Courses listed here are offered by the Department of Geography. The UW-Madison Course Guide is the final authority on course descriptions and offerings.
Students should be aware that some courses are offered every semester, while others are offered once a year, once every other year, or at irregular intervals. Contact the department or view courses by concentration for details.
The course descriptions should be considered only as a guide to the course content since different instructors may emphasize slightly different aspects. Syllabi of courses can also be viewed to assess the general content of a course.
100 Level Courses
101 Introduction to Human Geography I, II; 3 cr (b-S-E). Effects of demographic characteristics, resource potentialities and cultural resources upon the growth, distribution, density, and settlement forms of the world's population. P: Open to Fr. Spring Syllabus |
120 Global Physical Environments (Crosslisted with Envir St 120.) I, II, SS; 3 cr (P-E). Global distribution and processes of climate, weather, ecosystems, landforms, and soils, emphasizing interrelationships. P: Open to Fr. Not open to students with credit in Geog 127. Spring Syllabus | Fall Syllabus |
121 Atmospheric Environment and Society (Crosslisted with Atm Ocn, Envir St.) I, II; 2 cr (P-E). Changing interactions between humans, other animals and plants, and the atmospheric environment, both in time and space. P: Open to Fr.
127 Physical Systems of the Environment (Crosslisted with Envir St.) I, II; 5 cr (P-E). Climatic regimes, landforms, soils, waters and life forms at the earth's surface in terms of energy-transforming processes, locational patterns, and changes through time. P: Open to Fr & not open to those with Geog 120, 123, 124, or 125 cr or ILS 132 cr. Spring Syllabus | Fall Syllabus |
139 Resources and People (Crosslisted with Envir St.) I or II or SS; 3 cr (S-E). Human population growth and its impact on the earth's resources, including food, energy, physical materials, water, biota, and landscapes; the geography of resource availability and the limits of the earth as producer of resources; the importance of attitudes and values in resource use. P: Open to Fr. Spring Syllabus | Fall Syllabus |
140 World Regions: Concepts and Problems I, II; 3 cr (S-E). Introduction to cultural geography through the study of representative and significant regions and nations. P: Open to Fr & not to Srs. | Course website | Fall Syllabus |
170 Our Digital Globe: An Overview of GIScience and its Technology I, II; 3 cr (P-E). Non-specialist course providing an overview of the collection, representation and use of geospatial data. Introduces students to geospatial technologies like GPS, Google Earth, satellite imagine, and GIS, and provides a critical understanding of the strengths and limitations of spatial representations (e.g., maps, images). P: 2nd Sem Fr st or Cons Inst. Spring Syllabus | Fall Syllabus |
198 Directed Study 1-2 cr (E). P: Open to Fr & So. Graded on a Cr/N basis; requires cons inst.
199 Directed Study 1-2 cr (E). P: Open to Fr & So. Graded on a lettered basis; requires cons inst.
200 Level Courses
230 Soil: Ecosystem and Resource (Crosslisted with Soil Sci, Envir St.) I; 3 cr (P-I). The role of soils in ecosystems (habitat, moisture and nutrient reserve, biologically active part of the groundwater system) and the impact of human activity on the soil environment. P: Not open to students with credits in Soil Sci 301.
240 Plants and Man (Crosslisted with Botany) I; 2-3 cr (B-E). A speculative, systems-oriented approach to the interrelation of plants and humans in their evolution and cultural development, with an historical geographic perspective concluding with a consideration of 20th century America's plant-human interplay. Lecture; third credit includes demo lab. P: Open to Fr.
244 Introduction to Southeast Asia: Vietnam to the Philippines (Crosslisted with History, Poli Sci, Soc, Langasia) I or II; 3 cr (Z-E). Southeast Asian history, religion, folklore and literatures, educational systems, and politics from the early classical states to contemporary social, literary, and political developments. P: Open to Fr.
253 Russia: An Interdisciplinary Survey (Crosslisted with Poli Sci, History, and Slavic) Alt yrs.; 4 cr (Z-E). Comprehensive interdisciplinary survey of Russian civilization from its beginnings through the present day. P: Open to Fr.
