Learning Objectives

UW Geography Learning Objectives

describe the assumptions underlying the key components of  a geographic perspective: context, scale, spatial distribution

describe the causes and implications of spatial variability (for example, in housing, law enforcement, immigrant incorporation into US society, regional economic growth, etc.)

analyze the social and economic  causes and implications of spatial interaction & movement patterns

apply the concept of scale  to analyze the ways in which localized, regional, national, and global processes interact

think relationally about such key intertwined concepts as community and economy, society and environment, and citizenship and globalization

seek relationships among historical development, economic development, & globalization

apply the concept of sustainability to regional economy, health, and well-being

analyze patterns of economic and social inequality in terms of geographical location, historical development, power structures, global capital flows, race, class, and gender

pose important geographic research questions, appreciate what makes those questions important, and design reasonable research approaches to them


* sustainability
* globalization
* well-being
* inequality
* citizenship
* representation
* movement
* scale

Common thematic threads emerging from surveys of current majors

* social differences
* spatial interactions
* power relationships
* scale and location
* importance of the context of local environment
* linkages between nature and society in health, food sustainability, etc.
* social justice and inequalities
* regional economic impacts and differences
* how public policies affect local populations
* health care and inequality
* globalization and hybridization

General, social science concepts and skills

ability to foster awareness of cross-national and cross-cultural perspectives and realities, and developing trans-disciplinary ways of understanding

ability to identify and evaluate information sources and prior research relevant to a research topic for contextualizing research questions

ability to assess different and competing worldviews

ability to identify and describe significant research questions; identify the audience most interested in the answers to these research questions, and identify and describe an appropriate research strategy to answer a particular research question

ability to understand the benefits of qualitative and quantitative approaches, including understanding of nominal/ordinal/interval ratio measurement levels; plus understanding of “categorical” and “statistically significant” in relation to research questions

ability to understand the inter-play between data gathering and analysis methods

ability to understand and evaluate environmental impacts

ability to effectively critique materials, including an understanding of the difference between expressing an argument from evidence versus opinion

ability to construct and defend an argument based on interpretation of research findings, including interpretations of data that lead to an ecological fallacy

ability to develop holistic explanations

ability to report results in multiple media, including reporting in verbal and written form

ability to exercise collaboration skills in the form of working in groups; and understanding and negotiating differences

ability to develop a perspective about and practice active citizenship (local and global)