2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog


Chairperson: Dr. Samuel Thompson
Office: Tillman Hall 312
Telephone: (309) 298-1648
Fax: (309) 298-3003
E-mail: geography@wiu.edu
Website: wiu.edu/geography

Faculty: Blauvelt, Buker, Choi, Deng, George, Greene, Herman, Kang, Liang, Merrett, Park, Romano, Sutton, Thompson, Williams.

Geography is the study of place in the same sense that history is the study of time: it is concerned with interpreting and explaining the occurrence, distribution, and interrelationships of the physical and human patterns that may be discerned on the earth's surface. These constantly changing physical and human landscapes challenge the geographer to provide continuing interpretation of the world from the spatial point of view. Since geographers study patterns of physical and cultural phenomena, geography might be viewed as a bridge between the social and natural sciences. Geographers may specialize in the study of cultural or physical phenomena or may combine both within a specific region, such as Latin America or Europe. An increasing number of students specialize in the application of certain skills to the solution of problems. These skills include computer cartography, remote sensing, and geographic information systems.

Meteorology is the study of the physical characteristics of the lower atmosphere and the processes that are responsible for generating the weather. Students who complete the major are exposed to concepts, methodologies, and practical applications related to both weather analysis and forecasting. Meteorology students learn how to forecast weather and use specialized equipment including instruments and reporting techniques associated with weather observations, weather radar, and remotely-sensed information. Upon graduation, students are qualified for employment with the National Weather Service.

Career opportunities are found in both public and private sectors, as well as in teaching. Among government agencies employing geographers or meteorologists are the Defense Mapping Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, Bureau of the Census, National Weather Service, Army Corps of Engineers, and state, regional, and local planning agencies. Private employers include economic and environmental consulting firms, mapping and aerial survey companies, meteorological and climatological consulting firms, and environmental engineering firms.

GradTrac is available to Geography and Meteorology majors.  See more information about GradTrac

Honors Curriculum—Academically qualified students in this department are welcome to complete an honors curriculum in University Honors, Upper Division Honors, or Lower Division Honors. All Honors students must complete the one-hour honors colloquium (G H 299). Lower Division Honors includes General Honors coursework. Upper Division Honors includes honors work in the major. University Honors combines Upper and Lower Division Honors. For more information about honors curricula visit the Centennial Honors College website at www.wiu.edu/Honors

Degree Programs

Bachelor of Science - Geography

All students seeking the Bachelor of Science in Geography must complete I, II, III, IV, and V. The minimum semester hour requirement for the baccalaureate degree is 120 s.h.

  1. University General Education and College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum Requirements:  55 s.h.
  2. Core Courses:  16 s.h.
    GEOG 100 or 110, 120, 121, 208, 405†
  3. Directed Electives
    1. One additional course from the theory and methodology group:  3 s.h.
    2. One course from the regional program group:  3 s.h.
    3. Three courses from the systematic-physical program group and one course from the systematic-cultural group OR Three courses from the systematic-cultural group and one course
    from the systematic-physical group:  11–12 s.h.
  4. Any Minor:  16–24 s.h.
  5. Open Electives:  7–16 s.h.

Note: Students interested in meteorology should see the meteorology adviser about additional courses.

†GEOG 405 fulfills the Writing Instruction in the Discipline (WID) graduation requirement.

Bachelor of Science - Meteorology

All students seeking the Bachelor of Science in Meteorology must complete I, II, III, IV, and V. The minimum semester hour requirement for the baccalaureate degree is 120 s.h.

  1. University General Education and College of Arts and Sciences
    Curriculum Requirements (including MATH 133, MATH 134, and PHYS 197:  55 s.h.
  2. Core Courses:  27 s.h.
    GEOG 120, 301, 322, 327, 329, 405†, 422, 429, 432
  3. Directed Electives
    1. Choose one from: GEOG 300, 403, 425:  3 s.h.
    2. Choose at least 5 s.h. not selected above: GEOG 220, 300, 333, 403, 425, 430, 497:  5 s.h.
  4. Other Required Courses:  14-15 s.h.
    1. MATH 231, MATH 333, and PHYS 200 (11 s.h.)
    2. Select one from: CHEM 201, GEOL 115, GEOL 380,  or PHYS 354 (3-4 s.h.)
  5. Any Minor:  16-24 s.h.

†GEOG 405 fulfills the Writing Instruction in the Discipline (WID) graduation requirement.


Minor in Geography (Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts):  19 s.h.

  1. Any three courses selected from GEOG 100, 110, 120, 121
  2. Upper division electives to be approved by the adviser

Minor in Geographic Information Systems:  18 s.h.

  1. GEOG 208, 308, 408, and 409; and one of the following courses: DS 203, GEOG 301, LEJA 303, PSY 223, SOC 232, STAT 171:  15 s.h. 
  2. Complete 3 s.h. from the following courses: AGTM 461, ARTS 314, CS 211 and 212, CS 214, GEOG 401, GEOG 403, GEOG 499 if the special  topic is GIS related, MATH 341, MATH 383, MATH 481, STAT 276, STAT 471, STAT 474, STAT 478:  3 s.h. 

