Geographers study the physical and human features of the earth, integrating physical sciences, biological sciences and social sciences. 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. Because Geography is an interdisciplinary science, we have 7 relevant emphases that are designed to immerse students in studies that appeal to specific areas of interest, thus providing flexibility within a more structured context. Our lab facilities and Department offices are all contained within the 3rd floor of Storm Hall, as well as a study room for class work, group projects, reading and relaxing.

Many of our classes have field experience in one to multiple day trips; students are also encouraged to engage in related workshops, conferences, and networking opportunities. Internships are highly encouraged, and students often take these in their senior year, where they not only gain valuable related experience, but also course credit.

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

  • 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.
  • 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.

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences, including emphases in:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Because geography is so varied and offers such a wide range of careers upon graduation, geographers have diverse abilities, such as managing natural resources, planning for sustainable and healthy cities, and utilizing computer technologies to analyze issues and solve problems. The geography student is creative, enjoys challenges, can learn through observations and research, and enjoys the satisfaction of improving.

The Geography Department also offers a Certificate in Geographic Information Science.

Special Features

  • Student organizations include informal Geography student events, as well as membership in professional organizations such as the Association of Environmental Professionals.
  • The Geography Department has excellent lab facilities, such the Center for Earth Systems Analysis Research and the Spatial Analysis Lab. These facilities support instruction and research pertaining to computer cartography, geographic information systems, remote sensing/image processing, and spatial statistics.
  • Internships are available with the coordinator's consent. Students can work in various government agencies and private companies under joint supervision of agency heads and the course instructor. These internship programs provide not only credits toward graduation, but also practical training for a future career in geography.
  • The offices of the Geography Department provide a comfortable reading room with couches, tables and chairs that are available at any time for studying and small group projects.

Career Opportunities

Upon graduation, many types of careers are available to Geography students to match the many avenues a Geography student may study. Students have jobs in fields in GIS, environmental and amd natural resource planning and management, urban planning, and others. The Department regularly has guest speakers from various career areas associated with Geography such as GIS Specialists, Hydrology and Watershed Management, City Planning, Natural Resource Management, and others The Geography Department has a strong internship program wehre students can receive course credit for working in a company or agency in a field of their interest.

To further explore career options in this field, visit the Career Services Web site for more information.

General Catalog

You can view more complete information regarding the Geography program in the General Catalog. All students are responsible for reading and knowing the information pertinent to their areas of study available in the General Catalog. It contains requirements for all academic majors, course descriptions, policies, and regulations governing progress at the university. Catalogs are distributed at all New Student Orientation programs. To order a General Catalog, call (619) 594-7535.