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Geography and Environmental Studies


Learn about the natural and man-made geography around you. Analyze and share environmental data to shape the world and create a more safe and sustainable future for all.

Why Study Geography?

Geography is more than memorizing country names and state capitals. It's about understanding our physical surroundings, from the weather to soil samples. To do so, you'll learn to interpret natural and man-made patterns in the places we live.

You'll analyze a wide variety of data—from tree canopy density to fire risk zones. Your discoveries will help create safe environments and fight geographical inequalities. Your skills will help you work for nonprofits, universities, governments and planning firms.

Why Study Geography at CSUN?

Bigger and Better

The Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at CSUN is one of the largest in the nation. Along with excellent faculty, we have a wide variety of classes to help you shape your major. We also have extensive field and lab equipment, which you will learn to use in and out of the classroom.

Field Studies

As a Geography and Environmental Studies major, you will learn practical skills beyond the campus setting. You will hone your skills in diverse environments—from Death Valley to the Channel Islands. With your professor and classmates, you will collect real data and practice sampling techniques. You will use advanced laser-based surveying equipment, advanced sediment analysis and other tools. Through this experience, you will be able to gain the skills to jumpstart your career.

Cutting-edge Technology

The Geography Department ensures that students have access to leading technology. We house two state-of-the-art geospatial computer labs. These computers host Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software, which manages and maps data. You'll be able to practice using this technology in classes and for your own research projects.

What You'll Learn

As a Geography and Environmental Studies major, you'll learn to survey, analyze and map natural and man-made features. You'll also study how humans and the environment interact, and propose how we can live more healthy, sustainable lives.

By earning a degree in geography and environmental studies, you'll learn many practical skills including:

  • Computer mapping
  • Field observation and data collection
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping
  • Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
  • Land use and map analysis
  • Sediment analysis
  • Topographic surveying and weather station instrumentation
  • Presentation graphics and professional report writing

From your core classes, you will be able to focus on the subjects that interest you while receiving a strong background in geography. You will learn about:

  • The physical world or weather
  • Human geography or world geography
  • The study of geography and its resources
  • Techniques of field observation, recordings and analysis

In your upper-division classes, you'll continue to shape your major. You'll study a variety of subjects such as:

  • Cultural, environmental, economic or urban geography
  • Maps, graphics and spatial analysis
  • Specific regional areas of the world, such as Los Angeles, Latin America or China
  • River restoration, coastal geomorphology and water quality


Careers & Outcomes

A CSUN Geography and Environmental Studies major can launch your career in a number of fields. You can work for nonprofits, government agencies or private companies as a geographical analyst or GIS administrator. You can also become a teacher that teaches social studies or geography. Your degree can also provide a foundation for pursuing advanced or professional degrees in social, environmental, or physical sciences, or in law.

Common career paths include:

  • GIS technician
  • GIS analyst
  • Urban and city planner
  • Environmental consultant
  • Conservationist
  • Sustainability analyst
  • Teacher
a CSUN drone preparing for takeoff

Let's check the weather.

Learn to program and maintain the Geography Department's Weather Network. You'll help collect atmospheric data from stations all over Southern California. Gain technical and data analysis skills while also knowing if you need to bring an umbrella tomorrow.

Teach Social Studies

Your geography and environmental sciences courses can help you become a middle school or high school social studies teacher. Combine your major program with the Single Subject Social Science Subject Matter Program to meet requirements for entering a Single Subject Credential Program. Talk to your advisor about coordinating the two programs. View our Social Science Subject Matter Program for Secondary School Teachers (.pdf) for more information.

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