students taking notes in a classroom

Geography Program

The study of geography uncovers the art and science of location and the concept of region. With a focus on geography, you will gain knowledge beyond examining a map and learning about a state capital. You will explore the interactions between people and places that make our world and interesting and exciting place.

Students who take geography classes at COD learn that:

  • Geography courses offer relevant insights into anthropology, economics, earth science, political science, sociology and other coursework.
  • Many aspects of your world are affected by location and the characteristics of places. 

There are five geography courses that were approved by the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI). These courses transfer throughout Illinois more effectively than unapproved elective courses. All geography courses provide the framework to help you transfer to a four-year institution. 

Determine Your Path

Gain skills that geographers use to interpret the world including map reading, air photo interpretation and navigation that can help you become career-ready.

You want to attend a college that stands out from the rest. At COD, you'll discover:

  • Skilled faculty who will help you develop critical thinking skills, all while bringing geographic facts and concepts to life. Many faculty members are award winning and have publishing experience.
  • A college that utilizes top-notch facilities, equipment and resources, including our Map Lab, located inside the Berg Instructional Center.
  • Affordable classes that help you achieve success without creating overwhelming debt or draining a savings account.
  • Small class sizes that ensure you receive personalized attention.

Watch a video to learn more about the program.

Geography Associate in Arts

The Geography Transfer Pathway, Associate in Arts includes physical geography, cultural geography, technical geography and regional geography. Our courses are designed for effective transfer to other educational institutions in Illinois. 

Geographic Information Systems

The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Certificate provides formal GIS training to students. The classes cover a range of topics including terminology, data management, map design, geodatabases, spatial queries, spatial analysis, project development and problem solving. 

Student projects have involved work with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the United States Coast Guard and Northwestern Medicine.

The certificate emphasizes a real-world approach to the GIS sciences with the purpose of attaining a careers in the GIS field. Students have been successful in gaining internships and careers after earning the certificate.

COD Stories

Sydney Hamilton

“COD has such a huge range of classes with subjects I’ve never taken before, so it was a great way to get outside my comfort zone and explore—plus they ended up transferring to a career choice that I love." - Sydney Hamilton

Sydney's COD Story

COD Stories

Steve Wiertz

“My passion and experience have been tied closely to mapping involving research, output, quality assurance and production. With the experience, knowledge and skills gained through COD’s program, I feel more valuable as an individual, which will allow me to be more beneficial to my team and company.” - Steve Wiertz

Steve's COD Story

COD Stories

Jeff Judycki

“I love my new career and have COD to thank for the technical training within the field of GIS. The program at College of DuPage will empower you with the technical skills. Your requirement will be applying these skills to solve problems, and that is how you will define your value." - Jeff Judycki

Jeff's COD Story

Get Started Today

The first step to getting started in geography at College of DuPage is to apply for admission.

Academic and Career Pathways provides students a roadmap to achieving their academic and career goals. Follow an academic timeline that outlines which classes you need to take and when so you can gain knowledge, graduate on time or move on to the next phase in your career.

Geography Program Learning Outcomes

Students who complete courses in geography will:

  • Understand the concept of region.
  • Know the location of important physical and cultural features in a particular region or set of regions, and understand the importance that relative location plays in shaping particular places.
  • Understand the physical and human characteristics that shape the geography of particular places.
  • Understand the relationships between humans and their environment.
  • Understand how the movement of people, goods, money, and ideas affects particular places.

Geographic Information Systems Program Learning Outcomes

Learning objectives and outcomes will be directly related to basic geographic and cartographic principles.  Students will be expected to have a working knowledge of geographic and spatial concepts, to include basic and advanced GIS terminology, coordinate systems, field and object based views of geographic space and other spatially based concepts.  

Additionally, students will be required to apply these concepts to “desktop” and “web based” analytical environments.  These expected outcomes and objectives will enable the student to interact professionally with members of the GIS community.  Upon completion of the certificate, students will be able to:

  • Apply and interpret fundamental spatial statistics and visualization techniques.
  • Collect and analyze various spatial datasets.
  • Create a reference dataset and an address locator.
  • Build a transportation network and apply analytical solutions.
  • Implement, modify and apply Python scripting.
  • Perform advanced vector and raster analysis.
  • Perform fundamentals of geodatabase design and operation.
  • Perform surface modeling and analysis.
  • Utilize standard modeling techniques.
  • Identify and resolve common workflow problems.
  • Author a mosaic dataset based on remotely sensed datasets.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in geospatial user interfaces and environment configurations.
  • Determine and define an appropriate coordinate system.
  • Manipulate data with advanced modeling techniques.
  • Author and publish to a web GIS portal.
  • Implement and apply web content or services to perform analyses.
  • Configure web app templates and widgets.

The technical component of the GIS program will have very specific learning objectives and outcomes.  Upon completion of the program, the student will have a firm technical grasp of the GIS concepts listed above.

 The student will fully comprehend all GIS related spatial data types, understand the acquisition and storage of geospatial data and have the ability to analyze, manipulate and present this data.  

Additionally, students will have a solid foundation of the latest GIS technologies in order to bolster the students’ marketability within professional GIS environments. The student will create a portfolio appropriate for job and/or college transfer interviews highlighting these learning objectives.

College of DuPage has several geography transfer agreements in place with four-year colleges and universities to save you time, money and make the transfer process easier.

Many of these agreements with other colleges and universities have specific course requirements and a pre-determined course plan that needs to be followed to be eligible to transfer. Contact a program faculty member or academic advisor to learn more as course requirements vary by institution.


Why Choose Geography?

Chappy statue

A geography degree can prepare you to understand and analyze issues like climate change, urban expansion and geopolitics.

Career Information

Explore careers based on your interest, location and salary range or view top occupations by income.


Frequently Asked Questions

The following are answers to frequently asked questions regarding the Geography program. 

Geography is a very broad discipline. Students who decide on a career path in geography should be curious about a variety of topics. An interest in a variety of cultures is useful. Successful geography students will want to answer three main questions:

  1. Where? Geographers understand the importance of location.
  2. What? Geographers examine the characteristics of places.
  3. How? Geographers seek to understand how characteristics of a location affect what happens at that location. 

If you have an interest in maps and computers, you may be interested in the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Certificate. GIS uses computers to create maps that illustrate reality, address problems and suggest solutions.

As with other fields of study, successful geography students need to motivated to learn and focus on their schoolwork despite the distractions from every day life.

Few geography jobs have the title "geographer." A geography degree can help you in business, education and the environment. Many geography majors find positions in for-profit and non-profit corporations.