The Physical Environment

River photoLearn about physical geography and the interactions between the physical and human environments. Courses cover a range of subfields--geomorphology, climatology, soils, biogeography, and water resources--and offer both physical and resource perspectives.

  • GEOG 312: Geography of Landforms
  • GEOG 313: Earth's Climate System
  • GEOG 314: Bioclimatology
  • GEOG 316: Biogeography
  • GEOG 317: Geography of Soils
  • GEOG 342: Surface Water Hydrology
  • GEOG 602: Field Methods
  • GEOG 642: Watershed Assessment & Restoration
  • GEOG 644: Water Quality
  • GEOG 647: Geography of Water Resources
  • GEOG 657: Natural Resource Management: Biotic Resources


An upper division techniques course is also valuable.  Consider Remote Sensing (Geog 610 & 611), Introduction to Geographic Analysis (Geog 603) and Geographic Information Systems (Geog 620 & 621), as well as Cartography (Geog 606).


In addition, Geog 688 a Geographic Internship is recommended. Internships with various agencies and environmental groups can familiarize you with entry-level positions. Past have worked at the Student Conservation Association, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Calif. State Parks, U.S. Geological Survey, Greenbelt Alliance, California Coastal Commission.


Courses in other departments on individual advisement

Courses in the physical and biological sciences are often highly beneficial.



Depending on your area of specialization, there are opportunities in a variety of businesses, agencies, and organizations at the local, state, and national level. Graduates have gone on to work for various recreational, water resource, and coastal resource agencies. In recent years, there has been an increase in job opportunities for geographers, especially those who couple their systematic training with skills in geographic techniques.