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Department of Geography and Geology

BA in Geography (Human) | BS in Geography (Human) | BA in Geography (Environmental) | BS in Geography (Environmental) | BS in Geography (Geo-spatial)BS in Geology | BS in Geology (Geoscience) | Geography Course Descriptions | Geology Course Descriptions


Chair: Brian Cooper    (936) 294-1566    

Faculty: Gary Acton, Samuel Adu-Prah, Don Albert, Chris Baldwin (Emeritus), Brian Cooper, Marcus Gillespie, Gang Gong, John Patrick Harris, Joe Hill, Mark Leipnik, Faljuni Mukherjee, Velvet Nelson, John Strait, Jonathan Sumrall, Jim Tiller, and C. Allen Williams (Emeritus)

Website: www.shsu.edu/~gel_geo

The Department of Geography and Geology is an excellent blend of two disciplines that have a common thread. Both programs are concerned with the physical environment, with resources – including energy resources – and with ways that humans interact with and modify the natural environment. Students may major or minor in either program.

Mission

The primary mission of the Department of Geography and Geology is to provide students of the two complementary programs a comprehensive understanding of the range and depth of these scientific disciplines which encompass, respectively, the human and physical domains of geography, and the physical and historical domains of geology. This understanding is intended to enable our students to achieve their full potential as skilled professionals and well-qualified technical employees in a diverse range of companies and governmental organizations, and to become effective teachers and community leaders. Our programs enable students to become informed users of a range of technologies and prudent stewards of our natural resources. This understanding of the world will promote successful careers, active life-long learning, and an ability and desire to contribute positively to society.

Geography Program

Coordinator: John Strait     (936) 294-4077    

FacultySamuel Adu-Prah, Don Albert, Gang Gong, Marcus Gillespie, Mark Leipnik ,Faljuni Mukherjee, Velvet Nelson, John Strait, Jim Tiller, C. Allen Williams (Emeritus)

Website: www.shsu.edu/~gel_geo/

Geography is the study of the world from a spatial perspective and entails the comprehensive study of the earth and its people. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT about memorizing place-names and coloring maps. On the contrary, geography is an all-encompassing discipline that focuses foremost on fully understanding the Earth and all of its human and natural complexities. Geographers are not only interested in the location of phenomena, but are also interested in understanding the causal factors responsible for their spatial distributions. Moreover, geographers are particularly interested in the larger implications of the spatial arrangements of phenomena across the Earth’s surface. A geographic education entails an understanding of both the physical environment and the cultural world of politics, economics, population, ethnicity, religion, gender, class and other human phenomena. A major thrust within the discipline includes the use of geospatial technologies as a means to facilitate geographic inquiry. Geographers utilize various methodologies associated with the use of spatial analysis, such as computer cartography, geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, digital image processing and global positioning systems. Because of the breadth of its subject matter, geography integrates information from a wide variety of other disciplines and examines that information from a spatial perspective. For individuals that are curious about the world, there are few disciplines that will satisfy that curiosity as much as Geography. In the age of global markets, global culture, global transportation systems and global telecommunications, we are increasingly faced with the reality that our welfare is highly interdependent with the rest of the world. A geographic education represents an excellent way to understand how to deal with environmental, social and economic issues associated with this reality.

Academic Programs

The Geography program incorporates a three-track curriculum and is designed to fit the particular academic needs of our students and better prepare them for life beyond SHSU, particularly in terms of graduate study or employment opportunities.  Student majors may choose to focus their program within one of three concentrations, each providing a broad geographical background yet emphasizing different foci of study.  The human geography concentration is designed for students primarily interested in the broad geographical study of human or cultural phenomena.  The environmental geography concentration is designed for students interested in orienting their program of study around the spatial interactions between human society and the physical environment.  The geo-spatial information sciences concentration is designed for students more interested in developing skills in the application of a variety of geo-spatial technologies. 

Highlights

Located on the third floor of the Lee Drain Building, the department maintains both a Geographic Information System (GIS) lab and a combination computer cartography and remote sensing lab. These labs contain state-of-the-art computers, software and scanners. We also have a van for fieldtrips, a Zodiac watercraft used for field research, a coring device capable of taking up to 6m core samples, high-quality GPS receivers, a large-scale flume to demonstrate sedimentation processes, and a Ground Penetrating Radar System. In order to enhance learning, all of our rooms are outfitted with video-projection systems, and our lecture rooms have sound systems and dedicated computers with Internet access that are used by the instructors for teaching purposes. Many of our students obtain internships and work with faculty members on research projects. Beyond traditional in-class courses, the geography program does offer a number of on-line courss. The program also regularly offers a number of field courses, including some that directly involve travel and/or international or interregional experiences; ex. Thailand, Hawaii, Mississippi Delta, Spain, and other locations.