Minor in Meteorology:  18-19 s.h.

  1. GEOG 120, 322, 329, 422:  13 s.h. 
  2. Choose two of the following: GEOG 220, 300, 301, 327, 333, 403, 425, 429, 432:  5-6 s.h. 

Course Descriptions



100  Introduction to Human Geography. (3)  (General Education/Social Sciences)  Analysis of the spatial patterns of population, population trends, human migrations, ecological processes, and the impact of people on the natural environment.
IAI: S4 900N.

110  World Regional Geography. (3)  (General Education/Social Sciences or Multicultural Studies)  A survey of the world's regions emphasizing the spatial arrangements of resources, population, institutions, economic activities, and cultural landscapes, and their significance for distinctive regional problems.
IAI: S4 900N.

120  Introduction to Weather and Climate. (4)  (General Education/Natural Sciences)  The earth in space: its relationship to other celestial bodies; major weather elements; characteristics and distributions of climates and associated vegetation and soils. Laboratory.
IAI: P1 905L.

121  Introduction to Landforms. (4)  (General Education/Natural Sciences)  An introduction to landforms, major processes affecting landforms, and the landform regions of the U.S. Laboratory.
IAI: P1 905L.

(Theory and Methodology)

208  Cartographic Design for GIS. (3)  An introduction to basic cartographic principles and design techniques necessary for Geographic Information System (GIS) map production. 2 hrs. lect.; 2 hrs. lab.

301  Introduction to Quantitative Geography. (3)  Principles of quantitative analysis and their application to geographical problems. Prerequisite: two courses in geography, MATH 128 or high school algebra, or consent of instructor.

308  Introduction to GIS. (3)  A foundation course dealing with fundamental raster and vector Geographic Information System (GIS) concepts and the creation, collection, and conversion of spatial data for GIS visualization and analysis. Prerequisite: GEOG 208. 2 hrs. lect.; 2 hrs. lab.

401  Air Photo Interpretation. (3)  Introduction to the techniques of interpreting features of the physical and cultural environment from air photos, with emphasis upon practical applications. Laboratory. Prerequisite: GEOG 100 or 120, or consent of instructor.

403  Remote Sensing. (3)  Principles of remote sensing from both airborne and satellite-borne sensors. Imagery from visible light, infrared, thermal, microwave, and radar devices plus multispectral scanner. Laboratory. Prerequisite: GEOG 120 and 121; or GEOL 110 and 112; or a lab sequence in biology or physics; or consent of instructor.

405  Methods of Research. (2)  Writing Instruction in the Discipline (WID) course. Prerequisites: ENG 280, geography or meteorology major, and senior status.

408  Environmental Geographic Information Science. (3)  Emphasis upon raster and 3D modeling based upon continuous data. Laboratory exercises focus on typical environmental problems solved with GIS. Topics include the integration of thematic data and concepts when appropriate for the solution of environmental problems. Prerequisites: GEOG 308; and GEOG 301 or STAT 171 or equivalent.

409 Thematic Geographic Information Science. (3)  Emphasis upon GIS modeling based upon coordinate-based spatial data. Integration of raster-based GIS data and concepts when appropriate to the solution of vector-based problems. Laboratory. Prerequisite: GEOG 308; and GEOG 301 or STAT 171 or equivalent.

450  Map and Compass. (1)  Introduction to topographic map interpretation and compass procedures. Coverage includes symbolization, scale, location, landform representation, compass skills, and navigation techniques. Basic orienteering will be studied. Graded S/U only.

459  (cross-listed with BIOL 459)  Biogeography. (3)  Study of the geographical distributions of organisms, the evolutionary and ecological  processes underlying the patterns of distribution, and the role of biogeography in biological conservation. Not open to students with credit in BIOL 459. Prerequisites: BOT 200 and ZOOL 200, or permission of instructor.


220  Severe and Unusual Weather. (2)  Exploration of the physical principles of severe and unusual weather and their impact on societies around the world. Students will learn about floods, blizzards, thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes, and more. Prerequisite: GEOG 120.

300  Principles of Meteorological Instruments. (3)  A survey of the instruments and reporting techniques associated with standard weather observations, leading to the ability to identify meteorological phenomena and report their occurrences in an understandable format. Prerequisites: meteorology major/minor and GEOG 120, or consent of instructor.

322  Synoptic Meteorology I. (3)  Study of the large-scale circulation of the atmosphere and its relationship to surface weather. Introduction to observational reports, map analysis, and numerical weather prediction products. Prerequisite: GEOG 120.

325  Astronomy. (3)  Descriptive astronomy. Prerequisite: GEOG 120.

327  Environmental Climatology. (3)  This course deals with the mechanisms of heat flow, radiation exchanges, and water vapor flux and with the effects of climate on organisms, ecosystems, and human societies as well as changes in global environment. Prerequisite: GEOG 120 or consent of instructor.

