Academics

Geography Program

The outstanding feature of the major in Geography is its study of both the natural and human environments. This means that students in Geography will acquire a true liberal arts education, while being able to develop specialization within one of the subfields of Geography. Popular subfields are physical geography (climatology, biogeography, geomorphology), cultural geography (landscape analysis, resources management), and methods (quantitative methods, remote sensing, cartography, and GIS).

Field Course at Puu Waa Waa summit.

The Island of Hawaiʻi offers a setting of diverse natural and cultural environments ideal for Geographic Studies. Field excursions are an integral and enriching component of the student's geographic education at UH Hilo. Computer based spatial analysis, cartography, GIS, and remote sensing image processing contribute to a balanced and modern curriculum.

In addition to the major in Geography, the department also offers a minor in Geography, and a Certificate in Planning.

Environmental Studies and Environmental Science

Prof. Jim Juvik trying to pick up a turtle.

The Environmental Studies/Science majors (BA/BS) are interdisciplinary programs administered by the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies. The Environmental Studies major(BA) educates students for meaningful lifetime engagement with the major environmental challenges facing society. Students pursue an interdisciplinary curriculum that combines course work in both the natural sciences and social sciences. The degree prepares students for diverse career opportunities in the private sector, all levels of government, and in non-governmental organizations dealing with environmental policy and resources management.

The purpose for the Environmental Science major (BS) is to provide an interdisciplinary science concentration for students seeking careers in the fields of environmental consulting, research, and science teaching. In contrast to the BA option, the BS major in Environmental Science requires students to take a more structured core of natural science courses from a variety of disciplines. The BS degree also requires the student to select either a biological or physical science concentration within the major. Both BA and BS majors will also provide a sound foundation for the pursuit of graduate education in a range of environmental fields.