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Department of Geology and Geography

The Department of Geology and Geography establishes strong connections between students and faculty in ways that foster excellence in current and emerging research, teaching, and learning that prepares students for successful professional careers and citizenship.  We teach our students about the Earth, its people, and its processes. By integrating the study of human activity and the natural environment, we encourage our students to ask questions about the world around them.

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Besides their teaching responsibilities, Geology faculty are quite active in research and service to their professions and the university as well. They have independently or collaboratively brought in over $50,000 in external contracts and grants. Click here for more information on this program.


Students pursuing a degree in Geography choose from one of two options: Human Geography or Environmental/Physical Geography. Students in both options will be exposed to courses in Geographic Techniques such as field methods, cartography, geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, and others – tools geographers use to analyze complex spatial relationships. Jobs in the field of Geography are anticipated to increase by 30% through 2022, the most of any concentration in the Geosciences, and students participating in our award winning Broadcast Meteorology Minor have a 100% job placement rate. Click here for more information on this program.

Meet our Faculty

Dr. Christopher Laingen

Associate Professor, Geography

Dr. Laingen’s research and teaching interests focus on America’s changing rural landscape. His work relies heavily upon land use and land cover data derived from remotely-sensed satellite imagery, land use and socioeconomic statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and most importantly going out into the field and talking with farmers and ranchers. He brings his research into the classroom to help students better understand from where their food, fuel, and fiber originates, how it’s produced, and how it gets to them from where it’s grown.

Dr. Barry Kronenfeld

Associate Professor, Geography

"I am a cartographer and geographic information scientist. My main interests are in visualizing earth processes and human activities, modelling and simplifying geographic features, and analyzing spatial patterns. To carry out my work I develop custom GIS tools using Python and dot-net. Recent projects include mapping disease clusters, visualizing election outcomes and simplifying hydrographic stream centerlines."

Dr. Diane Burns

Associate Professor, Geology

“I am a sedimentary geologist/sequence stratigrapher with research interests in sediment transport and geomorphology. My research in the Penn/Perm strata of the Laramie basin in southeast WY uses macro- and microscopic analyses to help unravel the paleotectonism of the Rocky Mountain region. Additionally, I use GIS analyses to follow the channel migrations of the Little Wabash River (IL) and their impact on land usage."

Don't take our word for it

"I am an international student from Ghana, majoring in Geology with a minor in GIS. Coming to EIU is one of the best decisions I made in my life. Being a part of the Geology/Geography department has been the icing on the cake. I have grown and learned so much during my time here. The professors have been great mentors that have challenged me to be the best version of myself. I look toward the future with confidence and great enthusiasm knowing that this department has prepared me immensely for a successful future."

Shirley Tsotsoo Mensah, Geology (2019)

“Both the geology and geography programs have wonderful and supportive faculty who make classes exciting and continue to spark curiosity within their students.”

Abigail L. Knight, Geography and Geology (2019)

"The geography department at EIU has encouraged me to expand my thinking and approach problems from new perspectives. Thanks to the guidance of my professors, I feel prepared to attend graduate school and face whatever challenges this field throws my way."

Madeline M. Reiher, Geography (2019)

"Beyond learning the latest technologies and trends in GIS, I have a ‘friendship’ relationship with my lecturers rather than student-teacher relationship. If what you want is building your professional career, the PSM program is the BEST choice where you get mentors and life coach in addition to your degree. Love every bit of the program."

Bolarinwa Oladipupo, Professional Science Masters in GIS (2019)

"EIU’s Geography Dept. is a hidden gem when it comes to broadcast meteorology. By offering a practicum and a variety of classes that teach the sciences driving the atmosphere, you’ll be able to gain on-air experience through their collaboration with WEIU-TV with supportive faculty helping guide the way to the professional field."

Everett Lau, Geography (2021)

Contact Information

Department of Geology and Geography

Physical Science Building
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 581-2626

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