Geography & Environment  {SF State Bulletin 2013 - 2014}

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Geography & Environment

College of Science and Engineering

Dean: Sheldon Axler

 

Department of Geography & Environment

HSS 279
415-338-2049
Website: http://geog.sfsu.edu/

Chair: Jerry Davis
Undergraduate Advisors: Donovan, Guo, Holzman, Liu
Graduate Coordinator: Wilkinson
M.A. Graduate Advisors: Henderson, Oliphant, Wilkinson

M.S. Graduate Advisors: Blesius, Davis, Hines, Liu

 

Faculty

Professors: Davis, Hines, Holzman, Oliphant, Wilkinson
Associate Professors: Blesius, Chitewere, Guo, Henderson, Liu
Assistant Professors: Blecha, Donovan

 

Program

B.A. in Geography

Minor in Geography

M.A. in Geography

Concentration in

M.S. in Geographic Information Science

 


 

Program Scope

Geographers study physical and biological environments, human societies and their interactions across space and time, utilizing both natural science and social science perspectives. We seek to analyze the processes, spatial patterns and consequences of human-environment interaction. We use maps, fieldwork and geospatial technologies such as GIS to solve real-world problems at all spatial scales, from local to global.

 

The undergraduate major core courses introduce foundation concepts in physical and human geography, as well as geographic techniques. An upper division distribution requirement gives students more focused work in physical environment, human geography, regional geography and applied geography or geographic techniques. Each student also develops a focus of interest based upon 12 units of upper division course work related to a coherent theme.

 

The internship program supplements the scheduled classes and offers a wide range of opportunities for placement in the public or private sector. Internships entail first-hand application of skills and knowledge gained in the course work.

 

The Master of Arts in Geography is designed for individuals pursuing careers in environmental planning, monitoring and advocacy; in resource management; in geographic techniques; in community college teaching; or for individuals preparing for doctoral work in geography. The graduate curriculum ensures all students have grounding in both physical and human geography and offers opportunities for specialization in physical geography, natural resource management, environmental studies, regional geography and techniques. The Concentration in Resource Management and Environmental Planning provides the knowledge and skills necessary to carry out impact analysis, plan formulation and implementation.

 

The Master of Science in Geographical Information Science (GISci) program prepares graduate students for advanced careers in a wide range of geospatial information research and applications. Geographic information science encompasses the development, use, and applications of geographic information systems (GIS), cartography, remote sensing, global positioning systems (GPS), and spatial statistics. A student completing this program will be prepared to take on advanced technical and leadership roles in environmental and resource agencies and firms employing GIS, remote sensing and other geospatial technologies.

 

The M.A. and M.S. programs culminate in either a master's thesis or a research project and comprehensive oral examination.

 

Facilities

Research facilities available to students include a geographic analysis lab, a physical geography lab, a map library, campus computer laboratories, and a library. SF State’s Institute for Geographic Information Science provides further resources and research opportunities. The department maintains licenses for industry-standard software such as ArcGIS, ERDAS Imagine, E-cognition, QT Modeler, Trimble, and other geospatial software. Field equipment available for use includes field surveying equipment, GPS receivers, meteorological instrumentation and equipment for field analysis of soils, plant communities, water quality and landforms. The San Francisco Bay Area provides a stimulating and diversified setting for graduate work, especially for individuals interested in urban, cultural, or environmental questions. Within the region a wide range of governmental agencies, academic institutions, and nonprofit and private organizations have research libraries, data archives and experienced personnel helpful in pursuing research topics. Internships (paid and unpaid) are also available with a variety of organizations.

 

No fellowships are available to incoming graduate students. Financial aid is limited to university programs such as work study. The department occasionally offers technical positions and graduate assistant opportunities to graduate students in residence and occasionally funding is available from external grants.

