Geography major

mhcc.edu/SocialScience

Faculty Adviser

Dr. Chris Gorsek: 503-491-7321 | Room AC2674 | Chris.Gorsek@mhcc.edu

Courses provide students with general theoretical knowledge of the field of geography, as well as the ability to work as a field researcher or a computer map technician using a Geographic Information System (GIS).

Curricular Outcomes

At the completion of this curriculum, students should be able to:

  • Explain the dynamics of weather and climate on the planet
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of the various biomes on the planet
  • Explain the various political, economic and environmental challenges faced in the various regions on Earth
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the main religious belief systems of the world
  • Explain the various environmental threats facing the planet today
  • Demonstrate the ability to interpret and create maps

Students interested in pursuing the Geography major can complete the following courses toward the Social Science requirement or electives in the AAOT (recommended), AS, AGS or ASLA degrees. Admitted students may also log on to Navigate to start the process of building an academic plan based on this major and can notify an adviser for review.

GEOG105Introduction to Physical Geography3
GEOG106Introduction to World Regional Geography (Cultural Literacy course)3
GEOG107Introduction to Cultural Geography (Cultural Literacy course)3
GEOG202The Geography of Europe (Cultural Literacy course)3
GEOG206Geography of Oregon (Cultural Literacy course)3
GEOG209Geography of the Middle East and North Africa (Cultural Literacy course)3
GEOG214Geography of Mexico and Central America (Cultural Literacy course)3
GEOG290Environmental Problems and Restoration3

The following Geography courses will count toward electives:

GEOG205The Geography of the Pacific Rim3
GEOG208The Geography of the U.S. and Canada3
GEOG265Introduction of Geographic Information Systems3
GEOG270Criminology and the Geography of Crime3

Professional Associations and Transfer Schools

The following shows just one example of how students can complete an Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree while also taking lower-division geography courses. Be sure to work with an MHCC adviser and the transfer institution you'd like to attend to ensure correct courses are being taken. Not all courses are offered every term. Click on a course number to see what term(s) the course is typically offered.

Plan of Study Grid
First QuarterCredits
GEOG105 Introduction to Physical Geography 3
WR121 English Composition (Course offered online) 4
Arts & Letters (ART260 recommended) 4
Elective / university requirement 4
 Credits15
Second Quarter
GEOG106 Introduction to World Regional Geography (Cultural Literacy course) 3
WR122
English Composition: Critical Thinking (Course offered online)
or Technical Report Writing (Course offered online)
4
MTH105 Mathematics in Society (or higher) 5
Elective / university requirement 4
 Credits16
Third Quarter
GEOG107 Introduction to Cultural Geography (Cultural Literacy course) 3
Lab Science (GS106 recommended) 3-5
Electives / university requirements 8
 Credits15
Fourth Quarter
GEOG206
Geography of Oregon (Cultural Literacy course)
or The Geography of the U.S. and Canada
3
Social Science (SOC204 recommended) 4
Oral Communication 3-4
Lab Science 3-5
 Credits15
Fifth Quarter
GEOG202
The Geography of Europe (Cultural Literacy course)
or The Geography of the U.S. and Canada
3
GEOG265 Introduction of Geographic Information Systems 3
GEOG290 Environmental Problems and Restoration 3
Lab Science 3-5
Arts & Letters (ART205 recommended) 3-4
 Credits16-17
Sixth Quarter
GEOG205
The Geography of the Pacific Rim
or Geography of Mexico and Central America (Cultural Literacy course)
3
Arts & Letters 3-4
Health & Physical Education 3
Science / Math / Computer Science 3-5
 Credits13-14
 Total Credits90-92

GEOG105 Introduction to Physical Geography

Credits 3Fall

Registration Requirement: RD090 and WR090, or IECC201R and IECC201W; each with a grade of "C" or better; or placement above stated course levels.

This geography course explores the physical environment. The main focus is on the natural environmental processes that occur on the surface and near surface portions of our planet. General topics include the atmosphere, energy flow, weather and climate, water and soils, biogeography (plants and animals), biomes, land forms, plate tectonics, weathering, streams, glaciers, deserts and coastal processes. Cartography (map making), map interpretation and the effects of human modification of the environment (such as acid precipitation, ozone depletion, deforestation and desertification) are also discussed.

