About Geography & Environmental Studies

For almost the entire history of Central Michigan University, our department has served students and the campus community through teaching, research and service. The University offered geography courses right after its 1892 founding. By 1900, the Department of Geography became a stand-alone unit led by R. D. Calkins, for whom Calkins Hall on campus is named.

Back then, the Department offered courses in physical geography, meteorology, and geography education. As the Department grew, course offerings grew to accommodate nationwide trends in research methods, theories, research areas, and educational outreach. Over the decades, the Department developed an array of regional studies courses as well as topical courses within human-environment interactions, mapping, physical, and human geography.

Today, the Department is at the forefront of applying geospatial technology to solve problems in Michigan and the world. Departmental faculty conduct an array of quantitative and qualitative methodologies, useful given that cutting-edge research collaborations often require mixed methods. Recent research locations include the United States, Canada, China, Latin America, and Europe.

Our department offers programs tailored to student, employer, and societal interest. Concentrations in land use planning and GIS supplement our standard undergraduate major providing a well-rounded foundation in Geography. The Michigan Geographic Alliance housed here is a state-wide hub for K-12 educational outreach, and CMU's Center for GIScience prominently serves the campus community and employs students to do contract work, with clients worldwide.

In addition to classes taught by award-winning faculty, we help our students attain their future goals through a variety of efforts. Students share their research projects at the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, at state-wide GIS users' conferences, and in publishing alongside faculty mentors. Recent student projects receive state and national awards. We advise students regarding career paths after CMU, and we keep our students abreast of internships and job advertisements using skills honed here in Dow Science Building and at fieldwork sites alike. Through the generosity of alumni, faculty, and departmental friends, we are fortunate to be able to support our students through awarding notable amounts of scholarships annually.

Geography's tradition of researching coupled human and natural systems from spatial and place-based perspectives makes the Department an ideal fit for the University's Environmental Studies major. In 2017, the Department changed its name to the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies to better describe the programs we offer our students.

Just as we are proud of the achievements of our alumni, we also look forward to talking with future students. Please do not hesitate to contact Admissions or departmental faculty should you want a tour and to meet us.