BA in Geography with a GIS Emphasis

UCSB’s Department of Geography now offers a BA in Geography with an Emphasis in Geographic Information Science. As Professor Keith Clarke points out, “This will make UCSB’s Geography students even more in demand. GIS is a large area that is growing fast, and it plays a part in virtually everything from business planning to search and rescue. Finally, we’ve put GIS on the undergraduate map at UCSB!”

To prepare for this option, students must complete specific courses in geography, plus one course from either a physical science or a social science (the GIS emphasis requires both). Additionally, students must take one statistics course. A course in computer programming and a course in calculus with applications is recommended (the GIS emphasis requires a course in computer programming). Students should complete these major-preparatory classes in their freshman and sophomore years. The major requires completion of upper-division (junior and senior level) course work distributed between the areas of systematics, techniques, regional geography, and areas of the student’s own choosing. Systematics courses include those in meteorology, hydrology, and soil formation. Techniques courses include those in spatial analysis, computational concepts, remote sensing, photo interpretation, and cartography. Regional courses include those in the geography of arid lands, jungles, and the geography of nations.

The BA in Geography with an Emphasis in Geographic Information Science is intended to build upon the Geography BA with a deeper study of the science behind spatial information technologies. Geographic Information Science includes geographic information technologies (such as geographic information systems, computer cartography, remote sensing, global positioning systems, and visualization) as well as the bodies of theory that relate the tools to problem solving in geography. Students will choose one or more tracks in GIScience specializations. They may combine tracks for breadth and depth, as well as pursue interests in particular technologies, methods, or approaches. Graduates with the GIS Emphasis will find themselves well prepared to start a career in any of the geographic information technology fields or to continue their education in graduate school. For more about the GIS Emphasis, contact Kathy Davis, our Undergraduate Program Manager, in Ellison Hall 1832 or at 805-893-2545;

Thanks to Chuck Champlin, Communications Manager, UCSB Admissions, for most of this material.

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