The Geography and Planning curriculum at GVSU integrates the natural and social sciences and geospatial technologies and offers students strong analytical and problem solving skills. Geography and Planning areas offer a wide range of opportunities to people with various interests and talents focusing on finding real solutions to complex environmental, economic and social problems and issues (such as food and water security, sustainable economic growth, environmental justice, climate change adaptations, etc.). Geographers and planners use many tools and techniques in their work, and geographic technologies are increasingly important for understanding our complex world. They include Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and computer cartography.

Our flexible interdisciplinary programs provide courses of study focused on the environment and sustainable development, urban and regional planning, geospatial technologies (cartography, satellite remote sensing, and GIS), and global and regional analysis.

The Geography and Planning Department offers the following programs:

- A major in Geography (B.S. and B.A.) with flexible concentrations in environmental geography, urban planning, geospatial technologies, and regional analysis.

- A minor in Urban and Regional Planning

- A minor in Geographical Techniques (GIS and remote sensing)

- A minor in Geography - Teacher Certification

- A certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology

- A certificate in Sustainable Urban and Regional Planning

Meet Professor Elena Lioubimtseva, Geography and Planning Department Chair

Different Waters: Thirty Years in the Amazon

Location: Red Wall Gallery, Lake Ontario Hall, Grand Valley State University. Exhibit on display through December 18, 2015.

Description: Experience a land of rivers remarkably different from Western Michigan.

Over the past thirty years, GVSU professor Dr. Jim Penn has repeatedly traveled to the Loreto Region of Peru, South America, participating in programs ranging from wildlife research and natural resource management to community development, healthcare, and human rights work.

Located inland of the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains, the Loreto Region covers one third of the landmass of Peru. This dense jungle region stands in vivid contrast to the typical images of Peru featuring the citadel of Machu Picchu, indigenous people of the Andes, and their ubiquitous llamas. The Loreto Region is a key part of the vast intertwining network of tributaries that combine to form the headwaters of the Amazon River.

Penn’s experiences form the basis of Different Waters: Thirty Years in the Western Amazon; a dramatic collection of photographs and pointed observations documenting the struggles, turmoil, growth, and changes in this risky world of ever-moving water.

Different Waters: Thirty Years in the Amazon

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Geography and Planning - Jobs

Geographers and Planners play an active role in building sustainable futures, solving complex social, economic, environmental, and technological problems. It is not surprising that today geospatial technology is one of the fastest growing job markets in the United States and in the World.

Explore these links from the Association of American Geography and American Planning Association to review sample job titles associated with specific subfields within geography and planning.

To learn more about job titles of interest, visit the AAG Salary and Data Trends page.


Urban Planning student wins Planning scholarship

Urban Planning student wins Planning scholarship

Yulia Conley recently won the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP) Memorial Scholarship. The amount of the award is $1000. The MAP Memorial scholarship is a very competitive award: four students won the award in Michigan; Ms. Conley was the only u

Student wins award for graffiti in Grand Rapids research

Student wins award for graffiti in Grand Rapids research

Alyson Mabie, Geography and Planning major, presented her paper, "Claiming Turf: The Spatial Distribution of Three Discrete Types of Graffiti/Street Art in Southeast Grand Rapids, Michigan,".

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Study Abroad

Study Abroad

Study abroad with The Geography and Planning Department! Click here for more details!


GVSU Study Abroad Fair

GVSU Study Abroad Fair

October 8, 2015 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

  Study Abroad Fair Thursday, October 8 10am - 3pm  2250 Kirkhof Center (Grand River Room)   We hope you will join us for the Study...

AAG East Lakes Conference

AAG East Lakes Conference

October 9, 2015 All Day

ELDAAG Meeting 2015 - October 9-10, in Kent, Ohio Call for Papers The East Lakes Division of the Association of American Geographers will hold its annual conference at the Kent State University...

Urban Planning Association Meeting

Urban Planning Association Meeting

October 9, 2015 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

Interested in cities? Would like to know, what makes some of them amazing places for living and others not so much? Would you want to learn more about transit, public spaces and sustainable developments...

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