Geography Teaching: BS
Department: Environment and Society Department
College: S.J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources
Geography is the study of the relationships between human society and the physical environment. Geography involves environmental studies, human impact on the environment, availability and location of the earth's resources, physical processes that occur at the earth's surface, and the spatial interactions among society and the physical environment. Due to concerns about a loss of geographic literacy among today’s young Americans, secondary schools have been increasing their emphasis on geographic education.
The geography teaching program is closely linked to the geography, watershed sciences, and environmental studies programs.
In order to obtain a secondary teaching license for grades 6-12, students must complete the 35-credit Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP), which includes one semester of student teaching in a public school. This program is administered by USU’s School of Teacher Education and Leadership (TEAL) within the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. Student must apply to the School of TEAL the semester before taking STEP courses. This is usually the fall of their junior year. Students learn subject content through the Department of Environment and Society, and spend the last year or two studying education techniques through the STEP program.
Students in the geography teaching program are required to select an approved teaching minor in order to expand their career options.
- BS - Logan Campus
With a degree in geography teaching, students will be qualified for the following careers:
- Teaching geography in middle schools or high schools
- Environmental consultant
- Outreach/education specialist for visitor centers, nonprofit organizations, and other public information facilities
Career Services provides counseling and information on hundreds of job and internship opportunities and even helps students apply and interview.
In addition to Utah State University’s admissions requirements, the geography teaching program has additional requirements:
- Freshmen: New freshmen admitted to USU in good standing qualify for admission to this major.
- Transfer students: Transfer students from other institutions or students transferring from other USU majors need a 2.5 total GPA for admission to this major.
STEP Requirements: In order to be accepted into STEP, students must go through an application process, which includes the following:
- Complete 60 semester credits with a minimum GPA of 2.75
- Complete certain core courses (see department for more information)
- Complete a speech and hearing test
- Pass the Teacher Education Writing Exam
- Provide an unofficial copy of your transcript
- Pass a criminal background check (this should be done one semester before submitting the application)
International students have additional admissions requirements.
Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs
Association of American Geographers:AAG is a nonprofit scientific and educational society founded in 1904. For 100 years, the AAG has contributed to the advancement of geography.
Student Organization for Society and Natural Resources: The student organization for Society and Natural Resources, or SOSNR, was established in 2003 to promote opportunities for service in the community, provide forums for individuals to present research, and give students opportunities to participate in conferences to help further their academic careers.
Labs, Centers, Research
With the second oldest undergraduate research program in the nation, USU offers students a wide range of opportunities to gain hands-on research experience. USU’s Honors Program prepares students for excellent graduate programs by helping them build relationships with professors, participate in research projects, take smaller, more intensive classes, and develop leadership skills.
Ecology Center: The Ecology Center is an administrative structure in the university that supports and coordinates ecological research and graduate education in the science of ecology and provides professional information and advice for decision makers considering actions that affect the environment. The Ecology Center at USU has had a string of directors known nationally and worldwide as premier scientists in the field of ecology, and students graduating with a degree in ecology are able to make important contacts with influential faculty that can help them go on to prestigious post-doctoral programs and faculty positions at universities around the world.
Energy Dynamics Laboratory: EDL bridges the gap between academia and industry, confronting the challenges of prototyping, deployment, and commercialization of enabling technologies for renewable and advanced energy systems. USU researchers originate projects to derive energy from non-fossil fuels, such as biofuels, wind, and solar power. With EDL’s collaboration, research develops through pilot projects to commercial application.
Institute for Natural Systems Engineering: The INSE is a recognized leader in the development, testing, and application of multi-disciplinary assessment methods for aquatic ecosystems and instream flow assessment methodologies.
Remote Sensing/Geographic Information Systems Laboratory: The RS/GIS advances knowledge in the application of geospatial technologies in ecosystem science and natural resource management. The lab conducts research to meet the requirements of contracting agencies, which include the USDI Bureau of Land Management, USDA Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Guard Bureau, the U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, and various state and international agencies and organizations.
S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Natural Resources Research Library: The Quinney Library maintains collections of materials pertaining to natural resources and the environment in a number of formats that support the programs of study and research in the College of Natural Resources and several partnering centers. The library has more than 60,000 items, both print and electronic, as well as videos, images, and more.
Utah Center for Water Resources Research: The UCWRR facilitates water research, outreach, design, and testing elements within a university environment that supports student education and citizen training.
Utah Climate Center: The UCC facilitates access to climate data and information and uses expertise in atmospheric science to interpret climate information in an accurate and innovative fashion for the public. The mission includes the design of new products to meet present and future needs of agriculture, natural resources, government, industry, tourism, and educational organizations in Utah and the Intermountain region.
Utah Water Research Laboratory: The UWRL works on nearly 250 water-related projects a year and has projects in all of Utah’s 29 counties and more than 40 countries. The lab is one of the go-to places that addresses the technical and societal aspects of water-related issues, including quality, quantity, and distribution of water.
Water Initiative: Utah State University supports a broad community of students and faculty engaged in water education, research, and outreach. The USU Water Initiative provides an overarching umbrella for the activities of this community aimed at fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and collegial sharing of ideas related to water across the departments and colleges of USU.