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Geography Minor


Study Geography at Clemson University

Within the Department of History and Geography, we geographers deliver a top-tier curriculum that explores the complexities of our contemporary world. Much more than simply “memorizing maps,” geography focuses on places and spatial relationships in a holistic approach to the study of the globe.

Students majoring in areas like history, education, urban planning, tourism, sociology, etc… often feel that geography naturally supplements their other coursework by grounding what they learn in the contemporary world. In a sense, geography gives context to why their major courses of study are important. Coursework in geography helps students acquire geographic knowledge and skills needed to understand the spatial characteristics and interactions of important physical, demographic, cultural, political, and economic systems. Students will discover that geography helps them to ask better informed questions and to understand the global challenges that their own majors are training them to tackle. The program offers a rigorous curriculum that well prepares our minors to continue their education in graduate school or enter the workforce equipped with key writing and analytical tools.

As an integrative discipline, geography allows for an incredible breadth of topics to discover. The minor program in geography is designed to introduce students to the core of the discipline and to give them an opportunity to sample more specialized courses that pique their interest. As a Geography Minor at Clemson, you will have the opportunity to explore the geographies of culture, economics, food and historical preservation, regional studies that focus on a single part of the world, such as the American South, North or Latin America, plus occasional special topics and Creative Inquiry courses.


Course Descriptions, Geography Minor

The aim of this course is to enrich students’ global knowledge of geography as well as to develop students’ ability to interpret geographical landscapes. Specifically, students will be exposed to a global survey of population, resource, economic and cultural patterns, and their impacts on economic development. An emphasis will be placed on the distinctions between the technologically advanced and less advanced regions of the world. Regionally specific examples will be used to illustrate the various themes discussed and students are expected to familiarize themselves with fundamental place name geography. Finally, the course will seek to relate current social, economic, and political issues and events in various parts of the world to the geographic processes examined.

World Regional Geography introduces you to major world regions and fundamental geographic concepts. It focuses your thinking about the ways in which the world is organized. It builds your base of general knowledge and orients you to thinking geographically, which means learning about your relationship to the wider world in everyday life. Geography 103 is a survey of the environments, cultures, and human problems of selected world regions, or what your textbook identifies as “geographic realms.” Geographic realms are large areas of the world with significant elements that tie them together. Geographers tend to identify these elements as either cultural or environmental. The geographic realms explored here are the largest regions on the planet; as regions, they have strong elements in common. This course also introduces you to the discipline of geography and gives you new perspectives on how different areas of the world have developed and functioned. Population, environment, the historical development of regional cultures, economic development, and political organization are key themes in this course.

This course analyzes the patterns and processes of geographic organization of economic activities as well as distribution of factors and resources from global to local scales. Economic and geographical concepts, ideas, theories, as well as historical and current information are investigated in search of an understanding of the interrelationships and connections between the economy, the environment, culture and political behavior across space and scales. Subjects for this course include (but are not limited to) economic globalization, economic philosophy, capitalism, global regulatory institutions, corporations, resource use, population, labor, and migrations.

This course explores the linkages among cities, and the linkages of cities to their surrounding regions. Students will explore models of urban location and development, the impact of transportation on city form, and notions of urban markets and hierarchies. In addition, the course considers urbanization trends outside of North America.

Cultural geography is a popular subdiscipline within Geography concerned with all the many ways culture is experienced and manifested in places around the world at various scales. In this course we will explore the crucial issues of cultural diversity and uniformity, the crisis of the extinction of languages and indigenous knowledge and the problem of crafting a sustainable culture in our post-modern, consumer society through reading, discussion, and activities.

Introduction to geographic information systems with an emphasis on visualization and analysis of spatial data as it is applied to humanities and social science topics. Special emphasis is placed on finding data related to the humanities, such as historical records and historical maps, and translating them into the digital environment. Students learn basic cartography, data collection and spatial analysis techniques.

