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GEOG103 - Physical Geography

Course Details

Course Code: GEOG103 Course ID: 3843 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

Physical Geography includes the study of processes of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere. Specific topics include maps and map reading, temperature cycles, storms formation, plate tectonic theory, structures of volcanoes, flooding, coastline formation, glaciations, ice ages, and the distribution of plants and animals on the planet. This course is an excellent choice for anyone with interest in environmental studies, natural hazards and the science behind earth processes. NOTE: This course requires the student to purchase additional materials that are not covered by the book grant. Please refer to the Course Materials section for additional details.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
05/21/21 - 10/29/21 11/01/21 - 12/26/21 Fall 2021 Session I 8 Week session
06/28/21 - 12/03/21 12/06/21 - 01/30/22 Fall 2021 Session D 8 Week session
07/27/21 - 12/31/21 01/03/22 - 02/27/22 Winter 2022 Session B 8 Week session
08/31/21 - 02/04/22 02/07/22 - 04/03/22 Winter 2022 Session I 8 Week session
09/28/21 - 03/04/22 03/07/22 - 05/01/22 Winter 2022 Session D 8 Week session
10/26/21 - 04/01/22 04/04/22 - 05/29/22 Spring 2022 Session B 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

CO-1 Describe the consequences of the Earth’s rotation on its axis, to include time, seasons and environment, as well as map projections and map reading skills.
CO-2 Explain the structure and patterns of air temperature and precipitation, and principles behind global circulation.
CO-3 Discuss the difference between “weather” and “climate”, storm formation processes and characteristics of various climates.
CO-4 Identify components of the lithosphere to include landforms, volcanic and tectonic activity and the theory of plate tectonics.
CO-5 Compare principles of mass wasting and weathering, formation of landforms in Arctic and Alpine environments and the characteristics of soils.
CO-6 Define the components of the hydrologic cycle, groundwater, surface water, streams and lakes, as well as fluvial landscapes.
CO-7 Illustrate the formation of landscapes by wind, waves and ice, to include coastline formation, glaciers and ice age investigations.
CO-8 Assess concepts of ecology, biodiversity, energy flow, ecosystems, and biomes.

Forums Assignments:

Forum Week #1 is MANDATORY for all students and late assignments cannot be accepted. This is a requirement for all courses at APUS and no exceptions can be made.

We can learn as much from each other and academic investigation as we will from the material. It is the purpose of the Forums to develop our understanding of the weekly readings and discussion topics. This participation is required. Each week all students should respond to the discussion topics indicated in the Forums area to express their understanding of the issue and ability to research academic information to add to the discussion.

Students are expected to provide a substantial comment of several well-written paragraphs in each session and a similar comment or reflection in reply to at least two other students’ contribution. Statements such as “I agree” or “good post” will not count as a reply.

Please be familiar with the University’s policy on plagiarism and academic honesty as well. All citations for research must be in acceptable academic formats.

The grading rubric is provided in the classroom. After the first week, initial posts are due on Wednesday of the assigned week and all responses must be complete by Sunday of the assigned week.


Each lab-style exercise is designed to have every student apply principles learned during that week. They are meant to be challenging but fun.


The quizzes and exams are on-line, open-book, and timed. They may include multiple choice questions, fill-in-the blanks, short essays, exercises or other such formats to test student progress. Exams will be opened at the start of each week (Mondays).

Please see the Student Handbook to reference the University’s grading scale.

NameGrade %
Forums 30.00 %
Week 1 Forum 3.75 %
Week 2 Forum 3.75 %
Week 3 Forum 3.75 %
Week 4 Forum 3.75 %
Week 5 Forum 3.75 %
Week 6 Forum 3.75 %
Week 7 Forum 3.75 %
Week 8 Forum 3.75 %
Quizzes 20.00 %
Quiz #1 10.00 %
Quiz #2 10.00 %
Exercises 25.00 %
Exercise #1 5.00 %
Exercise #2 5.00 %
Exercise #3 5.00 %
Exercise #4 5.00 %
Exercise #5 5.00 %
Exams 25.00 %
Mid-term 12.50 %
Final Exam 12.50 %

Required Technology

  • See the Technology Requirements section of the undergraduate catalog for the minimum hardware and software requirements.
  • Microsoft Office 365 is available to APUS students for free. To sign up, visit If you have questions about accessing the software, please contact Classroom support at


In addition to the required course texts the following public domain Websites are useful. Please abide by the university’s academic honesty policy when using Internet sources as well. Note web site addresses are subject to change.

Site Name

Website URL/Address

Textbook Student

Companion Site

APUS Online Library


Turnitin (to prevent


Proper use of


GEOG103 Course Guide

Book Title:Visualizing Physical Geography (looseleaf), 2nd ed - the VitalSource e-book is provided inside the classroom
Publication Info:VS-Wiley
Unit Cost:$69.73
Electronic ISBN:9781118654163
Electronic Unit Cost:$30.00

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.