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GES Tracks

Welcome to the GES New Tracks page

To help guide students in selecting courses and thinking about career pathways, GES offers the following tracks. If you are a GES major and interested in taking one of these tracks, please consult with your advisor who can help you choose courses that fit your goals and ensure that you complete all prerequisites for upper-level courses. Courses are offered infrequently designated with an *.

Conservation and Environmental Management Track


Urban Systems Track


Global Sustainability Track


Cities, Economies, and Development Track


Environment, Society, and Health Track


Watershed Science Track


Ecology and Conservation Track


Earth and Atmospheric Science Track

Conservation and Environmental Management Track


How can humans live sustainably in the world? How can habitats be protected for future generations? How do we chose which species and habitats to protect and what are the choices that need to be made? The Conservation and Environmental Management track helps prepare students for careers in fields such as conservation science, sustainability, environmental management, wildlife biology, and urban planning.

Students pursuing this track must take must take GES 120 Environmental Science and Conservation and GES 110 Physical Geography, and may take GES 102 Introduction to Human Geography as a prerequisite for upper-level courses. They must also complete an introductory Biology class in order to take GES220 and GES 308.

Some Special Topics courses (GES 302 or 400) may count for this track. Please consult with your advisor for further details.

Foundation Courses: required

GES 220 Lab and Field Techniques

GES 308 Ecology

GES 302 Conservation for the 21stst Century (OR GES 307 Conservation Biology)

GES 337 Natural Resource Management

Depth Courses: electives

Human geography/environmental studies courses. BA Majors should plan to take at least three; BS Majors should plan to take at least two.

GES 326 Conservation Thought

GES 328 Environmental Policy

GES 338 Chesapeake Bay: Changing Management and Policy*

GES 428 Scientific Practice and Environmental Policy*

GES 433 Sustainability, Land use, and Natural Resources

GES 436 Global Environmental Change

GES 437 Conservation & Development in the Tropics*

GES 462 Applications of GIS in Human-Environment Systems

 

Environmental science/physical geography courses. BS Majors should plan to take at least three, BA majors should take at least two

GES 302 Urban Ecosystems

GES 305 Landscape Ecology

GES 318 Natural Environment of the Chesapeake Bay*

GES 319: Watershed Science and Management

GES 400 Wildlife Field Techniques

GES 400 Public Science

GES 404 Forest Ecology

GES 405 Applied Landscape Ecology

GES 406 Aquatic Ecology

GES 411 Fluvial Geomorphology

GES 413 Seminar in Biogeography

GES 419 Watershed Analysis and Modeling

 

Students completing this track are encouraged to take additional non-major elective courses in these departments:

ECON 437: Economics of Natural Resources

ECON 439: Environmental Economics

POLI 449: The Politics of Environmental Policy

*These courses are offered infrequently

Urban Systems Track


How do social and environmental systems shape one another in cities? How do we support urban policies and infrastructure that are environmentally sustainable and socially equitable? This track is designed to help students bridge the social and natural sciences to develop skills and knowledge for addressing environmental and social challenges in urban settings. The Urban Systems track helps prepare students for careers in fields such as city planning, urban sustainability, urban environmental management, and urban environmental science.

Not all courses required for the majors are listed; please see major checklists and consult with an advisor for full list of requirements.

Students pursuing this track must take GES 110 Physical Geography and may take either GES 102 Introduction to Human Geography or GES 120 Environmental Science and Conservation as a prerequisite for upper-level courses.

The GES 286-386 sequence is required of all students in the GES major, but for this track it is highly recommended that students complete this sequence by the end of the second year. Transfer students should begin this sequence immediately upon joining the major.

Some Special Topics courses (GES 302 or 400) may count for this track. Please consult with your advisor for further details and for approval to include these courses in this track.

