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Image of Earth with Sun rising and the text Geography at CSUSM

Considering Geography at CSUSM? Find out more on the Admissions webpage!

Welcome to the program! 

The Geography Program at CSUSM offers both a major and minor in geography.  You can find out details about our degree offerings in the sidebar to the right. →

In either degree program, geography students develop a solid understanding of how natural and human systems function both independently and through their interaction.  We offer courses that teach you how land forms and changes, how the global food system functions, how ancient landscapes in the Middle East used to look, and how the earth system operates and is changing through human impacts on the environment and feedbacks that such changes cause. Click on the link to the left for a view of all the great courses we have on offer.

What makes geography different from other majors is that geographers get out in the world and do things.  We call this field work. And our students get to take part in regular field work as part of their education at CSUSM. They gain hands-on experiences and take classes featuring high impact projects that will allow them to participate in student research events such as the annual CSUSM research symposium and hands-on learning activities like actual farming on our campus and actual wildlife tracking out in Northern San Diego County.

Students develop core skills in GIS, writing, spatial analysis and public speaking because geographers don't just look at the world, they explain how the world is changing to a broad audience of scholars, policy makers and the general public.  Geographers chart the ongoing, multiple transformations afoot in your world.  And when you major or minor in our program, you gain access to a motivated group of scholars ready to help you on your career journey.  Join us!

GEOG 460 Food Systems and Emerging Markets class meeting at the sustainable food garden

What is Geography?

Geography is a hybrid field comprising human geographers and physical geographers.  You can think of it as part social (and spatial) science and part natural science.  On the one hand, human geographers study how people shape their environments whether it's through their practices of daily life, culture, economic activities, or through planning at the local, state/federal or global level.  They examine how people interact with each other as well in order to develop deep understanding of society and human-environment relationships the world over.  On the other hand, physical geographers study how the weather and atmospheric systems, land and rivers, oceans and ice sheets, plants and animals shape the environment and continue to transform it.  They develop understandings of the physical hazards associated with living on the earth and develop solutions to address them. Together human and physical geography provide a wholistic, integrated and science-based understanding of your world with a focus on how to make it a more sustainable and liveable one.  To find out more about the discipline of geography, you can visit the website of the American Association of Geographers (AAG).

Will a geography degree get me a job?

How about a career?  Geographers are in demand around the world and may be found in just about every economic sector. They work as planners with state, federal and international agencies and governments. They work in your community as local development experts and planners and park rangers  There is even a federal Office of the Geographer which provides ongoing intelligence and support to the U.S. government concerning issues from transbounary conflicts and humanitarian crises to wildlife tracking and environmental change. With their deep concern for supporting social and economic development, geographers can also be found working for non-governmental organizations of all kinds advocating for policy changes and local development initiatives with the goal of creating a better world.  They can also help out with business efficiency through the use of GIS and other tools to analyze and track business data and performance. Of course, geographers also make maps -- lots of maps.  We use these maps to understand ongoing changes and convey critical information to audiences as diverse as the sectors we work in.   To find out about what careers lie ahead with a geography degree, check out the AAG's careers website where you can read about real world geographers and their career paths.

For more information on the Geography program at CSUSM, take a look at our growing website or check out the Geography padlet. If you have any questions at all,  please contact Dr. Greig Guthey or Dr. Elizabeth Ridder. We are here to help!

The Geography Program is part of the Liberal Studies Department