A large group of seated students listening to a professor in the geography classroom


Geography students in GW's Columbian College of Arts and Sciences learn the technical skills essential to geography-based careers, as well as transferable expertise in problem solving, research and emerging technologies.

Students may explore human geography, studying the migration patterns, languages and cultures that shape our world. Others focus on physical geography, digging into climate patterns, the formation of landforms and the evolving impact of plant and animal species change. Still others master the latest techniques in geospatial geography, learning how to construct the navigation systems the world relies on. All undergraduates gain a thorough foundation in geography and its applications through introductory courses taught entirely by tenure-track faculty.




Sarah Cassius

Sarah Cassius

BA ’19

"My GIS and physical geography classes were vital to my internship in Colombia. My education was put to the test when I had to explain ‘bioaccumulation’ and ‘gentrification’ in Spanish to professionals in the field."

Technical Skill Set 

Geographers use many tools and techniques in their work, and geographic technologies are increasingly important for understanding our complex world. For example, these technologies allow geographers to plan new communities, decide where new highways should be placed and establish evacuation plans.

Through coursework and research, Department of Geography students become fluent in the latest advancements in the field:

  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Remote Sensing
  • Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
  • Online Mapping


Immersive Class Settings

People walking outside the World War II memorial facing the Lincoln Memorial in the distance

Cities and Societies

Undergraduate students use Washington, D.C., as an outdoor laboratory to explore urban trends. In one course, students visited the National Mall to study the meaning of monuments and memorials.

Professor Mann teaching a powerpoint

Human Geography

In an introductory geography course, students mapped the globalization of Facebook users as a way to explore contemporary themes in human geography.

Students outside walking and sitting on benches among trees on campus

Urban Sustainability

Partnering with the local D.C. nonprofit Casey Trees, student coursework has included inventorying campus trees—measuring both tree diameter and canopy.

A group of students in hiking gear in the woods listening to a guide talk

Senior Seminar 

Fourth-year students participate in an annual class trip outside the city to work in small groups, collaborate with professors and refine their final project ideas.

 Geography in the Working World

Maura Welch

GW Geography Alumna Named George J. Mitchell Scholar

November 30, 2020
Former geography major Maura Welch, B.A. ’13, plans to study comparative social change at Ireland’s Trinity College Dublin after receiving a prestigious scholarship for American students to pursue graduate studies.
Cameron Waggener working at his Wheelys bicycle coffee shop

A Single Geography Class Inspires Career in Coffee

Cameron Waggener, BA ’17, began his career by opening the Washington, D.C., area’s first bicycle coffee shop. He was inspired to pursue this path after taking the geography course People, Land and Food. Waggener’s curiosity was particularly piqued by the course’s focus on coffee and its global supply chain — so much so, he spent his sophomore-year summer working on a coffee farm in Ecuador. During senior year, he started his business on the back of a bike.

Sarah Cassius standing at the top of a hill in Columbia

Applying GPS Technology to Conservation in Colombia

Sarah Cassius, BA ’19, spent a summer interning in Medellin, Colombia, where she applied her geography background to help conserve land and improve plumbing for locals. Her internship culminated in a presentation to the mayor of the municipality on the change to LED lights and its economic, environmental and public health benefits — in Spanish!