B.A. Geography – Degree Requirements


  • 1st Year English or equivalent
  • Math: PHIL 110, LING 123, MATH 105, 107, 112 or higher.
  • 4th semester second language proficiency

General Education

  • 6 units Tier 1 Individuals & Societies
  • 6 units Tier 1 Traditions & Cultures
  • 6 units Tier 1 Natural Sciences
  • 3 units Tier 2 Humanities
  • 3 units Tier 2 Natural Sciences
  • 3 units Tier 2 Arts
  • 3 units Diversity


Required, minimum of 18 units (or double-major)

Introduction to Human Geography

  • Complete 1 of the following courses (3 units)

This course examines how systems of difference provide revealing analytical categories for understanding the political and cultural geography of globalization and develops critical thinking skills that can be used effectively beyond this course.

Survey and comparison of major world regions with a focus on how global processes, regional interconnections, and local geographic conditions create distinctive regions and landscapes.

Urbanization and cities within the sustainability framework. Global urbanization, social justice, environmental equity, growth management, "the new urbanism." International cases. Web based projects.

Introduction to Physical Geography

  • Complete 1 of the following courses (3 units)
  • May not be double dipped with Tier 2 Natural Science or within major

The strategy is to immerse non-science majors in the biological aspects of Physical Geography and, through lively debate and discussion, maps and images, to enhance critical thinking skills students need to make decisions about the world around them.

Where, when, and why is climate changing? We will answer these questions via computer visualization and hands-on exploration of satellite images, time-series, and other climate variability data at global, regional, and local scales, and from paleoclimate to modern instrumental record.

Critical perspectives on complex environmental problems; issues include environmental hazards, renewable and nonrenewable resources; global, regional, and local patterns, and geographic scale are emphasized.


  • Complete 2 courses (6 units)
  • Some courses may require prerequisite(s)

This class is designed to furnish students with a basic set of skills in recognizing, locating, processing and analyzing geographic data.  These skills provide a foundation for upper-level classes in statistical methods, Geographic Information Systems, urban and regional development.  These skills also provide a basic professional preparation for employment market requirements including defining research questions, selecting suitable geographic tools and methods to investigate, harvesting and analyzing data, and in presenting findings using computer mapping, spreadsheet, and charting software.

Methods used in environmental geography, including mapping techniques, use of global positioning systems, collection of various types of environmental data and basic data analysis methods.

Introduction to remote sensing principles, techniques, and applications, designed principally for those with no background in the field.

Formulation and solution of geographic problems; models, research design, and methods of gathering, analyzing, and portraying geographic data.

General survey of principles of geographic information systems (GIS); applications of GIS to issues such as land assessment and evaluation of wildlife habitat; problem-solving with GIS.

Introduces the principles of map design, production and analysis.

Introduces concepts and application skills for use of geographic information systems to investigate a range of urban spatial issues and decision-making processes. Emphasis on complete process of GIS-based problem solving, including project planning, spatial data sources/acquisition, preparation/coding, analysis, representation, and communication.

A project-based course focusing on applications and impacts of GIS and other spatial analysis technologies in grassroots community development, participatory decision making, and community-engaged social science.  Class format includes discussion seminar, GIS workshop, collaboration, and out-of-classroom community involvement.

Introduces principles and practices of Geovisualization (Geoviz) and softwares (Community and ERDAS Image)

An advanced course for students who want to integrate social science data and geographic information science into their research or work life.  The course is presented in a lecture/laboratory format.  The lecture portion will deal with conceptual issues necessary for the integration of social science data and approaches within a GIS framework.  The laboratory portion will provide practical experience with GIS software products used for the development and analysis of spatially-referenced social science data sets.

Introduction to the application of GIS and related technologies for both the natural and social sciences. Conceptual issues in GIS database design and development, analysis, and display.

Computer techniques for analyzing, modeling, and displaying geographic information. Development of spatially oriented problem design and the use of logic are applied to the use of GIS programs. Emphasis on applications in land resources management and planning.

Examines various areas of advanced GIS applications such as dynamic segmentation, surface modeling, spatial statistics, and network modeling. The use of high performance workstations will be emphasized.

Addresses the theoretical rationale, current knowledge and methods for achieving a common spatial basis between remote sensing (image) and GIS (non-image) data.

Methods of gathering and analyzing data for the solution of geographical, urban, and regional planning problems, with emphasis on quantitative and statistical techniques used in spatial analysis and cartography, on the one hand, and program planning, on the other.

Use of aircraft and satellite imagery for monitoring landforms, soils, vegetation and land use, with the focus on problems of land-use planning, resource management and related topics.

Non-US Regional Focus

  • Complete 1 of the following courses (3 units)

Provides an overview of the diverse regions, geographies and peoples of Mexico, with particular attention to contemporary processes shaping the socioeconomic, political, environmental and cultural landscape today.

Land, people and politics in Central America and the Caribbean. Major themes include colonialism, race and national identity, development, revolution and counterrevolution, globalization and migration.

Physical and cultural bases of South America's geographic patterns, with emphasis on human settlement and problems of resource development.

Physical and human bases of regional contrasts, with emphasis on tropical environmental systems and changing patterns of resource utilization and development.

Physical environments and cultural areas of Southwest Asia, with emphasis on people-environment interrelationships, settlement systems, and impact of Islam.

The course examines the contemporary history and development of the societies of East Asia- China, Korea, Japan and Mongolia-with a particular emphasis on the political, economic and cultural geography of the region.   Rather than lumping the regional countries as a monolithic 'oriental' space, the course examines the complexities and peculiarities within this vast and fascinating region.  Through surveying important themes including nationalism, political economy, human-environment relations, power, religion, identity, and gender, the course will provide in depth understandings of how geographies of identification and difference are constructed, contested, and renegotiated in these regional countries.  

Themes to explore in this course are: To what extent a rapidly rising China matter in the future global politics? Why should the global community be concerned with the contentious Korean peninsula?  What are some implications of miraculous growth of Japan and its subsequent economic stagnation?  Is formerly communist Mongolia's rapid development based on dramatic mining boom sustainable? Does it matter? What are some of the social peculiarities of the regional countries?  What can we learn about the family and gender relations of these societies?  What are some of the differences and similarities between within the regional countries? How can we understand and conceptualize the exchange, flow and consumption of popular cultural products within the regional countries?

This course looks at environment and human relationships on the North American continent with an emphasis on Native nations and indigenous perspectives. Major topics include sacred spaces, colonialism, politics and law, race and power, cultural landscapes, governance and self-determination.

Senior Capstone

  • Complete 1 of the following courses (3 units)

Surveys political problems in environment/society relations by exploring the history of geographic theory surrounding environmental politics, surveying the local and global actors in conflicts, and addressing questions of biodiversity loss, forest conservation, and urban hazards.

An in-depth exploration of how humans shape and are affected by a broad range of landscapes across the United States. Students will have the opportunity to learn about and apply a variety of methods for studying human-landscape interactions across a great diversity of contexts.  These might include: city spaces, suburbs, seascapes, national parklands, agricultural lands, cold war landscapes, borderlands, and others.

A culminating experience for majors involving a substantive project that demonstrates a synthesis of learning accumulated in the major, including broadly comprehensive knowledge of the discipline and its methodologies. Senior Standing required.

Major Electives

  • Complete minimum of 18 units
  • 12 units: any GEOG course with course number 200 to 499
  • 6 units: any GEOG course with course number 300 to 499


Elective courses can be taken if needed to reach 120 total units or 21 upper-division units.