 

Career Outlook

The undergraduate and graduate degrees offered by the Department of Geography & Environment provide excellent preparation for a variety of positions in the public or private sector. Graduates find challenging and interesting careers in environmental and planning agencies at the state and local level, environmental consulting and cartographic firms, and nonprofit organizations, as well as in community college teaching. A growing demand for students trained in GIS and environmental management make geography students with appropriate skills highly marketable.

 

Bachelor of Arts in Geography

Undergraduate Advisors: Courtney Donovan, Qian Guo, Barbara Holzman, XiaoHang Liu

 

Students are advised that the CR grade is acceptable in any two courses to be counted for the geography major.

 

On-line course descriptions are available.

 

Required Core Courses

Course Title Units
GEOG 101 Our Physical Environment 3
GEOG 102
    or
GEOG 107
The Human Environment
 
World Regions and Interrelations
3
MATH 124 Elementary Statistics 3
GEOG 103 Geographic Techniques 3
GEOG 690 GW Proseminar in Geography - GWAR 3

Total for core: 15 units

Distribution Requirement
(Cross-listed courses originating in other departments are not accepted in these categories.)

One course from each of the following four areas:

  • Physical Environment - 300-numbered courses in Geography
  • Human Geography - 400-numbered courses in Geography
  • Regional Studies - 500-numbered courses in Geography
  • Either
    Geographic Techniques - 601-639 numbered courses in Geography
    or
    Applied Geography - 640 - 668 numbered courses in Geography

Total distribution requirements: 12 - 15 units

Focus of Interest
Units of upper division geography electives consisting of a minimum of three courses chosen on advisement. These courses will be organized around coherent themes such as those listed below. In addition, alternative concentrations tailored to individual student interest may be developed in consultation with the Geography undergraduate advisor. On advisement appropriate upper division courses from other departments and programs may be included.

  • Human Geography
  • Environmental Studies
  • Physical Environment
  • Resource Management
  • Techniques of Geographic Analysis
  • Urban Environment, Transportation and Land Use
  • Focused individual interest pursued in consultation with the undergraduate advisor

Total for focus: 12 units

Total for major: 39 - 42 units

 

Note: A minimum of 40 upper division units must be completed for the degree (including upper division units required for the major, general education, electives, etc.). A student can complete this major yet not attain the necessary number of upper division units required for graduation. In this case additional upper division courses will be needed to reach the required total.

 

Foci of Interest

Focus on Human Geography

In addition to serving traditional liberal arts education, this option permits systematic study within cultural geography: GEOG 422, 423, 425, 427, 432, 434, 445, 454, 455 and a 500-level course.

 

Focus on Environmental Studies

This focus provides students with an opportunity to learn about environmental processes and issues arising from human activities on our planet. GEOG 600 is a required course. GEOG 316, 317, 422, 427, 642, 647, 651, 652, 657, 666, 667, and 668 are among those recommended. Supplementary courses in Environmental Studies are also recommended on advisement.

 

Focus on the Physical Environment

This focus offers a chance to study physical patterns and processes involving landforms, climate, biogeography, soils, and water. Courses central to the specialization include GEOG 312, 313, 314, 316, and 317; supporting courses include GEOG 602, 642, 647, and 657. Supplementary courses in Geosciences and Biology are recommended on advisement.

 

Focus on Resource Management

A central theme in geography is the use and abuse of natural resources. Courses central to this specialization include GEOG 317, 425, 427, 600, 602, 603, 610, 611, 642, 647, 657, and 666. Supplementary courses in Geosciences and Biology are recommended on advisement.

 

Focus on Techniques of Geographic Analysis

This option concentrates on the technical skills of data acquisition in the field (GEOG 601, 602), data analysis in the lab, such as remote sensing (GEOG 610, 611), and Geographic Information Systems (GEOG 603, 620, 621, 625, 629), and data display in cartography (GEOG 606). An internship (GEOG 688) is strongly recommended.

 

Focus on Urban Environment, Transportation and Land Use

This specialization offers an opportunity to acquire foundation knowledge to prepare for entry level careers and graduate work. Key courses include GEOG 422, 423, 425, 427, 432, 433, 434, 435, 455, 601, 603, 651, 652, 658, 666, and 667. Upper division courses in Urban Studies are particularly appropriate as well.

