Jun 17, 2024  
Undergraduate Catalog | 2019-2020 
Undergraduate Catalog | 2019-2020 Previous Edition

Geography, Urban, Social, and Economic (USE) Geography Concentration, B.S.

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From the local to the global, patterns of urban growth and development connect people to each other, their communities, and their work at every scale of life.  Accordingly, this concentration emphasizes how cities grow, how urban populations change, how urban areas interact with one another as well as the implications of these transitions and interactions at the local, regional and international levels.  Coursework is tailored to student interest and typically involves foundational courses in urban, social, and economic dynamics; population, migration, and labor studies; poverty, inequality, and housing; transportation and locational analysis; and global and globalizing cities and the impacts of globalization at all geographic scales.  Through classroom and research-based activities, students become grounded in the theory and methods of applied geographical analysis in an increasingly interdependent world that: (1) informs stakeholders and the general public; (2) prepares them for careers in the public and private sectors with consultancies, non-profit agencies, international business, think tanks, transnational organizations, while; (3) preparing them for further academic study. 


The Geography curriculum is oriented toward the concepts and methodologies of social science that stress the importance of location.  Geography is the study of spatial variation - of how things vary from place to place on the surface of the earth; how places are connected to each other, and the factors that shape how places interact and change over time.

Geography is studied at many levels, from the local to the global, and from many perspectives (i.e., social, cultural, political, economic, and environmental). Conceptual treatment of geographic issues deal with urbanization; globalization; migration; sustainability; patterns of land use; transportation systems; the flow of goods, services, and information; business location; planning for the natural and built environment; and human-environmental interaction in both urban and rural settings.  Special emphasis is placed on how these factors shape our world, the places where we live and work, and the ways in which we interact.  Geographic analysis involves information technology; mapping and statistical analysis; social area analysis; remote sensing and satellite imagery; and especially the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).  A host of courses prepare students in both the concepts and methods of contemporary spatial analysis.  The department also leads the interdisciplinary Minor in Urban Studies.  Geography majors find careers in urban and regional planning, cartography, GIS applications and development, marketing research, transportation planning, real estate development, and teaching.  While a wide range of career options are available to undergraduate geography majors, graduate studies provide additional options.  For details, see the UNC Charlotte Graduate Catalog regarding the M.A. in Geography program.

Admission Requirements

Freshmen and Transfers

  • Minimum GPA:  2.0
  • Declaration of Major:  Major can be declared on a rolling basis throughout the year. 
  • Transferable Credit Hours:  24

Degree Requirements

General Education Courses (37-41 credit hours)

For details on required courses, refer to the General Education Program 

Foreign Language Requirement (0-8 credit hours)

For details on required courses, refer to the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Foreign Language Requirement 

Restricted Elective Courses (18 credit hours)

Select 18 credit hours of elective GEOG coursework at the 3000 or above level.  Up to three elective courses may be selected from courses with the ESCI, GEOL, and METR prefix. 

Concentration Courses (14 credit hours)

Specific coursework for this Concentration in Urban, Social, and Economic Geography is developed in consultation with the student’s advisor. 

Unrestricted Elective Courses

As needed to complete the credit hours required for graduation.

Degree Total = 120 Credit Hours

Cooperative Education Program

Students in the Geography and Earth Sciences programs may obtain practical work experience while pursuing their degrees by participating in the Cooperative Education program.  The work experience is approved by the department and is closely related to the student’s field of study.  The Cooperative Education Program allows qualified students either to alternate semesters of academic study with semesters of full-time work experience or to combine part-time academic study and part-time work during the same semester.  Students who are in good standing with the University, have a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, and have completed 30 credit hours are eligible to apply.  Transfer students are required to complete 12 credit hours at the University prior to application. Students interested in learning more about participating in this program should contact the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences or the University Career Center.

Honors Program

For details about the Honors Program in Earth Sciences, Geography, Geology, or Metrology, visit the program page .

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