329  Dynamic Meteorology I. (3)  Examination of gas laws, equation of state, hydrostatic equilibrium, atmospheric thermodynamics, atmospheric moisture, adiabatic processes, use of thermodynamic charts, cloud development, and precipitation mechanisms. Prerequisites: GEOG 322 and MATH 134.

333  Meteorological Data Analysis. (3)  Various meteorological data analysis software packages will be used to enhance synoptic/dynamics concepts learned in concurrent courses. These tools will be used to produce and present an analysis of a meteorological case study. Prerequisite or corequisite: GEOG 322 or consent of instructor.

421  Physiography. (3)  Characteristics and distribution of landforms and underlying structures of the U.S. Prerequisites: GEOG 120 and 121, or GEOL 110 and 112.

422  Synoptic Meteorology II. (3)  Advanced weather map analysis and forecasting techniques. Examination of surface weather conditions and upper-air circulation relative to cyclogenesis and mesoscale developments (tornadoes and thunderstorms). Prerequisite: GEOG 322.

425  Satellite and Radar Meteorology. (3)  The theoretical principles and application of satellites and radar in synoptic meteorology and climatology. Applications of satellite and radar imageries include clouds, wind, atmospheric water vapor precipitation, and storm prediction. The course includes operational procedures fundamental to weather radar. Prerequisite: GEOG 422 or permission of instructor.

426  (cross-listed with BIOL 426)  Conservation and Management of Natural Resources. (3)  Problems in the conservation and management of natural resources including soil, water, rangeland, forest, wildlife, air, and energy resources. Special attention to resource problems of the United States. Not open to students with credit in BIOL 426. Prerequisites: GEOG 120 and 121, or consent of instructor.

428  Geography of Soils. (3)  Distribution of soils and their regional aspects. The relationship of different kinds of soils to other environmental conditions, both natural and human. Prerequisite: GEOG 120 or AGRN 278, or consent of instructor.

429  Dynamic Meteorology II. (3)  Examination of atmospheric fluid motion including pressure gradient force, Coriolis effect, geostrophic and gradient winds, thermal winds, vorticity, atmospheric kinetics, and numerical weather prediction. Prerequisites: GEOG 322, 329, 301; and MATH 231.

430  Natural Hazards. (3)  An examination of the characteristics and geographical extent of selected natural hazards in North America and their effect on human activities.

432  Physical Meteorology. (3)  An introduction to the optical, electrical, acoustical, and thermodynamic phenomena of the atmosphere, its chemical composition, laws of radiation, and formation of clouds and precipitation. Prerequisite: GEOG 322 or permission of instructor.

450  Weather In Our Daily Lives. (1)  Workshop on the practical and scientific understanding of weather terminology and phenomena encountered in our daily lives. Weather map analysis and weather forecasting are emphasized. Not open to students with credit in GEOG 322. Prerequisite: elementary algebra or equivalent. Graded S/U only.


443  Population Geography. (3)  Description and spatial analysis of population data and of fertility, mortality, and migration of the human population. Some emphasis given to migration; some to the United States. Prerequisites: two courses in geography or consent of instructor.

445  Urban Geography. (3)  An analysis of the nature, distribution, and principal functions of urban settlements and supporting areas. Prerequisites: two courses in geography or consent of instructor.

448  Introduction to Urban and Regional Planning. (3)  An examination of contemporary planning processes. Emphasis upon utopian planning precedents, frameworks and mechanisms for planning, and comprehensive planning and implementation. Prerequisite: POLS 370, or its equivalent, or consent of instructor.


466  (GEOG 466—Africa is cross-listed with AAS 466)  World Regions. (3, repeatable for different regional subtitles to 9)  Analysis of the physical and cultural geography of a major world region chosen from the following: Latin America, Russia, Monsoon Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle America, South America, and Asia. Not open to students with credit for AAS 466. Prerequisite: two courses in geography or consent of instructor.

(Individual Study Research)

495  Honors Thesis. (3)  Prerequisite: permission of department chair.

497  Internship in Applied Geography. (1–3, repeatable to 3)  Assignment as an undergraduate assistant in public, private, or university agencies engaged in planning, meteorology, environmental assessments, cartography, etc. Only 3 s.h. may be applied to minimum degree requirements. Prerequisite: permission of department chair. Graded S/U only.

498  Individualized Studies. (1–3)  This course is available to students who are interested in the study of topics which are not currently a part of the curriculum. The students should consult their adviser or the department chair about the procedure which is to be followed. Prerequisite: permission of department chair.

499  Special Problems in Geography (Research). (1–6, repeatable to 6)  Prerequisites: senior standing and consent of instructor.

(Geography Education)

439  Methods and Material for Teaching Geography. (3)  See SSED 439. Prerequisite: EIS 301.

480  Student Teaching.  See STCH 480.