mountain and trail

Welcome to Geography

Geography is distinctive in its linking of both social science and physical science. How well do we understand the world? What is our relationship to the natural world? How have our history, economies, and cultures been effected by the resources and landscapes that surround us?  A geographer looks at the world and asks why? Why do so many people live in the mid latitudes? Why does California have fog? Why has the economy of China grown from the periphery to the core in 30 short years? How are weather and climate different? Why is the San Joaquin Valley in California so fertile and how has that soil fertility added to our diverse state? Why are the mountains of Santa Barbara filled with sandstone while the Klamath Mountains are jagged granite? If you are fascinated by the social and physical environment, or if you enjoy studying the Earth, or if you would like a job outside or in the high tech industry, then this field of study may be for you.   


Coursework in geography, which includes Geographic Information Systems (GIS), prepares students for a wide range of jobs that employ computers to gather, manipulate, analyze and report spatial data. There is rapid growth in the use of GIS in natural resource management, urban planning, marketing, real estate, criminology, emergency services, public health, scientific research and many other areas. GIS courses are also useful for transfer students in geography and other environmental and natural science-oriented disciplines. GIS is an important tool for many other disciplines which use maps and spatially referenced data.

Most geography courses satisfy IGETC and G.E. requirements for other majors. If geography is not destined to be your major, it will add depth and new understanding to your field of study.

Meet our Geography instructors

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 What geographers study: 

Geomorphology (Study of Landforms)
Fire Ecology
Weather and Climate
Natural Hazards
Biogeography (Plant and animal dispersal)
Culture, Religion, and Languages
Economic Growth
Transportation, Population Dispersal and Urban Planning
Human Health
Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Spatial Statistics, and Cartography Political boundaries

Careers in geography: 

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing
Scientific and Technical Services
Mining, Quarrying, Oil and Gas Extraction
Waste and Management Remediation
Environmental Clean Up
Health care and social work
Arts, Recreation, Entertainment
Public administration
Real Estate

Examples of geography professionals:

Rob George was the Manager of GIS Services at Wendy’s International
James Higgins is the Philadelphia Regional Manager for ESRI (GIS software)
Alan Rose is a Meteorologist for KEYT in Santa Barbara
Jeanette Rice was the Vice President for Market Research at Crescent Real Estate Equities, Ltd.
Sonia Arbona is a Medical Geographer with the Texas Department of Health
Darryl Cohen is a Geographer in the Population Division of the U.S. Census Bureau
Tara Gettig is an Environmental Education Specialist at Pine Grove Furnace State Park
Liz Lyon is a Research Geographer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Thomas Zumbado is Staff Cartographer / GIS Specialist for Salt Lake County Planning & Development Services 
Ally Kushin is a Park Ranger for the County of Marin
Casey Clave is a GIS Specialist for NASA
Mary Brown was a geography specialist for the City and County of San Francisco
Tiffan Chilcott-Wong is an environmental specialist at CH Fenstermaker & Associates – Environmental
Jason Zimmerboy is a curator at the Oakland Museum of California
Alison Anderson is a director for Habitat for Humanity in Kingstown Jamaica