Interconnection at Global Scales

Why Study Geography at TSU?

The Geography program at Tennessee State University is designed to broaden students’ understanding of the increasing level of interconnection between people, places, and the environment at local, regional, and global scales. The program not only expands students’ intellectual horizons with knowledge and understanding of the spatial organization and distribution of natural and human phenomena, but also exposes students to geographic tools and emerging technologies, such as:

  • Geographic Information Science (GIS),
  • remote sensing,
  • Global Positioning Systems (GPS),
  • map making and interpretation,
  • and online mapping tools such as Google Earth.

We offer lower and upper level geography courses that are stimulating and challenging, and we have made the aforementioned emerging geospatial technologies, field work experiences, service learning, research assistantships, study abroad programs, and internship opportunities an integral part of our curriculum.  

Given Geography being an integrative discipline that bridges the social and physical sciences, the program complements students’ preferred majors at Tennessee State University and promotes their intellectual growth and professional development to be able to work and provide effective leadership in an increasingly interdependent and multicultural world or pursue further studies in Geography or related fields.

How Can Studying Geography Impact My Future?

Career Opportunities

Studying geography offers several opportunities for employment. Many geographers now pursue rewarding careers in education, business, local, state, or federal government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Geographers are employed as elementary, secondary school, and overseas teachers, college professors, surveyors, cartographers, GIS specialists, remote sensing analysts, urban and regional planners, national or international development specialists, area specialists, international business representatives, travel agents, environmental managers, forestry technicians, park rangers, location experts, market researchers, route delivery managers, real estate agent/broker/appraisers, and so on.

Practicing geography in the private and public sector has grown considerably in recent years and is expected to grow exponentially with the widespread use of geospatial technologies, especially GIS. Given the breadth and depth of geography as a discipline, which comprises perspectives from physical sciences, social sciences, and humanities, students of geography make a difference in the world by addressing real-world issues such as climate change, environmental problems, economic inequality, international migration, problems, and social cohesion and identity related to gender, race, ethnicity, and so on.

For more information about geography and career opportunities, please visit the Association of American Geographer’s website via

Skills Possessed by Geographers

Students of geography develop the following sets of academic, technical, and transferrable skills:

  • Intellectual Skills: knowledge of the location and distribution of physical and human phenomena on the earth’s surface and their interrelationships at various scales.
  • Analytic Skills: skills in the spatial analysis of geographic data and information collected from a variety of sources, such as field surveys, maps, aerial photographs, satellite imagery, and censuses regarding social, economic, political, and environmental patterns and problems.
  • Communication skills:  ability to communicate effectively (presenting ideas and defending research findings and conclusions) with team members from geography and related fields.
  • Writing skills: ability in writing carefully reasoned reports, arguments, academic essays, proposals, research findings, and articles.
  • Computer and visualization skills:  strong computer and visualization skills to use the latest professional tools and geospatial technologies like GIS, remote sensing, and GPS to collect, analyze, and display geographic data.
  • Critical thinking and problem solving skills: critical thinking and problem solving skills in choosing appropriate sets of data, theoretical framework for analysis, methods (both quantitative and qualitative), and scale of analysis for research projects in order to make well informed decisions and solve real-world problems.
  • Cultural Awareness and sensitivity skills: knowledge of issues of globalization, diversity, multiculturalism, and cultural sensitivity arising from a better understanding of differences in places and people throughout the world.


To discuss minoring in Geography, please contact:

Dr. David Padgett, Associate Professor of Geography
Crouch Hall 213, (615) 963-5508,

Dr. Gashawbeza Bekele, Assistant Professor of Geography
Crouch Hall 413C, (615) 963-5499,

Geography – Exploring the natural and the human world from a spatial perspective

Program Overview

The Department of History, Political Science, Geography, and Africana Studies offers an opportunity for students to obtain a minor in Geography that enriches and complements a student’s major in one of the university’s degree programs. The minor program is open to all students regardless of a major. The program promotes students’ intellectual growth and professional development to be able to work and provide effective leadership in an increasingly interdependent and multicultural world or pursue further studies in Geography or related fields.

Program Goals

The Geography minor at TSU is designed to broaden students’ knowledge and understanding of the spatial arrangement of both natural and human phenomena at local, regional, and global scales while also exposing them to geographic tools, methods, and geospatial technologies, such as Cartography, Geographic Information Science (GIS), Remote sensing, Global positioning Systems (GPS), and online mapping such as Google Earth, which are increasingly important for understanding and analyzing our complex world.

Requirements for a Minor in Geography

The Geography minor at TSU is composed of 18 credit hours of courses in geography, including 2 semesters of World Regional Geography (GEOG 1010 and 1020), and a minimum of one course in Physical Geography, Systematic Geography, and Regional Geography.

