About the Department

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

As we transition to a virtual environment, the GES faculty and staff are working hard to make this as positive of an experience as possible for all. Thank you for your flexibility and hard work as we undertake this very quick pivot.

Please remember to practice physical distancing to reduce transmission and to honor the stay-at-home order. However, this does not mean you should practice social isolation. We still have many options: the many digital tools to stay in touch, a walk, snuggling a pet, or even an old-fashioned phone call. There are many outlets for comfort and to connect even during this virtual time.

Patience, kindness and humor can lighten the load. Please reach out to the Chair (Deborah Thomas: deborah.thomas@uncc.edu) or Office Staff if you have concerns or questions.

A few brief logistical items (updated on 3/25 with the new Mecklenburg County’s Stay-at-Home Order):

  1. Campus Access:
    1. Everyone: You should remain in your place of residence, leaving only for the essential reasons outlined in the county order. These include travel to necessary work functions and medical appointments and to purchase necessary supplies at grocery stores, pharmacies, or other essential businesses. Outdoor exercise is also permitted. More information is available on the Mecklenburg County website.
    2. Faculty Staff and Students
      1. Online and remote delivery of classes will continue uninterrupted. Students should continue to follow the guidance of instructors on assignments. Faculty should consider the limitations on student movement, social distancing protocols and access to materials in making assignments.
      2. Students: Unless you were granted an exception by Housing and Residence Life to remain in a residence hall, you should not come to campus.
      3. Faculty: Unless you have received an exception to conduct essential research activities, you should not come to campus. Research and Economic Development will be in touch with faculty with more information about the types of research that qualify for an exception.
      4. Staff Only staff who perform work in functions designated by the University as essential should report to campus -- and only if instructed by their supervisors to do so. All other employees should work remotely or be placed on COVID-19 Administrative Leave.
  2. Library and Computer Labs: 
    1. Library and Campus Computer Labs: Atkins Library will close effective 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, and all computer labs will be closed effective 5 p.m. Wednesday.
    2. Borrowing laptops: Students who need to borrow a laptop from the University to complete their academic work should visit or contact Atkins Library prior to closing at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25. Options for laptop pick up after 4 p.m. today are being finalized by staff and will be posted on the library’s website.
  3. Communication is key. Instructors will now be using digital platforms to communicate with you and so please check these often (Canvas, email). If you are having challenges with a course, please email your instructor using your university email.
  4. Advising will happen virtually, so don’t forget to schedule your appointment.
  5. The GES office will be operating virtually (physically closed this week). The office phone is being monitored, along with email, so the staff can answer questions and take care of regular business.

Additional Resources:


About Us

The Department of Geography and Earth Sciences is comprised of physical, natural and social scientists from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds. Our mission is to create, extend and disseminate applied and theoretical scientific knowledge of the Earth’s physical, natural and human systems and their interactions through scholarly research, teaching and service.  This is accomplished through the lens of five interdisciplinary themes:

  • Global Change
  • Sustainability
  • Human Environmental Interaction
  • Hazards
  • Geospatial Perspective

While each of these thematic areas represents distinct faculty expertise, there are considerable opportunities for multidisciplinary learning and research.

The Department houses programs leading to undergraduate, undergraduate honors, and graduate degrees in the following areas: Geography, Earth Sciences, Geology and Meteorology.  Additionally the department contributes to two interdisciplinary graduate programs; Infrastructure and Environmental Systems and Public Policy.

Department of Geography and Earth Sciences Values and Operating Principles

The Department of Geography and Earth Sciences is composed of professionals who adhere to and promote the highest standards of academic integrity, professionalism and ethical conduct in the pursuit, creation, advancement and dissemination of scientific knowledge of human and natural systems. Accordingly, we:

A. Are a community in which each individual will be considerate, open minded and take responsibility for their own actions.
B. Maintain a professional, collegial, respectful, and inclusive community of faculty, staff and students.
C. Value all types of high quality research from all disciplines across the Department.
D. Value high quality teaching and mentoring across all disciplines.
E. Value and commit to shared faculty governance.
F. Actively support UNC Charlotte’s Service and Outreach Missions.
G. Actively embrace the multiplicity of diversity in our students, faculty, staff, communities and beyond.