various questions. Why are things located where they are? What makes societies and biophysical environments different from place to place? How does location affect access to the things all species need to survive and flourish?

Geography majors, Global Environmental Studies (GES) majors, and Environmental Science (ES) majors concentrating in Earth System Science (ESS) have the opportunity to work on research projects with faculty members and graduate students in one of the most prestigious programs of geography worldwide. Summer Fellowships are available for qualified students to participate in the Human-Environment Regional Observatory (HERO) program, which is an intensive summer academic-year research effort focused on environmental change in New England. Eligible majors also have the opportunity to enter the accelerated M.S. in GIScience program. Other accelerated masters programs include International Development and Social Change, Environmental Science and Policy, and Community Development and Planning.

Geography, GES, and ESS undergraduates are served by the Clark Undergraduate Geography Association (CUGA) and Gamma Theta Upsilon.

CUGA is the voice of Geography, GES, and ESS majors, with student representation on the undergraduate studies committee and the opportunity to attend departmental meetings. CUGA representatives are able to vote at department meetings and give their ideas and opinions on various topics that concern undergraduate majors. They also attend field trips and host events, such as the annual Practicing Geography Week.

Gamma Theta Upsilon, an international geographic honors society. In order to become a member, initiates must have completed a minimum of three geography courses, have a minimum GPA of 3.3 in Geography courses and overall, and have completed at least three semesters of college course work. For more information on Gamma Theta Upsilon please see their official website.

Minor Requirements

Students wishing to minor in Geography must complete the following components of the regular program of the major for a total of seven courses in Geography.

Additional Components


Credits with a grade of “Pass” count towards the minor only in the case of Internships to fulfill the Capstone requirement. Other types of credits that are registered as Pass/No Record do not count towards the minor.


All minors must complete 7 “GEOG” courses, which are listed in the Academic Catalog or if they have received approval from their faculty advisor and the Chair of the Undergraduate Studies Committee to substitute a non-geography course into the

To substitute a non-geography course to count towards a geography requirement, the student must obtain approval of the faculty advisor by completing the Petition to Replace a Geography Requirement form, found on the Geography Website.

If a student has approval to count a non-geography course towards one of the geography requirements, then the student is still required to complete 7 GEOG courses total.

Research/Internship Credits

Students are urged to take advantage of internship opportunities. Learn about opportunities by visiting our Careers and Internships website, reading Geography’s Resources on our Moodle page, or contacting Career Services at 508.793.7258 or careers@clarku.edu. If students satisfy the requirements for the internship to count as an academic credit at Clark, then the internship can count as an Elective Course, subject to the approval of the Advisor.

Transfer Credits

Transfer credits are evaluated on a case-by-case basis for minor credit. If you have transferred to Clark from another university, or if you have taken courses elsewhere that you want to count as a minor requirement, then consult the Academic Advising Center to assist with the process.

Two core courses:

Core courses emphasize core geographic concepts and ways of creating knowledge; courses in the core are designed to help build frameworks for understanding the world.

Each year, several 000- and 100-level courses are designated as core courses in each of these areas. In special cases, a 200-level course may be used to fulfill a core course requirement, subject to the approval of the student’s adviser and either the chair of the undergraduate studies committee or the director of the school.

Each of the core courses must be selected from one of the following broad disciplinary divisions. The two courses are not allowed to be in the same disciplinary division. The catalog’s description of the major lists the specific core courses.

  • Human Environment Geography
    Analyzes the ways that human societies have used, shaped and constructed nature; impacts of societies, economies and cultures on ecological systems.
  • Urban Economic Geography
    Examines the ways that space and location shape economic, sociopolitical, and cultural life; ways that economic, sociopolitical and cultural factors shape space and location; relationships between these processes and the dynamics of urban life.
  • Earth System Science (ESS)
    Earth System Science uses an interdisciplinary approach to study the complex, interacting physical and biological components of the Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere, cryosphere and oceans. It places an emphasis on observing, understanding and predicting environmental changes.
  • Geographic Information Science (GIS)
    Geographic Information Science is concerned with the acquisition, analysis and communication of geographic information; principles and techniques important in cartography, remote sensing, geographic information systems and spatial analysis.

Four elective courses:

The four electives must consist of one course at any level, one course at the 100 level or above, and two courses at the 200 level or above.

One skills course:

Each student minoring in geography is required to take at least one geography skills course. The catalog’s description of the major lists qualifying skills courses. Students minoring in Geography are not required to take GEOG 141 , as majors are required, but minors may opt to take this course as their Skills course for the geography minor.

Geography Faculty and Staff

Program Faculty

Yuko Aoyama, Ph.D.
Anthony Bebbington, Ph.D.
Asha Best, Ph.D.
Mark Davidson, Ph.D.
Lyndon Estes, Ph.D.
Abby Frazier, Ph.D.
Karen Frey, Ph.D.
Dominik Kulakowski, Ph.D.
Deborah Martin, Ph.D.
James McCarthy, Ph.D.
James T. Murphy, Ph.D.
Gustavo Oliveira, Ph.D.
Robert Gilmore Pontius Jr, Ph.D.
Max Ritts, Ph.D.
John Rogan, Ph.D.
Rinku Roy Chowdhury, Ph.D.
Florencia Sangermano, Ph.D.
Christopher A. Williams, Ph.D.

Adjunct Faculty

Edward Carr, Ph.D.
Yelena Ogneva-Himmelberger, Ph.D.

Affiliate Faculty

B. L. Turner, Ph.D., Distinguished Research Professor

Research Faculty

J. Ronald Eastman, Ph.D.

Emeriti Faculty

Martyn Bowden, Ph.D.
Jody Emel, Ph.D.
Susan Hanson, Ph.D.
Douglas Johnson, Ph.D.
William A. Koelsch, Ph.D.
Laurence A. Lewis, Ph.D.
Robert Mitchell, Ph.D.
Samuel Ratick, Ph.D.
Dianne Rocheleau, Ph.D.
Henry J. Steward, Ph.D.


Brenda Nikas-Hayes, Department Administrator and Assistant to the Director
Yaa Poku, Administrator of Degree Programs
Aidan Giasson, Office Coordinator and Asst. to the Dept. Admin.
Hilary Laraba, Managing Editor, Economic Geography

Geography Courses

Courses offered within the last 2 Academic Years

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