This course fulfills: Human Relations; Social Science

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate the proper use of maps in understanding the key concepts of the course
  2. Describe global climate and pressure patterns on our planet
  3. Describe High and Low pressure systems and the types of weather each one produces
  4. Describe the characteristics of landforms created in glacial, arid, coastal and moist environments
  5. Describe the various types of fault lines and how earthquakes occur
  6. Explain the characteristics and geography of global vegetation zones
  7. Explain the dynamics of dangerous storms such as hurricanes, thunderstorms and tornadoes
  8. Explain the dynamics of plate tectonics/continental drift
  9. Explain the key concepts of weathering and mass wasting
  10. Explain the reason for the change of the seasons
  11. Illustrate the key types of volcanoes on our planet
  12. Recognize the various soil types and soil profiles found on our planet

GEOG106 Introduction to World Regional Geography (Cultural Literacy course)

Credits 3Winter

Registration Requirement: RD090 and WR090, or IECC201R and IECC201W; each with a grade of "C" or better; or placement above stated course levels.

This course explores the various realms of the world. Realms are the largest areas into which our planet can be divided. The difference between these realms is examined in terms of both the natural environment and the cultural characteristics of each of these unique sections of our planet. Issues relating to human modification of the natural environment, politics, economics and poverty are emphasized. Regions that are normally explored include North America, Middle America, South America, Europe, Russia and the former Soviet Republics, North Africa and Southwest Asia (including the Middle East), South Africa, South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia and the Pacific as well as Antarctica and international waters.

This course fulfills: Human Relations; Social Science

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Analyze the political ramifications for using particular world map projections
  2. Compare and contrast the key religious beliefs in the world today and demonstrate knowledge of their global geographic distribution
  3. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of where countries and major physical features are found on our planet
  4. Demonstrate proper map interpretation skills
  5. Describe and define the problems and challenges posed by the natural environment on our planet
  6. Describe global population characteristics and distribution
  7. Describe how the global economy operates
  8. Describe the history of colonialism on our planet
  9. Describe the physical environments of the various realms of the world
  10. Evaluate the economic activities of the world's various realms
  11. Explain the concepts of culture hearths and cultural diffusion
  12. Explain the major geographical concepts necessary for understanding regional characteristics
  13. Explain the major global environmental problems that we face
  14. Explain the political systems and problems found in the various realms of the world
  15. Explain the transportation infrastructure of the regions under study

GEOG107 Introduction to Cultural Geography (Cultural Literacy course)

Credits 3Spring

Registration Requirement: RD090 and WR090, or IECC201R and IECC201W; each with a grade of "C" or better; or placement above stated course levels.

Cultural geography focuses on all aspects of human life on our planet. Topics generally include culture, language, religion, economics, development, transportation, political organization, urban systems, the cultural landscape, energy resources and the relationship between humans and the natural environment. Emphasis is placed on North America but other cultural perspectives are also cons idered.

This course fulfills: Human Relations; Social Science

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Analyze possible solutions to our environmental problems
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the main languages and religions of the world today
  3. Demonstrate proper map interpretation skills
  4. Describe land surveys in the U.S. and their influence on the cultural landscape
  5. Describe the major economic and political systems that are found in the world today
  6. Describe the various natural resources that are available on our planet and their geographic distribution
  7. Explain industrial and urban development patterns in selected world cultures
  8. Explain the basic concepts and theories of cultural geography
  9. Explain the difference between folk and popular culture
  10. Explain the importance of “place” and the messages that are embedded in the cultural landscape
  11. Explain the major global environmental problems that we face

GEOG202 The Geography of Europe (Cultural Literacy course)

Credits 3Winter - odd years

Registration Requirement: RD090 and WR090, or IECC201R and IECC201W; each with a grade of "C" or better; or placement above stated course levels.

