Geography and Sustainable Development


Bachelor of Arts | College of Arts and Science

What is Geography and Sustainable Development?

Geography integrates social and environmental sciences to engage diverse people and places, using geospatial analysis to understand a changing world. Sustainable Development addresses complex challenges like inequality, urbanization, and climate change.

Geography and Sustainable Development majors have the integrative understanding and specialized skills to map a better future for people, prosperity, and the planet. Diverse professional pathways include sustainable development and policy; environment and natural resource management; culture, citizenship and social justice; and geospatial techniques and applications.

What are the features of Miami’s program?

Faculty attention

A low student-to-faculty ratio means that faculty are here and accessible for students. Most classes are relatively small and teachers and students get to know each other. All Geography and Sustainable Development majors develop independent research projects with faculty mentors.

Access to technology

The Department of Geography is the center of geospatial learning and technology at Miami University. All students take courses in geographic information systems (GIS) and related techniques. The Geography Department's GIS labs are equipped with advanced workstations running ArcGIS, ENVI, and a full suite of supporting statistical and database software. Students can also earn a certificate in geographic information science (GISci) to complement the major. Our Geospatial Analysis Center (GAC) offers opportunities to develop advanced skills through grant and contract-funded research.


The Department of Geography works with students and organizations to facilitate internship opportunities for professional development and/or credit. Partnering organizations in our region have included the City of Oxford, Butler County Emergency Management Agency, Three Valley Conservation Trust, among others. We also work with students to find individualized opportunities in other geographic or professional areas: public, private sector, and non-profit.

What are the special admission requirements, if any?

There are no additional admission requirements for this program.

What courses would I take?

Students in the Geography and Sustainable Development major take classes that provide foundational knowledge of geography and sustainable development, analytical techniques, global perspectives, and courses concentrated on areas of student interests and professional applications. Key topics include:

  • Geography and Sustainable Development Foundations, including courses in human geography, physical geography, and their integration via "Global Change"
  • Geospatial Analysis and Techniques, including introductory mapping and geospatial analysis and intermediate courses in key technical applications
  • Sustainable Development Perspectives focused on key issues (e.g. economic development, gender, conservation, sustainability)
  • Places and Regions, providing in-depth regional expertise
  • Applications and Areas of Focus, including courses focused on sustainable development and policy; environment and natural resource management; culture, citizenship, and social justice; and geospatial applications
  • A capstone course in which students develop specialization through in-depth, independent research projects in consultation with faculty members

Because Geography and Sustainable Development is interdisciplinary in perspective, it can be combined effectively with other majors, co-majors, or minors. Students can thereby significantly strengthen their training, whether in related social or natural sciences (e.g. Environmental Science or Sustainability), or specialized professional skills (e.g. Analytics, Interactive Media Studies, Strategic Communication).

What can I do with this major?

Students apply their learning in purposeful and productive careers, and find their skills in high demand. Many Miami graduates work in public service or non-profits, but also in private-sector consulting or corporations. Combining broad liberal arts learning and specialized skills, the major prepares students for diverse career opportunities or post-graduate programs. Key pathways include:

  • Sustainable development and policy jobs with governmental agencies (e.g. USAID or the State Department), development non-profits, or in social entrepreneurship.
  • Geospatial jobs with local and national government (e.g. Census Bureau, U.S. Geological Survey), engineering and consulting firms, corporate strategic planning divisions, supply chain companies, and technology firms (e.g. Apple).
  • Environment and natural resource management jobs with local park districts, land-management agencies (e.g. National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), environmental consultants, and conservation organizations.
  • Community development jobs promoting public engagement, cultural resources, and social justice (e.g. local non-profits or cultural institutions)

Who can I contact for more information?

Department of Geography
118B Shideler Hall
Oxford, OH 45056