Geography BS Tourism Studies

Program Purpose


The Travel and Tourism Studies emphasis within the Geography Department at BYU is a popular and challenging program of study that introduces students to the expanding world of tourism. A multi-disciplinary geographic perspective examines the history, structure, patterns, and research issues of the world's largest industry. By integrating concepts of location, place, environment, climate, landscape and economy, the geographic foundation of this emphasis helps students to understand where and why tourism sites are located, the movements of people created by tourism, and the changes tourism brings to the cultural and physical landscapes.

Although the majority of students in this emphasis are more interested in an informative and enjoyable major than a career, there is a focus on professional skills, including tourism planning, management strategies, and geographic information systems, that equip students for a variety of careers in the travel and tourism industry as well as many other areas of employment.

Curricular Structure

BS Geography general information

Catalog Information

Major Academic Plan

Learning Outcomes


The Geography Core learning outcomes are correlated with five of the six essential elements of the 1994 National Geography Standards (NGS).  The specialized outcomes of this emphasis are focused on developing further competency in these six elements, the eighteen specific standardswithin these elements, and the five geographic skills in the standard; the correlated standards are cited in each outcome.

BS Geography Core: Students who successfully the core courses in the BS Geography degree should be able to (at a basic level):

Core geographic knowledge and skills

Understand, explain & apply the NGS-related foundational concepts of Human Societies and Spatiality, Physical Environments, Human-Environmental Interaction, Regional Geography, Critical Spatial Thinking, and Effective Communication.

Courses that Contribute: GEOG 130 GEOG 272 GEOG 336 GEOG 347 GEOG 348 GEOG 353
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Human knowledge

Emphasis specialization: Students who successfully complete the Tourism Studies Emphasis should be able to fulfill the core outcomes and to:

Geography and Tourism

Understand and explain how the different geographies of tourism are created, maintained, and utilized in the modern world. Evaluate the impacts of tourism on present and future economies, cultures, societies, and physical environments.

Courses that Contribute: GEOG 347 GEOG 348 GEOG 353
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Human knowledge
Tourism Issues and Trends

Interpret tourism issues and trends vis a vis key geographic concepts of globalization, mobility, production, and consumption. Explain the spatial patterns of tourism development and the dynamic relationships between travel generating regions and destination regions using geographic principles.

Courses that Contribute: GEOG 347 GEOG 348 GEOG 353
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Human knowledge
Tourism and Cultural Understanding

Leverage tourism activities to promote increased understanding, knowledge, passion, respect, and empathy for other peoples, cultures, and places.

Courses that Contribute: GEOG 347 GEOG 348 GEOG 353
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Communicate effectively

Evidence of Learning


Direct Measures

Sample Coursework (assignments, test questions) selected for strategic relevance to learning outcomes

Content Knowledge Exam taken at beginning and end of program

Internship Reports from interns and employers

Faculty reports from personal mentoring and advisement

Student and peer evaluations of teaching

Indirect Measures

BYU Senior Survey with departmental addendum, focusing on opinions of BYU education and self-confidence in competency

BYU Alumni Questionnaire with departmental addendum, focusing on opinions of BYU education and self-confidence in competency

FHSS exit survey with departmental addendum, focusing on opinions of BYU education and self-confidence in competency

Anecdotal reports from alumni reflecting on BYU education and success in profession and post-graduate education

Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement


  1. Two standing committees of the department are involved: the Undergraduate Education committee (three members selected by the chair), and the program curriculum committee composed of all faculty focused in Travel and Tourism Studies. In both committees, most effort is concentrated during the summer to avoid distraction during the school year.
  2. Throughout the school year, the Undergraduate Education Committee uses university, college, and department tools to gather raw assessment data.
  3. At the end of the school year (late April-early May), this Committee analyzes and discusses the assessment data with respect to the learning outcomes. They identify significant successes, and problems that need to be resolved. They prepare a brief report.
  4. At the final faculty meeting of the year (mid-May), the Undergraduate Education Committee presents their findings to the rest of the faculty. The Undergraduate Education Committee (or another standing or ad hoc committee if appropriate) is charged with developing solutions to department-wide issues. The program curriculum committee is charged with developing solutions to program-specific issues. This should take 1-2 hours.
  5. During the summer, committees meet as needed and develop solutions. Each prepares a brief report outlining specific proposals. This may include program requirement changes, new or deleted courses, course alterations, teacher development, and such.
  6. At the department retreat (late August), each committee presents its proposals. Faculty discuss and vote on proposals. This should take 2-3 hours.
  7. The Undergraduate Education Committee prepares and submits applications for curriculum changes in September for consideration by the University for the following school year.