254 Eastern Europe: An Interdisciplinary Survey (Crosslisted with History, Poli Sci, Slavic) Alt yrs; 4 cr (Z-E). Comprehensive interdisciplinary survey of East European culture, society, politics, and literature from its beginnings through the present day. P: Open to Fr.
260 Latin America: An Introduction (Crosslisted with Spanish, Anthro, History, Poli Sci, Rur Soc, Afroamer, Soc) I or II or SS; 4 cr (S-E). Latin American culture and society from an interdisciplinary perspective; historical developments from pre-Columbian times to the present; political movements; economic problems; social change; ecology in tropical Latin America; legal systems; literature and the arts; cultural contrasts involving the US and Latin America; land reform; labor movements; capitalism, socialism, imperialism; mass media.
277 Africa: An Introductory Survey (Crosslisted with Sociology, African studies, Afroamerican studies, Anthropology, History, Political Science) I, II; 4 cr (Z-I). African society and culture, polity and economy in multidisciplinary perspectives from prehistory and ancient kingdoms through the colonial period to contemporary developments, including modern nationalism, economic development and changing social structure. P: Open to Fr.
300 Level Courses
301 Geography of Social Organization 3 cr (S-I). Culture, culture group, ethnicity, communication, and allied concepts as these relate to cultural geography. P: Not open to Fr. Spring Syllabus |
302 Economic Geography: Locational Behavior I or II or SS; 4 cr (S-I). Classic location theory with modern extensions. Examination of theoretical statements and selected empirical examples. Principles of economic regionalization and network analysis with emphasis on spatial implications of the economic development process. P: So st.
303 The Human Role in Changing the Face of the Earth I or II or SS; 3 cr (S-I). A view of people in prehistory and through the historical record (to 1900 A.D.) as active agents in the alteration of the ecosphere. P: So st.
305 Introduction to the City (Crosslisted with Urb R Pl) I or II or SS; 3-4 cr (S-I). Analysis of the distributions of cities, their functions, character and relationships with their surrounding regions, and the areal patterns within cities; the spatial variation of population, economic activity, and land uses. P: So st; qualified Fr admitted with cons inst. Fall Syllabus |
309 People, Land and Food: Comparative Study of Agriculture Systems (Crosslisted with Envir St) I or II or SS; 3 cr (S-I). Capacity of the world, and its various parts, to feed itself. Representative studies of agricultural systems in different regions of the world in relation to differing natural and cultural milieu. P: So st. Spring Syllabus | Fall Syllabus |
312 Regional Development and Planning (Crosslisted with Urb R Pl) I, II; 3 cr (S-I). Analysis of the human organization of the environment and an evaluation of those principles of regional science which have been developed to promote more desirable forms of spatial organization. P: So st.
318 Introduction to Geopolitics I or II or SS; 3 cr (S-I). An introduction to the contemporary study of geopolitics, featuring the main concepts and research themes encountered in this field. During the semester we will examine the formation of geopolitical images of the world, where these images come from, and how they have shaped our thinking and politics over time. P: So st. Fall Syllabus |
319 Environmental Evaluation and Adaptation I or II; 3 cr (S-I). The study of how human beings make sense of geographic reality; how they make worlds out of environments. P: So st.
320 Geomorphology (Crosslisted with Geology) I; 3 cr (P-I). Principles and analysis of geomorphic processes and resulting land forms. Field trip. P: One of the following: Geol 100, 101, 106, 201, Geog 120, 127. Spring Syllabus |
321 Climatology I; 3 cr (P-I). Elements and controls of climate and the distribution of world climates. Emphasis on regional dynamic climatology. P: Geog 120, 121, 125, 127 or ILS 132 or Meteor 100 or cons inst.
323 Science of Climate Change (Crosslisted with AOSS) I; 3 cr (C-I). This is a calculus-based treatment of climate system physics and the mechanisms of modern-day anthropogenic climate change. By the end of this course, students will understand: a. How solar radiation and rotating fluid dynamics determine the basic climate state; b. Mechanisms of natural variability and change in climate; c. Why anthropogenic climate change is occurring; and d. Which scientific uncertainties are most important to estimates of 21st century change. Pre-Reqs: PHYS 103, 201 or 207; and MATH 221 not open to students who have enrolled in ATM OCN 425
325 Analysis of the Physical Environment (Crosslisted with Envir St) I or II or SS; 4 cr (P-I). Selected associations of natural and human environments illustrative of the broad principles of physical geography. Practical application of data collection and the use of laboratory and field methods to Wisconsin examples employing quantitative and nonquantitative analytical methods; field trips; lab section. P: Any intro crse in phy geog or phy geol or meteor or cons inst.
