What is Geography?

Geography is the study of the world, its physical and social environments, and the dynamic nature of the relationships among them, from local to global scales. Protecting the environment and managing the Earth's valued resources - land, water, air, and ecosystems - in a sustainable manner are of vital interest to geographers. The geographic concepts of place and landscape provide a framework for understanding the role of culture in the evolution and development of urban and rural landscapes. Political, social, and economic processes, when examined from a spatial (geographic) and temporal (historical) perspective, enable everyone to appreciate and understand the dynamic processes associated with the development of local and regional landscapes.

Why Study Geography?

Geography StudentGeography is a fascinating field of intellectual inquiry and applied activity. The term geography comes from the Greek word "geo" meaning "Earth" and the Latin word "graphein" meaning "write". Geographers, therefore, engage in "writing about the Earth" - a challenging but stimulating task! As geographers approach "writing about the Earth" - they ask a fundamental question: "What is located where and why?"

Everyone is a life-long student of geography. As humans, we need to know who we are, where we are, where we are in relation to others, and why we are located where we are. Human geographers extend these spheres to include how human activities and behavior shape physical landscapes and why humans create unique spaces and places on the Earth's surface. Physical geographers concentrate their studies on how natural processes shape the Earth's surface to create differing physical landscapes. The study of physical and human geography is framed within a spatial context - identifying and explaining why physical processes, patterns, and distributions are located where they are and why humankind is located where it is and why distinct cultural groups are found where they are.

Need more information?

Request Information

Want to talk to someone about specific questions?

Contact a Representative

Ready to join us at VIU?

Apply Online