Geography/Environmental Studies BA

The major in Geography/Environmental Studies develops and deepens students’ understanding of environmental issues; it explores problem-solving approaches from an interactive people/nature viewpoint and involves analysis of social, physical, and biotic environmental systems. The major’s uniqueness lies in its emphasis on its geographical perspective of human impacts on natural systems, as well as of implications of global change on local and regional human systems.

Learning Outcomes

The Geography/Environmental Studies major has the following learning outcomes:

  • Comprehensive knowledge of the main strands of physical and human geography, including familiarity with major theoretical perspectives
  • Command of various geographical methods and techniques such as remote sensing, cartography, and field methods
  • Familiarity with a range of environmental problems at different geographical scales, their analysis, modeling, and various policy responses to them
  • Skills in collecting and analyzing geographical data
  • Proficiency in written arguments drawing on appropriate sources and methods in the geographical literature

Preparation for the Major

Required: Geography 1 or 2, 3 or 4 or 6, 5, 7, and Statistics 12. Each course must be taken for a letter grade. Students are strongly advised to complete all preparation for the major courses before beginning upper-division work in the major.

Transfer Students

Transfer applicants to the Geography/Environmental Studies major with 90 or more units must complete as many of the following introductory courses as possible prior to admission to UCLA: one physical geography or biogeography course, one cultural geography or economic geography course, one people and ecosystems course, and one statistics course.

Geography 7 must be taken at UCLA in order to fulfill the preparation for the major requirement, and, as the enforced requisite for courses 167, 168, and 169, Geography 7 must be taken prior to enrolling in these courses. Students taking this course as a requisite only may take it as P/NP grading.

Refer to the UCLA transfer admission guide for up-to-date information regarding transfer selection for admission.

The Major

Required: Eleven upper-division geography courses, each taken for a letter grade, that must be distributed as follows: (1) environmental studies and natural systems core—six courses from 101, M102, M103, 106, 107, 108, 109, M110, 116, 117, M118, 120, M125, M126, M127, 130, M131, 133, 135, 136, 138, 139B, 139C; (2) human systems core—two courses from 140, 141, M142, M144, 145, 148, 150, 151, M153, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 169A, 173A; (3) procedures—two courses from 180, 181A, 181B, 181C, 182A, 182B, 182C, 184, 185, M186; and (4) regions—one course from 145, 171A, 171B, 171C, 172A, 172C, 173A, 174A, 175A, 175B, or 176A. Each course must be taken for a letter grade.

Geography/Environmental Studies majors are advised to complete the required courses in the human systems core before taking courses in the environmental studies and natural systems core.

Honors Program

The departmental honors program is designed for Geography/Environmental Studies majors who are interested in completing a research project that culminates in an honors thesis.

To qualify for graduation with departmental honors, students must have a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.5 or better in all upper-division geography courses and a 3.0 overall GPA. They must enroll in Geography 198A and 198B in two consecutive terms and earn grades of A- or better. They may elect to work with one or two faculty sponsors. Students are awarded highest honors, honors, or no honors based on an evaluation of the thesis by the faculty sponsor(s), and meeting GPA requirements. Contact the department advising office for more information.