Geography, B.S. Program (120 units)
Geography is the study of spatial distributions, relations, processes and outcomes within the human-environment system. Attention is focused on historical and contemporary human activities in the natural and built environment, and on people as the major physical, social, cultural and economic change agents across the Earth’s surface. A curriculum in Geography helps students understand the world’s physical, social, economic and cultural landscapes and how they have been transformed or altered by either the Earth’s natural processes or human modifications, and the future sustainability of our current actions in the light of our past experiences and ongoing trends such as urbanization, globalization and climate change.
At Cal State East Bay, Geography BS students can choose between three concentrations in addition to their common core of classes; Resources and Sustainability, Regions and Culture, and Spatial Techniques. These concentrations permit our majors to relatively easily dovetail into second majors, minors or certificate programs especially in Environmental Studies (BA and minor), International Studies (BA and minor), Certificate in Sustainability and Certificate in Cartography and GIS and to study abroad for a semester or year. A BS in Geography provides a valuable multi-perspective education of vital importance in this age of globalization and cumulative environmental change, a period that scientists are labeling the “Anthropocene”. Graduates are primed to enter multiple professional fields or go on to a range of graduate programs related to environmental and resource management, planning and administration, sustainable development, and spatial data analysis. The major requires 43-47 units, 18 lower division and 25-29 upper division depending on the courses chosen for the pathway. The lower division portion aligns with the California Community College transfer Associate of Arts degree in Geography.
Career opportunities are highly diverse, depending on the student’s interests and skills and new opportunities are rapidly emerging and expanding. Our graduates work in all sectors: governmental, non-profit, private, and education in areas such as environmental management, urban and rural planning, public utility services (water, energy, waste, etc.), outdoor recreation and administration (parks and recreation), local government, humanitarian and development assistance, sustainable food systems, education, and the application of geographical and other spatial information systems in the private and public sectors. Our students pursue graduate degrees in many fields including geography, urban and regional planning, environmental science, sustainability, geographical information systems, and other related disciplines.
Job titles include, but are not limited to:
Aerial Photo Interpreter • Agricultural/Food Systems Specialist • Cartographer • Census Analyst • Climatologist • Community Development Specialist • Demographer • Development Specialist • Ecologist • Economic Development Analyst • Environmental Analyst/Planner • Environmental Compliance Officer • Geographical Information Systems Specialist • Map Curator • Natural Resources Manager • Park Ranger • Public Utility Administrator • Recreational Resource Planner • Resiliency Officer • Soil Conservationist • Sustainability Coordinator • Transportation Planner • Urban Geographer • Utility Manager • Water Conservationist/Manager • Zoning Specialist/Surveyor
Program Learning Outcomes
Graduates with a BS degree in Geography should be able to:
- Synthesize geographic knowledge, apply research strategies and use quantitative tools to solve problems of a geographic nature and relevant to a changing world (e.g. in resource management, spatial analysis, environmental change, and sustainable development)
- Identify and communicate key geographical processes, ideas, concepts and outcomes orally, in writing, and through the use of geographical information systems (GIS) and other spatial representations
- Identify, describe and explain the environmental, social, cultural, economic and other key characteristics and dynamics of different world regions
- Demonstrate effective teamwork ability by contributing to successful execution of group projects in the classroom, GIS laboratory and/or in the field
- Identify, describe and explain how local, regional and global environmental, human societal, and economic processes and their outcomes are related to sustainable development
With the arrangement of a faculty advisor, students in the Bachelor of Science in Geography program can select from the following concentrations: Resources and Sustainability, Regions and Cultures, and Spatial Techniques.
The Resources and Sustainability pathway will allow the student to relatively easily, with the addition of one or two additional electives (for which they have plenty of room in their 120 units) satisfy the first of the two AGES certificate programs open to students from all majors; the Certificate in Sustainability is for those wanting a specialization in the field of sustainable resource and environmental management. Students may elect to pursue a double major with Environmental Studies should they wish to demonstrate added emphasis in this field to potential employers; this will require careful advising to ensure that the two degrees can be achieved by the right combination of double-counting electives and judicious overlapping between degree electives and GE.
The Regions and Cultures pathway is also designed to provide value-added opportunities for students; it permits seamless participation in one of our supported Study Abroad programs, especially the year long CSU International Programs. Students pursuing this pathway can satisfy all their pathway requirements studying in a foreign university, advancing to graduation in the major through studying equivalent classes overseas. The university has a goal to greatly expand the number of students studying abroad and Geography majors are prime candidates for these programs; with this pathway specifically tailored to students with global interests, the ability to study abroad for a year or semester with maximal incorporation of the overseas classes into satisfying the major requirements is enhanced.
The Regions and Cultures pathway also allows students to double major with the International Studies BA (INTS) should they wish to demonstrate added emphasis in the field of globalization and global studies to potential employers. Courses taken for the geography pathway would satisfy the upper division emphasis required by INTS. Finally, the Spatial Techniques pathway will allow the student to satisfy the second of the two AGES certificate programs open to students from all majors; the Certificate in Cartography and GIS for those wanting to learn skills and methods in data collection, interpretation, and analysis as well as the design, compilation, production, and reproduction of maps. This is a growing field and students of any discipline, not just Geography, are in demand if they have the skill set obtained through this concentrated program of study.
In addition to these opportunities to double major in the closely allied disciplines of Environmental Studies (ENVT BA) and International Studies (INTS BA), the program offers an elective internship opportunity through GEOG 398 Cooperative Education, through which individual students can gain practical experience with public, private, or volunteer agencies and further develop their career goals and attractiveness to employers.
Degree Requirements Unit-Outline
- A baccalaureate of arts degree requires a total of 120 units:
- The major requirements consists of 43-47 units
- General Education (GE) & Graduation Requirements (GR) consists of 57 units;
- Free Electives may consist of 16-20 units (actual number of free elective units may depend on GE/GR units).
Note: It may be possible to double-count units within the graduation requirements or that a course may satisfy both a graduation requirement and a major requirement. Students should contact their program and AACE advisors for information.