Foundation Courses: required

GES 302 Urban Ecosystems

GES 341 Urban Geography

Depth Courses: electives

Human geography/environmental studies courses: BA majors should take at least three; BS majors should take at least two

GES 330 Economic Geography

GES 337 Natural Resource Management

GES 400 Food in the Racialized City

GES 400 Geographies of Migration

GES 400 Qualitative Methods

GES 400 Black Geographies

GES 424 Environmental Justice

GES 428 Scientific Practice and Environmental Policy

GES 429 Seminar in Geography of Disease and Health

GES 433 Sustainable Development of Landscapes

GES 440 Global Poverty and Development

GES 443 Urbanization and Development in a Global Context

GES 462 GIS and Human-Environmental Systems

Environmental science/physical geography courses: BS majors should take at least three; BA majors should take at least two

GES 305 Landscape Ecology

GES 308 Ecology

GES 310 Geomorphology

GES 312 Natural Hazards

GES 319 Watershed Science and Management

GES 400 Watershed Biogeochemistry

GES 400 Public Science

GES 416 Hydrology

GES 417 Wildlife Field Techniques

Global Sustainability Track


How do societies and nature connect at a global scale? How does globalization shape human and non-human life, livelihoods, and landscapes? This track is designed to help students bridge the social and natural sciences to develop skills and knowledge for addressing international environmental and social challenges. The Global Sustainability track helps prepare students for careers in fields such as international environmental policy and management, environmental diplomacy, international social and conservation advocacy, sustainability science, disaster preparedness and relief.

Not all courses required for the majors are listed; please see major checklists and consult with an advisor for full list of requirements.

Students pursuing this track must take GES 110 Physical Geography and may take either GES 102 Introduction to Human Geography or GES 120 Environmental Science and Conservation as a prerequisite for upper-level courses.

Some Special Topics courses (GES 302 or 400) may count for this track. Please consult with your advisor for further details and for approval to include these courses in this track.

Foundation Courses: required

GES 302 Conservation for the 21st Century

GES 312 Natural hazards

GES 337 Natural Resource Management

Depth Courses: electives

Human geography/environmental studies courses: BA majors should take at least three; BS majors should take at least two

GES 328 Environmental Policy

GES 329 Geographies of Health and Disease

GES 330 Economic Geography

GES 400 Geographies of Migration

GES 400 Black Geographies

GES 400 Qualitative Methods

GES 428 Scientific practice and environmental policy

GES 433 Sustainability, Land use, and Natural Resources

GES 436 Global Environmental Change

GES 437 Conservation & Development in the Tropics

GES 440 Global poverty and inequality

GES 443 Urbanization and Development in a Global Context

GES 462 Applications of GIS in Human-Environment Systems

Environmental science/physical geography courses: BS majors should take at least three; BA majors should take at least two

GES 302 Urban Ecosystems

GES 305 Landscape Ecology

GES 307 Conservation Biology

GES 311 Weather and Climate

GES 319 Watershed Science and Management

GES 400 Severe Storms

GES 405 Applied Landscape Ecology

GES 413 Seminar in Biogeography

GES 415 Climate Change

GES 416 Hydrology

Students completing this track are encouraged to take additional non-major elective courses in these department:

EHS 320 Disaster Management

POLI 387 Political Economy: A Primer

GLBL 386 The Politics of Development

GWST 340 Women, Gender, and Globalization

ANTH 382 The Anthropology of Globalization

Cities, Economies, and Development Track


How do cities and economic systems develop? How do diverse people, communities, and institutions exercise power through urban space, economies, and processes of social change? What makes a just city and a just economy? This track helps prepare students for career paths in fields such as: urban and regional planning; community and international development; social justice advocacy; research and data analysis; marketing.

Not all courses required for the majors are listed; please see major checklists and consult with an advisor for full list of requirements.

Some Special Topics courses (GES 302 or 400) may count for this track. Please consult with your advisor for further details.

Students should take GES 102 Introduction to Human Geography as a prerequisite for upper-level courses.

