The Bachelor of Arts in Geography degree focuses on the human and social processes that shape our interactions with the world. This major is ideal for students interested in pursuing natural resource management, human rights, cultural geography, city planning or similar social science fields.
Compared to the B.S. in geography, the B.A. offers students the opportunity to take additional courses in the humanities and social sciences while still providing a solid foundation in the physical science and technology subfields of geography.
Students will learn to analyze and evaluate physical environments and human systems, organize and interpret data, use geospatial technologies and statistics, and communicate findings effectively. The skills students build in the geography program translate across fields in the academic, business, government and non-profit sectors.
- Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate in written and oral forms. These outcomes are evaluated together because they are connected for our students who often are in careers where their written work is the substance of their oral presentations. We see the linkage of the two to be the most important aspect.
- Students will demonstrate understanding of and the use of one geographical technique such as GIS, remote sensing, cartography, or spatial statistics.
- Students will demonstrate their knowledge of the central themes within the discipline.
- Students will be prepared for careers in the field or for graduate study in geography.
New freshmen who meet University admissions standards are eligible for admission to degree programs offered by the college. A student who wishes to enter the College of Arts and Sciences from another college on the Columbia campus must be in good standing and have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher. A student who wishes to enter the College of Arts and Sciences from another UofSC campus must fulfill one of the following requirements:
- Be in good standing, meet the admission requirements for a baccalaureate degree on the Columbia campus, and have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher.
- Be in good standing and have completed 30 semester hours with a GPA of 2.00 or higher on a UofSC campus.
Some programs in the College of Arts and Sciences have special admission requirements established by the department or committee that supervises the specific degree program, for example, Cardiovascular Technology, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Economics, Environmental Science, the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies. These requirements are listed in the sections of this bulletin that describe department and special degree programs.
Degree Requirements (120 hours)
Program of Study
|1. Carolina Core||32-44|
|2. College Requirements||15-18|
|3. Program Requirements||34-49|
|4. Major Requirements||24|
Founding Documents Requirement
All undergraduate students must take a 3-credit course or its equivalent with a passing grade in the subject areas of History, Political Science, or African American Studies that covers the founding documents including the United State Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation and one or more documents that are foundational to the African American Freedom struggle, and a minimum of five essays from the Federalist papers. This course may count as a requirement in any part of the program of study including the Carolina Core, the major, minor or cognate, or as a general elective. Courses that meet this requirement are listed here.
1. Carolina Core Requirements (32-44 hours)
CMW – Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication: Written (6 hours)
must be passed with a grade of C or higher
- any CC-CMW courses
ARP – Analytical Reasoning and Problem Solving (6-8 hours)
- any CC-ARP courses
SCI – Scientific Literacy (8 hours)
- Two 4-credit hour CC-SCI courses
GFL – Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Foreign Language (0-6 hours)
Demonstration of proficiency in one foreign language equivalent to the minimal passing grade on the exit examination in the 122 course is required. Students can demonstrate this proficiency by successfully completing Phase II of the Proficiency Test or by successfully completing the 122 course, including the exit exam administered as part of that course.
It is strongly recommended that students continuing the study of a foreign language begin college-level study of that language in their first semester and continue in that language until their particular foreign language requirement is completed.
GHS – Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Historical Thinking (3 hours)
- any CC-GHS course
GSS – Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Social Sciences (3 hours)
- any CC-GSS course
AIU – Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding (3 hours)
- any CC-AIU course
CMS – Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication: Spoken Component1 (0-3 hours)
- any overlay or stand-alone CC-CMS course
INF – Information Literacy1 (0-3 hours)
- any overlay or stand-alone CC-INF course
VSR – Values, Ethics, and Social Responsibility1 (0-3 hours)
- any overlay or stand-alone CC-VSR course
Carolina Core Stand Alone or Overlay Eligible Requirements — Overlay-approved courses offer students the option of meeting two Carolina Core components in a single course. A maximum of two overlays is allowed. The total Carolina Core credit hours must add up to a minimum of 31 hours. Some programs may have a higher number of minimum Carolina Core hours due to specified requirements.
Choose at least 1 of the following to fulfill a Carolina Core requirement
must be passed with a grade of C or higher
|GEOG 103||Introduction to Geography (*)||3|
|GEOG 104||Introduction to Physical Geography (*)||3|
|GEOG 105||The Digital Earth (*)||3|
|GEOG 121||Globalization and World Regions (*)||3|
|GEOG 201||Landform Geography (*)||4|
|GEOG 202||Weather and Climate (*)||4|
|GEOG 210||Peoples, Places, and Environments (*)||3|
2. College Requirements (15-18 hours)
Foreign Language (0-3 hours)
- only if needed to meet 122-level proficiency
History (3 hours)
The College of Arts and Sciences requires one additional GHS course beyond the Carolina Core GHS requirement.
