OFFICE: Storm Hall 314
TELEPHONE: 619-594-5437 / FAX: 619-594-4938
Chair: Bosco, Fernando J., Professor of Geography (B.A., Wittenberg University; M.A., Ph.D., The Ohio State University)
Joint Doctoral Program Adviser: Jankowski, Piotr L., Professor of Geography (M.S., Poznan University of Economics, Poland; Ph.D., University of Washington)
Master’s Degree Program Adviser: McMillan, Hilary K., Associate Professor of Geography (M.A., Ph.D., University of Cambridge)
Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty:
Aitken, Stuart C., Albert W. Johnson Distinguished Professor of Geography, The June Burnett Chair in Children’s and Family Geographies (B.Sc., Glasgow University; M.A., Miami University; Ph.D., University of Western Ontario)
An, Li, Professor of Geography (B.S., Beijing University, China; M.S., Chinese Academy of Sciences, China; Ph.D., Michigan State University)
Biggs, Trent W., Professor of Geography (A.B., Princeton University; M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara)
Levine, Arielle S., Professor of Geography, Director (B.A., Princeton University; Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley)
Marcelli, Pascale J., Professor of Geography (B.A., M.A., Facultes Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix, Namur, Belgium; Ph.D., University of Southern California)
Skupin, André, Professor of Geography (Diploma, Technical University of Dresden, Germany; Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo)
Swanson, Katherine E., Professor of Geography (B.A., M.A., University of Guelph; Ph.D., University of Toronto, Canada)
Tsou, Ming-Hsiang, Professor of Geography, Chair of Committee and Director of Big Data Analytics Program (B.S., National Taiwan University, Taiwan; M.A., State University of New York at
De Sales, Fernando, Associate Professor of Geography (B.S., M.S., University of São Paulo, Brazil; Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles)
Nara, Atsushi, Associate Professor of Geography (B.S., Shimane University, Japan; M.S., University of Utah; Ph.D., Arizona State University)
Quandt, Amy, Assistant Professor of Geography (B.A., University of Puget Sound; M.A., University of Montana; Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder)
Sousa, Daniel, Assistant Professor of Geography (B.S., University of California, Davis; M.A., Ph.D., Columbia University)
O’Leary, John F., Senate Distinguished Professor, Professor of Geography, Emeritus (B.A., University of California, Riverside; M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles)
Stow, Douglas A., Albert W. Johnson Distinguished Professor of Geography, Emeritus (B.A., M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara)
Costello, Molly Pohl, Ph.D., Geography
Curti, Giorgio, Ph.D., Geography
Monteverde, Kristen, M.S., Geography
Osborn, Alan R., Ph.D., Geography
Paloma, Cynthia, M.S., Geography
Thorngren, Jane M., Ph.D., Geography
Aguado, Edward, Ph.D., 1982-2012, Professor of Geography
Ayala, Reynaldo, Ph.D., 1969-1996, Professor of Geography, SDSU Imperial Valley
Christakos, George, Ph.D., 2006-2021, Professor of Geography, The Stephen and Mary Birch Foundation Chair in Geographical Studies
Fredrich, Barbara E., Ph.D., 1972-2004, Professor of Geography
Getis, Arthur, Ph.D., 1990-2004, The Stephen and Mary Birch Foundation Chair in Geographical Studies; Albert W. Johnson Distinguished Professor of Geography
Griffin, Ernst C., Ph.D., 1972-2004, Special Assistant to the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs; Professor of Geography
Hope, Allen S., Ph.D., 1986-2016, Professor of Geography
Johnson, Warren A., Ph.D., 1969-1997, Professor of Geography
McArthur, David S., Ph.D., 1973-2004, Professor of Geography
Pryde, Philip R., Ph.D., 1969-2001, Professor of Geography
Quastler, Imre E., Ph.D., 1967-2002, Professor of Geography
Richardson, Diana G., M.A., 1988-2018, Lecturer in Geography
Stutz, Frederick P., Ph.D., 1970-2004, Professor of Geography
Weeks, John R., Ph.D., 1974-2013, Albert W. Johnson Distinguished Professor of Geography
Wright, Richard D., Ph.D., 1964-2002, Professor of Geography
The Stephen and Mary Birch Foundation Chair in Geographical Studies
The Stephen and Mary Birch Foundation Chair in Geographical Studies was created through the Birch Foundation’s grant to the Department of Geography to endow a chair and create a Center for Earth Systems Analysis Research. Professor George Christakos, Emeritus, was the last holder of the chair. The chair is currently vacant.
