About the Geography and Environmental Science Department

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.

Geography students connect with special places at Mokuola (Coconut Island).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).

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/Science Programs

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. These degrees provide an innovative multidisciplinary approach for undergraduate students interested in a broad range of environmental topics while providing a strong foundation in major concepts in a variety of fields.

At Hāʻena in PunaThe Environmental Studies track of the Bachelor of Arts in Geography 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 Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science provides 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. This degree also requires the student to select either a biological or physical science concentration within the major.

In addition to the majors, the department also offers an Environment Studies Certificate.

Both majors provide a sound foundation for the pursuit of graduate education in a range of environmental fields.