Department: Geography and Environmental Science
The department offers majors in Geography and Environmental Studies, a five-year combined BA/MA program in Environmental Studies and Adolescent Education-Earth Science, and minors in Geography, Environmental Studies and Geology. Our programs focus on urban and social geography; globalization and international development; earth systems, environmental science, and physical geography; geographic information science, remote sensing and digital mapping; environmental policy and sustainability; and social studies and environmental education. In addition, students learn how to use advanced analytical skills, including quantitative, qualitative, modeling, and geospatial research methods in order to address the vital problems humanity is facing today. In addition to comprehensive classroom instruction, the department offers field trips and field courses in geography and environmental science.
A major in Geography is designed to prepare students to understand our world’s changing social and natural environments in their interaction and using concepts of place, space, distance, and location. In many instances, geographers make maps to analyze differences between places and to seek explanations for those differences. Most importantly, Geography not only will broaden your knowledge of the world and how human and natural systems interact but will also equip you with the skills needed to seek solutions to many pressing problems, from the impacts and consequences of climate change, depletion of natural resources, and pollution to poverty, inequality, geopolitical crises, migration, and insecurity. These skills include critical thinking, spatial analysis, and analytical writing. In addition to classroom learning and field trips, students learn by doing research projects together with community advocacy groups in New York City.
Geography majors are encouraged to pursue the course of study that best fits their interests while also exploring the three concentration areas that the department offers: Cities and Globalization; Digital Mapping and Geographic Information Science; and Sustainability. There is an option that prepares students for temporary certification in New York State to teach social studies at grades K-12.
The Environmental Science major offers a common core of courses and an interdisciplinary approach that allows students to focus on environmental policy and management or earth systems science. Our major prepares students to identify and describe the components of Earth’s environment and their interconnections. Our goal is to equip students with theoretical and practical tools to synthesize the body of knowledge presented in the course work and to address real world problems. We seek to accomplish this goal by fostering classroom dynamics where assumptions, methods and findings are critically evaluated. After choosing a concentration, students take advanced physical science courses for the Environmental Earth Science concentration and human geography and social science courses for the Environmental Management Policy concentration. Coursework covers subjects that include weather and climate, climate change, environmental hazards, fluid dynamics, sustainability, ecology, oceanography, conservation, urban problems and their solutions and the global impact of humans on the Earth system.
What can I do with my degree in Geography and Environmental Studies?
Courses in all of these fields are valuable parts of a general liberal education, developing an awareness of earth phenomena and the role these play in people’s lives. In addition, through integration of content knowledge, applied skills, and internships, our graduates are prepared for both graduate study and immediate employment in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.
Our website features stories about our former students who equally excel in academic and professional worlds. Courses for Geography and Environmental Studies majors are valuable parts of a liberal arts education, developing an awareness of how earth systems work and the role these play in people’s lives. They also educate students about the challenges humanity faces in the era of global climate change, geopolitical and public health crises, growing inequality, and migration. Both majors prepare students for graduate degrees in earth and environmental science, geography, geoinformatics, and related fields. Many students successfully pursue top graduate programs and receive prestigious internships and fellowships such as those from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the National Atmospheric and Space Administration (NASA), U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Environmental Protection. Many also become professionals whose expertise in the above areas is widely used by the governments and administrations of New York City and New York State, the U.S. Bureau of the Census, and private industry; they also develop careers as geography/earth science teachers.
Teacher Education Pathway
Students planning to teach this subject in grades 7-12 should look at the School of Education: Program List for information about their programs that lead to the recommendation for New York State Initial Certification required to be a lead teacher in NYS public schools.
Assistant to Chair
Undergraduate Geography Adviser:
Undergraduate Environmental Studies Adviser:
fax (212) 772-5268
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM