Geography Programs

The Geography Department at West Chester University offers a comprehensive geography program that empowers students to tackle global challenges head-on. The current curriculum engages students with hands-on fieldwork, cutting-edge GIS technology, and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Courses delve into critical topics such as climate change and the impacts of natural hazards on communities, while fostering an understanding of the relationship between humans and their environment. Additionally, our curriculum covers essential areas such as urban growth and social justice, equipping students with knowledge through hands-on community engagement. We emphasize natural resource management and land preservation, which are crucial practices in ensuring sustainable futures. Furthermore, our courses examine the intricate web of human culture, languages, and their interactions, providing insights into the diverse tapestry of societies. Additionally, we study the geography of global economies and supply chains, unraveling the complexities of the interconnected world we live in. Through our courses, students gain comprehensive knowledge in these fields, preparing them for a future shaped by a deep understanding of these vital concepts.

If any of these topics are of interest to you—you may just be a geographer! Please reach out to department chair Dr. Gary Coutu to learn more about our programs.

Undergraduate students can choose between five areas of specialty, or tracks, for a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Geography, as well as minors in four program areas.

General Geography

This track is a well-rounded mix of Geography courses. This includes courses in physical, environmental, and population geography as well as GIS and spatial analysis. Students have the flexibility to take courses across the Geography and Planning programs, providing an overview of the three areas of planning, GIS, and environmental conservation/sustainability.

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Environmental Geography

Environmental Geography is the study of the Earth’s physical systems and the interaction of humans and the environment. Students study the geography of natural regions and resources as well as human impact and demand. This track includes studies related to climate adaptation and resilience, responses to hazards, natural disasters, and climate change in terms of the natural and human worlds. Other areas include biogeography, urban forestry, social justice in urban environments, and sustainability. This track has strong links with the Department’s geospatial technologies and environmental planning programs.

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Geographic Information Science (GIScience)

This track focuses on techniques in spatial analysis, cartography, environmental modeling, geodatabases, and internet-based GIS. This is the study of spatial data, it’s management, and analysis. The Department has curriculum related to a range of geospatial technologies. This includes drones, image analysis and extraction, geospatial coding, modeling, field data collection, 3D modeling and the integration of virtual and augmented reality into GIS analysis. Students are able to integrate GIS into their course/degree project work, internships, and presentations and research. 

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Location Analytics

This track focuses on geospatial business data analytics and visualization. WCU has one of the only Geography programs housed in a College of Business. Economic and urban studies courses provide spatial insights into supply chain, market, and economic studies. Students will learn and apply the fundamentals of geographic and spatial thinking to demographic and market analysis, linked to our business curriculum. The Department also has a Real Estate Certificate, exploring economic development.

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Elective Social Studies

This track incorporates the courses necessary for certification to teach in Pennsylvania and states with licensure reciprocity. In addition to geography-focused classes, the track includes student-teaching, assessment for learning, and other courses offered by the College of Education and Social Work.

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Applied Community and Environmental Sustainability (ACES)

This minor centers on the application of the sustainability principles of economic vitality, environmental integrity, and social equity to communities and landscapes. The flexible and applied focus of the program combines well with other majors. Students learn practical applications of sustainability principles to local, regional, and global communities and environments.

Business Geographic Information Systems (BGIS)

This minor program builds on a sequence of statistical and computer courses and provides students with the spatial analysis skills applied to business-oriented data and questions. It is designed for students in business programs but may be taken by others. Course work focuses on developing expertise with GIS.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

This minor explores the fundamental concepts and skills of geographic information systems (GIS) as a tool for data management, spatial analysis, and geo-visualization. Students will explore the foundations of spatial data, database management, modeling, cloud-based applications, and the production and analysis of cartographic outputs for research and community engagement.

Geography and Planning

This minor appeals to students of many majors as they can select courses to complete this minor that are flexible to their interests and compliment their major. 


Graduate students can pursue a Master of Science (M.S.) in Geography along with several certificate programs and continuing education. 

M.S. in Geography

The M.S. in Geography prepares students for a variety of career choices in GIS planning, environmental work, and population and site analysis. It can also prepare students for entry into many government agencies such as the EPA, Census Bureau, CIA, and Forestry Service, as well as private sector jobs in geospatial technologies, engineering, and planning firms. Another option for students with an M.S. in Geography is entry into selective Ph.D. programs. The program is tailored to each student's interests, prior background, and career aspirations. Students who enter the program on a full-time basis should be able to attain the M.S. degree in two years.

Accelerated B.S. Programs to an M.S. in Geography

Accelerated programs allow undergraduate students with at least a junior standing to begin taking graduate coursework towards the completion of a master’s degree in Geography. This can expedite the time to completion of the master’s degree and decrease the overall combined credits necessary to complete the undergraduate and graduate degrees. While pursuing their undergraduate degree, students pay undergraduate tuition for up to 12 graduate credits. There are nearly 10 accelerated programs available in geography.



Graduate students can pursue a Master of Science (M.S.) in Geography along with several certificate programs and continuing education. 

Real Estate Certificate

The Certificate in Real Estate is a 12-credit (4 course) Certificate with two required courses and two electives. The program offers a broad exposure to the practice of real estate and focused understanding in a chosen area of specialization within the real estate industry. Upon successful completion of the two required courses you will qualify to take the Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson exam. Pennsylvania requires real estate salespersons and brokers pass the Real Estate Salesperson exam to be licensed.

Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

The certificate program in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) consists of four courses. Geographic Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies have become prominent workplace tools used widely in public and private sectors, and this certificate program will provide graduate-level instruction on their use.

Online Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

This certificate is for students wishing to earn a Certificate in GIS in a completely online format through distance education. The online GIS Certificate offers the same curriculum and is taught by the same faculty who teach our in-person courses. 



What jobs can you get with a geography degree? Most graduates from West Chester University with a geography degree receive job offers before commencement in a range of sectors, including government agencies, private and non-profit. Here is just a sample of career paths our graduates have gone on pursue:

  • Geospatial Analyst
  • GIS Analyst
  • Planning Technician
  • Project Analyst
  • Research Analyst
  • Solution Engineer


West Chester University will prepare you for job placement with top-tier companies and agencies. A brief selection of recent graduate employers include:

  • Academy of National Sciences (Philadelphia)
  • Aerial Data Reduction Association, Inc.
  • ARRO Engineering
  • Cartographic Institute
  • ESRI
  • Natural Lands Trust
  • New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
  • Pennsylvania Power and Light, Inc.
  • Soil Conservation Service
  • U.S. Defense Mapping Agency