Photo of the Earth from space


The Geography department at San Jose State University aims to provide a broad perspective on humans as inhabitants and transformers of the earth. We do this through study of the biophysical world, human habitation and built environments, and diversity of regions and places. We study diverse historical, cultural, social, economic, and political structures and processes, which impact location and spatial organization of humans and their activities. Our goal is to understand human actions in specific regional settings, and how these actions affect the non-human environment in past, present, and future. We also introduce students to use of GIScience techniques to represent, understand, and communicate data and knowledge over a wide range of spatial scales. Excellence in teaching and research is the program's highest priority and we endeavor to involve students in faculty research projects. We are committed to teaching and research at both undergraduate and graduate levels as well as to service to the community, state, and region. Students who graduate from our program are geographically literate, articulate in oral and written presentation, and effective analytical thinkers and problem-solvers.


Goals for geography majors include:

Knowledge: To educate students in the contents and methods of environmental and human geography, regional geography, map and imagery interpretation, and the nature of geography as an academic and professional discipline.

Skills: To educate students, both as individuals and in small groups in, (1) written, graphical, and verbal communication in geography, (2) the methods of using primary and archival data to solve geographical problems, and (3) the skills to produce maps and other geographical graphics.

Perspective: To educate students that, as a discipline transcending the science, social sciences, and humanities, geography offers the tools for solving important human problems.

Student Learning Objectives

By the time students complete their degree in Geography, they be able to:

  1. Understand place within a geographical/spatial perspective at local, regional, and global scales. Apply concepts and methods of spatial organization to analyze relationships within and between places. Analyze relevant contemporary issues and policies using maps, geographic concepts, and models.
  2. Understand the spatial characteristics of natural landscapes and ecosystems. Identify and describe the components and processes that shape the Earth's lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere at various scales. Explain how Earth's physical and biological processes are dynamic and interactive.
  3. Understand of the diversity and geographic variations of human landscapes and societies. Describe and explain how cultural landscapes evolve and how they vary geographically. Describe the criteria used to define regions and explain why places and regions are important. Demonstrate understanding of cross-cultural dynamics.
  4. Recognize and understand geographic relationships between humans and the environment. Identify and describe ways in which human systems and settlement patterns develop in response to conditions in the physical environment. Explain how human use and modification of the physical environment is affected by culture. Understand how humans alter Earth's systems and how change in one location may impact other locations.
  5. Have the skills and understanding of tools needed to analyze and communicate geographic information using a variety of methods. Formulate geographical research questions and apply appropriate data collection methods and analytical techniques. Analyze geographic data, draw conclusions, and identify questions warranting further research. Communicate geographic ideas and information through maps, graphs, tables, written, and oral reports. Use maps to navigate and interpret scale, distance, terrain, and other spatial information. Demonstrate understanding of methods of map and imagery interpretation.
  6. Have the ability to prepare written and verbal presentations that report their geographical discoveries through analyses of appropriate documents, primary data, and/or archival data in a style appropriate to college level writing in Geography.

Schedule (.doc)

spring 2013-BA

spring 2011 (.doc)
spring 2010-BA (.doc)
fall 2008-BA (.doc)
fall 2008-MA (.doc)
fall 2007 (.doc)
spring 2007 (.doc)

This page last Updated: 08/24/11