This course provides an introduction to the physical, economic, political, and human/cultural geography of Latin America and the Caribbean. Special emphasis is placed on situating both of these dynamic world regions in a global context and in exploring historical and contemporary issues that can serve to illuminate local conditions. Class tasks range from but are not limited to developing an understanding of the physical systems, historical settlement patterns and shifting land use associated with colonization, contemporary urbanization and migration, and international trade.

This course is a regional and topical analysis of the physical and human factors responsible for the contemporary patterns of settlement, land use, and cultural systems in the United States and Canada. Topics discussed include: physiography, climate, vegetation, religious and political landscapes, demography, economic patterns, urban processes, and biodiversity and environmental issues. The course is designed to introduce the region to those students with little or no knowledge of North America, and to help students familiar with the region to understand better its geographical attributes. The main objective of the course is to gain knowledge of the evolving spatial relationships, interactions, and processes that make up North America’s diverse human and physical systems.

This course will provide a general overview of the different aspects of historic preservation, including downtown revitalization, neighborhood organization, historic house management, preservation legislation, preservation education and historic architecture. Much of the class is taught in a laboratory atmosphere with students making on site visits to historic preservation projects and actively engaging in preservation documentation and methodologies. Emphasis is given to the study of the development of American architectural styles, so that students can recognize historic houses and place them in a wider context.

The course is designed to introduce students to a variety of working environments in which preservation planning is conducted and policies are implemented. Students will have an opportunity to consider very practical points of view about working environments familiar to those engaged in planning and policy-making. Such exposure can be an important aid to students who are making career decisions, and the course has been developed with that goal in mind.

Approximately one-half of the semester will be field work. Students will be collaborating with Anderson Heritage, a preservation organization in Anderson, SC, on the identification and documentation of a potential streetcar suburb historic district. Students will work in teams and will be responsible for researching historic sites and structures through deed searches, examination of wills and other archival materials. In addition, students will develop building survey instruments to use in the field while documenting historic buildings and surveying neighborhood property owners.

In this course, you will be challenged to consider and reconsider your perceptions about the geography of the U.S. South.  Among the topics that will be covered in the course are the diverse physical, cultural, and economic landscapes of the South.  We will search for geographic and historical connections between past and present conditions in the South in both human and environmental contexts.  Students will be expected to actively engage in class discussions, participate in group and individual oral presentations, complete writing assignments, and think critically about the geography of the U.S. South

This course is designed to broadly explore various geographic themes by using food as an object of study as there are few other areas of inquiry that are so inherently geographical. Topics include but are not limited to, the physical geography of agriculture, challenges of population growth and limits on the current global food supply, industrialized food production systems, alternative food production movements, trade in agriculture, labor in the food industry, food health and safety, urban agriculture, the specific geographies of several commodities, and cultural foodways. On the whole, the course takes a global view of our food webs, while using local geographies to tease out the particularities of production and consumption at a more human scale.  Course usually involves at least one field trip to local farms or food retail establishments.

This course is a thematic survey of tourism as it exists in the world today and how tourism both shapes and is shaped by geography.  Tourism is inherently geographical and tied to broad subjects like culture, economics, politics and ecology, all of which are of central interest to geographers.  Students will be guided to critically think about what tourism is, what it means, how it exists, its impacts, how it is changing, and what its future beholds on both global and local scales.  The thematic topics covered in the class include but are not limited to, Tourism and Identity, Tourism and Development Host and Guest relationships, Workers and Labor in tourism, Consumption, Sex Tourism, Medical Tourism, Death Tourism, Dark Tourism, Alternative Tourism and Volunteer Tourism.

Requirements for a Minor in Geography:
  • 3 Credits in Geography at the 1000 level.
  • 15 Credits in Geography at the 3000 and 4000 level.
  • Of the 15 upper-level credits, one must be GEOG 3100 and at least one must be a 4000-level geography course.
  • One of the following courses may be taken as part of the 15-credit, upper-level requirements but may not be substituted for the required 4000-level geography course: R S (SOC) 4710, BIOSC 4420.