B.S. Geography Degree Requirements

Foundations

  • 1st Year English or equivalent
  • MATH 107 or MATH 112 (or higher)
  • 2nd 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

Minor

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

Foundation Courses

  • Complete the 4 following courses (12 units)

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.

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.

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.

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.

Introductory Human Geography

  • Complete 1 of the following (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.

Methods

  • Complete 2 courses (6 units)

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.

Introduces the principles of map design, production and analysis.

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.

Concentration

  • Choose ONE of the three concentration area

Physical Geography (Option 1)

  • Complete the following concentration method (3 units)

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.

  • Complete 4 physical geography courses (12 units)
  • Must not duplicate the course taken for introductory physical geography course

You may choose 4 of the following courses:

Biological principles applied to protection and recovery of threatened and endangered species and the processes which link species in natural ecosystems.  Biological basis for conservation laws and regulations. Distribution, valuation and sustainable production of biodiversity benefits for humanity.

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

Biogeography is the study of the spatiotemporal distribution of living things. Biogeographers map and examine the distributions of organisms today and reconstruct those of the past. They also conduct research into how physical and biological factors and processes influence distributions of organisms and they study how geographic distributions affect the evolution and extinction of species.

Earth is a dynamic, wondrous, and complex planet.  The diversity we see in the living systems, i.e. the Earth's biosphere, is the result of many processes studied individually among many disciplines including hydrology, geology, ecology, and soil science. In this course, we will take a holistic and integrative look at the complex spatial variations in the elements of Earth's biosphere. 

This course is designed to explore how biogeographic processes influence the evolution of species, communities, and ecosystems and provides background and analytical techniques for studying the effects of global change on biota. This involves the study of the interplay between biota and environment through time and space.

This course will combine evolutionary and ecological perspectives in the field of biogeography and show how Earth history, contemporary environments, and evolutionary and ecological processes have shaped species distributions and nearly all patterns of biodiversity. General patterns in space and time from a diversity of organisms across the Earth's aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems will be used to illustrate this broad field of biogeography.

Systematic examination of processes and circulations comprising Earth's climate. Emphasis on circulations influencing geographic processes using examples of atmospheric environmental issues.

Plant ecophysiology is the study of a plant's physiological response to its environment. These responses within vegetation serve to determine patterns in biogeography and community, landscape, and ecosystem ecology.  This 3-hour course will (1) revisit the core principles and underlying assumptions that plant ecophysiology is based upon, (2) examine plant responses to a myriad of biotic and abiotic stresses, and (3) familiarize students with eco-physiological tools available to assess those plant responses.  Upon completion of this course, students should be prepared to confidently outline and conduct eco-physiological experiments ~ including running, trouble-shooting, and maintaining commonly used equipment and interpreting measured response functions.

Survey of dendrochronological theory and methods. Applications to archaeological, geological, and biological dating problems and paleoenvironmental reconstruction. Emphasis on dating methods, developing tree-ring chronologies, and evaluating tree-ring dates from various contexts.

Description and analysis of the atmospheric circulation process that produces differences in climates throughout the world. Emphasis on the earth's problem climates and climatically sensitive zones most susceptible to floods, droughts, and other environmental stresses due to global change.

Course provides focused training dedicated to a single region and can include fieldwork, lectures, and/or original research. Course may include 1 or more field trips.

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.

Processes, form, and dynamics of the fluvial system from source to mouth. Introduction to aeolian, glacial, and planetary geomorphology.

Analysis of the Earth system through an examination of its component parts (particularly climate and biogeochemistry) and their interactions with human activities, emphasizing information needed to understand modern and future environmental changes.

Geographic Information Science (Option 2)

  • Complete the following concentration method (3 units)

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

  • Complete 4 advanced method courses (12 units)

You may choose 4 of the following courses:

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.

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.

Use of computer technologies to map and inventory natural environments; integration of global positioning systems, remote sensing, and geographic information systems.

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

The course presents an overview of the geography of transportation and the relation between transportation and spatial organization. Approaches of description and normative analysis are integrated for understanding the geography of transport.

Explores the use of geographic information systems (GIS) as a tool for natural resource and environmental managers. Topics include spatial autocorrelation, interpolation techniques, and model integration. Examines sources of error and possible ramifications.

