Undergraduate Catalog 2012 - 2013


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Department of Geography & Urban Studies

Professor: M. Nyamwange, T. Owusu(chair)

Associate Professors: B. Liu

The Department of Geography and Urban Studies offers the following: A Major (B.A. degree) in Geography, a Minor in Geography, and a Minor in Urban Studies


The B.A. degree in geography provides a sound liberal arts education in addition to solid preparation for diverse fields of employment as a professional geographer. The geographer is primarily concerned with interpreting and explaining the occurrence, distribution, and patterns of interrelationships of the physical and human elements that can be discerned in the physical, economic, political, and cultural landscapes. Geography analyzes phenomena according to the attributes of location, extent, and density. The constantly changing physical and human landscapes on the Earth’s surface, and their global threshold, challenge the geographer to provide continuing interpretations of all parts of the world from a spatial perspective.

For students pursuing a terminal bachelor’s degree or teaching certification, a geography major provides both the regional and global perspective required of responsible citizens.  For the same reasons, geography is especially valuable for those entering graduate work in business administration, marketing, regional and urban planning, development, law, or medicine.  Top-level professional positions are growing in the fields of planning geographic information systems, cartography, remote sensing, land use, and computer mapping. Majors planning to teach in secondary schools should meet certification requirements in social studies.  All majors are assigned a faculty advisor. Resources of the department include several microcomputers and two SUN workstations, high-speed plotters and digitizers.  Geographic and map software include the GRASS 4.1 system, IDRISI, ARCVIEW, ARC/INFO and MapInfo.

The Urban Studies Program

The Department offers a minor in urban studies. This interdisciplinary program seeks to engage students in an extensive study of cities and suburbs as human space, and the role and function of metropolitan areas in the world. It weaves together several fields of study including geography, history, policy planning, community development, politics, anthropology, art, sociology, and environmental studies to prepare students to make a difference in urban and suburban communities. The program’s approach looks at the city from historical, literary, sociological, and personal perspectives, combining academic rigor with community-based interaction. Knowledge of urban studies is valued in diverse professions including politics, teaching, law, business, social work, community planning, communications, and creative arts.  The minor is designed to take advantage of faculty resources in the College of Humanities and Sciences and throughout the University to create a rigorous interdisciplinary academic program that has a strong applied component. Students pursuing the minor are exposed to urban problems from theoretical land applied perspectives that include the possibility of internships and experiential learning in urban agencies and institutions. The minor is also designed to take full advantage of William Paterson’s proximity to the city of Paterson and the greater New York-New Jersey metropolitan region in order to fulfill the University’s mission and commitment to community service, diversity, and excellence.

Honor Society

Gamma Theta Upsilon, the International Honors Society in Geography

Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU) is an International Honor Society in geography. Gamma Theta Upsilon was founded in 1928 and became a national organization in 1931. Membership to Gamma Theta Upsilon requires that a student must have completed a minimum of 3 geography courses, must have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA overall and in geography courses, and shall have completed at least 3 semesters of college coursework.

For more information, please contact Dr. Monica Nyamwange, Department of Geography and Urban Studies, at 973.720.2438.