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Undergraduate Minor in

Program summary

Learn how geographic analysis can be used to explain the arrangement of human and physical features on Earth’s surface and how geography influences the ways that people use environmental resources. This 18-credit minor can enhance a variety of majors in technical and scientific areas.

Credits and costs

18 Credits $620/$664 per credit

Enhance Your Penn State Degree

Add a minor to get even more value out of your education.

Gain Specialized Knowledge

Earning a minor enables you to complement your major, pursue a personal interest, or explore a different field of study.

The field of geography encompasses both social-behavioral and environmental sciences. Because of this, Penn State World Campus has partnered with the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences to offer an undergraduate Minor in Geography (GEOG) that can complement most majors in the social sciences, physical sciences, biological sciences, and technical disciplines.

The 18-credit geography minor introduces you to a broad range of concepts in areas such as:

  • sustainability and human-environment systems
  • energy policy
  • global warming
  • cartography, remote sensing, and geographic information systems
  • geopolitics

The courses are designed to provide you with a basic understanding of how geography can be used to describe, analyze, and explain the arrangement of human and physical features on Earth’s surface. This can help you to understand how and why people use environmental resources the way that they do.

The knowledge and skills that you gain with this minor can help prepare you to work in a variety of fields, including:

  • business
  • resource management
  • geographic information systems, remote sensing, and photogrammetry
  • policy analysis
  • urban and regional planning

This minor is open to all interested undergraduate World Campus students who meet the prerequisites. Students of energy and sustainability policy or business may find this minor particularly useful.


The 18-credit Minor in Geography is composed of one prescribed and five elective courses. Your elective courses will be selected from a list of available courses in geography and can include a particular content emphasis such as environmental issues or urban and regional planning.

Requirements for the minor 18 credits chosen in consultation with a geography adviser:

  • Select 3 credits in physical geography (GEOG 1N or 3N or 30N or 430 or 431)
  • Select 3 credits in human geography (GEOG 1N or 2N or 3N or 30N or 430 or 432 or 438W)
  • Select 6 credits of additional geography courses (GEOG 1N or 2N or 3N or 6N or 430 or 431 or 432 or 438W)
  • Select 6 credits of 400-level geography courses (GEOG 430 or 431 or 432 or 438W)

All courses taken for the minor must be completed with a grade of C or higher.

Required Course (3 credits)

  • 3

    Introduction to the relationships between humans and the natural environment, in addition to the theories and methods that geographers employ in addressing them.

Additional Courses (select 15 credits)

  • 3

    This course uses parks and protected areas — both in the U.S. and globally — as a framework for exploring broad themes of sustainability, conservation, and socio-ecological systems.

  • 3

    Explores various visions of the apocalypse and their relevance for addressing major contemporary social, ecological, and economic issues. These issues include global climate change, nuclear war, the growing refugee crisis, the breakdown of democratic governance, economic recession, and forms of everyday violence and social fracture.

  • 3

    Introduces students to the multiple connections of people and the environment through the dynamics of food and the places where it is produced, processed, and consumed.

  • 3

    Explores the fundamentals of cartography, geographic information science, and associated technologies through mapping and spatial analysis to answer key human and environmental problems.

  • 3

    The human use of resources and ecosystems and social causes and consequences of environmental degradation in different parts of the world; development of environmental policy and management strategies.

  • 3

    Designed for students to understand the natural processes of aquatic ecosystems, management of water resources, and threats to sustaining water quantity and quality, for all types of freshwater surface, groundwater, rivers, lakes, wetlands.

    • Prerequisite

      6 credits in geography or natural sciences

    • 3

      Analysis, formulation, implementation, and impacts of energy-related policies, regulations, and initiatives.

      • Prerequisite

        EBF 200 and EGEE 120 and PLSC 490

    • or:

      Analysis, formulation, implementation, and impacts of energy-related policies, regulations, and initiatives.

      • Prerequisite

        EBF 200 and EGEE 120 and PLSC 490

  • 3

    Human dimensions of global environmental change: human causes; human adaptations; and policy implications of global warming.

    • Prerequisite

      (EARTH 002 or GEOG 010 or METEO 003) and GEOG 30N

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

Costs and Financial Aid

Undergraduate Tuition

Undergraduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register and the number of total credits you have accrued at or transferred to Penn State. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.

2022–23 Academic Year Rates

How many credits do you plan to take per semester? If you have 59 or fewer credits If you have 60 or more credits
11 or fewer $620 per credit $664 per credit
12 or more $7,527 per semester $8,125 per semester

Financial Aid and Military Benefits

Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.

How to Apply

Deadlines and Important Dates

  • There are no upcoming deadlines at this time.

Admissions Help

Please work with your adviser if you have questions about adding a minor. You can find your adviser's contact information in your student portal or by calling advising at 814-863-3283.

Admission Requirements

To be eligible for admittance into the geography minor, you must:

  • be a current Penn State undergraduate student in your fifth semester and be in a bachelor's degree major
  • maintain a grade of C or better in all courses for the minor
  • confirm that the minor code and major code do not match

Adding a Minor

If you have achieved fifth-semester standing (60 credits completed), you can apply for admission to the minor. To begin, please follow these steps:

  1. Talk with your academic adviser about incorporating the minor into your major and to develop a semester-by-semester plan for meeting requirements.
  2. You can apply for the minor by adding it in LionPATH. You should do this as early as possible, but you can apply up to the late drop deadline of your graduating semester.
  3. You will receive a confirmation email once you declare the minor in LionPATH.

Technical Requirements

Review the technical requirements for this program.

Contact Us

To learn more about the Minor in Geography, offered in partnership with the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, please contact:

Susan Spaugh
Program Assistant
2217 Earth & Engineering Sciences Building
University Park PA 16802
Email: [email protected]
Phone (toll-free): 877-713-7778
Phone: 814-863-2502
Fax: 814-863-1564