Chairperson: Professor Darcy Boellstorff
Professors: Sandra Clark, James Hayes-Bohanan, Robert Hellström, Madhusudana Rao
Associate Professor: Robert Amey
Location: Science and Mathematics Center, Room 201
- BA in Geography
- BS in Geography
Click on Academic Programs for program information and requirements.
The Department of Geography offers two undergraduate degrees in geography, a BA (focused on students who typically double major in education) and a BS, geared toward students who are looking to enter professional careers and/or graduate school. Majors in geography can concentrate their course work under the broad categories of physical geography (water resources, weather and climate, meteorology, hydrology, geomorphology, soils), human geography (regional studies – Canada, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa – urban geography and planning, economic geography, political geography), or link human and physical classes in environmental studies (mixing physical and human geography classes with environmental regulation and policy, environmental justice, environmental geography).
The department is also active in the African Studies; Asian Studies; Canadian Studies; Civic Education and Community Leadership; Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Middle East Studies; Urban Affairs; and Women’s and Gender Studies minors. For those not majoring in geography, the department offers a minor in geography. Graduate-level course work for teachers working toward a Master of Education is offered by the department.
The Department of Geography works actively with state and regional agencies on socioeconomic and environmental problems. Past faculty research projects include coastal storm impacts, regional economic developments, transportation planning, the impact of PCBs in New Bedford Harbor, the search for water supplies for the next century and horticultural planning in the developing world.
The department has been involved in assisting local organizations through faculty research and student internships. Examples of such involvement are with local banks, planning agencies, retailers, Boston’s “Big Dig,” the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA), the Massachusetts Forest Fire Bureau, the Natural Resources Trust of Bridgewater, the Ocean Spray Cranberry Cooperative and international organizations.
Additionally, the department has been active in research for the U.S. Department of Transportation (on a national study of bus systems), the Massachusetts Department of Education (on statewide curriculum reform), watershed studies in cooperation with Department of Biological Sciences faculty at the Raytheon Watershed Access Laboratory, local facilities siting for the Old Colony YMCA, the Plymouth-Carver Aquifer region’s water conservation study, the role of information technology and green energy initiatives in developing countries, the Natural Resources Conservation Service National Cooperative Soil Survey, climate change in the Southeastern Massachusetts region, and educational initiatives in Cape Verde. The department has offered a series of “the geography of coffee” courses, seminars and study tours that include in-depth work in the growing and marketing of coffee and looks at fair trade and social justice issues. The department is also a key member of a four-school consortium (Bridgewater State University, Central Connecticut State University, the State University of Santa Caterina, and the Federal University of Porto Elegre) working on comparative urban studies in the U.S. and Brazil. This program includes an ongoing student exchange program that brings students from Brazil to the U.S., and sends BSU students to Brazilian universities in alternate semesters.
The geography faculty maintains the Southeastern Massachusetts Global Education Center’s Resource Center, a major source of teacher education assistance in Southeastern Massachusetts and beyond, and a significant player in leading efforts to bring geography back into the primary and secondary school curricula. The Global Education Center is also taking geography to the schools through its EarthView educational outreach program. EarthView is a 20-foot inflatable globe that is used to expand geographic knowledge “from the inside” at schools throughout the region for budding geographers – both students and teachers.
The department maintains two advanced geoanalysis labs, a large PC-based Geographic Information Systems (GIS) lab with a variety of up-to-date software applications for land use analysis, study of remote sensing data and analysis of digital imagery, and a smaller GIS lab for specialized projects. Other equipment includes a large format scanner and plotter, GPS surveying equipment, a portable visible-near infrared spectroradiometer and groundwater sampling equipment. These enable the department to encourage undergraduate students to be engaged in research opportunities and become well versed in the field’s technology.
The Department of Geography maintains a state-of-the art automatic weather station for the university. Graphical and tabulated raw data from the weather tower, available at www.bridgew.edu/weather/, have been available to the public since 2001 and are updated hourly. Weather data are used in meteorology and climatology courses. In 2010, four additional WiFi weather stations distributed throughout the campus were installed for microclimate studies with real-time access to weather observations through the Internet. In 2011, a research-grade automatic weather station will be installed on the roof of the building to support advanced meteorological research and class projects.
The multidisciplinary wind tunnel lab supplements course work and research in the Departments of Physics, Aviation and Geography at BSU. Collaborations include studies of turbulence and calibration of anemometers in geography and wind turbine and airplane designs in physics and aviation. LabView software controls the wind tunnel and provides real-time data analysis through a computerized interface. Students regularly help maintain and run tests in the wind tunnel. An upgrade to the wind tunnel in 2011 will allow for a greater variety of seasonal experiments in low, medium and high speed test sections, including evapotranspiration during the summer and icing during the winter.
Geography faculty at Bridgewater State University employ sophisticated computer facilities for classroom instruction, including demonstrating and displaying Web-based and self-authored material and models. In a growing number of courses, students may submit assignments online, and in some courses, a majority of class time is spent in “virtual classrooms.” To learn more, visit the department website at www.bridgew.edu/depts/geography.
The department boasts an active Geography Enthusiasts Organization (GEO) that sponsors area field trips, invites geography alumni to talk about life after school, and helps prepare student participants for the Geography Bowl held at the annual regional New England-Saint Lawrence Valley Geographical Society meeting. Students may also qualify for Gamma Theta Upsilon, the international geography honor society. The department also sponsors an annual field trip, HUMPHY, typically a long weekend in the fall, to explore the human and physical environments in the region.
Students interested in seeking Massachusetts teacher licensure should refer to the appropriate department links for options and requirements for second majors: Elementary and Early Childhood Education , Secondary Education and Professional Programs , or Special Education . Students should also consult Educator Preparation and Licensure Policies and Procedures for professional education admission and retention information as well as important institutional deadlines.
The honors program in geography provides highly motivated geography majors with opportunities to enhance their academic program through intensive scholarly study and research designed to be of assistance in postgraduate employment or in the pursuit of an advanced degree in geography. Contact Dr. James Hayes-Bohanan in the Department of Geography for further information concerning eligibility and application.