Foundation courses: required

GES 330 Economic geography

GES 341 Urban geography

Depth Courses: electives

GES 302 Conservation for the 21st Century

GES 302 Urban ecosystems (counts as environmental science)

GES 312 Natural hazards (counts as environmental science)

GES 329 Geography of health and disease

GES 400 Geographies of Migration

GES 400 Food in the Racialized City

GES 400 Black Geographies

GES 400 Qualitative Methods

GES 400 Public Science (counts as environmental science)

GES 424 Environmental justice

GES 429 Seminar in geography of health and disease

GES 437 Conservation and Development in the Tropics

GES 440 Global poverty and inequality

GES 443 Urbanization and Development in a Global Context

GES 462 GIS and Human-Environment System

Students completing this track are encouraged to take additional non-major elective courses in these programs: Global studies, Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication, Sociology, Anthropology, and Health Administration and Policy

Environment, Society, and Health Track


How do people, society, and nature shape one another, from the scale of the body to the scale of the globe? How can societies develop environmental policies and relationships that are just and sustain well-being for all life on the planet? This track prepares students for career paths in fields such as: environmental policy and planning; environmental education; environmental advocacy; conservation and environmental management; environmental or public health; disaster preparedness and relief.

Not all courses required for the majors are listed; please see major checklists and consult with an advisor for full list of requirements.

Some Special Topics courses (GES 302 or 400) may count for this track. Please consult with your advisor for further details.

Students may take either GES 102 Introduction to Human Geography or GES 120 Environmental Science and Conservation as a prerequisite for upper-level courses.

Foundation courses: required

GES 328 Environmental policy

GES 329 Geography of health and disease

GES 337 Natural resource management

Depth Courses: electives

GES 302 Urban Ecosystems (counts as environmental science)

GES 302 Conservation for the 21st Century

GES 305 Landscape Ecology (counts as environmental science)

GES 312 Natural hazards (counts as environmental science)

GES 326 American conservation thought

GES 330 Economic Geography

GES 341 Urban Geography

GES 400 Public Science (counts as environmental science)

GES 400 Food in the Racialized City

GES 400 Geographies of Migration

GES 400 Black Geographies

GES 400 Qualitative Methods

GES 424 Environmental justice

GES 428 Scientific practice and environmental policy

GES 429 Seminar in geography of health and disease

GES 433 Sustainability, land use, and natural resources

GES 436 Global environmental change

GES 437 Conservation and development in the tropics

GES 440 Global poverty and development

GES 443 Urbanization and Development in a Global Context

GES 462 GIS and human-environmental systems

Students completing this track are encouraged to take additional non-major elective courses in these departments: Political Science, American Studies, Emergency Health Services, Sociology, Anthropology, and Health Administration and Policy

Watershed Science Track


What is a watershed? How does the movement of water shape the environment? Watershed science is the study of human activities and how they affect freshwater/estuarine ecosystems. This track is designed to help students develop skills and knowledge in understanding how the movement of water and what it may carry shapes the environment. The Watershed Science track helps prepare students for careers in fields such as environmental or resource management, hydrology, environmental restoration, or fluvial geomorphology.

The GES 286-386 sequence is required of all students in the GES major, but for this track it is highly recommended that students complete this sequence by the end of the second year. Transfer students should begin this sequence immediately upon joining the major.

Some Special Topics courses (GES 302 or 400) may count for this track. Please consult with your advisor for further details.

Students pursuing this track must take must take GES 110 Physical Geography and GES 120 Environmental Science and Conservation, and may take GES 102 Introduction to Human Geography as a prerequisite for upper-level courses.

Foundation Courses: required

GES 319 Watershed Science & Management

GES 310 Geomorphology

Depth Courses: electives

GES 302 Urban Ecosystems

GES 305 Landscape Ecology

GES 311 Weather & Climate

GES 317 Water Quality*

GES 333 Water Resources*

GES 337 Natural Resource Management

GES 400 Watershed Biogeochemistry

GES 406 Aquatic Ecology

GES 411 Fluvial Geomorphology

GES 414 Severe Storms

GES 416 Hydrology

GES 419 Watershed Analysis & Modeling

GES 428 Scientific Practice and Environmental Policy

Students completing this track are encouraged to take additional non major electives in these departments

CBEE Groundwater Modeling

CBEE Water Quality

CHEM Aquatic Chemistry

*These courses are offered infrequently

Ecology and Conservation Track


What is ecology? How do we know which species or communities to focus on for conservation and what is the best way to ensure species success? This track is designed to help students develop skills and knowledge in population ecology, community ecology and conservation biology. The Ecology and Conservation track helps prepare students for careers in fields such as ecological consulting, conservation, natural resource management and wildlife management.

