Geography BS Global Studies

Program Purpose


Geography helps us understand how people, places, and problems are related in our increasingly complex world. By studying these connections with a spatial perspective (i.e., focusing on the relevance of location), geographers are able to propose solutions to challenging social, environmental, economic, and political problems. This emphasis givse students a broad experience with the geographic perspective, both conceptually and professionally. It includes three types of courses:

Some students use this emphasis to prepare for careers that require geographic knowledge and skills, especially at a global scale, such as sustainable development, international business, and the military. Many use it as a liberal arts style degree to satisfy an interest in geography or prepare for graduate studies in geography, business, law, development, or international relations.

Curricular Structure

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.

Emphasis Specialization

Human and Environmental Processes

Evaluate the core human and environmental processes which create the context for global issues (Geog 110, 120, human and physical geography courses)

Courses that Contribute: GEOG 120 GEOG 255 GEOG 260 GEOG 331
Linked to BYU Aims: Human knowledge
Regional Geography

Examine the characteristics of a given place or region vis a vis the physical and human patterns and processes that are present (NGS element: Places and Regions).

Courses that Contribute: GEOG 120 GEOG 250 GEOG 255 GEOG 260 GEOG 341
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Human knowledge
Current World Issues

Recommend viable solutions to current world problems based on increased knowledge, understanding, passion and emphathy(Courses: Geog 120, 331, 341, regional courses).

Courses that Contribute: GEOG 120 GEOG 245 GEOG 255 GEOG 260 GEOG 285 GEOG 331 GEOG 341
Linked to BYU Aims: Human knowledge

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 and 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 100 GEOG 120 GEOG 255 GEOG 260
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Human knowledge

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 Global 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.