Bachelor of Arts in Geography

This is an archived copy of the 2016-2017 bulletin. To access the most recent version of the bulletin, please visit bulletin.sfsu.edu. Any changes will appear on our errata page.

Undergraduate Advisors: Jennifer Blecha, Courtney Donovan, Qian Guo, Barbara Holzman, XiaoHang Liu

All Bachelor of Arts students must complete twelve units of complementary studies in courses outside the primary prefix for the major, and not cross-listed with the primary prefix for the major. Students who complete two majors or a major and a minor automatically complete the complementary studies requirement.

An additional way to satisfy the complementary studies requirement for students in the geography major is to meet with an advisor to identify courses other than GEOG, and not cross-listed with GEOG, that would serve to complement each student’s area of interest. Four units from complementary studies will also double-count toward units in the major.

Students who have earned AA-T or AS-T degrees and are pursuing a similar B.A. degree at SF State are required to fulfill the Complementary Studies requirement as defined by the major department. Students should consult with a major advisor about how transfer units and/or SF State units can best be applied to this requirement in order to ensure degree completion within 60 units.

Students are advised that the CR grade is acceptable in any two courses to be counted for the geography major. No more than one course counted toward major requirements may be completed with a grade less than a C-.

Geography (B.A.) — 39 - 42 units

Required Core Courses (12 units)

GEOG 101Our Physical Environment3
GEOG 102The Human Environment3
or GEOG 107 World Regions and Interrelations
GEOG 205Geographic Techniques3
GEOG 500GWPhysical and Human Dimensions of Climate Change - GWAR3

Capstone (3 - units)

GEOG 690Senior Seminar in Geography and Environmental Science3

Distribution Requirement (12 - 15 units)

(Cross-listed courses originating in other departments are not accepted in these categories.)

One course from each of the following four areas:

  • Physical Environment - 310-399 numbered courses in Geography
  • Human Geography - 400 numbered courses in Geography
  • Human-Environment Interaction in a Regional Context
    GEOG 550Geography of the United States and Canada3
    GEOG 552Geography of California3
    GEOG 575Emerging China3
    GEOG 646The Geography of Marine Resources4
    GEOG 647Geography of Water Resources4
    GEOG 648Management of National Parks and Protected Areas4
    GEOG 651San Francisco Bay Area Environmental Issues4
  • Either Geographic Techniques - 601 - 639 numbered courses in Geography or Applied Geography - 640 - 668 numbered courses in Geography

Focus of Interest (12 units)

Units of upper division geography electives consisting of a minimum of three courses chosen on advisement. These courses will be organized around coherent themes such as those listed below. In addition, alternative concentrations tailored to individual student interest may be developed in consultation with the Geography undergraduate advisor. On advisement appropriate upper division courses from other departments and programs may be included.

  • Human Geography
  • Environmental Studies
  • Physical Environment
  • Resource Management
  • Techniques of Geographic Analysis
  • Urban Environment, Transportation and Land Use
  • Focused individual interest pursued in consultation with the undergraduate advisor

Note: A minimum of 40 upper division units must be completed for the degree (including upper division units required for the major, general education, electives, etc.). A student can complete this major yet not attain the necessary number of upper division units required for graduation. In this case additional upper division courses will be needed to reach the required total.

Foci of Interest

Focus on Human Geography

In addition to serving traditional liberal arts education, this option permits systematic study within cultural geography:

GEOG 422Environmental Perception3
GEOG 423Geographic Perspectives on Gender, Environment and Development3
GEOG 425Economic Geography4
GEOG 427Agriculture and Food Supply4
GEOG 430Transforming Food and Agriculture Systems: Local to Global4
GEOG 432Urban Geography4
GEOG 434Geographies of Health and Health Care3
GEOG 445Geopolitics and Globalization3
GEOG 454San Francisco on Foot4
GEOG 455Geography of Ethnic Communities3
Select a 500-level course3

Focus on Environmental Studies

This focus provides students with an opportunity to learn about environmental processes and issues arising from human activities on our planet.