326 Landforms-Topics and Regions (Crosslisted with Geology) I or II or SS; 3 cr (P-I). Emphasis on natural and human processes that control the morphology of the land and its waterways. When taught by Knox, major emphasis on surface water hydrology, erosion, sedimentation, and physical characteristics of streams and rivers. P: Intro phy geog or phy geol crse, or cons inst.
329 Landforms and Landscapes of North America I or II; 3 cr (P-I). Regional variation of landforms and physical landscapes in North America; processes and forms that give character to physiographic regions. P: Geog 120 or 127 or Geology 101 or cons inst. Fall Syllabus |
331 Climatic Environments of the Past Crosslisted with Envir St, Atm Ocn) I or II or SS; 2 cr (P-I). Climatic trends and patterns of the most recent 10,000 years. Studies based upon a wide variety of surrogate climatic information. P: Atm Ocn/Geog/Envir St 121, or Geog 120, 123, 124 or 127 or Atm Ocn 100. | Course website | Fall Syllabus |
332 Global Warming: Science and Impacts (Crosslisted with Envir St, Atm Ocn) I or II; 3 cr (P-I). The global warming debate is shifting from whether warming is occurring and why, to assessing consequences and policy options. Course reviews milestones in climate-change science, current state of knowledge, climate-change risks, and adaptation/mitigation strategies. Prereq> Geog/IES 120 or 127 or Atm Ocn 100 or equivs recommended. Fr permitted only with cons inst. | Course website | Spring Syllabus |
337 Nature, Power and Society (Crosslisted with Envir St) I; 3cr. Considers the complex interactions between contemporary societies and the environment, attentive to power relations, both in the USA and internationally. P: So. St. Spring Syllabus | Fall Syllabus |
338 Environmental Biogeography I or II; 3 cr (S-I). Vegetation in environmental systems; vegetation dynamics in natural and human-altered environments; impacts of human activities upon vegetation in North America with emphasis on changes since European settlement. P: Geog 120, 127 or cons inst. (Crosslisted with Botany 338) Fall Syllabus |
339 Environmental Conservation (Crosslisted with Environmental Studies) I, II, SS; 3-4 cr (S-I). Ecological and cultural background of conservation, problems of resource and environmental quality management, and pressing issues of population, food, energy, and pollution. P: So st. Spring Syllabus | Fall Syllabus |
340 World Regions in Global Context I or II; 3 cr (S-I). Survey of development and change within each of the world’s regions (e.g., Africa, Southeast Asia). Attention devoted to environment and society; history, economy, and demographic change; culture and politics; future challenges; key actors. Online course. P: So st.or freshmen with consent of instructor | Course website | Spring Syllabus | Fall Syllabus |
342 Geography of Wisconsin I or II or SS; 3 cr (S-I). Geography of natural features and cultural resources; field trips on and off campus. P: So st.
344 The American West II; 3 cr (S-I). Regional geography of Western United States: Natural and human characteristics, landscape features, land use issues, perception of area as region. P: Not open to Fr. Spring Syllabus |
349 Europe I or II or SS; 3 cr (S-I). A topical and regional overview (excludes Mediterranean countries and the Soviet Union). P: So st. Fall Syllabus |