 

Focused individual interests may be pursued in consultation with a geography major advisor. GEOG 603 and 688 are highly recommended.

 

Minor in Geography

Minor Advisor: Jennifer Blecha, Tendai Chitewere

 

The geography minor consists of a core curriculum of three lower division courses plus 12 units of upper division geography electives on advisement. These courses may be organized around coherent themes such as those described for the major. However, groupings of courses specifically appropriate to majors in other departments or programs such as Biology, Environmental Studies, International Relations, Earth & Climate Sciences, or Urban Studies and Planning are particularly recommended.

 

Students are advised the CR grade is acceptable in one course to be counted for the geography minor.

 

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

 

Program

Course Title Units
GEOG 101 Our Physical Environment 3
GEOG 102
    or
GEOG 107
The Human Environment
 
World Regions and Interrelations
3
MATH 124 Elementary Statistics 3
GEOG 103 Geographic Techniques 3

Upper division courses on advisement: 12 units

Total for core: 24 units

 

Master of Arts in Geography

Graduate Advisors: Jason Henderson, Andrew Oliphant, Nancy Wilkinson

 

Admission to the Program

For admission to the graduate program, a student must meet the general university requirements as stated in the Bulletin. For unconditional admission to the M.A. program in geography, a student must have completed an undergraduate major in geography with a minimum GPA of 3.25 in the major. An applicant with a GPA of 3.25 or better in a major other than geography may qualify for admission as a conditionally classified graduate student. The conditional status is removed upon completion of core degree courses in physical and cultural geography, and geographic techniques, plus two upper division geography courses on advisement, with a grade of B or better in each course. Units earned for remedial or prerequisite course work are not applied toward the graduate degree.

 

In addition to the general application and grade transcripts which are sent to the graduate studies office, the department requires a detailed Statement of Purpose, GRE scores and two letters of recommendation. Check the department website for details on how to apply to the program; materials must be submitted in one packet. Personal interviews with the graduate advisors and appropriate department faculty are recommended.

 

Written English Proficiency Requirements

Level One: A score of 4.5 or better on the Analytical Writing portion of the GRE is taken as an indication of Level One writing proficiency. Any student whose GRE AW is 4.0 or lower is required to undertake remedial course work which does not appear on the Advancement to Candidacy (ATC). Level Two: The second-level University graduate literacy requirement is met by satisfactory completion of GEOG 895 or GEOG 898.

 

Advancement to Candidacy

In addition to fulfilling all university requirements, students must complete the required curriculum outlined below. All graduate seminars and all courses used on the Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) with the exception of GEOG 895 and GEOG 898 must be taken on a letter grade basis and have earned a B- or better. Not more than 3 units of independent study (GEOG 899) and 1 unit of independent study (GEOG 699) may be included on the ATC. Internship (GEOG 688) units do not appear on the ATC. Each student must consult with the appropriate graduate advisor regularly and design an individual program leading towards the culminating experience requirement (thesis or research paper). For advancement to candidacy, the student must select a culminating experience committee comprised of two or three members, at least two of whom must be from the department, and present a research proposal to department faculty. Note that culminating experience committee members may have specific requirements for methodological background courses (e.g. the choice of GEOG 705, 701 or 702), so this should be considered when planning your course schedules.

 

Upper division courses offered by the department may be included with the approval of the graduate advisor. Depending upon a student's background and/or objective, additional courses in geography or related fields may be required on advisement.

 

On-line course descriptions are available.

