Department of Environmental Studies, Huxley College of the Environment
121-130 credits: Phase I, Phase II, and Major
Introduction/What is the Study of Geography?
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 the social sciences and natural sciences together, 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 B.A. Geography/Social Studies or B.A.Ed. Geography/Elementary Education information sheet. Western also offers a Masters in Science in 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 preparatory 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 Systems, Geology 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.
Cartographer | Resource Manager | GIS Database Manager | Water Resource Manager | Park Ranger | Forest Service Employee | College or University Instructor
How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):
You can declare yourself as an Environmental Studies (ENVS) major at any time, and there are several advantages to declaring during your freshman or sophomore year. Once you are declared as a phase I major you are assigned a Huxley faculty advisor based on your interests at the time of declaration. You can then meet with your faculty advisor to discuss which courses to take and when, how to prepare for graduate school or a future career, or simply to get assistance navigating through the Huxley curriculum. Your email is added to an email distribution list for Huxley majors so you will begin to receive notifications and general announcements, as well as information about jobs, internships, or research opportunities.
Some important information about the ENVS major:
1. Most students begin the ENVS major in Phase I, while completing the preparatory classes for ENVS Phase II admission (BIOL 101 or 204, PLSC 250, ECON 206, Math 114 or equivalent, CHEM 121, as well as ENVS 201, 202, and 203). You can declare an ENVS Phase I major at any time by going to the central Huxley College office in Environmental Studies Building 539 and filling out a major declaration card.
2. Admission to Phase II is a competitive process and requires completion of the coursework above with a grade of B- or better in ENVS 201, ENVS 202, and ENVS 203, as well as a satisfactory GPA in all other coursework. You must then submit an application that includes a 1-2 page essay describing your reasons for wanting to enter into one of the five ENVS majors (Environmental Education, Environmental Studies, Geography, Urban Planning, or Policy) as well as a plan of study created with the Huxley admissions advisor and signed by a faculty advisor. Entry into the Urban Planning major also requires a portfolio, and entry into the Environmental Studies major requires the signature of a second departmental faculty member on the plan of study. ENVS Phase II applications are accepted at central Huxley College office in the fall, winter, and spring quarters.
3. Changes to your major, plan of study, or requests for a change of advisor during Phase II require completing a new declaration card.
If you have any questions, please contact an undergraduate advisor at the central Huxley College office in Environmental Studies Building 539, or by phone (360-650-2817), or (360-650- 3748).
A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major or minor courses, and supporting courses for majors and minors.