353 Geographies of Transition in Post-Socialist Space I; 3 cr (S-I). P: So st.
355 Africa, South of the Sahara I or II; 3 cr (S-I). Physical and human distributions and interrelationships, with emphasis on the spatial processes and patterns of modernization. P: So st. Spring Syllabus |
358 China and Southeast Asia I or II or SS; 3 cr (S-I). Emphasis on the social geography and ecology of Chinese and Southeast Asian cultures from formative precolonial times to the present. P: So st. Spring Syllabus |
360 Quantitative Methods in Geographical Analysis I or II or SS; 4 cr (r-P-I). Application of descriptive and inferential statistics to geographical problems. P: So st. Spring Syllabus |
370 Introduction to Cartography I, II; 4 cr (P-I). A broad introduction to cartography, with a dual emphasis on the theory and practice of making maps. Topics include the basics in mapping (e.g., scale, spatial reference systems, and projections), data acquisition, key techniques for thematic mapping, and the principles of cartographic abstraction and design. P: So st or cons inst. | Course website | Spring Syllabus | Fall Syllabus |
371 Introduction to Environmental Remote Sensing (Crosslisted with Envir St, Forestry) I; 3 cr (P-I). Introduction to the Earth as viewed from above, focusing on use of aerial photography and satellite imagery to study the environment. Includes physical processes of electromagnetic radiation, data types and sensing capabilities, methods for interpretation, analysis and mapping, and applications. P: Math 114 & Sophomore standing | Course website | Fall Syllabus |
377 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems I, II; 4 cr.; (P-I). (Cross-listed: Envir Studies 377, Civil & Environmental Engineering 357). Offers an introduction to methods of managing and processing geographic data. Emphases on: the nature of geographic data; spatial data models and structures; data input and management; spatial analytical and modeling techniques, and error analyses. P: Intro course in environmental or mapping science (Geog. 370 may be taken concurrently). | Course website | Spring Syllabus | Fall Syllabus |
378 Introduction to Geocomputing I; 3 cr (P-I). Introduction to scripting for Geographic Information Science. Geoprocessing with open-source GIS utilities. Python scripting with ArcGIS and open-source libraries. Prereq: Geog 377 or equivalent (may be taken concurrently) Spring Syllabus |
400 Level Courses
401 Seminar I, II; 3 cr (S-A). Exploration and analysis of a topic in human geography, including themes involving location analysis, regional and global studies, space and place, religion and morality, and people-environment linkages. P: Appropriate intermediate level course, or cons inst.
420 Glacial and Pleistocene Geology (Crosslisted with Geology) II; 3 cr (P-I). Principles, characteristics and work of glaciers; events of the Pleistocene. Field trip. P: Geol 100, 101, 106 or Geog 120.
434 People, Wildlife and Landscapes (Crosslisted with Envir St, Rur Soc) II; 3 cr (S-A). This course explores the relationship between humans and wildlife amidst diverse landscapes, both historic and contemporary, tropical and temperate. We study how humans shape wild animal populations by modifying physical environments, and by hunting, domesticating and introducing species. P: Geog/IES 339. Fall Syllabus |
460 American Environmental History (Crosslisted with History, Envir St) I or II or SS; 4 cr (Z-I). Survey of interactions among people and natural environments from before European colonization to present. Equal attention to problems of ecological change, human ideas, and uses of nature and history of conservation and environmental public policy. P: So st. | Course website |
500 Level Courses
500 Qualitative Research Strategies in Geography 3 cr. This seminar course surveys qualitative research and methods in geography, including the human subjects review process, research ethics, preparing for fieldwork, participant observation, interviewing, focus groups, filmic experiences, archival research, participatory action research, analyzing field materials and writing styles in qualitative research. P: Jr, Sr or Grad st. Fall Syllabus |
501 Space and Place: A Geography of Experience I or II; 3 cr (S-A). Explore the concepts of space and place from the perspective of learning and everyday experience. Examines how space and place emerge out of fundamental human needs, experiences, and ways of thinking. P: Jr st. Fall Syllabus |
503 Researching the City: Qualitative Strategies (Crosslisted with Urb R Pl) Alt yrs; II; 3 cr (S-I). Explores, and applies, qualitative methods in the field of urban geography. An introduction to debates around the analysis and interpretation of qualitative data is provided, grounded in concrete urban research. Participation in a three-day field course is required. P: Jr st.
