Geography

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Students looking out over rock and mountain formations

Welcome to Geography

Program Description

Geography is the science of space and place. Geographers study spatial distributions and relations within Earth’s human-environment systems, incorporating historic and contemporary human activities within the context of the biophysical and cultural environments, and the emergence of humanity as one of the major agents of change on Earth. The geography program exposes students to many of the tools and technologies employed by earth science professionals, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

The Geography Major

The Associate in Arts Degree in Geography provides for a liberal education and prepares one for positions in business, government, environmental consulting, resource management, teaching, and service in foreign areas.
Many geography courses satisfy GE requirements and appeal to the major and non-major alike.
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.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe and assess Earth’s physical processes and their impacts on human culture and activities.
  2. Describe and assess human cultural and economic activities and their impacts on Earth’s physical environment.
  3. Identify and implement the methods and technologies used in geographic spatial analysis (ex. GIS, remote sensing, spatial statistics, cartography and map analysis).

Career Opportunities

Geographers are trained for a wide variety of exciting careers, including cartography, climatology, demography, ecology, education earth and environmental science, land use planning, meteorology, realty, and regional and urban planning. Jobs include positions as field analysts, foreign area and intelligence analysts, Geographic Information System analysts, map librarians, marketing analysts, park rangers, research analysts, resource economists, surveyors, teachers, transportation analysts, and travel agents. 

Trained geographers are involved in a diverse set of research areas including agriculture, atmospheric and oceanic studies, landforms and soils, vegetation, water resources, marketing, political and economic structures, and transportation and urban systems.

Faculty & Offices

Michael Robinson, Chair (EBS-113, ext. 3741)

Geordie Armstrong (EBS-124)

Elizabeth Gans, Information/Assistance (EBS-114, ext. 2315)

 

 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
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!

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

Ice bergs
 
Careers in geography:
Agriculture, forestry, fishing
Scientific and technical services
Mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction
Waste and management remediation
Environmental clean up
Manufacturing
Education
Trade
Health care and social work
Arts, recreation, entertainment
Transportation
Public administration
Finance
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
Lori Gaskin is president of Santa Barbara City College

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