 

Program

Course Title Units
GEOG 705
    or
GEOG 701
    or
GEOG 702
Geographical Analysis
 
Field Methods in Human Geography (4)
 
Field Methods in Physical Geography (4)
3 - 4
GEOG 801 Scope and Method in Geography 1 3
GEOG 810 Seminar in Physical Geography 3
GEOG 820 Seminar in Cultural Geography 3

Total: 12 - 13 units

 

Graduate seminars in geography from the following: 6-12 units
(A seminar may be repeated for credit provided that it covers a different topic area and is offered by a different instructor)

Course Title
GEOG 815 Seminar in Geographic Techniques
GEOG 825 Seminar in Economic Geography
GEOG 832 Seminar in Urban Geography
GEOG 850 Seminar in Regional Geography
GEOG 858 Seminar in Environmental and Land Use Planning

 

Graduate seminars and courses or upper division courses in geography or related fields on advisement: 3-9

One of the following:

Course Title Units
GEOG 895 Research Project
    and
Master's Comprehensive Oral Examination
3
GEOG 898 Master's Thesis
    and
Oral Defense of Thesis
3

Minimum Total: 30 units

 

Master’s Oral Examination. A two-hour oral examination is required of all students. One hour is devoted to the research topic (GEOG 895) and a second hour focuses on a discussion of six foundation works in the discipline selected on individual advisement. The examination or either of its parts may be repeated only once. Students must have completed all course work prior to taking the oral examination which can be scheduled only during the fall and spring semesters. Examination guidelines are available from the graduate advisor.

 

Research Proposal. The department requires all M.A. students to present a proposal of their research for culminating experience to faculty and peers within a semester of filing the Proposal for Culminating Experience. The object is to provide students with useful feedback in the critical developmental stage of the research experience. Students present a twenty minute synopsis of their research ideas to faculty and fellow graduate students focusing particularly on linking the research to a broader theoretical framework and presenting a methodology design to achieve the specifically stated objectives. This is followed by twenty minutes (maximum) for questions and comments. Proposal presentations are scheduled as needed.

 

Master of Arts in Geography: Concentration in Resource Management and Environmental Planning

Graduate Advisor: Nancy Wilkinson

 

Admission to the Program

For admission to the graduate program, a student must meet the general University requirements as stated in the Bulletin. For unconditional admission to the M.A. program in geography, a student must have completed an undergraduate major in geography with a minimum GPA of 3.25 in the major. An applicant with a GPA of 3.25 or better in a major other than geography may qualify for admission as a conditionally classified graduate student. The conditional status is removed upon completion of core degree courses in physical and cultural geography, and geographic techniques, plus two upper division geography courses on advisement, with a grade of B or better in each course. Units earned for remedial or prerequisite course work are not applied toward the graduate degree.

 

In addition to the general application and grade transcripts which are sent to the graduate admissions office, the department requires a detailed Statement of Purpose, GRE scores, and two letters of recommendation. Check the department website for details on how to apply to the department; materials must be submitted in one packet. Personal interviews with the graduate advisors, and appropriate department faculty are recommended.

 

Written English Proficiency Requirements

Level One: a score of 4.5 or better on the Analytical Writing portion of the GRE is taken as an indication of Level One writing proficiency. Any student whose GRE AW is 4.0 or lower is required to undertake remedial course work, which does not appear on the Advancement to Candidacy (ATC). Level Two: The second-level University graduate literacy requirement is met by satisfactory completion of GEOG 895 or 898.

 

Advancement to Candidacy

In addition to fulfilling all University requirements, students must complete the required curriculum outlined below. All graduate seminars and all courses used on the Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) with the exception of GEOG 855 and GEOG 898 must be taken on a letter grade basis and have earned a B- or better. Not more than 3 units of Special Study (GEOG 899) and 1 unit of Special Study (GEOG 699) may be included on the ATC. Internship (GEOG 688) units do not appear on the ATC. Each student must consult with the appropriate graduate advisor regularly and design an individual program leading towards the culminating experience requirement (thesis or research paper). For advancement to candidacy, the student must select a culminating experience committee comprised of two or three members, at least two of whom must be from the department, and present a research proposal to the department faculty. Note that culminating experience committee members may have specific requirements for methodological background courses (e.g. the choice of GEOG 705, 701 or 702), so this should be considered when planning your course schedules.