Core (6 Hours)

World Regional Geography

GEOG 1010                World Regional Geography I

GEOG 1020                World Regional Geography II


Electives (12 Hours)

Students must select at least 1 course from each of the following areas:

Physical Geography (3-6 Hours)

GEOG 3010                Physical Geography I

GEOG 3020                Physical Geography II

GEOG 3500                Weather and Climate

GEOG 4990                Special Topics in Geography


Systematic Geography (3-6 Hours)

GEOG 3100                Cartography

GEOG 3150                Online Studies in Geographic Information Systems

GEOG 3200                Geographic Information Systems Applications in Intelligence Studies

GEOG 4300                Social Geography

GEOG 4400                Cultural Geography

GEOG 4640                Environmental Geography

GEOG 4650                Geospatial Issues in Environmental Security

GEOG 4700                Political Geography

GEOG 4750                Economic Geography

GEOG 4850                Urban Geography

GEOG 4990                Special Topics in Geography


Regional Geography (3-6 Hours)

GEOG 3710                Geography of the United States and Canada

GEOG 3720                Geography of Mexico and the Caribbean

GEOG 3730                Geography of South America

GEOG 4000                Geography of Latin America

GEOG 4100                Geography of Asia

GEOG 4120                Geography of Africa

GEOG 4250                Historical Geography of the United States and Canada

GEOG 4990                Special Topics in Geography

Course Descriptions

GEOG 1010, 1020 World Regional Geography I, II (3, 3). A survey of the geographic regions of the world, including studies of the physical character of the land, resources, economics, and cultures. Courses are designed to provide general background in world geography; they are required for History majors, Geography minors, and some teacher education programs. Both courses may be applied toward the Social Science requirement of the General Education Core.

GEOG 3010, 3020 Physical Geography I, II (3, 3). Study of landforms, maps, weather and climate, vegetation, soils, mineral resources, major surface waters, ground water regions, and types of coastlines. Included are the cause and distribution of these elements and their impact on humanity.

GEOG 3100 Cartography (3). The nature and use of maps, the construction of map projections and their uses, and the preparation and use of maps for various types of analysis. Course includes both lectures and laboratories.

GEOG 3150 Online Studies in Geographic Information Systems (3). Online course focused upon hands-on application of geographic information systems (GIS) and related geospatial technology. Spatial analysis of data and information inherent in the assessment of political, economic, social, and environmental phenomena. Course may be applied toward the Intelligence Studies minor and the Urban Studies major.

GEOG 3200 Geographic Information Systems Applications in Intelligence Studies (3). Advanced applications of geographic information systems (GIS) and related technologies in research related to intelligence studies. Spatial analysis of data and information in the assessment of political, economic, and social indicators.

GEOG 3500 Weather and Climate (3). The properties, behavior, and importance of the atmosphere. Emphasis is given to observation and analysis of clouds and storm systems—cyclones, tornados and hurricanes—the causes and global distribution of climate types, and major atmospheric concerns, including the greenhouse effect, acid rain, the ozone hole, and climatic change.

GEOG 3710 Geography of the United States and Canada (3). The physical and cultural geography of the regions of Anglo-America, with recognition, analysis, and interpretation of the landforms, resources, and human adjustments that are made within its several regions.

GEOG 3720 Geography of Mexico and the Caribbean (3). A study of Mexico, Central America, and the islands of the Caribbean: their historical geography, cultural patterns, economic resources, and role among the nations of the world.

GEOG 3730 Geography of South America (3). Regions and resources of South America beyond the Caribbean, with special study of the distinctive role of each country according to its geographic significance. Problems of future development are emphasized.

GEOG 4000 Geography of Latin America (3). An analysis of the physical and cultural characteristics of Latin America, encompassing Mexico and Central America, the Caribbean, and all of South America. The unique physical and environmental concerns, the vast mosaic of cultures, and the population dynamics in this region are central to this course.

GEOG 4100 Geography of Asia (3). An examination of the physical and cultural geography of Asia, including land utilization, resources, and population characteristics and settlement. Stages of economic development and challenges of the future are examined.

GEOG 4120 Geography of Africa (3). The regions, resources, and peoples of the African continent with special attention to Africa south of the Sahara desert, its development and potential.

GEOG 4250 Historical Geography of the United States and Canada (3). The changing physical and cultural geography of Anglo-America during four centuries of settlement and development.

GEOG 4300 Social Geography (3). The spatial behavior of urban and suburban populations. Topics include prospects of the future to understand and resolve social complexities, such as poverty, unharnessed population growth, overcrowding, social class, and multicultural relationships, including those of the local community.

GEOG 4440 Cultural Geography (3). An introduction to the study of the geography of human cultures. Topics include demographics; migration dynamics and settlement patterns; the spatial dimensions of ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity; political, economic and urban structures; and differing approaches to the ecological interface.

GEOG 4640 Environmental Geography (3). Exploration of the world’s natural environment and physical landscapes, and the challenges presented by modern man. Course also includes study of the conservation and environmentalist movements.

GEOG 4650 Geospatial Issues in Environmental Security (3). Introduction to the concept of environmental sustainability as it pertains to national and global security. Assessment of ecological threats to human systems stability using applied geography techniques including geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing.

GEOG 4700 Political Geography (3). The structures and function of political regions, with emphasis on the sovereign state, geopolitics, internal conflict, and relationships among sovereign countries, illustrated by unions of nations, recent developments, and current situations.

GEOG 4750 Economic Geography (3). An examination of the geography of world economic systems, including an analysis of the principles of resource utilization and location theory.

GEOG 4850 Urban Geography (3). Cities as geographic units, including functions and structures, with attention to urban growth patterns, socioeconomic functions and issues, rural/urban relationships, and contemporary trends.

GEOG 4990 Special Topics in Geography (3). An in-depth examination of selected areas of geography through readings, research projects, and oral and written presentations. Prerequisites: GEOG 1010 and 1020, or permission of instructor.