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If you want to make a difference in the world, studying geography is a great place to start. Geography and sustainability careers offer opportunities to develop solutions to some of society’s most pressing problems, including climate change, environmental sustainability, natural disasters, sustainable tourism, and urban planning.

Salem State’s Geography and Sustainability programs combine a strong background in the academic tradition of geography with applied fields such as environmental sustainability, sustainable tourism, geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing and digital image processing, regional development and planning, meteorology and climatology, and natural resource management.

Geographers use many tools and techniques in their work, and geographic technologies are increasingly important for understanding our complex world. They include Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and online mapping such as Google Earth. The teaching and use of geospatial computer technologies is a hallmark of our department, now even including the use of drones in our teaching and service to the local and regional geospatial community.

Faculty within the Geography and Sustainability department pride themselves on providing expert mentorship and friendship for all students while at Salem State and beyond graduation. We train our students – in a friendly, well-supported environment – to be top scientists as well as concerned global citizens.

Degree Programs

  • Geography and Sustainability

    BA
    Undergraduate

    This is a general geography concentration which provides geography majors as well as dual geography/education majors a broad understanding of field of geography and the ability to craft their degree in many different ways.  It is also designed to provide a broad liberal arts curriculum with an emphasis on problem-solving techniques and a spatial perspective for majors who desire a liberal arts education.

  • Geography and Sustainability

    BS
    Undergraduate

    A bachelor of science in geography teaches students to understand and engage in the world around them. Geography is a problem-solving discipline whose programs and resources provide students with both technical skills and a liberal arts perspective to prepare them for life-long careers. Many elementary education students pair their major with geography believing that understanding the world is the most important thing an elementary school teacher can know.

  • Cartography and Geographic Information Systems

    BS
    Undergraduate

    The Bachelor of Science in cartography and geographic information systems (GIS) is a technology-focused program designed to provide students with the theoretical, practical and technical skills that are essential for the visualization and analysis of spatial data in a wide variety of applications.  Students with a range of interests will benefit from this program by becoming proficient in the use and application of GIS technologies through a flexible set of courses and hands-on experiences. The program offers the training and experience necessary to prepare for the rapidly expanding professional opportunities available in the diverse set of fields that depend on geographic information. GIS and related geospatial technologies, such as remote sensing from satellites and aircraft, are integral to mapping and surveying, environmental analysis and natural resource management, transportation and urban planning, business planning, crime analysis, and disaster management, to name only a few areas.

  • Cartography and Geographic Information Systems, Geo-Information Science

    BS/MS
    Combined Undergraduate + Graduate

    This is a new program for the geography department that allows students who have completed three years in the BS cartography and GIS program at the top of their class to enter a program that will allow them complete both a BS and MS in five years. Starting in the senior year, the students begin taking graduate courses, so that after five years they will have completed all of the requirements for both programs.

    Apply now
  • Travel and Tourism

    Minor
    Undergraduate

    The tourism education program at Salem State University has been certified by the United Nations - World Tourism Organization, an award granted to only eight other colleges in North America. This program will open your eyes to new ideas and open the employment door to new career path opportunities. Students examine current trends in travel and tourism, and delve into exploring the social, cultural and environmental issues surrounding tourism. Courses cover topical areas such as: Using tourism for economic development; Marketing tourism; International perspectives on tourism; Impacts of travel; Understanding local tourism initiatives; Special events; Ecotourism; and Recreation.

  • Geography

    Minor
    Undergraduate

    Geographers are concerned with social, spatial, and environmental processes affecting human and natural progressions on Earth. The geography minor provides breadth in human and physical geography as well as the GI sciences. This minor complements many other programs, including geology, biology, sociology, political science, criminal justice, communications, education and others.

  • Environmental Sustainability

    Minor
    Undergraduate

    A minor in environmental sustainability will provide students with a sustainability background focused on global environmental issues including energy, food, economic, socio-cultural impacts and implications. Successful completion of this minor will benefit students seeking careers with environmental organizations or government agencies or who are planning to attend graduate school in physical geography, meteorology, international relations, planning or environmental science. 

  • Geo-Information Science

    Minor
    Undergraduate

    This minor is a hands-on minor using state-of-the-art geospatial technologies to gain an understanding of geographic information science as a field of study and to get experience with a wide range of GeoScience software and applications. Experiential learning utilizes real-world projects and case studies from environmental and planning issues to a wide range of applications. The minor requires a total of 15 credits, of which 9 credits come from required courses and 6 credits come from a choice of courses. 

