Why Geography, Environment & Society?

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Committed to studying real-world problems from an integrated perspective, the Department of Geography, Environment & Society (GES) explores the complex relationships between society and nature, people and places, and the causes and consequences of social and environmental change. 

GES is highly regarded internationally and is third in the 2023 Shanghai Rankings of US geography departments. GES is one of few departments in the college that has increased undergraduate degrees awarded, seeing a 13% rise over the past 5 years. We also exceed expectations in drawing diverse students, particularly in the BSE major, and our graduate placement record remains stellar. 

Hallmarks of the department include a culture of community-engaged research and an emphasis on experiential learning, field-based coursework, and practical problem-solving in the undergraduate curriculum. Moving forward, the interdisciplinary nature of GES ideally positions us to develop and administer a proposed interdepartmental environmental studies curriculum that would help attract and retain students within CLA.

The Department of Geography, Environment & Society offers three undergraduate majors: 

  • biology, society & environment (BA)
  • geography (BA and BS)
  • urban studies (BA and BS) 

We also offer undergraduate minors in geography, urban studies, geographic information science (GIS), and public health that complement many majors. 

At the graduate level, GES offers a PhD in geography (an academic research-oriented degree) along with an MA in geography, and a professional master's of geographic information science (MGIS).