Department of Geography & the Environment

Welcome to the Department of Geography and the Environment!

As a geography or environmental major at Villanova, you will investigate important domestic and global environmental problems, learn how to help create a more sustainable world, and learn essential technical skills.  You will get outside the classroom for engaged learning that reflects important dimensions of scientific literacy, participate in internships, study abroad, community projects, and collaborative research with faculty.  You may also participate in sustainability projects on campus such as recycling and energy efficiency, and participation through environmental clubs.

In all of our majors, you will enroll in interdisciplinary courses taught by a dynamic and research active faculty from the social and natural sciences. 

News and Notes:

GEV Welcomes the class of 2022! This August, 13 students joined GEV from all across the US.

Class of 2022

Dr. Mysha Clarke received her Ph.D. in Natural Resources Social Sciences from Purdue University in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources. A Jamaican native, Dr. Clarke's doctoral research focused on the human dimensions of invasive plant management on family forests using Indiana as a case study. She uses both qualitative and quantitative social science research methods such as interviews, surveys, focus groups and qualitative content analysis to investigate environmental decision making. Dr. Clarke is broadly interested in social-ecological systems and best practices to engage the community in natural resources topics including forestry, ecosystem services and green infrastructure. 

This fall, she will be teaching GEV 3001: Intro to Sustainability and GEV 4333: Politics and the Environment. Her office is located Mendel G-63B. Welcome to Villanova, Dr. Clarke!


This summer Niki Cleary (Environmental Science, ’19), conducted research titled Atlantic horseshoe crab movement within oyster farms on the Delaware Bay shoreline as part of the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF-REU). Niki studied sonar feeds taken during the high tide of peak crab spawning and took crab counts from the videos in order to compare farm versus control locations with various statistical analyses. Among her REU peers, she won first place for her research. She will be presenting her work at the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) Aquatic Sciences Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico in February and at the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting in Atlantic City, New Jersey this August. She will continue her research this fall with Dr. Melanie Vile as her mentor. Congratulations Niki!


This summer, five GEV undergraduate and two graduate students traveled to Madagascar and worked with Catholic Relief Services to provide geospatial support and drone training for their humanitarian aid mission. Additionally, a team of two undergraduates and one graduate student supported CRS's geography work across Africa and Southeast Asia. Read more about their work here.

What you will Learn:

Geography is an exciting discipline with great variety and tremendous relevance in the modern, globalized world.  It is often said that you can make your own history, but you have to live with your geography.  Geographers examine the content of space and explain the dynamics of what is taking place in that space.  Geographers study important topics such climate change, political and economic systems, natural hazards, and population and demographics just to name a few.

The Environmental Science and Environmental Studies programs are complementary and both provide a fundamental scientific understanding of environmental processes.  Environmental specialists examine the science of the environment and develop solutions to some of the most important problems of our time.  Students enrolled in our environmental majors work at the nexus of the natural and human landscape, and both majors are grounded in research, a rigorous science foundation, problem–solving methods, data analysis, and developing open–ended solutions to complex environmental issues.

Environmental Justice and Sustainability is focused upon the social science of decision-making around some of the most important global challenges of our time: climate change, the potential of fair trade, and of domestic and international initiatives to protect the environment.

These courses will teach you how to use very powerful analytical tools such as digital elevation models, satellite imagery, Geographic Information Systems, and GPS to solve pressing geographic and environmental problems.  These are some the highest technology platforms on campus and our industry partners tell us that these skills are in high demand in the work place.

The number of careers in geography and environmental fields are growing rapidly.  The U.S. Department of Labor projects a 25 percent increase in demand for environmental specialists and geospatial specialists.  To this end, a rigorous foundation in the disciplines offered by our Department yields significant benefits for our graduates.  Students in our programs leave Villanova with a highly competitive and marketable education, and they are well situated to compete in today’s job market.  We firmly believe that our programs are preparing our students well for their challenges following graduation.  Since 2012, 93% of our students are positioned in jobs related to their major, or are attending a high–quality graduate or professional school.

Your opportunities are exciting and the options are great!

The Department of Geography and the Environment provides a high quality, multidisciplinary educational experience in the areas of Geography, Geographic Information Systems, Environmental Science, and Environmental Studies. We investigate and study the Earth, its processes, systems, and peoples, and therefore, are committed to enhancing the richness and vibrancy of our planet in our academic, community, and personal endeavors. As a link between the social and natural sciences within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, we recognize the intrinsic value gained from our unique backgrounds and experiences.

The Department is committed to maintaining, fostering, and celebrating a community that includes people of all ages, genders, abilities, races, ethnic origins, religions, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, creed, and political views. We foster an atmosphere of open dialogue and incorporate innovative classroom instruction, creative laboratory and field experiences, and student-led research to ensure a high quality of learning and teaching. Our goal is to develop students and faculty who engage in and are dedicated to critical thinking, open-ended problem solving, and a lifetime of learning.

Integrate the disciplines of geography and environmental science in seeking to understand the spatial patterns of human and natural environments, the physical and social processes that produce those patterns, and their interaction in specific places and around the world.

—Provide an interdisciplinary curriculum focused on the interactions between humans and the environment.

—Employ geo-technologies to examine human and natural landscapes, and the social, economic, political, and legal framework in which environmental issues are intertwined.

—Develop in our students the ability to critically analyze and formulate ranges of possible solutions to complex human and environmental issues that include consideration of social, economic, cultural, political, and scientific dynamics.

—Offer practical degree programs in emerging fields, potentially attracting students with diverse, but overlapping, interests to interact in mutually beneficial ways.

—Foster interdisciplinary and cross-college cooperation in environmental education and research.

—Support the University’s multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary concentrations and interest groups, by administering the Environmental Studies Concentration, and by interacting with existing area concentrations (Africana Studies, Arab and Islamic Studies, East Asia Studies, Latin American Studies Russian Studies), with the Center for Peace and Justice Education, and with the Women’s Studies Program, and by interacting with key areas in the College of Engineering and the Villanova School of Business.

—Support the core mission of the University by educating Villanova students in the geographic and environmental perspectives and introducing appropriate technical skills.

Upcoming Events

Contact Information

Department of Geography and the Environment
Suite G67, Mendel Science Center
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
Tel: (610) 519-3336
Fax: (610) 519-3338

Dr. Barry S. Selinsky

Undergraduate Program Directors:
Dr. Steven Goldsmith (Environmental)
Dr. Keith Henderson (Geography)

Graduate Program Director:
Dr. Nathaniel B. Weston


Visit GEV at our official Facebook page. You can see what's new and exciting around the department.

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