Program: Geographic Information Science, B.S.

Program Description

The Geographic Information Science program features a strong technical component based on applications of geographic information science (GISci), cartography and remote sensing, along with training in geospatial analysis and data presentation. Students in the program will explore the application of GISci in various industries including, health and human services, public safety, natural/environmental sciences, retail, urban planning, government and transportation.

Social Science Subject Matter Program for the Single Subject Credential

Geographic Information Science majors who are interested in teaching social studies at the middle school or high school level may combine their major program with the Single Subject Social Science Subject Matter Program to meet requirements for entering a Single Subject Credential Program. View Social Science Subject Matter Program for Secondary School Teachers (.pdf) for more information. The Geography and Environmental Studies undergraduate advisor also can provide assistance in coordinating the completion of both the major and the subject matter program simultaneously. See also the disclosure statement regarding Programs Leading to Licensure and Credentialing.

Program Requirements

1. Lower Division Courses (9 units)

Foundation Courses

Select one course from the following:

GEOG 101A/GEOG 101AL The Physical Environment and Lab (2/1)
or GEOG 103A/GEOG 103AL Weather and Lab (2/1)

Select one course from the following:

GEOG 107 People, Places, and Landscapes (3)
GEOG 108 Earth from Above (3)
GEOG 112/GEOG 112L Climate Change and Lab (2/1)
GEOG 150 World Geography: People, Places, and Globalization (3)
GEOG 170 Water Resources of California (3)

GISci Core Course

Take the following:

GEOG 206/L Introduction to Geographical Information Science and Lab (2/1)

2. Upper Division Courses (48 units)

a. Gateway Course (3 units)

Take the following:

GEOG 300 The Geographer’s Craft (3)

b. Field Studies (3 units)

Select one course from the following:

GEOG 404A-Z Field Studies in Geography (3)

c. Geography Core Courses (6 units)

Select two courses from the following:

GEOG 301 Cultural Geography (3)
GEOG 311 The Atmosphere (3)
GEOG 316 Environmental Geography (3)
GEOG 340 Economic Geography (3)
GEOG 351 Cities, Space, and Power (3)
GEOG 364/L Geography of World Ecosystems and Lab (2/1)
GEOG 365/GEOG 365L Geomorphology and Lab (3/1)
GEOG 366 Geography of Environmental Hazards (3)
GEOG 370 Water, Society, and the Environment (3)
GEOG 375 Environment, Economy, and Development (3)

d. GISci Core Courses (6 units)

Take the following:

GEOG 306/L Intermediate Geographical Information Science and Lab (2/1)
GEOG 406/L Advanced Geographical Information Science and Lab (2/1)

e. Spatial Informatics and GeoVisualization (15 units)

Select one course from the following:

GEOG 305/L Maps and Graphics and Lab (2/1)
or GEOG 409/L Digital Cartography and Lab (2/1)

Take the following:

GEOG 407/L Remote Sensing and Lab (2/1)
GEOG 408D/L Spatial Database Management and Lab (2/1)
GEOG 408E/L Geopython and Lab (1/2)
GEOG 460/L Spatial Analysis and Comparison and Lab (2/1)

f. Geospatial Applications Courses (6 units)

Select two courses from the following:

GEOG 408A/L Human/Cultural Applications in GIS and Lab (2/1)
GEOG 408B/L Environmental/Physical Applications in GIS and Lab (2/1)
GEOG 408C/L Geospatial Project Management and Lab (2/1)
GEOG 408F/L WebGIS and Lab (2/1)
GEOG 408G/L GIS and Decision Making and Lab (2/1)
GEOG 408H/L GIS in Water Resource Management and Lab (2/1)
GEOG 408I/L Geospatial Big Data Analytics and Lab (2/1)
GEOG 494 Internship (3)*
GEOG 497A-F Senior Seminar in Geography (3)*
GEOG 550F Forensic Geography (3)

*Must be GIS/Cartography/Remote Sensing topic.

g. Capstone Course (3 units)

Take the following:

GEOG 490 Senior Project (3)

*Must be GIS/Cartography/Remote Sensing topic.

h. Elective Courses (6 units)

Take two additional upper division (300-, 400- or 500- level) GEOG courses.

3. General Education (48 units)

Undergraduate students must complete 48 units of General Education as described in this Catalog, including 3 units of coursework meeting the Ethnic Studies (ES) graduation requirement.

6 units are satisfied by the following courses in the major: GEOG 101A or GEOG 103A satisfies B1 Physical Science; GEOG 101AL or GEOG 103AL satisfies B3 Science Laboratory Activity; and GEOG 206/L satisfies E Lifelong Learning and fulfills the Information Competence requirement.

If taken, GEOG 311, GEOG 316, GEOG 365 or GEOG 366 satisfies B5 Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning; and GEOG 107, GEOG 150, GEOG 170, GEOG 301, GEOG 351 and/or GEOG 370 satisfies 3-6 units of D1 Social Sciences. Some upper division GEOG electives may satisfy General Education requirements. Refer to course descriptions for application in General Education.

Total Units in the Major/Option: 57

General Education Units: 42

Additional Units: 21

Total Units Required for the B.S. Degree: 120


Department of Geography and Environmental Studies
Chair: Regan Maas
Sierra Hall (SH) 150
(818) 677-3532

Program Learning Outcomes

Students receiving a Bachelor of Science in Geographic Information Science will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the historical and theoretical foundations of geography.
  2. Demonstrate practical ability in the application of technological skills associated with the GIS industry, including data acquisition and creation, database management, programming and automation, remote sensing, and spatial analysis.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to apply spatial analysis functions using GIS and other geospatial technologies across a variety of tools embedded in various proprietary and open-source programs.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to apply GIS technologies to answer questions in a geospatial applications area of focus, including human/cultural or environmental/physical applications.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate GIS project aims and results using textual, oral, graphic or numeric media, especially as pertains to mapping and cartography.
  6. Practice sound ethical approaches in the application of GIS.
  7. Demonstrate productive civic and global citizenship, and awareness of and respect for human and environmental diversity.