Geography/Social Studies

Geography/Social Studies


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.

The Department of Environmental Studies is part of Huxley College of the Environment. Western’s Secondary Education Department is part of the Woodring College of Education.

Students who major in this degree program are highly encouraged to include a minor in their plan of study such as: Environmental Studies, GIS, Energy Policy, East Asian or Canadian-American Studies, or areas like a foreign language.

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 Huxley College with the writing and reporting skills of journalism to produce an environmental magazine. 

Huxley hosts the Huxley College 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, Huxley College 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.

Careers and Graduate Studies

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.


Sample Jobs

  • Middle School Teacher 
  • Land-Use Analyst 
  • High School Teacher 
  • Surveyor 
  • Private School Teacher 
  • Urban/Regional Planner 
  • Ecologist

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.