Geographical Sciences

College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
1149 LeFrak Hall
Phone: 301-405-4073

To lead the development of academic, educational, and research directions of human and natural systems, land cover/and land use change and geospatial information science, harnessing the integrative nature of geographic science to answer fundamental questions of global importance.

Chair: T. Loboda

Associate Chair: G. Hurtt

Directors: L. DeFloriani (Graduate Director), R. Han (MSGEOINT Program Director), G. Hurtt (Research Director), J. Ma (MSGIS Program Director), K. Stewart (Director of CGIS), K. Yearwood (Undergraduate Director)

Professors: G. Baiochhi, L. DeFloriani, R. Dubayah, M. Hansen, G. Hurtt, C. Justice, T. Loboda, L. Sun, J. Silva, K. Stewart

Associate Professors: S. Farrell, K. Feng, M. Gore, D. Wang

Assistant Professors: L. Duncanson, C. Nakalembe, T. Oshan, S. Skakun, X. Song, Y. Xie

Lecturers: R. Berndtson, R. Han, J. Ma, J. Resop, K. Yearwood, N. Zhou

Adjunct Professors: L. Boschetti, S. Goetz, T. He, K. Hubacek, K. Vadrevu, E. Vermote

Adjunct Associate Professors: V. Bandaru, B. Franch, M. Humber, M. Lang, M. Steininger 

Adjunct Assistant Professors: A. Hoffman-Hall, H. Kerner, R. Lamb

Research Professors: M. Brown, K. Feng, L. Giglio, M. Hofton, C. Huang, R. Izaurralde, P. Potapov, J.C. Roger, J. Townshend

Associate Research Professors: J. Armston, V. Bandaru, I. Becker-Reshef, E. Ellicot, P. Guillevic, M. Hosseini, J. Nackoney, F. Sedano, M. Steininger, A. Whitcraft, I. Yeo

Assistant Research Professors: L. Chini, A. de Bremond, J. Fan, S. Hancock. H. Kerner, K. Rishmawi, R. Sahajpal, H. Tang, A. Tyukavina, R. Zhang

Professors Emeriti: H. Brodsky (Assoc), J. Cirrincione (Assoc), M. Geores (Assoc), S. Goward, E. Kasischke, S. Prince, D. Thompson (Assoc), J. Townshend, E. Vermote, J. Wiedel

Advising is mandatory for students each semester. The undergraduate advising office is located at 1149 LeFrak Hall. If you can, please email before you visit us since the schedule can change day to day. We can always be reached via email at or voicemail at 301-405-4073.

Fieldwork Opportunities

GEOG418 (Summer/Fall): Field and Laboratory Techniques in Environmental Science
Applied introduction to field methods. This class is built around a two week field trip (mid-August) with a base camp in the headwaters of the Potomac River in the mountains of West Virginia. During the camp the following topics are covers: GPS (global positions system), stream hydrology measurements, vegetation classification and ordination, micrometeorlogical measurements, soils, water quality, remote sensing and GIS, local environmental issues, geomophology and paleohistory, and natural and cultural history.

GEOG330 Beijing, China (Summer): Society and Sustainability 
Sustainability is a 21st century buzzword and its definition varies across sectors, scales, and regions. Though all countries share a role in ensuring a sustainable future, given their large populations, GDP, and rates of resource consumption, the United States and China are the most critical actors in this narrative. Join this study abroad program in Beijing, China, to learn about the country's sustainability initiatives through field visits, lectures, professional presentations, and group work with Beijing Normal University college students. You will examine why environmental change is spatially distributed, and how sustainability decisions are made within societies on multiple scales and by multiple cultures. Take this unique opportunity to learn and see the interactions of society and sustainability in China - the country that potentially holds the most peril and promise to a sustainable global future.


The Department of Geographical Sciences offers a one-semester internship program for undergraduates. Students can earn a total of three credits. Students are responsible for finding their own internships and can pursue a wide variety of opportunities in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Internships may be on- or off-campus, paid or unpaid.

Internship Requirements

  • Junior or senior with a minimum of 70 credits
  • 2.5 GPA overall

Internship Partners

  • NASA Develop
  • USDA
  • Campus GIS - Facilities Management
  • NOAA
  • ESRI
  • Urban Resources Initiative
  • The Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission

Combined BS/MS Program

The Department of Geographical Sciences’ Combined, Five Year BS/MS Program is an opportunity for top-achieving undergraduate students to enhance their academic portfolio, and best prepare to enter the workforce or a doctoral program. This balanced research and academic program includes undergraduate and graduate coursework and a student-designed applied research project. Students who complete all program requirements will leave the University of Maryland after five years with a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Geographical Sciences and a Master of Science (MS) in Geographical Sciences.

Student Societies and Professional Organizations

Geography Club

Geography Club is back and better than ever! Join undergrads and grad students for cultural potlucks, international movies, charity events and exploratory trips around the DC metropolitan area!

Gamma Theta Upsilon: The Geography Honor Society

GTU is an international honor society in geography that aims to further professional interest in Geography, strengthen student and professional training and encourage student research. Membership is earned through superior scholarship and therefore it is an honor and a professional distinction.

Members must be in their 4th semester of study, working towards a Geographical Sciences or related degree, have a minimum 3.3 GPA cumulative and in all Geographical Sciences classes and attend meetings and events.

The Association of American Geographers

The Association of American Geographers (AAG) is a nonprofit scientific and educational society founded in 1904. For 100 years the AAG has contributed to the advancement of geography. Its members from more than 60 countries share interests in the theory, methods, and practice of geography, which they cultivate through the AAG's Annual Meeting, two scholarly journals (Annals of the Association of American Geographers and The Professional Geographer), and the monthly AAG Newsletter.

The Sustainability Club

The Department of Geographical Sciences' sustainability club, otherwise known as the Geography Sustainability Task Force (GSTF), seeks to improve the efficiency of our consumption and improve working conditions while at the same time reducing our environmental footprint. We have made small strides such as changing paper usage and reducing power consumption in computer labs, but continue to work on large issues of departmental and building-wide lighting, water, and waste. Through increased education, awareness, and involvement we look forward to big changes in 2012 and beyond. The GSTF has, and continues to, consult and work with the University of Maryland Office of Sustainability. Future meetings will be posted here and announced through internal departmental emails.

Scholarships and Financial Assistance

The Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) administers all types of federal, state and institutional financial assistance programs and, in cooperation with other university offices, participates in the awarding of scholarships to deserving students. For information, visit:

Awards and Recognition

  • James R. Anderson Award For Undergraduate Excellence
  • Robert A. Harper Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research and Writing
  • Undergraduate Research Symposium Award
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Award

Academic Programs and Departmental Facilities

The Geographical Science Department has two 25-seat computer teaching laboratories that are used in undergraduate coursework, particularly in GIS/Remote Sensing courses. There are different types of equipment for field research and remote sensing, and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are also available.