What is a Geography Major?
UCSB Geography is internationally recognized as one of the best Departments of Geography in the world, and we have been ranked among the top doctoral programs in the U.S. by a variety of indices for the last 15 years. Geography’s highly trained and diverse faculty bring together aspects of International Development Studies, Urban and Regional Planning, Climatology, Terrestrial Sciences, Marine Sciences, Statistics and Operations Research, and Environmental Psychology. Active research areas include: global climate change; development studies; geographical analysis, GIS, and remote sensing; global climate change; natural hazards and risk; regional geography; spatial optimization, spatial perception and cognition; sustainability, resources, and conservation; transportation and planning; and urban studies. If this broad perspective appeals to you, then you’re a candidate for a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in GEOGRAPHY!
Geography Is the Most Interdisciplinary Department on the UCSB Campus It is also the most integrated discipline on campus, insofar as the material taught in our classes about environmental processes can be found in other disciplines, but are only put together as a whole story in Geography. Above all, Geography is “spatial”—virtually everything has a spatial component, from the distribution of subatomic particles to the choices we make when we buy groceries. Therefore, as a Geographer, you can choose to study an enormous range of subjects. Geography is also an extremely hands-on discipline with a strong emphasis on using computer–based tools and participating in field studies.
Knowing where things are, why they got there, and how they work is critical to understanding our world today and how it is changing—this is Geography!
The UCSB Department of Geography Is Represented By Three Cross-Cutting Themes
- Earth System Science: the physical and biological processes of the environment
- Human Geography: the way humans perceive, interact with, and modify the environment
- Modeling, Measurement, and Computation: techniques for the collection, analysis, and interpretation of geospatial data using tools such as GIS, remote sensing, and spatial statistics
We are internationally recognized as one of the largest and highest ranked Departments of Geography, and our faculty routinely win the most prestigious awards in their fields (see Awards and Rankings). Some of our most popular classes include Geography of Surfing, Geography of the U.S., Oil and Water, and GIS. For a more complete list of our classes and the faculty who teach them, see the UCSB Geography web site.
- Undergraduate Degrees Offered in Geography:
The Department offers three undergraduate degrees: a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Geography, a BA in Geography with an Emphasis in Geographic Information Science, and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Physical Geography. The majors are designed to provide a fundamental background for students seeking an interdisciplinary understanding of our planet and the varied human and natural systems that interrelate within it. For more information, please see the Majors Offered page. UCSB’s Geography Department offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Geography, a BA in Geography with an emphasis in Geographic Information Science, and a Bachelor of Science in Physical Geography. The department maintains close ties with other disciplines such as geology, marine and biological sciences, economics, statistics, and environmental studies. The department encourages those students who would like to become professional geographers to develop a concentration in one or more of those related disciplines.
Major, General, and Career Information
Resources and Professional Associations