Undergraduate Studies


Whether our destination is just around the next bend or on the opposite side of the globe, we all share the human spirit of adventure. Our planet is an astonishingly beautiful home, with a rich and intricate tapestry of human cultures, natural landscapes, and biota. The curriculum in Area Studies provides a foundation for understanding and appreciating this diversity. Current courses in the Area Studies curriculum focus on select regions of faculty expertise (Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the U.S. and Canada), the distinctiveness of place that arises from the interaction of culture and environment, the role of international politics in preserving or dissolving regional identities, and the forces of globalization driving cultures, societies, and individuals toward greater commonality.

Students having completed the undergraduate degree in Geography with a specialization in Area Studies have gone on to successful careers in: international business, foreign relations, travel and tourism, geographic education, community development, immigration services, Peace Corps, census, cartographic and geographic publishing, and secondary education, and pursued graduate degrees in geography, education, and law.

The department offers programs of study leading to the B.A. and B.S. in Geography. The B.A. degree requires competence in a foreign language equal to two years of college instruction, while the B.S. requires a comparable background in mathematics and laboratory science. The major in Geography with specialization in Area Studies entails 24 semester hours of required coursework bridging the human, environmental, and cartographic traditions of Geography, with an additional 12 semester hours of electives in Area Studies. Class sizes in required courses average between 35 and 50, while enrollments in electives courses are often between 15 and 25. Northern Illinois University sponsors and participates in a variety of international education programs, which may be used to augment electives in the Area Studies specialization. Students may also develop valuable education-to-career experience through internships with various corporations and public institutions in northern Illinois.

Undergraduate Coordinator Thomas Pingel

Undergraduate Catalog Geography Major