Undergraduate Courses

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  • Human Geography, Geo 151

    Author(s): Dick Groop, PhD; Gary Schnakenberg, PhD Syllabus

    This course introduces students to the spatial patterns and processes that shape how humans use and alter their environment, creating the diversity of places and people in the world today. In this context, a variety of topics are explored including population patterns and dynamics, religious and language diversity, economic development, agricultural systems, urban geography, and geopolitics. With each of these topics the focus is on the current patterns and processes of global change, geographical variability of these patterns and processes, and ways in which changes at the global scale are affecting, and in turn are affected by, local and regional events and conditions. Students should emerge from this course more aware of the patterns and processes that affect global change and able to evaluate and think critically about current events.

    Offered: At least one section of World Regional Geography is offered during the first or second summer sessions; it may also be offered during the fall or spring semester. See the Schedule of Courses for more details.

  • Introduction to Meteorology, Geo 203

    Author(s): Sharon Zhong, PhD Syllabus

    This course is an ideal course for students wishing to develop a fundamental understanding of Earth’s atmospheric systems and gain a greater appreciation for the atmosphere. Its primary objective is to acquaint students with the science of meteorology, and those physical processes associated with weather and climate.  Topics explored include weather maps and forecasting, Earth’s energy balance, adiabatic processes, cyclogenesis, and severe weather.  The introduction of many basic, physical processes make Introduction to Meteorology a useful foundation for other geography courses.

    Offered: At least one section of Introduction to Meteorology is offered during the first or second summer sessions. See the Schedule of Courses for more details.

  • World Regional Geography, Geo 204

    Author(s): Gary Schnakenberg, PhD Syllabus

    The content of this course is increasingly relevant considering the highly-globalized society in which we live. The reality is that it is no longer realistic to declare that one need not care about the rest of the world.  Rather, it is imperative to have a population that is globally conscientious. Even professionals need to be cognizant of places other than their own due to complex globalized webs and supply chains, and the cultural customs that play a role in business negotiations. World Regional Geography is an ideal course for students wishing to gain global geographical knowledge, expand their understanding of world realms and cultures, explore modern, global and regional issues, and challenge themselves to expand their intellectual horizons and perspective.

    Offered: At least one section of World Regional Geography is offered during the first or second summer sessions; it may also be offered during the fall or spring semester. See the Schedule of Courses for more details.

  • Physical Geography, Geo 206

    Author(s): Alan F. Arbogast, PhD; Juliegh Bookout, MA Syllabus

    This course is designed to provide students with an overview of the natural environment in which we live and the way it functions, at varying scales from local to global. Specifically, it aims to introduce students to important concepts, facts, and terminology of physical geography and impart an appreciation of the interrelationships between humans and their environment. Physical Geography is an ideal course for students wishing to develop a fundamental understanding of Earth systems and gain a greater appreciation for the physical landscapes around them. The introduction of many basic, physical processes, such as global circulation, plate tectonics, and fluvial systems, make Physical Geography a useful foundation for other geography courses.

    Offered: At least one section of Physical Geography is offered during the first or second summer sessions; it may also be offered during the fall or spring semester. See the Schedule of Courses for more details.

  • Intro. to Geographic Information, Geo 221

    Author(s): Adrienne Goldsberry, MA, AICP Syllabus

    This course is designed to acquaint students with the tools and technology needed to access, manipulate, and display geographic information. It is a combined introduction to geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, global positioning systems (GPS), and cartography (the science and art of mapmaking). Students will be introduced to the application of basic GIS programs, aerial-imageinterpretation, and the ethical issues that geospatial technologies may raise.  Students should emerge from this course with a greater understanding of the practical application of GIS and other geospatial technologies, and be able to create maps using a variety of publicly available mapping programs.

    Offered: At least one section of Introduction to Geographic Information is offered during the first or second summer session; it may also be offered during the spring semester. See the Schedule of Courses for more details.

  • Intro. to Geographic Information LAB, Geo 221L

    Author(s): Adrienne Goldsberry, MA, AICP Syllabus

    This course is designed to acquaint students, through a series of online laboratory exercises and assignments, with the tools and technology needed to access, manipulate, and display geographic information. It is a combined introduction to geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, global positioning systems (GPS), and cartography (the science and art of mapmaking). Students will be introduced to the application of basic GIS programs, aerial-image interpretation, and the ethical issues that geospatial technologies may raise. Students emerge from this course with a greater understanding of the practical application of GIS and other geospatial technologies, and be able to create maps using a variety of publicly available mapping programs.

