If you enjoy travel, the outdoors, cities and contributing to a better society, geography may be for you. If you are passionate about creating a sustainable planet, planning for livable cities, conserving natural resources and promoting and preserving outdoor recreation, a degree in geography from Keene State College will give you a chance to pursue your passions. Geography is a dynamic field that examines how humans interact with each other as well as with the natural environment. The Keene State College Geography, Outdoor Recreation, and Planning (GORP) Department prepares students for professional positions in a diverse range of fields within private industries, government and the non-profit sectors. Geography is inherently multi-disciplinary, as it fosters an understanding of politics, culture, environmental issues, landforms, natural hazards, and demographics.
Recognized for its physical, environmental, cultural, and technical elements, major topics of study in the KSC Geography, Outdoor Recreation, and Planning Program include urban and regional planning, recreation and tourism, and resource management, sustainability, climate change and demographics. Geospatial technologies such as Geographic Information Science, remote sensing, and computer mapping are vital professional tools and as such, graduates will be expected to gain proficiently in these techniques.
KSC geography majors in the capstone course apply acquired content knowledge and geospatial skills as they work on community-based projects with outside professional partners, providing written professional reports for agencies and organizations in the region.
Students can major or minor in geography at Keene State.
Geography majors at Keene State will learn about the Earth through the lens of human-environment interaction, and have the opportunity to specialize in urban and regional planning, natural resources, outdoor recreation, and Geographic Information Sciences. Beyond the classroom, students can take advantage of internships, field courses and regular national and international travel opportunities. Regional city and town planning offices, parks and recreation departments, local nonprofits, and private companies in the area collaborate with the KSC Geography, Outdoor Recreation, and Planning Department to provide hands-on work experiences in a professional setting.
These experiences reinforce and build upon what students learn in the classroom as well as help them acquire additional skills needed to transition up to full-time employment after graduation. Through the internship program, geography students have recently worked for the Monadnock Conservancy, Southwest Region Planning Commission, Keene Housing, the Harris Center for Conservation Education, and City of Keene Recreation Department.
The KSC Geography, Outdoor Recreation and Planning Department is also committed to offering students a chance to participate in geographic study outside of this region through faculty-led field national and international courses. In recent years, field trip locations have included Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Scandinavia, the U.S. Southwest, and Hawaii.
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Career and Other Opportunities
Graduates go on to assume a variety of professional titles including environmental scientist, park ranger, city planner, data analyst, business owner and geographic information specialist. Employers include the National Park Service, the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, state environmental and natural resources departments, regional and local planning departments, and state and local parks and recreation departments. Graduates have also moved into lucrative private sector jobs in companies such as Garmin and TomTom while others have established careers working with nonprofits organizations to manage and protect natural and historic landscapes in New England and other regions of the country. Finally, countless alumni are professional educators, contributing to positive societal changes in their own classrooms across the region and country.
Graduates of the program are able to use the tools of the field; analyze spatial organization of people, places, and environments; recognize how culture and experience influence people's perceptions of places and regions; identify Earth's dynamic physical processes; distinguish the characteristics and spatial distribution of Earth's ecosystems; recognize processes, patterns, distribution and functions of human migration and settlement; discern forces of global cooperation and conflict; comprehend the relationship between humans and the environment; analyze resource use and distribution; and apply geography to interpret the past and present, and to plan for the future.