505 Urban Spatial Patterns and Theories (Crosslisted with Urb R Pl) II or SS; 4 cr (S-A). This course is concerned with the spatial patterns and processes associated with urban areas. It is designed to provide an understanding of the spatial structure and movement patterns within urban areas. The approach is multidisciplinary, with ideas being culled from various disciplines within the social sciences, including geography, economics, sociology, and psychology. Discussions of urban models, and their implications for urban and regional planning, are stressed throughout the course. P: Geog 305 or cons inst. Spring Syllabus |
506 Historical Geography of European Urbanization (Crosslisted with Urb R Pl) I or II; 3 cr (S-A). Changes in the morphology, functions, and arrangements of towns and cities from the urban revolution in the ancient Middle East to the Industrial Revolution in nineteenth century western Europe and America. P: Jr st. Spring Syllabus | Fall Syllabus |
508 Landscape and Settlement in the North American Past I or II; 3 cr (S-A). Settlement processes and patterns--towns, hamlets, farms and land holdings--which define the varied landscape of North America. Changing attitudes to the transformation of the natural landscape and varying perceptions of the modified landscapes. P: Jr st. Spring Syllabus |
510 Economic Geography I or II or SS; 4 cr (S-A). Theoretical aspects of spatial economic distributions and locational analysis. P: Jr st. Spring Syllabus |
518 Power, Place, Identity I or II; 3 cr (S-A). In this advanced political geography course, we will explore reconceptualizations of power, place and identity, as well as the interactive forces at work that continually reshape place-making and the inter-related processes of identification and differentiation. P: So St.
523 Quaternary Vegetation Dynamics (Crosslisted with Geology) 3 cr. Geographic responses of plant species and terrestrial ecosystems to late-Quaternary environmental change, particularly changes in climate and carbon dioxide. Quaternary vegetation dynamics are relevant to understanding vegetational responses to the 21st-century climate change. Laboratory section emphasizes multivariate data analysis and vegetational modeling. P: Jr st & Geog 120/127 or equiv. Spring Syllabus |
524 Advanced Landform Geography (Crosslisted with Geology) I or II; 3 cr (P-A). Purposes, methods, and content of analysis of landforms, with emphasis on quantitative descriptive regional variation, and functional relationships. P: Cons inst or Jr st. Fall Syllabus |
525 Soil Geomorphology (Crosslisted with Soil Sci) II; 3 cr (P-A). Soil development as related to landscape throughout the Quaternary; focusing on the relationship of soils to climate and vegetation, landscape evolution, and time; principles of soil stratigraphy; case histories of soil geomorphic studies; field trips. P: Soil Sci 325 or Geog/Soil Sci 431; and an intermed level crse in geomorphology; or cons inst. Spring Syllabus |
527 The Quaternary Period (Crosslisted with Geology) I; 3 cr (P-A). Principles of Quaternary studies emphasizing terrestrial records and paleoecology of the past two million years and comparisons with the deep ocean record and models of climatic change. P: 1 intermed-level crse in physical geog or geol; or cons inst. Spring Syllabus |
528 Past Climates and Climatic Change (Crosslisted with Atm Ocn, Envir St) I or II; 2 cr (P-A). Climatic change throughout geologic time, especially in the last 10 millennia; mechanisms of change, evidence, and criteria, paleogeography and paleoclimatology, climate models. P: Jr st or one year calculus-based college physics or introduction to weather and climate; or cons inst.
537 Culture and Environment (Crosslisted with Envir St) I or II; 4 cr (S-A). Geographic approaches to culture-nature relationships, including human perception of, use of, and adaptation to the physical environment, with emphasis on traditional subsistence systems; selected topics from contemporary and historical sources. P: Geog/IES 339 or equiv. Spring Syllabus | Fall Syllabus |
538 The Humid Tropics: Ecology, Subsistence, and Development I or II; 4 cr (S-A). Description and analysis of humid-tropical ecosystems, with emphasis on the relationships, production potential, and human modification of biotic resources. P: Jr st. Fall Syllabus |
557 Political Ecology in Mainland Southeast Asia II; 3 cr (S-A). Examines the political, socio-cultural, economic and ecological aspects of contemporary development and human-environment relations in mainland Southeast Asia, applying a critical and theoretically informed perspective, and focusing largely on rural issues. P: So st. Spring Syllabus |