Required
GEOG 600Environmental Problems and Solutions3
Recommended
GEOG 316Biogeography4
GEOG 317Geography of Soils4
GEOG 422Environmental Perception3
GEOG 427Agriculture and Food Supply4
GEOG 642Watershed Assessment and Restoration4
GEOG 644Water Quality3
GEOG 646The Geography of Marine Resources4
GEOG 647Geography of Water Resources4
GEOG 651San Francisco Bay Area Environmental Issues4
GEOG 652Environmental Impact Analysis4
GEOG 657Natural Resource Management: Biotic Resources4
GEOG 666Geography of Garbage: Recycling and Waste Reduction3
GEOG 667Environmental Justice: Race, Poverty, and the Environment4
GEOG 668Politics, Law, and the Urban Environment4
Supplementary courses in Environmental Studies are also recommended on advisement

Focus on the Physical Environment

This focus offers a chance to study physical patterns and processes involving landforms, climate, biogeography, soils, and water.

Courses central to the specialization include:
GEOG 312Geography of Landforms4
GEOG 313Earth's Climate System4
GEOG 314Bioclimatology4
GEOG 316Biogeography4
GEOG 317Geography of Soils4
GEOG 342Surface Water Hydrology4
Supporting courses include:
GEOG 602Field Methods in Physical Geography4
GEOG 642Watershed Assessment and Restoration4
GEOG 647Geography of Water Resources4
GEOG 657Natural Resource Management: Biotic Resources4
Supplementary courses in Earth & Climate Sciences and Biology are recommended on advisement

Focus on Resource Management

A central theme in geography is the use and abuse of natural resources. Courses central to this specialization include:

GEOG 317Geography of Soils4
GEOG 425Economic Geography4
GEOG 427Agriculture and Food Supply4
GEOG 600Environmental Problems and Solutions3
GEOG 602Field Methods in Physical Geography4
GEOG 603Introduction to Geographic Information Systems3
GEOG 610Remote Sensing of the Environment I4
GEOG 611Remote Sensing of the Environment II4
GEOG 642Watershed Assessment and Restoration4
GEOG 644Water Quality3
GEOG 646The Geography of Marine Resources4
GEOG 647Geography of Water Resources4
GEOG 657Natural Resource Management: Biotic Resources4
GEOG 666Geography of Garbage: Recycling and Waste Reduction3
Supplementary courses in Earth & Climate Sciences and Biology are recommended on advisement

Focus on Techniques of Geographic Analysis

This option concentrates on technical skills:

Data Acquisition in the field
GEOG 601Field Methods in Human Geography4
GEOG 602Field Methods in Physical Geography4
Data Analysis in the lab
(such as remote sensing)
GEOG 610Remote Sensing of the Environment I4
GEOG 611Remote Sensing of the Environment II4
Geographic Information Systems
GEOG 603Introduction to Geographic Information Systems3
GEOG 620Geographical Information Systems4
GEOG 621Geographic Information Systems for Environmental Analysis4
GEOG 625Programming for Geographic Information Science4
GEOG 629Coastal and Marine Applications of GIS3
Data Display in Cartography
GEOG 606Cartography4
Internship
(strongly recommended)
GEOG 688Geographic Internship2-6

Focus on Urban Environment, Transportation and Land Use

This specialization offers an opportunity to acquire foundation knowledge to prepare for entry level careers and graduate work. Key courses include:

GEOG 422Environmental Perception3
GEOG 423Geographic Perspectives on Gender, Environment and Development3
GEOG 425Economic Geography4
GEOG 427Agriculture and Food Supply4
GEOG 432Urban Geography4
GEOG 433Urban Transportation4
GEOG 434Geographies of Health and Health Care3
GEOG 435Geography of Global Transportation4
GEOG 455Geography of Ethnic Communities3
GEOG 601Field Methods in Human Geography4
GEOG 603Introduction to Geographic Information Systems3
GEOG 651San Francisco Bay Area Environmental Issues4
GEOG 652Environmental Impact Analysis4
GEOG 658Land-Use Planning4
GEOG 666Geography of Garbage: Recycling and Waste Reduction3
GEOG 667Environmental Justice: Race, Poverty, and the Environment4
Upper division courses in Urban Studies are particularly appropriate as well.

