Jun 23, 2024  
2018-2019 Catalog 
2018-2019 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geography, BA

Department of Environmental Studies, Huxley College of the Environment

81-88 credits


Geography is the science of place and space. Geographers ask where things are located on the surface of the Earth, why they are located where they are, how places differ from one another, and how people interact with the environment. Geography links together the social sciences and natural sciences, studying the relationships between human activity and natural systems.

As a geographer, you can make a difference — from teaching to planning, from working for sustainable development to working with geospatial technologies, and more. Graduates of this major have assumed positions in State and National Parks, the Forest Service, college and universities, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. If you are interested in teaching Geography in public schools, see the Geography/Social Studies, BA or B.A.Ed. Geography/Elementary Education information sheet. Western also offers a Masters of Arts in Environmental Studies & Geography.

Prospective Geography majors are strongly advised to take additional preparatory course work that provides a strong background in several of: chemistry, biology, geology, physics, mathematics, statistics, political science, anthropology, and/or history. The foundation courses listed for the major, where approved as GUR courses in the catalog, may be used to fulfill both Huxley College and GUR requirements. Students wishing to complete the Geography major in four years should complete all GUR requirements in the first two years. A minor in Geographic Information Science, Geology, Disaster Risk Reduction, Environmental Science, or an additional language are commonly completed by Geography students.

All preparatory courses required for admission should be completed on a lettered or numeric grading scale, not P/NP, and must be completed with a grade of C- or better

Why Consider a Geography Major?

Are you curious about the world, and its physical and human dimensions? Do you love maps? Are you comfortable with spatial problem solving? If so, then Geography is the major for you.

 Contact Information

Department Chair
Grace Wang
Arntzen Hall 212

Huxley College
Professional Advisor

Kathryn Patrick
Environmental Studies 539

Faculty Advisor
Aquila Flower
Arntzen Hall 209


Faculty Advisor
Michael Medler
Arntzen Hall 210

Faculty Advisor
Andrew Bach
Arntzen Hall 226

Faculty Advisor
David Rossiter
Arntzen Hall 232

Faculty Advisor
Patrick Buckley
Arntzen Hall 222

 Sample Careers

Cartographer | GIS Analyst | Tourism Industry Professional | Water Resource Manager | Park Ranger | Forest Service Employee | College or University Instructor | Teacher

 Major/Career Resources


How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

How to Apply as a Pre-Major:

At any time, you can declare yourself as a pre-major with interest in geography or any other major in the Department of Environmental Studies. There are several advantages to declaring an Environmental Studies department pre-major during your freshman or sophomore year. Once you are declared as a pre-major you are assigned a Huxley professional advisor and a faculty advisor based on your academic interests. Your professional advisor can help you understand graduation requirements and how to navigate through the Huxley curriculum. Your faculty advisor can discuss with you which courses to take, and when, and give you advice about how to prepare for graduate school or a future career. As a pre-major, your email is added to an email distribution list for Huxley majors so you will begin to receive notifications and general announcements. Pre-major status will also give you access to priority registration for some classes.

How to Apply to the Major:

Admission to the geography major is a competitive process. To apply, students should submit an application that includes a 1-2 page essay describing your reasons for wanting to enter into the major, as well as a plan of study created with the Huxley professional advisor and signed by a faculty advisor. Geography major applications are accepted at central Huxley College office in ES 539 during fall, winter, and spring quarters.

If you have any questions, please contact a professional advisor at the Huxley College Student Support office in Environmental Studies Building 539, or by phone 360-650-2817, or 360-650-3748.

Grade Requirements

A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major or minor courses, and supporting courses for majors and minors.


Geography and Environmental Studies Foundations (32 credits)

MATH 112 or suitable math placement score is necessary for some foundations courses, but higher-level math courses are recommended. Students are strongly encouraged to take chemistry, biology, and MATH 114 as part of their GUR courses to access upper division Environmental Science courses. Physics courses and MATH 240 are also preferred GUR options for geography majors.

Geography Major (16-18 credits)

Geography Depth and Specialization (20-23 credits)

Culminating Courses - Capstone and Experiential (13-15 credits)

Huxley Capstone

Students are required to take one ENVS approved course with a capstone “CPST” attribute during their senior year. A capstone class is a field or project based class that can be taken by students from both departments (ENVS/ESCI). This class is meant to be a culminating experience for the students bringing all the varied disciplines together as applied work on a real world issue. Several capstone options are open to all Huxley College students; other have prerequisites.