Geography & Geology

Mission Statement

The Mission of the University of Wisconsin Colleges Department of Geography and Geology is to provide students with the geographic, geological, social and environmental understanding that contributes to responsible citizenship.


Geography is a broad-based field of inquiry that is used to study Earth. Geographers are broadly educated and are interested in both human and physical phenomena and how they interact. Geographers study why phenomena are located where they are and the forms that they take, and they seek to understand the processes that are responsible for location and form. Whether geographers are examining earth processes, human migration, the formation and expansion of cities, or anything else, they always begin with three key questions: 

  • Where are these phenomena located?
  • Why are they located where they are?
  • What is the significance of these locations?


Geology is the study of the Earth.  It deals with the composition of Earth materials, the structure of the Earth, and the processes that are constantly reshaping the Earth’s surface. Geology is also interested in the history of life on earth and how living organisms have interacted with the physical world over geologic time.  Geologists are essential: in finding the energy resources and raw materials we need for survival but also protecting and preserving Earth resources; for understanding natural hazards that may cause loss of life and economic damage; and helping reduce or prevent damage to the environment.