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Course ePortfolio

Introduction to Physical Geography, with Lab

This collection contains the California Open Educational Resources Council (CA OER) list of peer-reviewed textbooks for Introduction to Physical Geography (common course-id GEOG 115), one of the top 50 college courses identified for inclusion in the California Open Online Library for Education (COOLforEd).

CID Number: GEOG 115

General Course Description: GEOG 115

This course is a spatial study of the Earth’s dynamic physical systems and processes. Topics include:  Earth-sun geometry, weather, climate, water, landforms, soil, and the biosphere. Emphasis is on the interrelationships among environmental and human systems and processes and their resulting patterns and distributions. Tools of geographic inquiry are also briefly covered; they may include: maps, remote sensing, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

The laboratory portion of this course is designed to provide supplemental exercises in topics covered in Physical Geography lecture. Lab experience will include map analysis and interpretation, weather prognostication, landform processes and evolution, tectonics, biogeography, and habitat analysis.

Minimum Units: 4.0

Any rationale or comment: On some campuses this may be taught as separate lecture and laboratory courses.


Prerequisites:  None

Corequisites:  None

Advisories/Recommendations:  Elementary Algebra

Pedagogical Approach


Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course, the student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the size, shape, and movements of the Earth in space and their importance to environmental patterns and processes;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the atmospheric, geomorphological, and biotic processes that shape the Earth’s surface environments;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the global distribution of the world’s major climates, ecosystems, and physiographic (landform) features;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of basic concepts of physical geography in the analysis of real-world variations in environmental patterns; and
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the scientific method and practical experience using the tools and concepts of physical geography (laboratory component).


  1. Lab exercises
  2. Midterm
  3. Final examination

Other Information


Course Resources

  • The Physical Environment: Intro to Physical Geography
    The Physical Environment is one of the first, totally online physical geography learning environments. The Physical... More
  • Physical Geography and Natural Disasters
    Physical Geography and Natural Disasters (Open (Access) Textbook)
    Physical Geography, also called earth science, is the study of our home planet and all of its components: its lands,... More
  • Fundamentals of Physical Geography 2.0
    Fundamentals of Physical Geography 2.0 (Open (Access) Textbook)
    The main objective of this online textbook is to introduce students to the exciting field of knowledge known as physical... More