- If the Carolina Core GHS requirement is fulfilled by a U.S. history course, the College of Arts and Sciences history requirement must be fulfilled by a non-U.S. history course.
- If the Carolina Core GHS requirement is fulfilled by a non-U.S. history course, the College of Arts and Sciences history requirement must be fulfilled by a U.S. history course.
Please select the College of Arts and Sciences history requirement from the approved list of U.S. and non-U.S. history courses.
Social Science and Fine Arts or Humanities (12 hours)
- Social Science (3 hours)
- The College of Arts and Science requires one 3- hour Social Science Course
- Fine Arts/Humanities (9 Hours)
- A Bachelor of Arts from the College of Arts and Sciences requires three 3-hour Fine Arts/Humanities Courses
3. Program Requirements (34-49 hours)
Cognate or Minor (12-18 hours)
Students must complete a cognate (12 hours) or a minor as part of this program. In lieu of a cognate or minor, an additional major may be added to a student’s program of study. Additional majors must include all major courses as well as any prescribed courses noted (*) in the bulletin. Prescribed courses noted in the bulletin may be shared with Carolina Core, College requirements, and Program requirements in the primary program.
Cognate (12 hours)
The cognate must consist of twelve (12) hours of courses at the advanced level, outside of but related to the major. The cognate may be taken in one or more departments or programs.
Courses offered by departments and programs that are acceptable for cognate credit are outlined in the section titled Courses Acceptable for Cognate Credit in Degree Programs in the College of Arts and Sciences. Some major programs have specific cognate requirements. It should be emphasized that the cognate is not a second set of elective courses to be chosen at random by the student. Students are urged to consult their major advisors for specific requirements in their major.
For Bachelor of Arts degrees, all cognate courses must be passed with a grade of C or higher.
Minor (18 hours)
In place of the cognate a student in the College of Arts and Sciences may choose a minor consisting of at least 18 credit hours of prescribed courses.
The minor is intended to develop a coherent basic preparation in a second area of study. It differs from the cognate inasmuch as the courses must follow a structured sequence.
Courses applied toward general education requirements cannot be counted toward the minor. No course may satisfy both major and minor requirements. All minor courses must be passed with a grade of C or higher. At least half of the courses in the minor must be completed in residence at the University.
A list of minor programs of study can be found at Programs A-Z.
Electives (16-37 hours)
120 (or 128) degree applicable credits are required to complete any degree at UofSC. After the cognate, minor or second major is complete, any additional credits needed to reach 120 (or 128) total credits can be fulfilled by electives. No courses of a remedial, developmental, skill-acquiring, or vocational nature may apply as credit toward degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences allows the use of the Pass-Fail option on elective courses. Further clarification on inapplicable courses can be obtained from the College of Arts and Sciences.
Note: 4-25 hours of electives will be needed to reach hours to graduate, if completing the B.A. with Distinction.
4. Major Requirements (24 hours)
a minimum grade of C is required in all major courses
Major Courses (6 hours)
|GEOG 495||Seminar in Geography||3|
|Select one of the following:||3|
|Interpretation of Aerial Photographs|
|Geographic Information Systems|
|Principles of Remote Sensing|
|Total Credit Hours||6|
Major Electives (18 hours)
- Select 5-6 GEOG courses with advisor’s approval that are tailored towards a topical, methodological, or geographical focus.
Note: Majors may take up to 9 hours of GEOG courses at the 200-level to fulfill major requirements; 6 hours must be at the 500-level. GEOG 595 can be used to fulfill up to 3 hours of geography elective credit, but not the 500-level requirement. Courses used to fulfill Carolina Core or College Requirements may not be used again to fulfill these requirements.
B.A. with Distinction in Geography (36 hours)
Available to students majoring in Geography who wish to participate in significant research activities in their major field under the supervision of a faculty mentor.
A minimum GPA of 3.50 in the major, and 3.30 cumulative, is required to apply for a BA or BS with Distinction in Geography.
- Students must submit a written application for the BA with Distinction in Geography at least eight months before completion of the degree.
- Written sponsorship agreement from a Geography faculty mentor on file in the department.
- An established thesis committee consisting of a tenure-track faculty member in Geography and at least one other tenure-track or research faculty member at the University of South Carolina.
- A written thesis demonstrating significant original work and approved by the thesis committee.
- A public presentation of the Senior Thesis research.
- Successful fulfillment of all requirements below with a minimum GPA of 3.50 in the major and 3.30 cumulative.
- General major requirements, plus 12 additional credit hours including:
Note: South Carolina Honors College students satisfying the above requirements will graduate with “Honors from the South Carolina Honors College” and with “Distinction in Geography.”
A major map is a layout of required courses in a given program of study, including critical courses and suggested course sequences to ensure a clear path to graduation.
Major maps are only a suggested or recommended sequence of courses required in a program of study. Please contact your academic advisor for assistance in the application of specific coursework to a program of study and course selection and planning for upcoming semesters.