What is Geography?
Geography is the science of place and space. Geographers ask where things are located on the surface of the Earth, why they are located where they are, how places differ from one another, and how people interact with the environment. Geography links the social sciences and natural sciences together, studying the relationships between human activity and natural systems.
Environmental Studies — Geography Emphasis, BA
Environmental Geography links together the social sciences and natural sciences, studying the relationships between human activity and natural systems. We draw on knowledge from many different fields of study to give us the big picture view of how and why cultural and natural landscapes vary over space.
Geography/Social Studies, BA
Secondary Education students who wish to be endorsed in Social Studies may choose this major. However, this degree does not require that a student pursue a teaching certificate. Geography/Social Studies majors interested in Secondary certification must apply separately to the certification programs, such as those in Woodring College of Education.
This program is designed to provide necessary depth as well as breadth to teaching majors who wish to specialize in geography in the public school system. This major satisfies the academic major requirement for teacher certification with an endorsement in elementary education and must be accompanied by the professional preparation program in elementary education.
Geography at Western
Students studying Geography at Western choose courses from both the environmental science and environmental studies departments to fulfill major requirements. Prospective Geography majors are strongly advised to take additional preparatory course work that provides a strong background in chemistry, biology, geology, physics, mathematics, statistics, political science, anthropology, and/or history.
The Geography/Social Studies major provides a breadth of knowledge in Geography, Environmental Studies, History, Economics, Anthropology, and Political Science. The major prepares students to explore a wide variety of career paths including planning, education, environmental agencies and NGOs, business, tourism, GIS, government service, transportation, and many more. This major meets Washington State requirements for a teaching endorsement and also prepares students to teach in non-traditional settings with or without the additional certification from Woodring College of Education.
Western’s Geography—Elementary program is designed to provide the necessary depth and breadth of social and natural sciences to teaching majors who wish to specialize in Geography in the public school system. Elementary Geography satisfies the academic major requirement for teacher certification with an endorsement in Elementary Education and must be accompanied by the professional preparation program in elementary education.
ENVS 201 - Understanding Environmental Data and Information
ENVS 303 - Introduction to Environmental Studies I: Human Ecology and Ethics
ENVS 332 - The Pacific Northwest: Society and Environment
ENVS 333 - East Asia: Society and Environment
ENVS 443 - Social Justice and the City
Hands-on-Experience and Internships
Beyond the Classroom
Student work is received and recognized from national and statewide organizations for exceptional problem-solving solutions that use geographic information systems and computer-aided design. Some students are published in The Planet, a student-run publication that combines the environmental focus of CENV with the writing and reporting skills of journalism to produce an environmental magazine.
Environmental Speaker Series
College of the Environment hosts the Environmental Speaker Series, which brings guest lecturers to Western’s campus to address topics of contemporary environmental concern in the region and beyond. The speaker series is intended to bring together environmentally-minded members of the Western and Bellingham communities. Students and Bellingham community members also volunteer for LEAD (Learning Environment Action Discovery), a program designed to help restore native environments and increase biodiversity.
Bringing together even broader communities, CENV students have the opportunity to take environmental studies classes in Europe and other parts of the world through a number of faculty-led study abroad summer programs.
What can you do with Geography?
Graduates of this major have assumed positions in State and National Parks, the Forest Service, college and universities, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. Other graduates teach Geography and Social Studies to children in grades 5-12 in a public or private school setting. Students with a degree in Geography/Social Studies can also go on to graduate work in Geography, Education, or Environmental Education.
Employers of Recent Western Graduates:
- Aerotek: Visual Data Specialist
- Google Maps: Visual Data Specialist
- ICI Services: Plant Propagation Manager
- Resource Manager
- GIS Database Manager
- Water Resource Manager
- Park Ranger
- Forest Service Employee
- Tourism Industry Professional
- Elementary School Teacher
- Middle School Teacher
- High School Teacher
- Private School Teacher
- Land-Use Analyst
- Urban/Regional Planner