Academic Catalog

Social and Behavioral Sciences web banner

Geography Associate in Science

Geography is the study of spatial aspects of the physical environment, human activities and landscapes, and the nature of their interactions. Geographers draw upon theories from 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, soils, landforms, and resources. As social scientists, geographers explore such topics as the arrangement of societies on the earth’s surface, land use patterns, urbanization, resources and energy usage, and environmental conservation. Therefore, geography includes a wide range and variety of academic disciplines in both the physical and social sciences. It is truly an integrating discipline.

The associate degree program with a major in geography will prepare students to transfer to four-year institutions where they can complete baccalaureate degrees in geography and other disciplines. It is recommended, however, that students consult the catalog of the transfer institution for specific requirements. Many university geography graduates enter teaching professions at all levels. Multiple federal, city, county and state governments, as well as private companies, hire geographers in the fields of resource management, geographic information systems, urban planning, and environmental planning because of their broad training. For example, the U.S. Geologic Survey traditionally hires geographers in map making, air photo interpretation, satellite image analysis, and land use mapping.

Career Opportunities

Aerial Photograph Interpreter
Computer Mapping (G.I.S.)1
Environmental Analyst1
Land Planner1
Satellite Image Processor1
Site Planner1
Spatial Analyst1
Water Resources Manager1


Bachelor’s Degree or higher required.

The Program-level Student Learning Outcomes (PSLOs) below are outcomes that students will achieve after completing specific degree / certificate requirements in this program. Students will:

  1. Apply the scientific method.
  2. Demonstrate spatial literacy.
  3. Analyze spatial information and patterns.
  4. Evaluate relationships between humans and the environment.
  5. Employ geoscience technology for spatial data management.

Associate Degree Major Requirements

Note: All courses must be completed with a letter grade of “C” or higher or “Pass.”

GEOG-104Introduction to Geographic Information Science3
GEOG-120Physical Geography: Earth Systems3
GEOG-121Physical Geography: Earth Systems Laboratory1
GEOG-130Human Geography: The Cultural Landscape3
GEOG-140Meteorology: Weather and Climate3
GEOG-150Field Study of the Natural History of the Greater San Diego Region3
GEOG-170The Geography of California3
GEOL-110Planet Earth3
Total Units22

Plus General Education and Elective Requirements

Recommended Electives

GEOG-172Field Exploration: Colorado Plateau3
GEOG-173Field Exploration: Cascade Range/Modoc Plateau3
GEOG-174Field Exploration: Basin and Range Province3
GEOG-175Field Exploration: California Coastal Mountains3
GEOG-176Field Exploration: Sierra Nevada3
MATH-160Elementary Statistics4
Three semesters of a foreign language or high school equivalent15