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.

Remote Sensing for the Study of Planet Earth introduces basic and applied remote sensing science as a means to explore the diversity of our planetary environments (biosphere, atmosphere, lithosphere and hydrosphere) within the radiometric, spectral, spatial, angular and temporal domains of remote sensing systems. This survey course strikes a balance between theory, applications and hands-on labs and assignments. We explore how you can download, process, analyze and interpret multi-sensor data and integrate online remotely sensed data sources/products into your research of interest.

The course aims to provide students with a broad, balanced understanding of fire as a biophysical process. We will explore fire from many perspectives, including physics, ecology, biogeography, management, policy, and economics. The course will strive to make our study of fire interesting and relevant in the contemporary world by examining how such factors as climate change, invasive species, and land use influence how fire interacts with the landscape. We will examine a variety of fire management strategies including fire suppression, prescribed fire, wild land fire use, and landscape restoration ecology. The course will provide a global perspective on fire, with primary emphasis on ecosystems of western North America.

Water, Land, & Society (Option 3)

  • Complete the following concentration method (3 units)

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.

  • Complete 4 water, land, & society courses (12 units)

You may choose 4 of the following courses:

The course explores human and natural systems and their dependence on freshwater at multiple scales.  Topics of interest include global change, ecosystem services, groundwater, urbanization, land use, watershed and river basin management, stakeholder processes, and water policy.

This course evaluates theories and practices aimed at addressing the complex relationship between economic development and environmental protection in both industrialized and developing world contexts.

Fertility, mortality, and migration as agents of demographic change. Topics include fertility control and LDCs; working mothers and NDCs; aging societies; legal/illegal immigration in the U.S., population policies.

Location patterns in urban areas and processes of growth; historical development of U.S. cities, rent theory, housing markets, commercial and industrial location, the role of transportation, urban finance, New Urbanist planning and sustainable development concepts.

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.

Systematic examination of processes and circulations comprising Earth's climate. Emphasis on circulations influencing geographic processes using examples of atmospheric environmental issues.

Plant ecophysiology is the study of a plant's physiological response to its environment. These responses within vegetation serve to determine patterns in biogeography and community, landscape, and ecosystem ecology.  This 3-hour course will (1) revisit the core principles and underlying assumptions that plant ecophysiology is based upon, (2) examine plant responses to a myriad of biotic and abiotic stresses, and (3) familiarize students with eco-physiological tools available to assess those plant responses.  Upon completion of this course, students should be prepared to confidently outline and conduct eco-physiological experiments ~ including running, trouble-shooting, and maintaining commonly used equipment and interpreting measured response functions.

Examines physical resources (e.g. distribution, quantities, and availability) and the human factors which may contribute to their completion and deterioration as well as protection and maintenance.

Social and environmental conflicts over water are intensifying in much of the world. This course studies the physical basis, history, and political economy of water development and water policy in the U.S. and internationally.

Focuses on watersheds, aquifers, and river basins as sources of water to meet human and environmental demands. Methods include watershed delineation, water budget and safe yield calculation, and water quality assessment. Models and decision support systems are reviewed.

A case-oriented approach to site selection, rezoning, financing, architectural design, economic feasibility, and other facets of the land development process.

Historical, cross-cultural, and geographical assessment of strategies societies have deployed to govern science and technology; effects of particular strategies in terms of impacts (both positive and negative) of science and technology on people, their lives, and the environment.

Analysis of the Earth system through an examination of its component parts (particularly climate and biogeochemistry) and their interactions with human activities, emphasizing information needed to understand modern and future environmental changes.

This course focuses on the complex linkages between human and natural systems. Environmental planning utilizes methodologies which are systematic, iterative, and transparent and relies on integrating a wide spectrum of contemporary environmental issues in order to achieve more sustainable land use outcomes. As an interdisciplinary course, it draws from the fields of planning, geography, design, land use law, public policy, economics, natural science, and engineering among others.
This course aims to equip students with a broad knowledgebase which focuses on landscape components and processes. Further, students will develop the necessary land use analysis and management skills in order to help guide land use decision making, engage stakeholders, and minimize/mitigate conflict between natural and built systems in an effort to produce more sustainable land use patterns and plans.

Electives

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