This course explores Europe from the geographical perspective. General topics include the history, culture, economics, international trade links, politics, international relations, transportation systems, pollution and natural environments and hazards of the western portion of Eurasia. Specific topics include the processes involved in the creation of the European Union, the devolutionary factors at work against the European Union and the past and present European urban system.

This course fulfills: Human Relations; Social Science

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Define such relevant geographic terms as demarcation and cultural diffusion
  2. Describe the history of the area including the various political struggles that have occurred there
  3. Describe the impact of ethnic cleansing and racism in Europe both past and present
  4. Describe the physical environment, natural hazards and climate of this area
  5. Describe the transportation infrastructure of this region including the current status of the Channel and the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal
  6. Describe this region’s place in the World Economy
  7. Explain how the European Union operates
  8. Explain the diffusion of urbanism across this region from its origin in the Near East
  9. Explain the global impact of Europe due to the Age of Discovery and colonialism
  10. Explain the process of land reclamation in both the United Kingdom and the Netherlands
  11. Identify the location of European countries and key urban centers
  12. Identify the location of key physiographic regions in Europe

GEOG205 The Geography of the Pacific Rim

Credits 3Spring - even years

Registration Requirement: RD090 and WR090, each with a grade of "C" or better; or placement above stated course levels.

This course explores the Pacific Rim from the geographical perspective. This includes an exploration of the varying history, culture, economics, international trade links, politics, international relations, transportation systems, pollution and natural environments and hazards of this portion of our world. Specific topics focus on descriptions of the various countries within and around the margin of the Pacific Ocean and the importance of international trade to them, as well as the history of past conflict and prospects for future political problems in this important global economic crossroads.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Define such relevant geographic terms as complementarity, transferability and intervening opportunity
  2. Describe the basic physical and cultural geography of the countries in and around the Pacific Rim
  3. Describe the controversies surrounding nuclear power and nuclear weapons in the Pacific Basin
  4. Describe the geographical method
  5. Describe the history of the area including the various political struggles that have occurred there
  6. Describe the important environmental issues faced in this part of the world including both human made and naturalhazards
  7. Describe the key transportation systems of this region
  8. Describe the major urban centers and general population distribution of the Pacific Basin
  9. Describe the physical environments and climates of this area
  10. Describe this region’s place in the Global Economy
  11. Explain the history of conflict in this part of the world as well as the potential for future problems
  12. Explain the WTO and the influence it has on trade both in this region and in the rest of the world
  13. Identify the location of the various countries in and around the Pacific Rim

GEOG206 Geography of Oregon (Cultural Literacy course)

Credits 3Fall - even years

Registration Requirement: RD090 and WR090, or IECC201R and IECC201W; each with a grade of "C" or better; or placement above stated course levels.

This course explores the state from a geographical perspective that focuses upon where things are, what they are made of, why they are there and what their future is likely to be. Course topics include the history, culture, economics, politics, international trade links, transportation systems and natural environments of the state of Oregon. A portion of the class is also dedicated exclusively to Portland and its surrounding communities, which is the largest urban area in the state and a very important regional urban center.

This course fulfills: Human Relations; Social Science

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Define relevant geographical terms such as region, place, site and situation
  2. Describe how the political system operates in Oregon
  3. Describe Portland’s history, current challenges and status as an important regional urban center
  4. Describe the commonly held beliefs about the cultural differences between Eastern and Western Oregon and whether there is a better model for analyzing this
  5. Describe the physical geography and geographic regions of the state
  6. Describe the settlement patterns of Oregon beginning with the earliest Native American presence
  7. Describe the transportation infrastructure of the state
  8. Describe the various environmental problems faced by the inhabitants of Oregon as well as possible responses to them
  9. Explain Oregon’s place in the World Economy as well as how economics and politics affect that place
  10. Explain the issues surrounding land use laws and planning in the state
  11. Identify the hazards posed to the region by the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Eastern Washington
  12. Identify the location of the main cities and the 36 counties in the state
  13. Identify the natural hazards faced by people of Oregon

GEOG208 The Geography of the U.S. and Canada

Credits 3Fall - odd years

Registration Requirement: RD090 and WR090, or IECC201R and IECC201W; each with a grade of "C" or better; or placement above stated course levels.