560 Advanced Quantitative Methods II; 3 cr (P-A). Selected topics in the analysis of spatial distributions with emphasis on multivariate techniques. P: Geog 360 or equiv; Jr st. Fall Syllabus |
565 Colloquium for Undergraduate Majors I, II; 3 cr (I). Orientation to geography as a scholarly discipline; its development, objectives, essential concepts, methods of investigation, institutions, opportunities, problems, and trends. P: Geog majors or cons inst. Fall Syllabus |
566 Geographic Thought I or II; 4 cr (S-A). An analysis of the development and significance of basic geographic concepts and theories. Major emphasis on concepts of place, spatial relations, landscape, and human-environment relations. P: Jr st. Fall Syllabus |
572 Graphic Design in Cartography II; 4 cr (P-A). Study of the map as a graphic communication, the technical and perceptual aspects of its organization, symbolic coding, color and lettering. P: Geog 370 or cons inst. | Course website | Fall Syllabus |
575 Interactive Cartography and Geovisualization II; 4 cr (P-A). Examines recent issues in cartography related to map animation, the Internet, geovisualization and on-demand mapping systems - focusing on new cartographic challenges and opportunities associated with interactive, digital mapping systems. P: Geog 370 and Geog 378 or Comp Sci 302, or cons inst. | Course website | Spring Syllabus |
577 Environmental Modeling with GIS I; 3 cr.; (P-A). This course focuses on environmental modeling using geographic information systems. The course provides an overview of physical environmental processes and focuses on discussion of the GIS-techniques used to parameterize these processes. The discussion will be illustrated by widely used GIS-based environmental models. Prereq> Geog 377 or equiv & Geog 325 or equiv
578 GIS Applications II, 4 cr, (P-A). Application and use of GIS techniques in physical and human geography. Includes an introduction to a generic framework of GIS applications, case studies, and student projects. Cases range from urban and regional geography, to marketing geography, and to physical and environmental geography. P: Geog 370 and Geog 377 or equivalent Spring Syllabus | Fall Syllabus |
579 GIS and Spatial Analysis I; 3 cr.; (P-A). Principles and algorithms for spatial analysis in geographic information systems. A theoretical and practical examination of analytical methods used in GIS, including point, line and polygon processing, spatial autocorrelation, spatial interpolation, smoothing, spatial overlay and query, network analysis, terrain analysis, and classification. P: Geog 377 or equivalent, Geog 360 or instructor consent. Fall Syllabus |
600 Level Courses
602 Internship I, II, SS; 1-2 cr (A). Students may earn no more than two internship credits toward the 30-40 credits in geography. P: Stdts should be declared Undergrad majors or Grad stdts in geography. Graded on a credit/no credit basis.
675 Special Topics in Geography I or II or SS; 3 cr (S-A). Topics vary. P: Jr, Sr, or Grad st, or cons inst. Fall Syllabus |
681 Senior Honors Thesis I, II; 2-3 cr (A). P: Cons inst.
682 Senior Honors Thesis I, II; 2-3 cr (A). P: Cons inst.
691 Senior Thesis I, II; 2-3 cr (A). P: Sr st and cons inst.
692 Senior Thesis I, II; 2-3 cr (A). P: Sr st and cons inst.
698 Directed Study I, II; 1-3 cr (A). Cr/N. P: Jr or Sr st. Graded on a Cr/N basis; requires cons inst.
699 Directed Study I, II; 1-3 cr (A). P: Jr or Sr st. Graded on a lettered basis; requires cons inst.
700 Level Courses
765 Geographical Inquiry and Analysis: An Introduction 1 cr. Geographic perspectives and analyses: history of the discipline, issues and research frontiers, interests and perspectives of Madison faculty, structure of graduate study in the department, research facilities and opportunities. P: Grad st.
766 Geographical Inquiry and Analysis: Techniques 1-3 cr. Engaging in geographic research: analysis of successful proposals and published papers and books; different approaches to geographic research; writing of proposals for students' won research. P: Grads: 3 cr, undergrads: 1 cr; or cons inst. Spring Syllabus |
799 Independent Reading 1-3 cr.
900 Level Courses
900 Seminar in Geography 1-3 cr. P: Grad st.
918 Seminar in Political Geography: The Geography of Nationalism 1-3 cr. P: Grad st.
932 Seminar in American Environmental History 3 cr. Surveys recent and classic works on American environmental history to introduce students to the methods and historiography of the field. | Course website |
970 Seminar in Geographic Information Science 1-3 cr. P: Grad st. Spring Syllabus |
990 Research and Thesis 1-9 cr. P: Cons inst.
999 Independent Work 1-3 cr. P: Cons inst.