Geography and Environmental Sciences
Geography aims to help people understand why things happen where they do. Many of the problems and issues facing our world today have geographic dimensions, such as environmental quality, social justice, housing, food production and consumption, global trade and business, and resource management. An education in Geography provides essential skills for problem solving and making sense of an interconnected, complex world.
The study of both natural and human environments is an outstanding feature of Geography. Geography students will acquire a liberal arts education while specializing in one of the subfields of the discipline. Popular subfields are Physical Geography (including climatology, biogeography, and geomorphology), Human Geography (including cultural geography, economic geography, indigenous geographies, resource management, and land use planning), and Geographic Techniques (including remote sensing, geographic information systems, and cartography). The Department also participates in an interdisciplinary graduate program (M.S.) in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science.
Hawaiʻi Island has diverse natural and cultural environments ideal for the study of Geography. Field excursions and associated student research activities are an integral and enriching component of the student’s geographic education at UH Hilo. Computer-based spatial analysis, cartography, and image processing contribute to a contemporary curriculum.
Geography Department graduates have gone on to a wide range of careers, including resource management, community development, cartography and map design, GIS analysis, land use planning, environmental engineering, publishing and editorial work, environmental law, landscape architecture, and teaching at all levels.
Environmental Studies/Science Mission
The mission of the interdisciplinary Environmental Studies/Science BA/BS Program is as follows:
- to promote a multidisciplinary analysis of environmental issues;
- to enhance students’ awareness of the complexity and seriousness of regional and global environmental problems;
- to capitalize on UH Hilo’s unparalleled natural and cultural environment to create knowledge and understanding vital for sustainability of natural systems, especially island ecosystems.
Environmental Studies/Science is an overlap of many academic fields, such as biology, geology, chemistry, marine science, geography, anthropology, agriculture, political science, economics, and sociology. This degree provides an innovative multidisciplinary approach for undergraduate students interested in a broad span of environmental topics. At the same time, it provides a strong foundation in major concepts in a variety of fields. Although both majors share a significant common core of coursework, the Bachelor of Arts program (53 credits) offers a stronger social science background and approach to environmental policy perspectives, while the Bachelor of Science program (60 credits) offers a stronger focus on a natural science background and approach to human interaction with environmental processes.
See degree requirements for a detailed listing of the Geography and Environmental Sciences B.A. requirements and Geography and Environmental Sciences Minor requirements.
Geography and Environmental Sciences website
Visit the Geography and Environmental Sciences website at http://hilo.hawaii.edu/depts/geography/.
The study of Geography helps students understand:
- The social, cultural and natural processes that make places distinctive
- Nature-society relations
- Globalization and its effects on environmental and cultural change
- The uneven global distribution of wealth, resources and population
- The historical development of the discipline of Geography
- The representation and analysis of geographic data
- How to use geo-spatial tools, technologies, and methods
As an integrative discipline, Geography gives students a comprehensive view of the world and an appreciation of environmental and cultural diversity. The Department’s contribution to the general education mission of the University is well served by the following courses:
- GEOG 101 Geography and the Natural Environment (introduces physical geography and explores the diversity of Earth’s natural features)
- GEOG 102 Geography of World Regions (gives a geographic overview of the world’s major cultural/environmental regions)
- GEOG 103 Geography and Contemporary Society (introduces human geography with particular focus on current and key themes of geographic inquiry)
- GEOG 105 Geography of the United States (explores the distinctive natural and cultural landscapes of North America)
- GEOG 121 Weather and Climate of Hawaiʻi (examines the impacts of these phenomena on the Hawaiian Islands)
- GEOG 201 Interpretation of Geographic Data (introduces students to a variety of methods and techniques for collecting, analyzing, and presenting geographic data)