Students pursuing this track must take must take GES 110 Physical Geography and GES 120 Environmental Science and Conservation, and may take GES 102 Introduction to Human Geography as a prerequisite for upper-level courses.

Some Special Topics courses (GES 302 or 400) may count for this track. Please consult with your advisor for further details and for approval to include these courses in this track.

Foundation Courses: required

GES 302 Conservation for the 21stst Century

GES 307 Conservation Biology or GES 337 Natural Resource Management

Depth courses: electives

GES 302 Urban Ecosystems

GES 305 Landscape Ecology

GES 318 Natural Environment of the Chesapeake Bay*

GES 319 Watershed Science and Management

GES 337 Natural Resource Management

GES 328 Environmental Policy

GES 338 Chesapeake Bay: Changing Management and Policy*

GES 326 American Conservation Thought

GES 400 Watershed Biogeochemistry

GES 400 Wildlife Field Techniques

GES 404 Forest Ecology

GES 405 Applied Landscape Ecology

GES 406 Aquatic Ecology

GES 411 Fluvial Geomorphology

GES 413 Seminar in Biogeography

GES 419 Watershed Analysis and Modeling

GES 433 Sustainability, Land use, and Natural Resources

GES 437 Conservation and Development in the Tropics

GES 462 GIS and Human Environmental Systems

BIOL 483 Genes to Genomes

GES 436 Global Environmental Change

Earth and Atmospheric Science Track


What are the forces and process that govern the cycling of Earth’s matter, flow of energy, and evolution of the Earth? How do the various spheres of the Earth (hydrosphere, biosphere, atmosphere, lithosphere) interact, and how are these processes affected by human activity? This track is designed to help students develop skills and knowledge to understand the interrelated physical, biological and chemical processes of the Earth.   The Earth and Atmospheric Science track helps prepare students for careers in fields such as meteorology, geology, natural hazards, air quality, remote sensing, the energy sector, water resources management, and climate change science.

The GES 286-386 sequence is required of all students in the GES major, but for this track it is highly recommended that students complete this sequence by the end of the second year. Transfer students should begin this sequence immediately upon joining the major.

Some Special Topics courses (GES 302 or 400) may count for this track. Please consult with your advisor for further details.

Students pursuing this track must take must take GES 110 Physical Geography and may take either GES 102 Introduction to Human Geography or GES 120 Environmental Science and Conservation as a prerequisite for upper-level courses.

Foundation Courses: required

GES 310 Geomorphology

GES 311 Weather and Climate

Either GES311 or GES310 is required for the environmental science major; for this track BOTH must be taken.

Depth Courses: electives

GES 312 Natural Hazards

GES 302 Oceanography*

GES 302 Earth Systems Science*

GES 302 Arctic Geography*

GES 302 Air Quality*

GES 317 Water Quality*

GES 381 Remote Sensing

GES 400 Watershed Biogeochemistry

GES 400 Earth’s Cryosphere*

GES 411 Fluvial Morphology*

GES 414 Severe Storms and Societal Impacts

GES 415 Climate Change

GES 416 Hydrology*

GES 419 Watershed Modeling and Analysis

GES 481 Digital Image Processing for Environmental Applications*

GES 488 Spatial Data Analysis and GIS Applications

Students completing this track are encouraged to take additional non-major courses in these departments.

CBEE Groundwater Modeling

CBEE Water Quality

CHEM Aquatic Chemistry

ENCE 621 Groundwater Hydrology

ENCH 410 Environmental Chemistry

ENCH 474 Air Pollution

ENCH 476 Environmental Risk Assessment and Remediation

PHYS 335 Physics and Chemistry of the Atmosphere

*These courses are offered infrequently