The June Burnett Chair in Children’s and Family Geographies
The Children’s and Family Geographies Chair was created in 2013 as part of the Department of Geography’s June Burnett Endowment. The chair is in support of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Young People, Environments, Society, and Space (YESS), and focuses on spatial research and therapeutic/ ethnographic practices related to the well-being of children and young people. Professor Stuart C. Aitken, internationally recognized for his research on children’s geographies, youth activism, critical theory, and qualitative methodologies is the first holder of the chair.
Geography is the study of spatial aspects of the physical environment, human activities and landscapes, and the nature of their interactions. Geographers draw upon and develop theories in both the physical and social sciences. As physical scientists, they study the processes and resulting features of the earth’s surface, such as vegetation, climate, hydrology, soils, and landforms. As social scientists, geographers explore such topics as the arrangement of societies on the earth’s surface, water and land use patterns, urbanization and urban life, migration, resource and energy usage, environmental conservation, globalization, development and social justice.
Through classroom and laboratory experience, field work, and community involvement students are provided with the knowledge and skills required to appreciate the diversity of landscapes, people and places, the interdependence of places on the surface of the earth, and the spatial processes and relationships that affect contemporary society.
A variety of career opportunities exist for geography majors in business, nonprofit, government and education. In recent years many graduates with bachelor degrees have entered a wide range of analytical and planning careers, with job titles such as environmental policy analyst, urban/regional planner, cartographer, geographic information system (GIS) analyst/specialist, energy planner, water resources planner/manager, natural resource manager/planner, park specialist/planner, National Park Service ranger/administrator, habitat restoration manager, and non-profit organization planner/administrator. Some students go on to graduate programs in geography, public health, urban and regional planning and other related disciplines.
The Department of Geography offers a broad range of fields from which to select an emphasis. These include the following:
This program provides students with an overview of the diverse fields of geography and exposes them to its breadth of methods. It is primarily designed for students transferring from a California Community College with an Associate Degree in Geography (AAT) under the Transfer Model Curricula (TMC), which allows them to graduate with no more than 60 additional units. It is open to all students.
Environment, Sustainability, and Policy
This emphasis is concerned with human-environmental interactions, including the impacts of human activity on the earth and the consequences of environmental change on social life. Students will learn concepts and tools that help them understand and address contemporary environmental issues such as loss of biodiversity, pollution and natural resource degradation, water shortages, food and energy crises, resource conflicts, climate change, devegetation and many other compelling challenges facing society today and in the future. Through their coursework, they will investigate the cultural practices, social structures, and political-economic forces that shape the relationships between society and nature.
Geographic Information Science and Technology (B.A.)
This emphasis focuses on the various methods used by geographers to represent and analyze geographic information about the natural and social world. These methods include cartography, geographic information systems, remote sensing, spatial statistics and qualitative analysis. Students in this emphasis will learn how to apply skills and use contemporary technologies to solve problems and conduct research. Students interested in the development of new geographic methods may consider the Bachelor of Science degree in geographic information science and technology, which requires additional courses in computer science.
Human Geography and Global Studies
This emphasis deals with the spatial aspects of human existence: how people and their activities are distributed in space, how they use and perceive space, and how they create and sustain the places that make up the earth’s surface. It focuses on the connections between global and local scales and teaches students how to think geographically about global issues such as poverty, migration, environment and development, and changing technology. Human geography includes urban geography, political geography, demography, economic geography, political ecology, social and cultural geography, feminist geography and many other emerging fields, such as children’s geographies. It encompasses a variety of theoretical approaches and methods.
