three students paddling a canoe

Undergraduate Programs

Why study Geography?

Geography is the study of spatial aspects of the physical environment, human activities and landscapes, and the nature of their interactions. Geographers draw upon and develop theories in both the physical and social sciences. As physical scientists, they study the processes and resulting features of the earth’s surface, such as vegetation, climate, hydrology, soils, and landforms. As social scientists, geographers explore such topics as the arrangement of societies on the earth’s surface, water and land use patterns, urbanization and urban life, migration, resource and energy usage, environmental conservation, globalization, development and social justice.

Why choose SDSU Geography?

SDSU Geography (Environment, Society, and Technology) is one of the leading Geography programs in California with a diverse faculty that conduct globally relevant research on topics such as Amazon deforestation, coronavirus, immigrants and social justice, food security, social media / big data, endangered species conservation, and global warming impacts on coastal resiliency, flooding, and wildfire. Our faculty encourage undergraduate participation in their research and some student positions are funded.

In SDSU’s Geography Program, students are introduced to a strong foundation in physical and human geography, supported by skills in Geographic Information Systems and other methodologies.  We offer specializations in (1) Environment, Sustainability and Policy, (2) Geographic Information Science and Technology, (3) Human Geography and Global Studies, and (4) Water, Climate and Ecosystems. Our emphases allow you to focus your studies on the social or environmental problems that align with your career interests.

We offer scholarships and awards, out-of-classroom learning experiences such as one to multiple day field trips, study abroad options, technical training, and research opportunities that range from helping our local community to conducting studies abroad and addressing complex global issues. In addition, students can participate in a wide range of local to global internships for academic credit and to gain valuable career experience. 

Computer and laboratory facilities to support students, as well as a study room for classwork, group projects, reading and relaxing are located on the 3rd floor of Storm Hall.  We plan hikes, service opportunities and socials for undergraduates, as well as provide individual advising and support to ensure academic success.

Our mission is to tackle the pressing environmental and social challenges with global perspectives, local consideration, and cutting-edge technology. Situated in a dynamic regional setting –binational, urban, and socially and environmentally diverse, San Diego is an ideal place for studying Geography and applying concepts learned in the classroom.


Dr. Molly (Pohl) Costello
Office: Storm Hall 301B
Email: [email protected]

Important Links:

What can you do with a degree in Geography?

Geography careers offer opportunities to develop solutions to many of the most pressing challenges to our environment and society, including climate change, natural disasters, biodiversity loss, wildlife habitat degradation and species extinction, overpopulation, urban expansion, multicultural integration and social justice.

Our graduates work in academia, non-profits, government, and industry in diverse fields such as fire ecology, environmental and urban planning, remote sensing, Geographic Information Science, watershed management, education, energy planning, food security, marketing, and social justice.

Examples of jobs that recent Geography students have obtained following their graduation:

  • Transportation and urban planner
  • GIS analyst: flood and water resources
  • US State Dept. global food security officer (Africa)
  • Drone pilot and remote sensing specialist
  • Environmental scientist
  • GIS specialist: Urban emergency and social services
  • U.S. Geological Survey scientist
  • Tree San Diego (nonprofit) coordinator
  • Hydrology field technician
  • Cultural geographer and ethnographer
  • Air quality specialist
  • Restoration ecologist
  • City of San Diego planner
  • Software developer
  • Park ranger
  • Educator (K-12th, college professor)
  • Environmental consultant and planner
  • Marketing director
  • Public health researcher
  • Tribal historical preservation officer

For more information about what geographers do, where geographers work, list of jobs in geography, geography career tips, and career multimedia resources, some exemplar geographer profiles, and the like, visit the Association of American Geographers career page.