This is an area studies course covering the United States and Canada, which approaches things from a geographic perspective. That perspective explores what the region is like at present, asks how it came to be that way and what it may look like in the future. This class provides the student with information regarding the physical and cultural geography of the northern portion of North America. Specific topics include the history of the region, NAFTA, immigration and current political and environmental concerns.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Define the geographical concepts of place, region and realm
  2. Describe the general history of both Canada and the U.S.
  3. Describe the important environmental issues faced in this part of the world including both human madeand natural hazards
  4. Describe the transportation infrastructure of this region including the evolution of the railway, highway and freewaysystems
  5. Describe the urban systems and general population distribution of this region
  6. Describe the varying history of U.S. and Canadian global involvement
  7. Describe the varying physical environments and climates of this part of the world
  8. Describe this region's place in the global economy, including the effects that economy has had on workers both hereand abroad
  9. Explain how minority groups have been/are treated in both of these countries
  10. Explain the challenges faced by this area as it relates to global climate change
  11. Explain the cultural similarities and differences that exist between the U.S. and Canada
  12. Explain the operation of NAFTA
  13. Explain the settlement history of this region from ancient Native Americans to the present day
  14. Recognize and describe the various regions of Canada and the U.S.

GEOG209 Geography of the Middle East and North Africa (Cultural Literacy course)

Credits 3Winter - even years

Registration Requirement: RD090 and WR090, or IECC201R and IECC201W; each with a grade of "C" or better; or placement above stated course levels.

The class explores the Middle East and North Africa from the geographical perspective. Included topics are the history, culture, economics, international trade links, politics, international relations, transportation systems, pollution and natural environments, and hazards of this important part of our world. Specific topics: the physical geography of the area and its environmental challenges, conflict in the area, issues related to resources such as water and oil, and the potential for peace in the region.

This course fulfills: Human Relations; Social Science

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Define such relevant geographic terms as demarcation and cultural diffusion
  2. Describe and explain the geographical method
  3. Describe the history of the area including the various European and U.S. interventions that have occurred there
  4. Describe the importance of this region as the hearth of Western Civilization
  5. Describe the important environmental issues faced in this part of the world including both human made and natural hazards
  6. Describe the physical environment and climate of this area
  7. Describe this region's place in the World Economy
  8. Explain the different religions of the area and how they contribute to local tensions
  9. Explain the importance of both water and oil in the Middle East
  10. Explain the origin and impact of war and conflict in this area
  11. Recognize each country in the region and define its role in the geographical perspective

GEOG214 Geography of Mexico and Central America (Cultural Literacy course)

Credits 3Spring - odd years

Registration Requirement: RD090 and WR090, or IECC201R and IECC201W; each with a grade of "C" or better; or placement above stated course levels.

This course explores Mexico and Central America as well as the Caribbean from a geographical perspective including what things are like in a particular area, how they came to be that way and what the future of that area is likely to be. Topics include history, culture, economics, trade, politics, international relations, transportation, pollution, natural hazards and climate of this neighboring portion of our world. Specific discussions include the territorial contraction of Old Mexico, the US-Mexican War, recent conflicts in Central America, Liberation Theology, illegal immigration and drug smuggling into the United States, the development and subsequent decline of maquiladoras in Northern Mexico and NAFTA. Offered at irregular intervals.

This course fulfills: Social Science

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Define such relevant geographical terms as isthmus, demarcation, culture hearth, and archipelago
  2. Demonstrate proper map interpretation skills
  3. Describe and explain the various political struggles that have occurred in this region
  4. Describe Mexico’s territorial losses to the U.S.
  5. Describe the geographical method
  6. Describe the important environmental issues faced in this part of the world including both human made and naturalhazards
  7. Describe the physical environment and climate of the area
  8. Describe the settlement patterns and history of this area beginning with the earliest Native American presence
  9. Describe the transportation infrastructure of this region including the current status of the Panama Canal
  10. Explain NAFTA and its impact on this region and the U.S.
  11. Explain the process of drug smuggling into the U.S.
  12. Explain the reasons for illegal immigration into the U.S.
  13. Illustrate the effects of foreign industrial plans (Maquiladoras) in Mexico

GEOG265 Introduction of Geographic Information Systems

Credits 3Winter

Registration Requirement: CIS120L; or instructor consent.

