Study Geography at Inver Hills Community College, a Minnesota State two-year college

Geography is the scientific field focused on the planet Earth. Geographers study virtually everything about our world, from continents to oceans, from volcanoes to glaciers, from people to plants, from climate change to dust devils. Modern geography is not about memorizing place names. Above all, geographers want to understand our home planet and the complex, changing relationships between its inhabitants and their environments.


Contact Information

Tim Leininger
Geography Instructor

Admissions Team
College Center

Incredibly interdisciplinary, geography is typically divided into two key branches: human geography and physical geography. The former covers such areas as politics, economics, culture, population, history and more. The latter investigates biodiversity, ecology, meteorlogy, topography, hydrology and more.

Geography courses at Inver Hills examine many of the above topics, delving into natural elements and human societies to bring you closer to the interactions that define the Earth. You can apply your coursework to the degree requirements for both two-year and four-year degrees.

Course Descriptions

GEOG 1000  Introduction to Geography: The Earth as the Home for Humans   4.0 cr

Course Outline for GEOG 1000

Explores human interactions with environments over time and space through topics directed toward an understanding of the ways in which humans live, and the means by which they interpret and manipulate the physical earth. Topics will include the character of the earth's physical landscapes, distribution of energy in the form of weather and climatic regions, biological communities, human interactions with these physical systems, and how human diversity in language, religion, economics, and politics, has differentiated and influenced human interaction on the planet.

GEOG 1100  World Regional Geography   3.0 cr

Course Outline for GEOG 1100

Studies the world and its transformation to the modern distinction between technological and developing nations, and a survey of present conditions among its various regions.

GEOG 1105  Geography of United States and Canada   3.0 cr

Course Outline for GEOG 1105

Presents a region-by-region analysis of the diversity of people and environments of North America. Emphasis will be on the study of similarities and contrasts in regional landscapes and on interactions with other peoples and regions of the world.

GEOG 1115  Human Geography   3.0 cr

Course Outline for GEOG 1115

Studies basic elements, processes, and distributions associated with people's principal ways of life, their interrelationship with the natural environment, and socio-cultural diversity including: population, race, language, religion, political, and economic systems.

GEOG 1119  Map Interpretation   3.0 cr

Course Outline for GEOG 1119

Instructs the use (and misuse) of maps. Basic principles of communication using maps, including projections, scale, and symbolization, as well as measurement and analysis of mapped information. The introduction of current mapping skills through Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is emphasized through cartographic exercises. This is a lab science course.

GEOG 1130  Minnesota Geography   3.0 cr

Course Outline for GEOG 1130

Examines the land, resources, and people of Minnesota, and the processes that have led to the development of regions in the present and will change the state in the future.

GEOG 1140  Meteorology   4.0 cr

Course Outline for GEOG 1140

Examines the atmosphere and its behavior. Atmosphere composition, structure, stability, and motion; precipitation processes, air masses, fronts, cyclones and anti cyclones; general weather patterns; meteorological instruments and observations; plotting and analysis of maps; forecasting.

GEOG 1150  Renewable and Non-Renewable Natural Resources   3.0 cr

Course Outline for GEOG 1150

Explores the origin, nature, location and management issues of natural renewable and non-renewable resources on a global scale. Fuels, energy sources, soils, minerals, fisheries, and forests will be examined with other natural resources.

GEOG 1160  Physical Geography   4.0 cr

Course Outline for GEOG 1160

Emphasize the interactions of the biosphere, geological and climatic systems in the development of the pattern of regional environments including the study of spatial patterns and processes associated with the Earth's natural systems. Investigate the interactions of geology, ecosystems and weather and how such interactions impact diverse populations around the world in terms of agriculture, economics and natural resources.

GEOG 1211  Introduction to Geographic Information Systems   4.0 cr

Course Outline for GEOG 1211

Instructs the use of digital data storage, retrieval, manipulation, analysis and display of spatial and temporal data using Geographic Information Systems(GIS) technology through a combination of class presentations and laboratory exercises. Both general theory and specific application with respect to GIS will be addressed as well as the present application of GIS in various industries. This is a lab science course.

GEOG 1400  Energy, Environment and Climate   4.0 cr

Course Outline for GEOG 1400

Provides a holistic approach to the workings of the atmosphere and climatological impacts on global human populations. Topics include weather patterns and long-term trends, including global climate change. Climatology relative to the United States will be examined in the context of extreme weather and alternative energy source potential.

Meet the Faculty

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Education Credentials

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Employment Information

Geographers in both the human and physical branches can choose from a sizeable variety of career paths. As a human geographer, you can work in government, private consulting, industry, the nonprofit sector, urban and regional planning, transportation, eco-tourism, international affairs and more.

As a physical geographer, you will explore the patterns and processes of our environment. Because conservation, land management, climate studies, energy, ecology and other environmental fields influence how societies function, the work of human and physical geographers are intertwined.

The skills you need as a geographer include:

  • Comprehending spatial patterns and processes
  • Communicating proficiently
  • Making decisions
  • Solving problems
  • Reading and understanding maps, graphs and charts
  • Carrying out scientific research
  • Developing an eye for detail
  • Having a knack for statistics and mathematics
  • Using computers
  • Analyzing electronic information

Potential jobs in geography fields

  • Biogeographer
  • Cartographer
  • Climatologist
  • Conservationist
  • Earth Scientist
  • Ecologist
  • Economic Development Planner
  • Environmental Impact Analyst
  • Environmental Planner
  • Geographic Information Specialist
  • Hazardous Waste Planner
  • Health Services Planner
  • Hydrologist
  • Land Use Planner
  • Map Editor
  • Map Librarian
  • Map, Air Photo & Satellite Image Interpreter
  • Natural Resource Manager
  • Regional Planner
  • Transportation Planner
  • Urban Planner
  • Water Resource Manager

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupational outlook for geographers is expected to grow 29 percent between 2012 and 2022, or much faster than average. Below are just a few examples of possible career paths that can start with taking geography courses at Inver Hills.


Additional resources

Why Inver Hills?

Completing your geography obligations at Inver Hills is smart on several key levels:

  1. You will receive an excellent education with one-on-one interactions with geography faculty
  2. You will get hands-on experience through lab exercises and classroom presentations
  3. You will save money and continue your academic and professional careers with less student debt *

* On a national scale, student loan debt has mushroomed to $1.2 trillion, which is greater than credit card debt and auto loan debt combined. In Minnesota, the average debt for four-year grads tops $30,000; 70 percent carry a student debt load.

Tuition and fees for one year at Inver Hills costs a little less than $5,300. Compare that to $15,000 to $20,000 at a for-profit college, or $40,000 to $50,000 at a private college or university. You can complete your first two years at Inver getting a topflight education firsthand from Ph.D. instructors and then transfer to a four-year as a junior all while saving thousands of dollars. It's a no-brainer.

Scholarship opportunity

A3 Ag: Aspire. Accelerate. Advance.

Inver Hills is offering three $1,000 scholarships for motivated students interested in pursuing a career in agriculture. If you think ag science is all cows and plows, think again. Modern agriculture is focused on achieving the best results in nutrition, ecology and economics. Rewarding jobs are abundant in the fields of food systems, renewable energy and the environment with nowhere near the number of qualified college graduates needed to fill them. To learn more, visit Agricultural Sciences Career Pipeline Scholarship.

Additional resources

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