Physical geographers study the earth-atmosphere system to understand the interrelated processes responsible for patterns of physical phenomena observed in weather, climate, vegetation, soils and landforms. Physical geographers integrate knowledge of the four major spheres of the Earth's system, namely the hydrosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere to seek to understand how it was formed, determine its current state and predict its future. Examples of questions that physical geographers try to answer are:
Our graduates can be found working for the United States Geologic Survey, Maryland Department of Environment, engineering firms throughout the Mid-Atlantic, and in private industry as environmental consultants. Graduates have been slowing the erosion of coastal beaches along the US Gulf, and cleaning up the environment of Aberdeen Proving Ground. Our graduates have attended and received degrees from some of the finest graduate schools in North America, including Johns Hopkins School of Engineering, McGill's Geography Department and many major State Universities, including the University of Delaware, University of Maryland, College Park, and Mississippi State University
Former majors also enjoy employment as research scientists and university faculty. For example:
Our program stresses the interaction between earth science and atmospheric science and their applications to solving environmental problems. Thus, students complete courses in both earth science as well as meteorology and climatology, as well as a common geography major core. The coursework required for this track provides a solid undergraduate knowledge of geography with an earth and atmospheric science focus which serves as a strong foundation for students continuing on to graduate studies or onto a career in earth/atmospheric science.
One key feature of our coursework in Physical Geography track is our commitment to field work and experiential studies. Our physical geography instructors take students to local farms to study soils and hydrology, Pennsylvania and New York to study the remnants of glaciation, and Assateague Island National Seashore to study coastal processes.
Complete 4 from the following; at least 1 course must be a weather/climate course*:
- GEOG 312* Severe and Hazardous Weather
- GEOG 321 Remote Sensing of the Environment
- GEOG 325 Conservation and Resource Management
- GEOG 401 Soil, Water and Environment
- GEOG 410* Meteorology
- GEOG 413* Applied Climatology
- GEOG 417 Water Resources
- GEOL 405 Environmental Geology