Career Opportunities

Because of the breadth of geography, there are a wide variety of career opportunities for geography graduates. These opportunities include careers in the following:

  • urban and/or regional planning
  • computer mapping and geospatial technologies
  • environmental companies and state environmental agencies
  • state transportation departments
  • city, county, state, and federal government
  • education
  • historical preservation
  • marketing agencies
  • energy companies
  • emergency management
  • tourism
  • military

Geography’s focus on spatial relationships, in conjunction with new advances in technology, have led to the development of new geographical tools—principally Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS)—that are now used by many geographers in a wide variety of fields. Because these technologies can be applied within virtually any field (government, business, military, etc.) it is one of the fastest growing job fields and the demand for people with experience using them exceeds the supply. Aside from offering a concentration with our program that emphasizes these technologies, we also offer students and an Interdisciplinary Minor in GSS that emphasizes GIS, remote sensing and computer cartography. The combination of geography major and a GSS minor is highly marketable. In addition, we also offer a GIS certificate program for students desiring to pursue a limited number of geotechnical courses. With their broad background, geography graduates have an ability to see connections where others do not, and this enables geographers to work in many different fields. Geography literally offers a world of opportunities.

Suggested Minors

  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • Foreign Language
  • GSS (Geo-spatial Science)
  • Geology, Biology, Environmental Science
  • History
  • International Business
  • Journalism
  • Marketing
  • Military Science
  • Political Science
  • Social Science Composite
  • Sociology

Student Organizations

  • Geographers of Sam Houston (GOSH) - GOSH is intended to enhance appreciation for geography through club-sponsored field trips, guest lectures, and other activities, and to promote camaraderie among geography students.
  • Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU) - GTU is the National Geography Honor Society and was established to promote geographic awareness and the pursuit of geographic knowledge. To be eligible for membership in this honor society, students must have at least 12 hours of geography coursework, a minimum GPA of 3.25 in their geography coursework, and an overall GPA of at least 3.0.

Internships

Educational and research opportunities using GIS are available through a variety of internship opportunities that will increase students’ skills and employment opportunities.

Richardson Endowment Awards

  • C. ALLEN WILLIAMS AWARD FOR GEOGRAPHY STUDENTS: $500-$700 one semester.
    Geography majors or minors, senior status.
  • CODY BARRON AWARD FOR GEOGRAPHY STUDENTS: $500-$700 one semester.
    Geography majors or minors, senior status.
  • GERALD L. HOLDER AWARD FOR GEOGRAPHY STUDENTS: $500 -- $700 one semester.
    Geography majors or minors, senior status, 3.0 GPA Geography overall.
  • JAMES ELLISON KIRKLEY AWARD: Two awards (amounts vary) to majors in history, political science, geography, or sociology.
    Recipients are selected on basis of high academic achievement.
  • JOHN H. BOUNDS AWARD FOR GEOGRAPHY STUDENTS: $500-$700 for one semester.
    Geography majors or minors, senior status.
  • THE ELTON M. SCOTT AWARD FOR GEOGRAPHY STUDENTS: $500 -- $700 one semester. Geography majors or minors, senior status. 3.0 GPA Geography overall.

Request information from: John Strait, Geography Program Coordinator, (936) 294-4077, Department of Geography and Geology, Box 2148, Huntsville, TX 77341-2148. (936) 294-1233

Program Specific Requirements

Students must meet the academic standards established by the university.

Curriculum

Required Courses for Geography Major

Bachelor of Arts, Major in Geography (Human Geography)

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Bachelor of Science, Major in Geography (Human Geography)

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Bachelor of Arts, Major in Geography (Environmental Geography)

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Bachelor of Science, Major in Geography (Environmental Geography)

Bachelor of Science - Major in Geography, Environmental Geography
SHSU Course Number Hours Recommended Sequence
Core Curriculum
Component Area I (Communication) 6 1st year
Component Area II (Mathematics) 3 1st or 2nd year
Component Area III (Life and Physical Science) 8 1st or 2nd year
Component Area IV (Language, Philosophy, and Culture) 3 1st or 2nd year
Component Area V (Creative Arts) 3 1st or 2nd year
Component Area VI (U.S. History) 6 1st or 2nd year
Component Area VII (Political Science/Government) 6 1st or 2nd year
Component Area VIII (Social and Behavioral Sciences) 3 1st or 2nd year
Component Area IX (Component Area Option) 4 1st or 2nd year
Degree Specific Requirements
HIST 1301, HIST 13021 6 Freshman
MATH 1369 3 Freshman
MATH or PHIL 2303 or PHIL 3362 3 Sophomore
POLS 23012000-level POLS1 6 Sophomore
GEOL 1403, GEOL 1404, or GEOL 1405 8 Sophomore
Major Core
GEOG 1401 and GEOG 2301 7 Freshman
GEOG 1321, GEOG 2355, or GEOG 23562 6 Sophomore, Junior
GEOG 4331 3 Sophomore/Junior

