skip to main content

About the Department

Mackay Science Building

Department Chair


About the Department

The Department of Geography at the University of Nevada, Reno emphasizes the study of landscape change and human-environment interactions in arid and mountainous environments. The Department emphasizes the integration of human and physical geography and encourages the use of geospatial technologies (GIS, remote sensing, and cartography).

Our department has a strong physical geography component that seeks to understand patterns and process within nature. We have strengths in cultural and historical geography that seek to understand patterns and process within societies. Where studies of nature and society meet, we study the effects of human ideas, systems, and activities on the environment. And, looking at human-environment interactions from a different perspective, our work also encompasses how the environment establishes contexts and constraints for human ideas, systems, and activities.

Our approach encourages problem solving that utilizes spatial reasoning and the analysis of questions at multiple spatial scales: local, regional, national, and global.

Facilities and Labs

The Department of Geography houses a dendrochronology laboratory and palynology laboratory for paleoclimate reconstruction, the Nevada State Climate Office and geospatial laboratories that studies ecosystem and urban growth patterns and processes using GIS and spatial statistics. The Department has an extensive map collection, two computer labs, and equipment for field studies focusing on mountain environments, climatology, environmental reconstruction, and water resources.

Serving Nevada

The Department of Geography is the only program in Nevada that grants university education and college degrees in geography. The curriculum contributes to the higher education to all interested Nevadans with a full array of geographic offerings. Recognizing the varied needs and nature of Nevada students, the Department supports the University Core Curriculum, the degree at night program, non-degree enrollees, and instructs many non-majors, in addition to students seeking geography majors and minors.

The Local Area

Reno is uniquely situated for the study of geography, located 30 miles from the capital of one of the nation's most rapidly growing states. Reno offers access to the Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe, and the high desert and mountains of the Great Basin. 

Take the next step...