Focus based on individual interests

This focus may be pursued in consultation with a geography major advisor.

highly recommended courses
GEOG 603Introduction to Geographic Information Systems3
GEOG 688Geographic Internship2-6

General Education Requirements

Requirement Course Level Units Area Designation
Oral Communication LD 3 A1
Written English Communication I LD 3 A2
Critical Thinking LD 3 A3
Written English Communication II LD 3 A4
Physical Science LD 3 B1
Life Science LD 3 B2
Lab Science LD 1 B3
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning LD 3 B4
Arts LD 3 C1
Arts or Humanities LD 3 C1 or C2
Humanities: Literature LD 3 C3
Social Sciences LD 3 D1
Social Sciences: US History LD 3 D2
Social Sciences: US & CA Governement LD 3 D3
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD or UD 3 E
Physical and/or Life Science UD 3 UD-B
Arts and/or Humanities UD 3 UD-C
Social Sciences UD 3 UD-D
SF State Studies
Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), in a major or minor, or may be an elective.
American Ethnic and Racial Minorities (AERM) LD or UD 3
Environmental Sustainability (ES) LD or UD 3
Global Perspectives (GP) LD or UD 3
Social Justice (SJ) LD or UD 3

Note: LD = lower division; UD = upper division.

First Time Student Roadmap (4 year)

This 2016 - 2017 roadmap opens in a new tab.

This degree program is an approved pathway (“similar” major) for students earning the ADT in Geography

California legislation SB 1440 (2009), mandated the creation of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) to be awarded by the California Community Colleges. Two types of ADTs are awarded: Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) and Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T). Note: no specific degree is required for admission as an upper division student. However, the ADT includes specific guarantees related to admission and graduation, and is designed to clarify the transfer process and strengthen lower division preparation for the major.

An ADT totals sixty units and includes completion of all lower division GE and at least eighteen units in a specific major. Students pursuing an ADT are guaranteed admission to the CSU if minimum eligibility requirements are met, though not necessarily to the CSU campus of primary choice.

Upon verification that the ADT has been awarded prior to matriculation at SF State, students are guaranteed B.A. or B.S. completion in 60 units if pursuing a “similar” major after transfer. Determinations about “similar” majors at SF State are made by faculty in the discipline.

Degree completion in 60 units cannot be guaranteed when a student simultaneously pursues an additional major, a minor, certificate, or credential.

A sample advising roadmap for students who have earned an ADT and is continuing in this major at SF State is available on the Roadmaps tab and displays

  • How many lower division units required for the major have been completed upon entry based on award of a specific ADT;
  • Which lower division requirements are considered complete upon entry based on award of a specific ADT;
  • How to complete the remaining 60 units for the degree in four semesters.

Students who have earned an ADT should seek advising in the major department during the first semester of attendance.

General Advising Information for Transfer Students

  1. Before transfer, complete as many lower division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
  2. The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
    • a course in U.S. History
    • a course in U.S. & California government
    • a 2nd-semester course in written English composition

For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), go to http://assist.org Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine

  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower division major requirements for this major
  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government

Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 units/90 quarters required for admission.

Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper division transfer (for example, if course was not passed on first attempt, or was taken to earn a better grade).

Before leaving the last California community college of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.

Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.

Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower division general education in areas C and D until after transfer in order to focus on preparation courses for the major. (This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.)

Transferring from institutions other than CCCs or CSUs

Review SF State's lower division General Education requirements. As described above, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3 and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (GE A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. Review more information about the A3 requirement here.

Identify and complete a 2nd-semester written English composition course before transfer. This is usually the next course after the typical “freshman comp” course, with a focus on writing, reading and critical analytical skills for academic purposes, and developing skills in composing, revising, and the use of rhetorical strategies.

Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.

All students must meet the transfer eligibility requirements outlines below for admission. For more information, visit the Undergraduate Admissions section.

  • Complete 60 or more transferable semester units or 90 or more quarter units
  • Earn a college grade point average of 2.00 or better in all transferable courses. Non-local area residents may be held to a higher GPA standard.
  • Be in good standing at the last college or university attended
  • Complete 30 semester units (45 quarter units) of general education, including four basic skills courses:
    1. One course in oral communication (same as CSU GE area A1)
    2. One course in written composition (same as CSU GE area A2)
    3. One course in critical thinking (same as CSU GE area A3)
    4. One course in mathematics or quantitative reasoning, with intermediate algebra as a prerequisite (same as CSU GE area B4)
  • The four basic skills courses and minimum of 60 transferable semester units (90 quarter units) must be completed by the spring semester prior to fall admission, or by the fall semester prior to spring admission. Earn a "C" or better grade in each basic skills course.