    Offered: At least one section of Introduction to Geographic Information LAB is offered during the first or second summer session; it is also be offered during the fall and spring semesters. See the Schedule of Courses for more details.

  • People and the Environment, ISS 310

    Author(s): Alan F. Arbogast, PhD; Juliegh Bookout, MA; Adrienne Goldsberry, MA, AICP Syllabus

    This course is a merger of human and physical geography. As such, one of the course’s primary emphases is on the relationship between natural systems and human society, and how humans have impacted and been impacted by natural systems at varying scales. The course is designed to provide students with a survey of regional and global interactions among people, their geographic location and utilization of space, and the physical environment.  As an Integrated Studies in Social Science course, it also considers how the social sciences expand and develop our understanding of the human condition; that is, the life experiences common to all of humanity. People and the Environment is an ideal course for students wishing to broaden their knowledge of Earth systems, expand their understanding of current environmental issues, and gain an appreciation for humans’ relationships with the Earth.

    Offered: At least one section of People and the Environment is offered during the first and second summer sessions; it may also be offered during the fall and spring semesters. See the Schedule of Courses for more details.

  • Remote Sensing of the Environment, Geo 324

    Author(s): David P. Lusch, PhD, GISP; Bob Goodwin, MA Syllabus

    This course presents the technical and methodological skills needed to interpret various types of aerial images as a source of information in a variety of applications, including geography, forestry, urban planning, recreation management, crop and soil science, among many others. Lab exercises utilize an extensive set of digital aerial images displaying a wide variety of environments (urban, rural, residential, agricultural, et cetera) where students can practice the interpretation skills discussed in the online lessons and apply them to decision-making scenarios across a variety of disciplines.

    Offered: At least one section of Remote Sensing of the Environment is offered during the spring semester. See the Schedule of Courses for more details.

  • Geographic Information Systems, Geo 325

    Author(s): Adrienne Goldsberry, MA, AICP Syllabus

    This course explores the technical and theoretical issues in the design, implementation, and use of geographic information systems (GIS) for a variety of practical applications and research topics. Students will learn the structure of a GIS, how spatial analysis is performed using GIS and the many applications of GIS in diverse professional and academic fields.  A lab component is included to familiarize students with using GIS software in the analysis and display of geographic information, and applying this analysis to a variety of real-world scenarios.

    Offered: At least one section of Geographic Information Systems is offered during the spring semester. See the Schedule of Courses for more details.

  • Cartographic Design and Production, Geo 326

    Author(s): Yi Shi, PhD; Adrienne Goldsberry, AICP, MA Syllabus

    This course is an advanced course (previously Geo 423v) that introduces map design in three parts: graphic design and typography, reference map design and production, and design principles and contemporary media. Through lessons that offer conceptual explorations of mapping sciences and arts, and examples of both well- and poorly designed maps that illustrate mapping techniques, students will learn the intricacies of map production, for both printed and electronic display. A lab component is included to provide students with opportunities to make their own maps and practice cartographic representation, graphic design, web design, and map production. By the end of the course, students should have a thorough understanding of how and why maps are made, as well as a practical skill set that will enable them to communicate ideas via graphics.

    The online version of the course is reserved for students pursuing their Professional Certificate in GIS and who do not intend to take higher level Cartography courses in MSU-GEO.

    Offered: At least one section of Cartographic Design and Production (either lecture format or online) is typically offered during the fall semester. See the Schedule of Courses for more details.

  • Geography of the United States and Canada, Geo 330

    Author(s): Gary Schnakenberg, PhD; Jay R. Harman, PhD Syllabus

    This course introduces students to the human and physical landscapes of North America as they would be encountered traveling about the continent. It aims to help students understand why landscapes differ from place to place and at the same time provide them with information and insight about what one could expect to find on the landscape, and why.  The focus of Geography of the United States and Canada is largely on the physical environment and how, in the context of an unregulated economy, it has influenced choices humans have made about how the landscape can best be used to support the population. Since agriculture has transformed the landscape more than any other activity, a great deal of the material will be devoted to understanding the patterns of agriculture across the continent. Geography of the United States and Canada is an ideal course for students wishing to gain regional geographical knowledge, while expanding their understanding of the interconnections among people and place within the United States and Canada.

    Offered: At least one section of Geography of the United States and Canada is offered during the first or second summer sessions; it may also be offered during the fall semester. See the Schedule of Courses for more details.

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