This course covers the fundamentals of how to manage, manipulate and display spatially referenced data for land-use planning and decision making. Students work with GIS software applications. This course is also offered as FT228. Students may not receive credit for both GEOG265 and FT228.

Additional Course Fee: $15.00

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Define GIS and its common synonyms
  2. Edit data to create a new GIS
  3. Evaluate existing GIS data
  4. Input new data into an existing GIS
  5. List and describe common GIS industrial applications
  6. List and explain the basic components of a GIS
  7. Locate existing GIS data, either on the Internet or from directly contacting government and/or industrial agencies
  8. Use college approved GIS software to access and display existing GIS data
  9. Use college approved GIS software to build GIS queries, display and edit the results
  10. Use college approved GIS software to create professional quality maps and tables

GEOG270 Criminology and the Geography of Crime

Credits 3Spring

Registration Requirement: RD090 and WR090, or IECC201R and IECC201W; each with a grade of "C" or better; or placement above stated course levels.

This course is designed to give students a deeper understanding of criminal behavior and the interactions between human beings and the environment as it relates to unlawful behavior and victimization. Topics include discussions relating to basic criminological theories as well as the geography of crime, defensible space theory, broken windows theory and routine activities theory, among others. This course is also taught as CJA270. The student may receive credit as GEOG270 or CJA270, but not both.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in identifying and defining various crime causations theories
  2. Describe and explain theories related to Victim Precipitation
  3. Describe the history of criminological theory
  4. Evaluate crime causation theories
  5. Explain determinism and possibilism
  6. Explain the links between crime and the environment
  7. Explain ways of mapping criminal activity
  8. Explain why crime is not uniformly distributed in a community

GEOG290 Environmental Problems and Restoration

Credits 3Fall - odd years

Registration Requirement: RD090 and WR090, or IECC201R and IECC201W; each with a grade of "C" or better; or placement above stated course levels.

This course is an introduction to the natural environment and the problems associated with the presence and activities of human beings on earth. The basic principles of ecological science are introduced as is an exploration of environmental ethics, philosophy and politics. Environmental degradation and solutions to it are a key focus.

This course fulfills: Human Relations; Social Science

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Define population dynamics and such concepts as the Demographic Transition.
  2. Describe alternative energy production technologies
  3. Describe and explain the key global environmental issues that we currently face
  4. Describe and identify the processes involved in the restoration of degraded and polluted areas
  5. Describe key environmental philosophies as well as important ethical environmental considerations
  6. Describe possible restoration activities for damaged environments
  7. Describe the characteristics of selected ecosystems
  8. Describe the dynamics of environmental economics and politics, both at the local/national level and the international level (the conflict between haves and have nots)
  9. Describe the dynamics of extinction on our planet
  10. Describe the impacts which human beings make upon their environment
  11. Evaluate and explain problems associated with air and water pollution, solid waste, hazardous materials, and pesticide and herbicide use
  12. Explain how current global environmental problems might be reversed
  13. Explain the basic principles of ecological science
  14. Explain the difference between renewable and non-renewable resources

GEOG298 Independent Study - Reading and Conference: Geography

Credits 3Summer/Fall/Winter/Spring

Registration Requirement: RD090 and WR090, or IECC201R and IECC201W; and MTH020; each with a grade of "C" or better; or placement above stated course levels.

This course focuses on a more in-depth study of a geographic topic through reading a book or a series of shorter publications on the subject at hand. The student will meet with the instructor three times during the course of the term to discuss his or her progress. The student will also write a term paper describing the main themes of assigned reading(s) and the student's own evaluation of the book or articles.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of geographic issues through the writing of a term paper
  2. Demonstrate critical thinking skills
  3. Demonstrate proper writing style, source citations and bibliographic information
  4. Evaluate the geographic research of others

Course offered online

Cultural Literacy course