Department of Geography
College of Arts and Sciences
105 Wilkeson Quad
Buffalo, NY 14261
Web Address: www.geog.buffalo.edu
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Geography is primarily concerned with the locations and arrangements in space of human and natural phenomena, and with the interrelationships between people, businesses, public and social institutions, and their spatial environments. Geographers, therefore,
are interested in such topics as human perception and behavior, the location of industry and business, mobility and transportation, urban growth and development, regional planning and policy study, physical and ecological
environments, interactions of people and places over space and time, and the diffusion of information, commodities, and ideas.
Over the years, geography has developed four major traditions or interrelated approaches. The first tradition is a spatial tradition, with a focus on the importance of distance, direction, position, pattern,
and movement as concepts worthy of study themselves, whatever the subject matter. The second tradition is that of area studies, which takes as its objective the characterization and differentiation of places through
a thorough accounting of all of the places' aspects and attributes. The third tradition is through a human-land tradition, which, as the name implies, entails a focus upon the interrelationships and interactions between
people and their environment. The fourth tradition is the earth-science tradition, which involves a focus upon the study of the earth, the atmosphere, climate, and the living world.
Geographers represent geographic space with maps, and thus geographers are very concerned with map use and design. The design of maps may often involve the application of cognitive psychology, statistics, and
mathematics. The development of Geographic Information Systems has revolutionized mapping and made possible the rapid production of specialized maps for decision makers.
Because of these wide interests, geographers must acquire training in quantitative methods, field techniques, computer technology, data handling and analysis, cartographic displays and production, and written
and verbal communication skills. In addition, interdisciplinary work often is necessary in other disciplines and such areas as economics, computer science, sociology, mathematics, marketing, statistics, information
systems, and environmental sciences.