Aloha and welcome to the Department of Geography and Environmental Science. The island of Hawaiʻi offers a setting of diverse natural and cultural environments for both geographic and environmental studies. The department offers a comprehensive curriculum with a diverse offering of courses that include field excursions, interdisciplinary course work in the natural and social sciences, and computer-based spatial analysis using GIS and remote sensing.
Our mission is to educate students through a Hawaiʻi-based curriculum in geography and the environment rooted in interdisciplinary experiential learning and its transformative potential. We aim for teaching and research that connect local places and processes to greater Oceania and the globe. Whether a student focuses on geography (human, physical, or spatial science), environmental studies, or environmental science, our goal is to create thoughtful and capable graduates with the foundational knowledge, technological skills, theoretical background, and creativity needed to contribute to their communities’ needs and help achieve a more just and thriving world. Mahalo nui to the kanaka maoli of Hawaiʻi whose ‘āina teaches and supports the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo community.
Our Degrees and Campus
Undergraduate students will acquire a true liberal arts education, while being able to develop specialization within one of the subfields of geography. Students are exposed to a broad range of environmental topics and provided a strong foundation in major concepts in a variety of fields.
The department offers several certificates. The Environmental Studies certificate program includes courses in the social and natural sciences. The Certificate in Planning provides opportunities for students to intern with the County planning office.
The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is characterized as a comprehensive, diverse, regional university. Scholarship and research are an important part of faculty work and student engagement, but the primary focus is on providing high-quality baccalaureate and postgraduate education.
About Geography and Environmental Science
The faculty in the Department of Geography & Environmental Science at UH Hilo represent a unique combination of teaching skills, research grants, notable publications, and accessibility. The faculty have received three Regent’s Awards for Teaching Excellence, numerous and considerable grants in geographic/environmental research, published books and articles about local, regional, and global issues, all in addition to teaching a varied and unique geography & environmental science curriculum.