Geography, B.A.


Department of Geography & City & Regional Planning

Michelle Calvarese, Chair
Science Building, Room 182

Degrees and Programs Offered

BA in Geography, B.A.
BS in City and Regional Planning, B.S.
CERT in Community and Regional Planning, Certificate of Adv Study - Continuing & Global Education
MN in Geography, Minor
MN in Meteorology, Minor
MN in City and Regional Planning, Minor

Courses Offered

The world of the 21st century is a place where there are very complex interactions between an increasingly fragile environment and the people who make up the many varied and diverse cultures on it. Geographers are uniquely trained to "see the big picture" so that they can more fully understand these complex interactions of the environment and the many cultures of humankind.

The Geography Department offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in geography, a minor in geography, a minor in meteorology, and an interdisciplinary minor in urban studies. The geography course offerings support undergraduate preparation for careers in environmental study, teaching, weather, regional and urban planning, and preparation for graduate work.

Central to geographic inquiry is a concern with the human occupancy of the earth, the character of the human environment, and the interrelationships that link humans and the physical world. In sum, geography seeks to provide a broad understanding of the world, its people, and its problems. Geography seeks to provide applied specializations and technical skills that can address economic, social, and environmental problems at scales that range from local to global by employing a spatial framework for organizational purposes analogous to the chronological framework employed in history.

Geography integrates much information from the natural and social sciences and because of the diversity of subject matter from which it obtains data, offers a broad, liberal education applicable to many fields of employment.

The department offers a variety of courses that allow students to address different objectives. First, we provide, for both majors and non-majors alike, a greater understanding of the world as an element of a liberal education which has become an increasingly important component of a complete university education. Second, we provide courses that assure a depth of knowledge in subject matter and technique for majors and minors in geography. Third, we serve those students in related disciplines who wish to strengthen programs of study through a selection of courses in geography.

Although there are no options in the degree program, students may select courses that focus on various areas of study.

Examples of such focused study areas could include the following:

  • Geographic Studies: Coursework for the student interested in the world and its spatial patterns. Traditional study which may lead to graduate work and a career in higher education, or with local, state, and federal agencies utilizing geographic analysis, including the use of geographic information systems (GIS).
  • Environmental Studies: Coursework to develop competence in environmental techniques with particular emphasis on such topics as meteorology, pollution, environmental impact analysis, geographic information systems (GIS), and human-environment relationships may lead to graduate work in geography, or employment in various state and federal agencies dealing with environmental problems.
  • Urban and Regional Planning: Coursework for the student interested in the study of how to create communities that balance new development and essential services, environmental protection and innovative change and which may lead to graduate work and a career with local or state agencies. Courses could cover a wide range of subjects including planning, environmental studies, legal issues, and geographic information systems (GIS).

Students must regularly consult with their academic adviser. Such consultation will facilitate course selection and enable the student to develop a program consistent with individual interests and needs.


A laboratory facility is available for student use. The Urban Planning and Environmental Research Laboratory is a 32-station, state-of-the-art, computer laboratory used for instruction and research in urban planning, geographic information systems (GIS), environmental studies, remote sensing, and a variety of other applications.


Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements

Geography Major

The Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in geography requires the completion of 120 units, at least 36 of which shall be in geography.

1. Major requirements (36 units)

Core courses (18 units)
GEOG 2, 4, 5, 7, 30, 141

Approved geography electives (18 units)
Any geography or city and regional planning courses; however, at least 12 units must be upper-division.

2. General Education requirements (49 units)

3. Other requirements (6 units)*
Upper-division writing and Multicultural and International (MI)

4. Sufficient elective units to meet required total units (varies)
(See Degree Requirements); may be used toward a double major or minor

5. Total (120 units)**

* Students must complete an approved upper-division writing course at this university with a grade of CR or letter grade of C or better.

** G.E. and MI courses can be double-counted with major requirements. The writing requirement may be met by taking the upper-division writing exam. See advisor for details  This total reflects the use of GEOG 4 in G.E. Breadth D3. Consult the department chair or faculty advisor for additional details and guidance on electives.

