UW-Fox Valley Logo

Department of Geography/Geology


What is Geography? Geography answers two questions: where are things located and why are they located where they are. Geographers interpret and explain the occurrence, distribution and interactions of natural and cultural features on the earth. They analyze phenomena according to their locations, areal extent and spatial relationships. The chief tool of the geographer is a map. Just as historians can study anything as long as they study it in terms of time, geographers study a wide array of items in terms of space or location. Traditionally the discipline has been divided into two main subdisciplines. Physical geography concentrates on the natural environment (landforms, weather and climate, biogeography and soils). Cultural geography deals with the locational elements of the things people do (business and marketing geography, economic geography, urban geography, historical geography). Some geographers concentrate on map making. They are called cartographers. Many geographers are now using sophisticated computer mapping and analysis programs (GIS) to answer lavational and spatial questions. Geographers often work with person from other disciplines and the field freely borrows knowledge from many disciplines.

What is Geology? Geology is the study of the solid surface of the earth and the processes, which shape this surface. Geologists are interested in the origin and nature of rocks and sediments and the various processes that affect them. By looking at the earth’s physical makeup and history, geologists find the key to discovering useful resources and understanding processes, which may be beneficial or harmful to us. Geologists often work with geographers, chemists and physicists in their search for information about our planet’s makeup.

If you are planning to major in Geography or Geology, you will spend your freshman and sophomore years at University of Wisconsin–Fox Valley studying the basic sciences, humanities, social sciences, core geography or geology courses and composition. Your junior and senior years at your transfer institution will be devoted in large part to specialized coursework.

Career Opportunities

Career opportunities in geography are many and varied. Most geographers hired today have specialized training in Geographical Information Systems (GIS). This is a very in-demand field with high pay and many opportunities. Geographers may be hired in business, natural resource management, planning, environmental management and education fields. Most will work for private business, often-analyzing spatial aspects of marketing or doing site analysis. Many geographers are hired by governmental agencies and the military. Increasingly geographic skills are required in law enforcement, health and social services, banking, real estate and insurance.

The field of geology has many subdisciplines and a person majoring in geology is likely to specialize in at least one beyond getting an overall background in the science. At the present, most of the jobs in geology are in mineral and fossil fuel exploration, finding groundwater and cleaning up polluted groundwater, dealing with natural hazards and various types of environmental assessment. Some geologists work for governmental and planning agencies in more general environmental consulting capacities. In general, the outlook for employment is good.

Curriculum Guidelines

The courses needed may vary from one campus to another. However, the freshman and sophomore coursework will have many components. UWFox can offer the freshman and sophomore curriculum needed to begin a geography or geology major. The courses outlined below are to be used as a guide. You should refer to the catalog of the bachelor-degree-granting institution to which you plan to transfer. The Geography/Geology faculty or Student Services advisors can help you plan a course of study at UWFox that will meet the requirements for the major. You will need good preparation in math, computer science and physical science.

Geography / Geology Core Courses

Physical Environment Physical Geography: Landforms Into. to Cultural Geography Physical Geography: Weather and Climate Physical Geology Environmental Conservation United States and Canada Economic Geography Elementary Statistics

Liberal Arts Courses

Social Sciences Natural Sciences Humanities Ethnic Studies Mathematic Sciences

Medical Science Core Courses

Pre-Calculus Mathematics Calculus Biology Advanced Biology General Chemistry I & II Organic Chemistry General Physics I & II Anatomy and Physiology Intro to Psychology

Liberal Arts Course

Oral/Written Composition .
Social Sciences

This course sequence is only a guideline. The beginning English and mathematics classes will be dependent upon placement scores. Since specific requirements for freshman/sophomore course work vary for each institution, refer to the catalog of your transfer school.

*Depending on your field of study, you would take a course from the following list: general botany, general survey of microbiology, genetics.

**Human anatomy and human physiology courses are not required but recommended for many of the medical science fields.


The science facilities at UWFox are equipped with three state of the art biology laboratories, including a laboratory devoted specifically for teaching microbiology and genetics. Two chemistry laboratories provide modern instruments such as Gas chromatographs, Fourier transform infrared spectrometers, and ultraviolet-visible spectrometers. All labs are equipped with computers to assist in the acquisition and analysis of experimental data.

Academic and Career Advising

Faculty members are available to assist you within their respective discipline. Student Affairs advisors are available to assist you with both academic and career selection. The staff will help you to select courses to fulfill academic requirements for your desired majors. Advisors will also be able to assist you with career exploration through computerized interest inventories, resource materials, and job shadowing opportunities.

Further Information

  • E-mail address is foxinfo@uwc.edu
  • Web address is www.uwfox.uwc.edu
  • Career information web address is www.uwhelp.wisconsin.edu
  • Call the Student Affairs Office at (920) 832-2620
  • Write to the following address: Student Affairs Office University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley 1478 Midway Road, Menasha, WI 54952
  • Visit the campus Student Resource Room
  • Explore career options on WISCAREERS computer program