Department of Geography

Major - Bachelor of Science in Geography

“My main interest in the program quickly became Geographic Information Systems (GIS), which is a minor offered by the Geography Department. Many of the professors in the department have expertise in GIS and Remote Sensing. After completing the GIS minor and graduating from the geography department, I have developed essential skills to prepare me for a career in GIS.

Overall, the Geography program is very strong at WIU. The faculty members are very friendly, helpful, and have a genuine interest in ensuring that students gain a quality education. If you are considering a career in Geography, WIU is a great place to start!"

- Caleb Mackey (2012) is a GIS technician with Cedar County, Iowa.


A degree prepares students to be professionals in their area of concentration or specialization, with strong foundations in Geography.

Geography majors may pursue an option in:

  • Urban and Regional Planning
  • Geospatial Technologies
  • Human or Physical Geography

The GIS Center

The department is home to the McDonough County Geographic Information Systems Center, a partnership between WIU, the City of Macomb and McDonough County. Responsible for compilation, execution, and management of GIS projects for the city of Macomb and McDonough County, students are provided regular opportunities to put their knowledge and skills into ongoing projects with real world results. Undergraduate and graduate students have internship opportunities in the Center. The Center’s job placement rate is 100 percent.

Contact Us:

Samuel Thompson, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Geography

Raymond Greene, Ph.D.
Faculty Mentor

Julie Lawless, Ph.D.
Faculty Mentor

Jennifer Sandrik-Rubio
Undergraduate Advisor

Possible Career Paths

  • Digital Mapping
  • Disaster Response
  • Environmentalist
  • Urban Planning
  • Transportation Planning
  • Land Use Planning
  • Tourism Planning
  • Environmental Planning
  • Economic Development Planning
  • Public Health Planning
  • Historic Preservation Planning
  • GIS related Professions
  • Homeland Security
  • Utilities/Construction Company
  • Real Estate Business
  • International Business
  • Location or Geographic Analyst
  • Marketing Researcher
  • Remote Sensor Specialist
  • Public Education
  • …and many more!!

Where the employers are:

  • Architectural Firms
  • Utility Companies
  • Environmental Consulting Firms
  • Departments of Transportation
  • Land Development Firms
  • Planning Agencies
  • Planning Consulting Firms
  • Engineering Firms
  • Wind Energy or Sustainable Energy Companies
  • Federal Government
  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • Local and State Government
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Major Retailers
  • Marketing Companies
  • Airlines

Why Choose Geography at WIU?

  • State-of-the-art Geospatial Technologies
  • Premium undergraduate education
  • Hands-on experience
  • Public speaking and presentation skills
  • Internship opportunities
  • Applied geography emphasis
  • Develop geospatial skills
  • Low student-teacher ratios
  • Courses taught by Ph.D.s
  • Senior capstone thesis project
  • Open-door policy
  • Strong dedication to success of students
  • Guaranteed valuable research experience
  • Conference attendance
  • Augmented reality
  • Internship in the GIS Center