 

Upper division courses offered by the department may be included with the approval of the graduate advisor. Depending upon a student's background and/or objective, additional courses in geography or related fields may be required on advisement.

 

On-line course descriptions are available.

 

Program

Course Title Units
GEOG 705
    or
GEOG 701
    or
GEOG 702
Geographical Analysis
 
Field Methods in Human Geography (4)
 
Field Methods in Physical Geography (4)
3 - 4
GEOG 751 Environmental Management 3
GEOG 801 Scope and Method in Geography 1 3
GEOG 810 Seminar in Physical Geography 3
GEOG 820 Seminar in Cultural Geography 3

 

Additional graduate courses selected from the following on advisement: 3 - 7 units

Course Title
BUS 857 Ecology and Environmental Leadership
GEOG 815 Seminar in Geographic Techniques
GEOG 858 Seminar in Environmental and Land Use Planning
GEOG 896 Directed Readings in Geography (1 - 3)
I R 735 Seminar in Global Environmental Policy
PA 790 Special Topics in Public Administration

 

Additional graduate seminars or upper division courses selected from the following, on advisement, with a minimum of one course from each category below. 4 - 9 units

Category I: Resource Management and Environmental Planning

Course Title
BIOL 531 Restoration Ecology
ECON 550 Environmental Economics
ENVS 450 GW Environmental Law and Policy - GWAR
GEOG 422 Environmental Perception
GEOG 427 Agriculture and Food Supply
GEOG 646 The Geography of Marine Resources
GEOG 647 Geography of Water Resources 
GEOG 652 Environmental Impact Analysis 
GEOG 658 Land Use Planning
GEOL 475 Hydrogeology

 

Category II: Techniques

Course Title
GEOG 702 Field Methods in Physical Geography -- if not chosen above
GEOG 711 Remote Sensing of the Environment II
GEOG 720 Geographical Information Systems
GEOG 721 GIS for Environmental Analysis
GEOG 642 Watershed Assessment and Restoration
GEOG 657 Natural Resource Management: Biotic Resources
GEOG 705 Geographical Analysis -- if not chosen above 

 

Culminating Experience

One of the following: 3 units

Course Title
GEOG 895 Research Project
    and
Master's Comprehensive Oral Examination
GEOG 898 Master's Thesis
    and
Oral Defense of Thesis

Minimum total: 30 units

 

Master's Oral Examination. A two-hour oral examination is required of all students. One hour is devoted to the research topic (GEOG 895) and a second hour focuses on a discussion of six foundation works in the discipline selected on individual advisement. The examination or either of its parts may be repeated only once. Students must have completed all course work prior to taking the oral examination, which can be scheduled only during the fall and spring semesters. Examination guidelines are available from the graduate advisor.

 

Research Proposal. The department requires all M.A. students to present a proposal of their research for culminating experience to faculty and peers within a semester of filing the Proposal for Culminating Experience. The object is to provide students with useful feedback in the critical developmental stage of the research experience. Students present a twenty minute synopsis of their research ideas to faculty and fellow graduate students focusing particularly on linking the research to a broader theoretical framework and presenting a methodology design to achieve the specifically stated objectives. This is followed by twenty minutes (maximum) for questions and comments. Proposal presentations are scheduled as needed.

 

Master of Science in Geographic Information Science

Graduate Advisors: Leonhard Blesius, Jerry Davis, Ellen Hines, XiaoHang Liu

 

Admission to the Program

For admission to the graduate program, a student must meet the general University requirements as stated in the Bulletin. An applicant must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.25 or better in geography or a related discipline, with emphasis or experience in spatial data analysis, and have earned a grade of B or better in GEOG 603, or equivalent.

 

In addition to the general application and grade transcripts which are sent to the Graduate Studies Office, the department requires applicants to submit a detailed Statement of Purpose, GRE scores and two letters of recommendation. Check the department website for details on how to apply to the department; materials must be submitted in one packet. Personal interviews with the graduate advisors and appropriate department faculty are recommended.