  • Sustainable Tourism

    Minor
    Undergraduate

    This sustainable tourism minor pairs well with a whole host of majors across campus such as: hospitality, communications, recreation, business, entrepreneurship, foreign languages, history, theatre, art, education and many more. Tourism is one of the largest industries in the world and employment opportunities are endless.

    For example, students who want to work in education, but not in a classroom, might use this to obtain work in a museum or historic site providing education and programming; for those in the performing or visual arts, understanding tourism and recreation choices of consumers is paramount to their success; urban planners, economic developers, and entrepreneurs would all benefit from an understanding of how the tourism industry contributes significant dollars and supports substantial numbers of jobs.

    Currently, many students across campus are interested in tourism classes and would like to be recognized for taking them but may be happy with their current major and do not wish to switch to Geography. This minor will allow students to focus a small part of their degree on tourism while continuing with their major. Additionally, the requirement of one regional course will allow the student specific expertise in one region of the world that appeals to them for employment or other possibilities.

  • Sustainable Tourism

    Concentration
    Undergraduate

    The sustainable tourism education program at Salem State University has been certified by the United Nations - World Tourism Organization, an award granted to only eight other colleges in North America. This program will open students' eyes to new ideas and open the employment door to new career path opportunities. Students will examine current trends in travel and tourism, and will delve into exploring the social, cultural and environmental issues surrounding tourism. Courses will cover topical areas such as: Sustainability; Using tourism for economic development; Marketing tourism; International perspectives on tourism; Impacts of travel; Understanding local tourism initiatives; Special events; Ecotourism; and Recreation.

    Apply now
  • Geo-Information Science

    Concentration
    Combined Undergraduate + Graduate

    The GIS concentration is a unique opportunity for students. Geo-information science uses computerized mapping to problem solve, develop policy and analyze crime and is particularly helpful to those pursuing a career in law enforcement.

    Apply now
  • Environmental Sustainability

    Concentration
    Undergraduate

    The environmental sustainability concentration provides a foundation for understanding and creating solutions for local to global environmental problems in a manner which does not compromise future generations. The inter-disciplinary curriculum integrates perspectives from geography, biology, geology, political science as well as philosophy and economics. The curriculum focuses on not only learning about environmental issues, but provides problem-solving skills and technical geographic computer skills as well. Course work is supplemented by experiential learning for those who wish to explore internships, directed studies and study-abroad opportunities during their studies. Students completing this concentration will be prepared for graduate school or employment with environmental non-profits, corporations, and varies levels of government.

  • Geo-Information Science

    MS
    Graduate

    The master of science in geo-information science is a multi-disciplinary program of advanced study of geospatial technology and its applications whose purpose is to develop geospatial professionals that are proficient in the acquisition, analysis, use, and management of spatial information. GIS and related geospatial technologies, such as remote sensing from satellites and aircraft, are integral to a variety of applications, including mapping and surveying, environmental analysis and natural resource management, transportation and urban planning, business planning, crime analysis, and disaster management, to name only a few areas. An integrated and applied curriculum provides practical, real-world training in the utilization of leading geospatial technologies for research, planning, spatial data management, and project implementation.

    Learn more about the MS in Geo-Information Science.

  • Geo-Information Science

    Certificate
    Graduate

    The graduate certificate in geo-information science is a flexible program of advanced study of geospatial technology and its applications. GIS and related geospatial technologies, such as remote sensing from satellites and aircraft, are integral to a variety of applications, including mapping and surveying, environmental analysis and natural resource management, transportation and urban planning, business planning, crime analysis, and disaster management, to name only a few areas. This program is designed for current and aspiring geospatial professionals who want to become more skillful users of GIS software and related tools. Evening courses are designed for working professionals and earned credits can be applied toward the master of science in geo-information science program.

    Learn more about the Certificate in Geo-Information Science.

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About Salem State’s Geography and Sustainability Program

Students working with drones on the roof of Meier Hall

Salem State Geography and Sustainability majors take a core group of classes that form the backbone of the discipline. Core classes include Global Climate Change, Geographic Statistics, Digital Mapping, and Research Methods. Elective classes range from Food, Drink and the Environment, to Environmental Sustainability and Society to the Geography of the Middle East to Drones and Aerial Imagery. Upper-level courses often include real-world projects and many students complete their coursework by conducting an internship or by working for a community advocacy group.

Discover why a Geography and Sustainability degree could be right for you.

Student Opportunities

The geography and sustainability department offers a variety of resources, opportunities and activities for our students. Both inside and outside of the classroom:

News and Events

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