GEOG 4333, GEOG 4432, or GEOL 3326

6 Junior

GEOG 1325, GEOG 2364, GEOG 2464, GEOG 3362, GEOG 3363, GEOG 4361, GEOG 4365, or GEOG 4468

6 Sophomore/Junior
Major
Advanced Geography Electives 6 Senior
Minor (required) 18  
Total Hours 120-124
Notes
1HIST 1301 & HIST 1302, and POLS 2301 & POLS (2000-level) satisfies the requirement for Component Area V and the degree specific requirement
2GEOG 2355 or GEOG 2356 satisfies the requirement for Component Area IV and the degree specific requirement

Bachelor of Science, Major in Geography, Geo-spatial Information Sciences

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Minor in Geography

(1 of the following courses) GEOG 1321, or GEOG 2355 or GEOG 2356

(1 of the following courses) GEOG 2301 or GEOG 3350

(1 of the following technique courses) GEOG 1325, GEOG 2364, GEOG 2464

3 credits of geography elective

6 credits of advanced geography electives

Minor in Geo-Spatial Science

(1 of the following courses) GEOG 1325 or GEOG 2364;

GEOG 2464, GEOG 4365 and GEOG 4468;

(2 of the following applied courses) GEOG 3363, GEOG 4331, GEOG 4333, GEOG 4351, GEOG 4356, GEOG 4357, GEOG 4359, or GEOG 4361

 


 Geology Program

Coordinator: Brian J. Cooper     (936) 294-1566  

Faculty: Gary ActonChris Baldwin (Emeritus), Brian Cooper, John Patrick Harris, Joe Hill, Jonathan Sumrall

Website: www.shsu.edu/~gel_geo/

Geology is the ultimate integrated science because all of the principles and methods of the other sciences, as well as geologic principles and methods, are applied to an understanding of the Earth. Geologists study rocks, of course, but they study them from the context of providing information that may eventually be used to forecast earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other geologic hazards. The information obtained may also be applied to help geologists locate various natural resources. Therefore, geology serves to enhance human existence by attempting to reduce risk and by providing the materials necessary for the expansion of civilization.

Academic Programs

The Geology Degree is designed for the person seeking a position in industry or planning to attend graduate school. The Geoscience Plan is designed for the person with a general interest in geology. Each plan is designed to provide an education in the fundamentals of geology. The required geology courses will give the student an understanding of the Earth and will provide an opportunity to observe, investigate, analyze, and interpret geological materials, processes, and structures.

Highlights

Located on the third floor of the Lee Drain Building, the department places considerable emphasis on the integration of lab-based analytical science with similarly rigorous analysis conducted by means of field work. In support, the department maintains a range of field and laboratory equipment including a Mackereth coring system, a vibracorer, a research flume, a portable XRF, plus a variety of GPS and GIS-linked surveying equipment. Many of our students obtain internships and work with faculty members on research projects.

Career Opportunities

Geology majors generally pursue careers in three areas:

  • the environmental industry
  • the petroleum industry
  • teaching

Geology students are provided with the knowledge and skills required to pursue an applied profession, a career in education, and/or continued education at the graduate level.

Suggested Minors

  • Computer Sciences
  • Geography
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Mathematics
  • Science

Student Organizations

Sam Houston Association of Geology Students (SHAGS) - SHAGS is a very active student organization that sponsors field trips to sites in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Alumni, professors, and other professional geologists are invited to speak at SHAGS meetings. Geology majors benefit greatly from the sense of camaraderie gained during the field trips, meetings, and other activities.

Internships

Educational and research opportunities are available through a variety of internship opportunities in the fields of GIS, hydrocarbons, and environmental geology that will increase students’ skills and employment opportunities.

Awards and Scholarships

  • CANNAN GEOLOGICAL SCHOLARSHIPS: $600 per year, junior or senior status, Geology majors, minimum GPA of 3.2 in Geology and overall 3.0, faculty recommendations required.
  • HOUSTON GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OUTSTANDING SENIOR AWARD: Awards and scholarships funded by the Houston Geological Society given to just seven universities in Texas.
  • HOUSTON GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY SCHOLARSHIP:  Award recipients are determined by a faculty committee during the Spring semester.
  • SHAGS Award: $500 per year, awarded to two students, junior or senior status, Geology majors, minimum GPA of 3.0, faculty recommendations required.

Program Specific Requirements

Geology program specific requirements include 8 hours in each of CHEM and PHYS; plus 7-8 hours of MATH.

Curriculum

Required Courses for Geology Major
Bachelor of Science, Geology: GEOL 1403 or GEOL 1405, plus GEOL 1404, GEOL 3301, GEOL 3304, GEOL 3404, GEOL 3405, GEOL 4400, GEOL 4402, GEOL 4413, GEOL 4360, GEOL 4361, and three Advanced GEOL Electives

Bachelor of Science, Geoscience: GEOL 1403 or GEOL 1405, plus GEOL 1404, GEOL 3301, GEOL 3304, GEOL 3404, GEOL 3405, GEOL 4400, GEOL 4402, GEOL 4413, and five Advanced GEOL Electives

Bachelor of Science, Major in Geology

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Bachelor of Science, Major in Geology (Geoscience)

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Minor in Geology

GEOL 1403 or GEOL 1405 plus GEOL 1404 and 12 hours advanced geology.


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