Welcome to the Department of Geography. Our department has been growing rapidly over the last few years and we are looking forward to new challenges ahead. Please take time to browse through the links on this site to learn more about our department, faculty, students, and staff.

If you are interested in studying in our department and you have additional questions, or you would like to make an appointment to visit with the Department Chair, or faculty members, please contact us. Graduate students please visit the Graduate School web site for application materials and additional information.



General Geography
General Geography

Cartography  GIS

Community Environmental Planning
Community & Environmental Planning

Mountain Studies

Physical Geography
Physical Geography













News & Events

The Department has additional space in its Graduate Program for admission in Autumn 2014.  Please see the admission instructions under programs here on our webpage.

Spring 2014 News

Graduate student Caleb Pan received several awards and grants for his work on Mongolian glaciers that he is carrying out with Dr. Ulrich Kamp, Associate Professor of Geography: (i) a summer research travel grant from the American Center for Mongolian Studies (ACMS) that will allow him to carry out field work in the Mongolian Altai in summer 2014; (ii) the award for the Best Graduate Student Talk at the Student Research Symposium 2014 of the Montana Space Grant Consortium (MSGC); and (iii) a Graduate Student Fellowship from the Montana Space Grant Consortuium (MSGC) that will allow him to begin his studies in UM's Ph.D. Program in Systems Ecology this fall.

UM student Mara Menahan has won a Truman Scholarship, a prestigious menahannational award that provides top U.S. university student leaders up to $30,000 for graduate or professional school.Truman Scholars are selected on the basis of leadership achievements and potential in public service. Menahan, a Davidson Honors College student who majors in environmental studies and geography with minors in climate change studies and wilderness studies, is the University’s 14th Truman Scholar. Fifty-nine students were selected as 2014 Truman Scholars out of 655 candidates from nearly 300 colleges and universities. On top of the $30,000 scholarship, Truman Scholars receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, as well as leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and internship opportunities with the federal government.

Campus Compact recently honored University of Montana student Mara Menahan as a Newman Civic Fellow. Menahan, a senior from Helena, is one of eight Montana students recognized this year. More than 190 students representing Campus Compact member colleges and universities were chosen from 36 states and the District of Columbia for the 2014 Newman Civic Fellow class. The recognition honors student leaders committed to creating lasting change in communities throughout the country. Menahan is double majoring in environmental studies and geography with minors in climate change studies and wilderness studies. She was one of three UM students to attend the United Nations international climate change negotiations in Warsaw, Poland, last November, and in 2013 she received a prestigious Udall Scholarship. She also is actively involved with the UM Forum for Living with Appropriate Technology, also known as UM FLAT, the University's environmentally focused living and learning community. An aspiring artist, Menahan completed an internship with Montana Audubon during which she developed scientific illustrations to convey the impact of climate change on Montana's birds. She also created sketches of her experience at the UN negotiations in Warsaw, working to learn how climate change issues can be communicated visually. Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,000 college and university presidents committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education. It promotes public and community service that develops students' citizenship skills, helps campuses forge effective community partnerships and provides resources and training for faculty looking to integrate civic and community-based learning into the curriculum. Newman Civic Fellows are nominated by institution presidents. "Mara has tremendous capacity, motivation and drive. She is also a warm, compassionate and generous person," wrote UM President Royce Engstrom in his nomination letter. "I have no doubt that her interests in participatory planning and visual communications will continue to find focus in helping society meet some of its greatest challenges." Menahan said public service played an important role in her transition to college life. "It's been really important as a student as a way to get involved and feel like I'm part of a larger community," she said. "I think students can get lost when they come to a university as large as UM, especially as an undergraduate, where it's sometimes your first time away from home. Public service for me has been a way to kind of adopt a family of my own away from Helena." For more information on the Newman Civic Fellowship, call Andrea Vernon, director of the UM Office for Civic Engagement, at 406-243-5159 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 406-243-5159 FREE end_of_the_skype_highlighting, email andrea.vernon@umontana.edu or email Menahan at mara.menahan@umconnect.umt.edu.


Fall 2013 News

This last fall, Montana PBS interviewed two professors from the Department of Geography here at the University on Montana. Dr. Jeffery Gritzner and Lecturer Kevin McManigal were filmed for a PBS special called Degrees of Difference. The theme was friendly conversations around the continuing climate change debate. In the end, their discussion was cut from the aired program, but it can be viewed on the PBS website here: http://watch.montanapbs.org/video/2365116516/. Congratulations to Jeff and Kevin!

Sophia Albov, a Geography Graduate Student, has recently been selected through a competitive process to represent the Finnish American Fulbright Center at the 38th Annual EU-NATO Seminar hosted by the Fulbright Commission in Brussels. The seminar will be held February 9-13, 2014 and has events occurring in both Brussels and Luxembourg. The purpose of the seminar is to explore the functioning of the EU and its relationship with the United States. Sophia, who is currently a Fulbright Graduate Student Grantee in Finland, sees the seminar as an opportunity to deepen her level of understanding of EU institutional arrangements and policies. Her thesis research centers on an analysis of the organic agriculture sector in Finland and farmers’ livelihood prospects under EU policy interventions and directives. Her study specifically looks toward the role of geographical factors and policy arrangements in affecting organic farmers’ experiences in Finland and pays specific attention to EU policies which influence the Finnish organic agricultural sector. For this study Sophia is working in conjunction with the University of Helsinki, University of Eastern Finland, and MTT Agrifood Research. While she is in Finland, she is conducting an extensive series of interviews with key actors in the organic food system. During the upcoming EU-NATO Seminary, Sophia will get to see the EU in action and gain valuable insights into the day-to-day workings of some of Europe’s most influential institutions.

Thanks to all who participated in Geography’s Open House on October 4. Everyone seemed to have a good time enjoying conversation, food, and the nice slide show, courtesy of Will Klaczynski and Rick Graetz. We had alumni from 1970 to 2013 and many classes in between. Thanks to our students for their involvement and participation, and to our faculty, staff and family members, ranging in age from 10 months to 92 years of age. Congratulations to the raffle winners.

The Montana Geographic Alliance Co-Coordinators Sarah J. Halvorson, Professor of Geography, and Heather Almquist, Faculty Affiliate in Geography, received a $27,000 grant from the National Geographic Society Education Foundation. The grant will be used to support curriculum development initiatives, member services, and professional development opportunities for Montana teachers and geography education-related activities in collaboration with various state agencies and nonprofit organizations. 

Jeffrey A. Gritzner, Professor Emeritus of Geography, was invited by the University of Denver to serve as Marisco Visiting Scholar, October 30 - November 2. His principle lecture was titled "Inhabiting a Vulnerable Planet."  Dr. Gritzner also gave a number of talks on environmental change, environmental rehabilitation and sustainability.

Kevin McManigal, Lecturer of GIS in Geography and his students Fred Snyder-Manetti and Carolyne Vowell attended the 2013 The North American Cartographic Information Society  (NACIS) Conference in Greenville, South Carolina, October 9-12, 2013. Carolyne presented a poster entitled U.S. Wild Horses & Burros: Management Strategies. The poster was well received and fit in very well with entries from the best student cartographers in the nation. Kevin presented a lecture entitled Breaking the Software Demonstration Barrier - Live Data Collection and GIS in the Classroom. The presentation gave practical advice for teaching GIS with on-screen exercises that engage students and challenge them to use GIS for problem solving. Kevin’s lecture closed the education session on the last day of a full week listening to the best academic and professional cartographers sharing their cutting edge research and designs. Hot trends included new tools for web-mapping and the entry of MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) into the GIS/Cartography academic discipline.


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