Academic Catalog 2023-2024


College Natural and Behavioral Sciences
Department of Earth Science and Geography

Program Description

The Geography program is one of two programs housed in the Department of Earth Science and Geography. Geography studies the spatial distribution of features across Earth’s landscape, such as the location of landforms, water bodies, and the organization of climate zones. It also considers the human landscape, including how populations are distributed, why they migrate, and the ways they alter natural and urban environments. As a tool to advance these spatial analyses, the Geography program teaches the use of both traditional and computer-based geotechnical skills (geotechniques) such as cartography, remote sensing, and geographic information systems (GIS).

Geography at CSUDH emphasizes “hands-on” learning, and many courses feature field trips. The expertise and international focus of the faculty provide opportunities for engaged students to participate in diverse research projects ranging from treeline studies in alpine environments, GIS mapping of California river systems, or studying the effects of water scarcity or environmental pollution through the lenses of sustainability and environmental justice.


The Earth Science and Geography Department has a map library containing several thousand map sheets. The department also has two dedicated computer laboratories, the Earth Sciences Spatial Analysis Laboratory (ESSAL) which acts as a center for remote sensing and GIS-based research projects, and a teaching laboratory which provides computer-based teaching with an emphasis on geotechniques. These labs provide sophisticated image processing and spatial analysis software as well as libraries of satellite imagery and spatial databases. Additional equipment includes Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers and advanced instruments for field data collection.

The faculty have expertise in plate tectonics, historical geology and field geology; hydrology, atmospheric science, air quality, climate change, and landscape change; geographic information systems, remote sensing, and sensor networks, plus urban planning, environmental planning, and environmental science. The broad expertise of the faculty provides an unusual opportunity for motivated undergraduate students to work closely with their professors and gain “hands-on” experience within domestic and international research projects.

Academic Advisement

Majors should consult with their advisor prior to registration each semester. Records of students' progress toward the degree are accessible online through MyCSUDH. Students should check their progress regularly.


For high school students, the best preparation for the Geography major is a well-rounded program of high school courses in humanities, science, mathematics, and written and oral communication. Community college transfer students should have completed introductory physical geography and a human/cultural geography course. Introductory courses in the physical, biological and social sciences are recommended.

Graduation With Honors

An undergraduate student may be a candidate for graduation with Honors in Geography provided they meet the following criteria:

  1. A minimum of 36 units in residence at CSU Dominguez Hills;
  2. A minimum grade point average of at least 3.5 in all courses used to satisfy the upper-division requirements in the major;
  3. Recommendation by the faculty of the Earth Science and Geography Department.