Advising Notes

  1. No more than 3 units of GEOG 195 may be applied to the geography major.
  2. General Education courses offered by the Department of Geography may be used to satisfy the General Education requirements for geography majors.
  3. CR/NC grading is not permitted in the geography major with the exception of GEOG 192
    and 195.
  4. General Education and elective units may be applied to a second major or a minor (see double major or departmental minor). Consult the appropriate department chair, program coordinator, or faculty adviser for further information.
  5. Students must complete a minimum of 12 upper-division units in the major as part of the requirements to earn a B.A.
  6. It is strongly recommended that students interested in professional careers in geography complete a minor in a related field.
  7. Students must regularly consult with their academic adviser. Such consultation will facilitate course selection and enable the student to develop a program consistent with individual interests and needs. Please consult with an adviser for guidance on electives.
  8. The selection of electives within the major should be strongly influenced by career goals, interests in graduate study, and related matters. Whether one’s interest focuses on environmental protection, planning, cartography, GIS, locational analysis, or any one of a wide array of geographic competencies, the department can provide current applicable information. Inquiries are welcomed.ill facilitate course selection and enable the student to develop a program consistent with individual interests and needs. Please consult with an advisor for guidance on electives.
  9. Students may use GEOG 167 to satisfy the Multicultural/International requirement.


Instruction at introductory and advanced levels is conducted by a faculty whose teaching and research interests are diverse. All major facets of the discipline are represented as are a number of specializations, which include medical geography, economic studies of China, urban revitalization, political ecology of natural resource management, environmental monitoring using remote sensing, urban air quality, urban and regional planning, environmental planning, and climate change and global governance.

For faculty phone numbers and e-mail, see the campus directory.

For more on the faculty, see the faculty pages.
The faculty pages are updated by the department or program.


Bachelor of Arts in Geography

A Roadmap identifies the specific set of courses students must complete in their major in sequential order. Information on corequisites or prerequisites is listed along with other pertinent information to assist students in completing courses towards the major.

Click here for roadmap.

Please note: Roadmaps are not a guarantee of course availability.

If you are looking for archived roadmaps, please click here.


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The subject matter of geography is diverse. Geographers examine and analyze patterns of rural and urban settlement, resource exploitation, land use, social and cultural phenomena. They are concerned with the natural features and processes of the earth's surface, the ways in which nature has conditioned the human occupance of the earth, and the ways in which people have modified natural landscapes.

In sum, geography seeks to provide a broad understanding of the world, its people, and its problems and to provide applied specializations and technical skills that can address economic, social, and environmental problems at scales that range from local to global.

What You Can Do

There is a demand for geographers in the following fields:

  • Teaching
  • Planning
  • Cartography
  • Geogaphic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Locational Analysis
  • Intelligence and Security
  • Land and Resource Management
  • Policy Research
  • Transportation
  • Industrial Development
  • Environmental Analysis

Interesting Classes You Might Take

  • Physical Geography: The Earth's Surface
  • Geographic Information Systems I: Data Display and Manipulation
  • Violent Weather/Climatic Hazards
  • Global Environmental Change
  • People and Places - A Global Perspective
  • Environmental Pollution

What You Can Learn

  • How the many cultures of the world interact with one another
  • How the physical systems of the Earth function
  • The plight of nature, the values of nature preserved and humanity's attempt to preserve nature
  • Effects of human activities on the natural world
  • How to use geo-spatial analyses to study the physical and social sciences

About the College

The College of Social Sciences studies the human experience, including the depth of the past and the breadth of the entire planet.

We place emphasis on learning practical skills to aid you in your career. Our students do internships, participate in archaeological digs, or do service-learning projects with a non-profit agency. Students can assist on research projects or organize a social change project.

Whatever a student's major, they enjoy our witty and talented faculty and our caring staff as they discover our social world.

College Contact Information

Phone: (559) 278-3013
FAX: (559) 278-7664

5340 N. Campus Drive MS/SS91
Fresno CA 93740-8019

Department Contact Information

Department of Geography
Office Location: Science Building, Room 182
Phone: 559.278.2797