Mission Statement

The Department of Geography has a multifaceted institutional mission. In the broadest sense, we strive to meet the institutional goals of California State University by providing excellent instruction, conducting valuable research, and engaging in meaningful service to the local, regional and international communities of which we are a part. To accomplish these goals, we endeavor to foster a greater understanding of processes that produce and alter the myriad spatial patterns constituting our human and physical environments.

About the Department

The Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at California State University, Northridge, prepares students for careers in an increasingly complex and dynamic world. Majors typically graduate with a diverse and relevant skill set in demand by industries in the public and private sectors. Students are offered the opportunity to master geospatial techniques, solve complex problems and communicate effectively in relation to human-environment interactions.

The Department of Geography and Environmental Studies offers two B.S. degrees: (1) Geography and Environmental Studies, and (2) Geographic Information Science (GIS). The department also offers a minor in both of these areas. The broad-based Geography program prepares students to understand the sociocultural and natural environment around us and to interpret the patterns found across the Earth’s surface. Comprised of 48 units, the major allows flexibility in course selection while providing a solid background in human, physical and technical aspects of the discipline.

The GIS degree focuses on the study and application of cutting-edge geospatial technologies to investigate social and environmental issues and to provide solutions. This program features a strong technical component based on applications of GIS, digital cartography and remote sensing, along with training in geospatial analysis and decision making.


Research Lab Spaces and Internship Opportunities

The Department of Geography and Environmental Studies houses two state-of-the-art geospatial computer labs geared toward geographic information systems (GIS) technology. All classrooms are designed as Smart classrooms with the latest hardware and software to meet student needs. The department also contains several research laboratory programs and spaces. The Geomatics and Aerial Environmental Research Group (GAERG) employs students in research using drone technology to monitor and analyze the physical environment in various vulnerable environments throughout California. Additionally, the Environment, Livelihoods, and Technology (ELT) lab provides student experiences researching the environmental and economic impacts of natural disasters on local communities, especially related to food systems. All of the department’s research programs provide both laboratory and field trip experiences throughout California or internationally. The department is also closely affiliated with the Center for Geospatial Science and Technology (CGST) where student interns learn highly employable skills working with cutting-edge technology on projects with local industry partners. See the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies website for more information.

Academic Advisement

Seeking academic advisement is essential to academic success and timely graduation. Undergraduates must consult with an advisor as soon as they declare Geography as their major and before registration each semester. Graduate students must consult with the graduate advisor before registering for classes. Contact the department chair for undergraduate advisement and the graduate coordinator for questions about graduate study. Academic advisement is also available to students through both the department advisor and staff advisors in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Student Services Center/EOP. Call (818) 677-2658 to schedule an appointment.


Training in geography leads students toward careers in the private or public sector as city and regional planners, conservationists, economic development and environmental consultants, sustainability analysts and managers, Geographic Information Science (GIS) technicians and analysts, climatologists, emergency management specialists and teachers at all levels. More geographers than ever before are employed in exciting careers, which include travel, working outdoors and utilizing cutting-edge geospatial technologies to solve important social, economic and environmental issues. A recent survey of CSUN alumni indicates that geographers have a higher level of job satisfaction and a higher income than many other disciplines.

The degree also can provide a foundation for pursuing advanced or professional degrees in social, environmental or physical sciences.


Technical skills taught in geography include: Geographic Information Systems (GIS); field observation and data collection, including the use of drone technology; Global Positioning Systems (GPS); sustainability analysis and management; land-use analysis; online mapping such as Google Earth; paper or digital map design; professional report writing, sediment analysis, spatial statistics, topographic surveying and weather station instrumentation.

Clubs and Societies

Scholarships and Awards

The Department of Geography and Environmental Studies offers several scholarships and awards to its students.


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