Geographic Information Science and Technology (B.S.)
This emphasis addresses the theory and practice of information science from a distinctly geographic perspective, with a focus on principles, methods, and technology. Students become familiar with how to generate, manage and evaluate information about processes, relationships, and patterns in various application domains. This program is for students interested in analytical approaches to mapping, visualization, and problem solving using contemporary methods of GIScience, remote sensing, computer science, and statistics.
Water, Climate, and Ecosystems
This emphasis focuses on scientific explanations of the earth’s physical features and processes and the human impacts on them. Students engage in classroom, laboratory and field activities in geomorphology, hydrology, watershed analysis, biogeography, climatology, and landscape ecology. Students in this emphasis will incorporate fundamental training in the physical and biological sciences with methodological techniques in spatial analysis, including the use of satellite imagery and geographic information systems, to study processes and resulting features of earth’s physical environment.
Minor in Geography
The minor is designed to build on the interdisciplinary nature of geography and allow students to incorporate a geographic approach to their discipline of interest. The geography minor is an attractive option to students who major in anthropology, biology, computer science, economics, engineering, environmental sciences, international security and conflict resolution, political science, sociology, and sustainability.
Certificate in Geographic Information Science
The certificate program is for current students or graduates interested in gaining knowledge and skills in creating, processing, and analyzing geoinformation with methods and techniques of geographic information systems, remote sensing, and software engineering.
All College of Arts and Letters majors are urged to consult with their department adviser as soon as possible; they are required to meet with their department adviser within the first two semesters after declaration or change of major.
The geography major and emphases are impacted programs. To be admitted to the geography major or an emphasis, students must meet the following criteria:
- Complete preparation for the major;
- Complete a minimum of 60 transferable semester units;
- Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.
To complete the major, students must fulfill the degree requirements for the major described in the catalog in effect at the time they are accepted into the premajor at SDSU (assuming continuous enrollment).
Major Academic Plans (MAPs)
Visit http://www.sdsu.edu/mymap for the recommended courses needed to fulfill your major requirements. The MAPs website was created to help students navigate the course requirements for their majors and to identify which General Education course will also fulfill a major preparation course requirement.
The Department of Geography offers graduate study leading to the Master of Arts, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in geography. These degrees provide the essential education, technical training, and creative experience necessary for professional activity or college-level teaching. Graduate programs are generally assigned around one of the following systematic areas:
Group A - Systematic Areas
- Human Geography - Urban, Social, and Political Geography
- Environmental Geography - Society and Environment, Watershed/Ecosystems Analysis
- Physical Geography - Biogeography, Climatology, Hydrology, Landscape Ecology
- Geographic Information Science and Technology
Group B - Spatial Analytical Methods and Techniques
- Spatial Statistics
- Qualitative Methods and Ethnography
- Cartography and Internet Mapping
- Geocomputation and Spatial Modeling
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
- Remote Sensing and Image Processing
- Visualization and Visual Data Mining
- Spatial Decision Support Systems and Participatory GIS
Each student’s program is designed around at least one of the areas selected from Group A and at least one of the technique emphases selected from Group B. The main regional foci are California, Latin America, Mexico-U.S. borderlands, South Pacific Islands, Africa, and Asia. Further information on systematic areas, techniques and regional foci, as well as general program information can be obtained through the Department of Geography’s website at https://geography.sdsu.edu.
The master’s degree programs are designed to provide advanced training for a) students who plan to terminate their graduate studies at the master’s level, and b) those who anticipate additional work leading to the doctoral degree in geography or related fields.
The Master of Arts degree program is designed around one of the systematic areas previously listed in Group A and will generally also include coursework in one of or more technical skills in Group B. The Master of Science program has two concentrations (1) geographic information science, and (2) watershed science.
The Doctor of Philosophy program, offered jointly with the University of California, Santa Barbara, provides advanced training for research and teaching at the highest academic level.
