College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Advising - Zulauf Hall 201 - 815-753-0114

A 2 + 2 Plan Leading to a Bachelor of Arts or
Bachelor of Science Degree in Geography


 All degree requirements are subject to the provisions and notices in the Undergraduate Catalog. Information is valid through August 2015.


B.A. or B.S. Degree in Geography

The Department of Geography at Northern Illinois University invites students from Illinois community colleges to consider a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in geography at NIU. Geography provides a challenging academic experience that rounds out a liberal arts education, provides an educational foundation for graduate school, and prepares for an interesting array of professional employment opportunities.

Approximately 50 percent of our majors transfer to NIU from community colleges. This brochure suggests a two-year program that will prepare community college students with the appropriate set of background courses to complete our baccalaureate degree. All degree programs in the Department of Geography are structured so that community college transfer students may complete their degree in two years, provided (1) enrollment begins in the fall semester, and (2) selected math and science courses, identified below, are completed prior to enrollment.

The baccalaureate degree programs in geography allow students to focus their interests on area studies, geographic information systems (GIS), natural environmental systems, or urban/economic systems.  You may also elect not to focus but rather take a general degree.  Students who complete degrees in geography may enter careers in governmental service, private business, or pursue graduate studies.  By the proper selection of electives, the student can meet federal civil service qualification standards as a soil scientist or hydrologist; students may also obtain a background for a career in natural resource planning, interpretation, or management.  A certificate of undergraduate study in geographic information systems is available for students with appropriate qualifications.

Students who elect the B.A. degree will be required to fulfill the all-university requirement in foreign language; in addition, students who elect this degree option will need to complete MATH 210, MATH 211, or MATH 229 and STAT 301.  Students who elect the B.S. degree will be required to fulfill the college requirement in mathematics and natural sciences; students should consult an adviser for information regarding the appropriate college sequence for their course of study.  Students who are interested in environmental studies are urged to complete at least two one-year sequences of courses in laboratory science.

Geography Requirements

GEOG 101 GEOG 204  MATH 210  or
GEOG 102 GEOG 256  MATH 211  or
GEOG 105 GEOG 300  MATH 229
GEOG 106 GEOG 359  STAT 301
GEOG 202 GEOG 361  

+ 12 hrs. from one of the following groups:

General Geography
Any combination of courses from 300-400 level courses in the department.

Area Studies Geographic Information Systems Natural Environmental Systems Urban/Economic Geography
GEOG 303 GEOG 391 J or K GEOG 302 GEOG 304
GEOG 330 GEOG 403 GEOG 303 GEOG 324X
GEOG 332 GEOG 407 GEOG 306 GEOG 362
GEOG 335X GEOG 432 GEOG 322 GEOG 391 G
GEOG 336 GEOG 455 GEOG 324 X GEOG 403
GEOG 338 GEOG 458 GEOG 370 GEOG 407
GEOG 391 D GEOG 459 GEOG 391 A or B GEOG 430
GEOG 408 GEOG 460 GEOG 402 GEOG 432
GEOG 430 GEOG 461 GEOG 403 GEOG 453
GEOG 435 X GEOG 464 GEOG 404 GEOG 455
GEOG 451 GEOG 467 GEOG 406 GEOG 461
GEOG 461 GEOG 468 GEOG 407 GEOG 463
GEOG 490 GEOG 490 GEOG 408 GEOG 464
GEOG 491 GEOG 493 GEOG 413 GEOG 490
GEOG 498 D or E       GEOG 498 J or K  GEOG 422 GEOG 491
GEOG 442 X GEOG 498 E or G
GEOG 453
GEOG 455
GEOG 461
GEOG 465
GEOG 490
GEOG 491
GEOG 492                                        
GEOG 498 A or B



8 Semester Plan

Fall      Spring  
ENGL 103  3   ENGL 104  3
For Lang/MATH1 3-4   For Lang/MATH  3-4
Humanities Gen Ed  3   COMS 100  3
Social Science Gen Ed  3   Science Gen Ed2 3-4
GEOG 101/102 4   GEOG 105/106 4
  16-17     16-18
GEOG 202  3   GEOG 2563 3
GEOG 204  3   For Lang/MATH 3-4
For Lang/MATH  3-4   Humanities Gen Ed 3
Humanities Gen Ed  3   IDSP Gen Ed  3
Social Science Gen Ed  3-4   Science Gen Ed  3-4
  15-17     15-17
GEOG 300 1      
GEOG 359 3   GEOG 361 3
GEOG 300/400 level4 3   GEOG 300/400 level  3
STAT 301 4   Elective 300/400 level  3
Electives  3-6   Electives 6
  14-17     15
GEOG 300/400 level  3   GEOG 300/400 level 3
GEOG 300/400 level  3   GEOG 300/400 level  3
Electives 300/400 level 3   Elective 300/400 level 3
Electives (any level)  6   Electives (any level) 6
  15     15

What Classes Should I Take at My Community College?

As you earn your associate's degree or work toward completion of the IAI General Education Core Curriculum, you should try to take classes that will satisfy requirements for your degree at NIU. For example, you must choose either a B.A. or B.S. sequence at NIU.  A B.S. at NIU requires you to take a combination of math and science courses.  A B.A. requires completion of a foreign language sequence or four years of a high school foreign language with grades of 'C' or better.  Check NIU’s Articulation Tables to see which classes will transfer to NIU from your community college.  For more details about these and other NIU requirements, consult the Undergraduate Catalog.

Suggested Semester Plan

Minimum 120 total; 40 at the 300-400 level 

1Foreign language is required for the B.A. degree.  Previous foreign language background may reduce or fulfill this requirement; please consult the NIU catalog for more information.  B.A. students must also fulfill the core competency requirement in mathematics; MATH 210, MATH 211, or MATH 229 is required for the B.A. in geography.  A combination of math, statistics, and laboratory science courses are required for the B.S. degree; please consult the NIU catalog.  Appropriate choices in the B.S. sequence may also fulfill science general education requirements.

2This requirement may be addressed in part if the B.A. student completes MATH 229 as a core competency course in mathematics.

3For some students, GEOG 256, GEOG 202, or GEOG 204 may have to be deferred until their junior year to allow the student to complete an additional general education course.

4For appropriate choices among 300-400 level courses, please consult a departmental adviser to discuss your academic and career options.

Northern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University (NIU) is a major comprehensive university with over 25,000 students. It offers approximately 54 undergraduate and 75 graduate programs in the Colleges of Business, Education, Engineering and Engineering Technology, Health and Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Visual and Performing Arts.

The 786-acre main campus of Northern Illinois University is located in the city of DeKalb, a community of about 42,500 located 65 miles west of Chicago's Loop, on the East-West Tollway (I-88).

The campus, which features two lagoons and a wooded area, has grown from a single building in 1895 to a modern, 63-building campus. The first building, Altgeld Hall, originally known as the Castle on the Hill, still stands and houses administrative offices.

Visit Our Website

Everything you ever wanted to know about the geography department, programs offered, and faculty and staff is right at your fingertips.

If you have access to the Internet, you can find our website at, and from there you can get in touch with the Northern Illinois University home page. This is very helpful for students interested in the university and also gives information about the community, people, places, classes, events, etc.


For a current NIU Undergraduate Catalog and application materials, contact:

Office of Admissions
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 60115-2857
(800) 892-3050 (toll-­free in Illinois)
or (815) 753-­0446 


Northern Illinois University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, status based on the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA), or status as a disabled or Vietnam-era veteran. Further, the Constitution and Bylaws of Northern Illinois University provides for equal treatment regardless of political views or affiliation, and sexual orientation.