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Degrees Offered

Degrees offered to undergraduates

The Geography Department offers both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in these 7 different emphases as summarized below. Additionally, specifics for each degree can be found in the Degree Requirements, as well as in the Course Catalog. As shown, all Geography majors must complete certain courses as Preparation for the Major, as well as satisfy the Graduation Requirements for the Bachelor’s Degree (found in the General Catalog).

Major in Geography

The Geography Major consists of four emphases in the Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences, including emphases in:

  1. Environment and Society - This emphasis is concerned with human-environmental interactions, including the impacts of human activity on the earth and the consequences of environmental change on society. Students will learn concepts and tools that help them understand and address contemporary environmental issues, and, more importantly, study solutions to some of these issues such as loss of biodiversity, pollution and natural resource degradation, water shortages, food and energy crises, resource conflicts, climate change, devegetation and many other compelling challenges facing society today and in the future. Through their coursework, they will investigate the cultural practices, social structures, and political-economic forces that shape the relationships between society and nature.
  2. Human Geography and Global Studies - This emphasis deals with the spatial aspects of human existence: how people and their activities are distributed in space, how they use and perceive space, and how they create and sustain the places that make up the earth’s surface. It focuses on the connections between global and local scales and teaches students how to think geographically about global issues such as poverty, migration, environment and development, and changing technology. Human geography includes urban geography, political geography, demography, economic geography, political ecology, social and cultural geography, feminist geography and many other emerging fields, such as children’s geographies. It encompasses a variety of theoretical approaches and methods.
  3. Integrative Geography (this one requires a minor in another department) - This is a comprehensive program in geography, which integrates topics from all of the emphases and requires students to minor in a related discipline. Students in this emphasis will learn about the various fields of geography, including human and physical geography, and its diversity of methods, such as mapping, spatial statistics, modeling, and qualitative data analysis. It allows students to specialize in a given area of interest through electives and to make connections with other disciplines with a minor.
  4. Methods of Geographical Analysis - This emphasis focuses on the various techniques and methods used by geographers to represent and analyze geographic information about the natural and social world. These methods include cartography, geographic information systems, remote sensing, spatial statistics, quantitative and qualitative analysis. Students in this emphasis will learn how to apply skills and use contemporary technologies to solve problems and conduct research.

There is one Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Arts and Sciences:

  1. Foundations of Geography - This program provides students with an overview of the diverse fields of geography and exposes them to its breadth of methods. It is primarily designed for students transferring from a California Community College with an Associate Degree in Geography (AA-T) under the Transfer Model Curricula (TMC), which allows them to graduate with no more than 60 additional units. It is open to all students.

The Bachelor of Science Geography Degree in Applied Arts and Sciences has two emphases:

  1. Environmental and Physical Geography - This emphasis focuses on scientific explanations of the earth’s physical features and processes and the human impacts on them. Students engage in classroom, laboratory and field activities in geomorphology, hydrology, watershed analysis, biogeography, climatology, and landscape ecology. Students in this emphasis will incorporate fundamental training in the physical and biological sciences with methodological techniques in spatial analysis, including the use of satellite imagery and geographic information systems, to study processes and resulting features of earth’s physical environment.
  2. Geographic Information Science - This emphasis addresses the theory and practice of information science from a distinctly geographic perspective, with a focus on principles, methods, and technology. Students become familiar with how to generate, manage and evaluate information about processes, relationships, and patterns in various application domains. This program is for students interested in analytical approaches to mapping, visualization, and problem solving using contemporary methods of GIScience, remote sensing, computer science, and statistics.

Minor in Geography

The Department also offers a Minor in Geography with 5 separate emphases available. The Course Catalog describes these in detail. In summary, the Geography Minor requires 21 units of courses to include the lower division preparation courses of Geography 101, 102 and 104, plus 12 units of upper division courses from one of five categories:  Methods of Geographical Analysis (GIS plus other methods courses), Urban and Regional Geography,  Natural Resource and Environment, Physical Geography,  and Cultural Geography. 

Geography Degree Learning Outcomes

  1. Use maps and other geographic representations to organize information about people, places, and environments (BA, BS)
  2. Describe physical, environmental and/or socio-economic processes that shape patterns of the earth’s surface (BA, BS)
  3. Analyze the spatial organization of people, places, and environments at a variety of scales (BA, BS)
  4. Examine the characteristics, distribution, and mobility patterns of human populations on the earth’s surface (BA, BS)
  5. Explain how human activities have altered the natural world, particularly in terms of resource use and ecosystem health (BA, BS)
  6. Interpret the complex relationships between nature and culture/society, especially as these relate to social and environmental sustainability (BA, BS)

Additional Bachelor of Arts (BA) specific goals:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of quantitative and qualitative geographic methods (BA)
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of critical social and spatial theories (BA)

Additional Bachelor of Science (BS) specific goals:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of methods and techniques in Geographic Information Science (GIS) (BS)
  2. Demonstrate understanding of physical sciences and mathematical principles as they play a role in shaping the earth’s physical environment and human spatial behavior (BS)

The statements found on this page/site are for informational purposes only. While every effort is made to ensure that this information is up to date and accurate, official information can be found in the university publications.

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