Research and instructional facilities provided by the Department of Geography include the Stephen and Mary Birch Center for Earth Systems Analysis Research (CESAR), the Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age (HDMA), the Center for Information Convergence and Strategy (CICS), the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Young People, Environments, Society, and Space (YESS), and laboratories for physical geography, cartography, remote sensing and aerial interpretation, and equipment for field studies.
Approximately 45 graduate teaching associateships and graduate research associateships in geography are available to highly qualified students. Applications and additional information may be secured from the department. The deadline for submitting applications for teaching associateships or research associateships for the master’s degree programs can be found at https://geography.sdsu.edu/Study/Masters/m_apply.html.
The deadline for submitting applications for the Doctor of Philosophy degree program can be found at https://geography.sdsu.edu/Study/Doctoral/d_apply.html.
Applications for associateships must include a statement of interests and goals, evidence of research skills, writing sample, transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and copies of TOEFL or IELTS test scores (only for international applicants). Our graduate teaching associateships program can prepare students for a teaching career.
Admission to Master’s and Doctoral Study
Students applying for admission should electronically submit the university application available at http://www.calstate.edu/apply along with the required application fee.
All applicants must submit admissions materials to SDSU Graduate Admissions and complete the Department of Geography application.
The following materials should be submitted as a complete package directly to:
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-7416
- Official transcripts (in sealed envelopes) from all postsecondary institutions attended;
- Students who attended SDSU need only submit transcripts for work completed since last attendance.
- Students with international coursework must submit both the official transcript and proof of degree. If documents are in a language other than English, they must be accompanied by a certified English translation.
- English language score, if medium of instruction was in a language other than English (http://www.ets.org SDSU institution code 4682).
Master of Arts Degree in Geography
Master of Science Degree in Geography
The following admissions materials must be submitted electronically:
- Copies of transcripts from all colleges and universities attended and copies of TOEFL or IELTS test scores (if applicable). These do not need to be sent directly from the colleges - scanned copies are acceptable;
- Statement of geographic research interests and professional goals, and the names of at least one (up to three) SDSU geography faculty who would be suitable program advisers;
- Three letters of recommendation. Applicants must provide names and email addresses of recommenders. Recommenders will be invited to complete the recommendation electronically;
- Optional: If you would like to apply for a graduate assistantship, download and complete the application and upload it along with your other application materials.
For information regarding the admissions process, visit the department website at http://geography.sdsu.edu.
Ph.D. Degree in Geography
The following admissions materials must be submitted electronically:
Copies of transcripts from all colleges and universities attended and copies of TOEFL or IELTS test scores (if applicable). These do not need to be sent directly from the colleges - scanned copies are acceptable;
Statement of geographic research interests and professional goals and the names of at least one (up to three) SDSU and UCSB geography faculty who would be suitable program advisers;
Evidence of research skills;
Three letters of recommendation. Applicant must provide names and email addresses of recommenders. Recommenders will be invited to complete the recommendation electronically;
Current curriculum vitae or resume.
For more information about the admissions process, including the admissions materials,consult the department’s doctoral program website at https://geography.sdsu.edu/Study/Doctoral/doctoral.html.
- Environmental Studies Certificate
- Geography Minor: Cultural
- Geography Minor: Methods of Geographic Analysis
- Geography Minor: Natural Resource and Environment
- Geography Minor: Physical
- Geography Minor: Urban and Regional Analysis
- Geography, Emphasis in Environment, Sustainability, and Policy, B.A. in Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Geography, Emphasis in General Geography, B.A. in Applied Arts and Sciences
- Geography, Emphasis in Geographic Information Science and Technology, B.A. in Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Geography, Emphasis in Geographic Information Science and Technology, B.S. in Applied Arts and Sciences
- Geography, Emphasis in Human Geography and Global Studies, B.A. in Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Geography, Emphasis in Water, Climate, and Ecosystems, B.S. in Applied Arts and Sciences
- Geography, Geographic Information Science Concentration, M.S.
- Geography, M.A.
- Geography, M.S.
- Geography, Ph.D.
- Geography, Watershed Science Concentration, M.S.