Social Sciences Division Office:
Office: University Classroom Building (UCB), Room 308
Tel: (808) 932-7100
- Kathryn Besio, Ph.D.
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.
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.
Goals for Student Learning in the Major
The study of Geography helps students understand and analyze:
- The social, cultural and natural processes that make places distinctive
- 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
Contributions to the UH Hilo General Education Program
As an integrative discipline, Geography gives students a comprehensive view of the world and an appreciation of environmental and cultural diversity.