 

Written English Proficiency Requirements

Level One: A minimum score of 4.0 on the Analytical Writing portion of the GRE is taken as an indication of Level One writing proficiency and is required for admission.
Level Two: The second-level University graduate literacy requirement is met by satisfactory completion of GEOG 895 or GEOG 898.

 

Advancement to Candidacy

In addition to fulfilling all University requirements, students must complete the required curriculum outlined below. All graduate seminars and all courses used on the Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) with the exception of Geography 895 and 898 must be taken on a letter grade basis and have earned a B- or better. Not more than 3 units of Special Study (GEOG 899) and 1 unit of Special Study (GEOG 699) may be included on the ATC. Each student must consult with their graduate advisor regularly and design an individual program leading towards the culminating experience requirement (thesis or research paper). For advancement to candidacy, the student must select a culminating experience committee comprised of two or three members, at least two of whom must be full-time faculty in geography at SF State, and must present a research proposal to the department.

 

Upper division courses offered by the department may be included with the approval of the graduate advisor. Depending upon a student's background and/or objective, additional courses in geography or a related field may be required on advisement. Note: A maximum of 30% undergraduate-only courses may be used in a graduate program.

 

On-line course descriptions are available.

 

Prerequisites as needed:

Course Title Units
GEOG 603
    or
equivalent
Introduction to Geographic Information Analysis 3

 

Program

Course Title Units
GEOG 705 Geographical Analysis 3
GEOG 815 Seminar in GIScience 3
GEOG 897 Research Project Formulation 2
GEOG 896
    or
GEOG 789
Directed Readings
 
Internship
3

Total: 11 units

 

One of the following on advising: 3 units

Course Title
GEOG 751 Environmental Management
GEOG 810 Seminar in Physical Geography (any variant: Biogeography, Climatology, or Geomorphology)
GEOG 820 Seminar in Human and Social Geography
GEOG 832 Seminar in Urban Geography
GEOG 858 Seminar in Environmental and Land Use Planning

 

Three to four of the following on advising: 12 - 16 units

Course Title
GEOG 610 Remote Sensing of the Environment I (4)
GEOG 711 Remote Sensing of the Environment II (4)
GEOG 720 Geographic Information Systems (4)
GEOG 721 GIS for Environmental Analysis (4)

Approved courses from among the following, on advisement:

Course Title
CSC 667 Internet Application Design
CSC 675 Introduction to Database Systems
GEOG 606 Cartography
GEOG 625 Programming for Geographic Information Science
GEOG 629 Coastal and Marine Applications of GIS
GEOG 642 Watershed Assessment
GEOG 657 Natural Resource Management
GEOG 702 Field Methods in Physical Geography
GEOL 702 Quantitative Methods in Geoscience

 

Culminating Experience

One of the following: 3 units

Course Title
GEOG 895 Research Project
    and
Master’s Comprehensive Oral Examination
GEOG 898 Master’s Thesis
    and
Oral Defense of Thesis

Minimum total: 30-34 units

 

Comprehensive Oral Examination (Geography 895). A two-hour oral examination is required of all students using this option. One hour is devoted to the research topic (GEOG 895) and a second hour of comprehensive oral examination on the theory and applications of GIScience. The examination or either of its parts may be repeated only once. Students must have completed all course work prior to taking the oral examination, which can be scheduled only during the fall and spring semesters. Examination guidelines are available from the graduate advisor.

 

Research Proposal. The department requires all graduate students to present a proposal of their research for culminating experience to faculty and peers within a semester of filing the Proposal for Culminating Experience. The object is to provide students with useful feedback in the critical developmental stage of the research experience. Students present a twenty minute synopsis of their research ideas to faculty and fellow graduate students focusing particularly on linking the research to a broader theoretical framework and presenting a methodology design to achieve the specifically stated objectives. This is followed by twenty minutes (maximum) for questions and comments. Proposal presentations are scheduled as needed.

 


 

Footnotes

  1. To be taken by the student during the first year after admission to classified graduate status.

 

 

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