Program at a glance

How much does it cost? 

Learn more about how to afford a degree from the University of Nevada, Reno.

How can I learn more?

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How do I apply?

Open to all undergraduate students. Applicants must have a high-school diploma or GED. Learn how to apply.

What will I learn in a geography degree program?

Geography is the examination of the complex relationships between humans and their environments and the spatial dimensions of our world’s most pressing challenges. Within the undergraduate program, students have the option to pursue one of four specializations or a general bachelor of science or bachelor of arts in geography tailored to their interests.

Learning outcomes

Graduates of the bachelor's degree in geography are trained to:

  • Analyze the complex and shifting relationships between people and places
  • Hone graphical, observational and analytical skills 
  • Apply geography knowledge skills to solve complex problems
  • Collect, analyze and present data using geographic information systems (GIS) or other tools or techniques
  • Develop a holistic view of environmental and social processes
  • Pursue interests in urban and/or environmental change

Hands-on learning

Students in the geography program are provided with an extraordinary learning experience that goes beyond the classroom. Coursework provides students with valuable time spent in the field while dedicated faculty use their expertise to tailor students' educations to their interests.

Specializations in the geography program

  • Minor in geography

    Expand your career opportunities with a minor in geography. Improving your ability to examine and understand humans' interactions with their environments can be useful across a wide range of careers.

  • Geotechnologies

    The geotechnologies specialization emphasizes proficiency in geo-spatial methods. Students obtaining the geotechnologies specialization will learn the tools, methods, and software necessary to manage and analyze spatial data and information. The courses and specialization can be applied toward becoming a certified GIS Professional (GISP) from the GIS Certification Institute. This specialization is recommended for students interested in employment as a GIS or remote sensing analyst, cartographer, planner, or graduate study in geography or related geotechnology field.

  • Climate, water and ecosystems

    The climate, water and ecosystems specialization provides students with an understanding of the climate and climate change, ecological processes, water management, the interactions between water, climate and life, human impacts on these systems, and their influence on society. Students obtaining the climate, water, and ecosystems emphasis will understand the climate system, the environment and human activities. This emphasis is recommended for students interested in employment in environmental consulting firms, planning agencies, numerous government agencies (e.g. EPA, USGS, NRCS) and non-governmental organizations.

  • Environmental Policy and Management

    The Environmental Policy and Management specialization emphasizes proficiency in analytical and evaluative skills in relation to environmental management. Decision-making regarding future use of renewable and non-renewable resources requires an interdisciplinary approach that engages with the physical, economic, and political processes that govern human interactions with the natural world. This specialization will strengthen the job prospects of by emphasizing analytical and evaluative skills that are necessary for employment in a variety of environmental management forums.

  • Globalization, politics and place

    The globalization, politics and place specialization emphasizes proficiency in social and cultural geography and develops skills in critical thinking, research techniques, and oral and written communication. Students obtaining this specialization will learn and apply geographic information about cultural, political and economic systems and processes to understand how people, places and regions are linked globally. This specialization is recommended for students interested in career fields that involve international relations and diplomacy, development, government, urban policy, non-profit and non-governmental work, teaching, and graduate studies in Geography or related disciplines.

  • Geography general studies, bachelor of science

    The bachelor of science in geography emphasizes proficiency in physical geography, geospatial methods, and human/environment interactions and develops skills in mathematics and statistics. Students are encouraged to develop with their advisors an individualized program of study within the degree, allowing them the flexibility to explore the breadth of the discipline. All students are required to have a minor.

  • Geography general studies, bachelor of arts

    The bachelor of arts in geography emphasizes proficiency in human geography and develops skills in a foreign language. Students are encouraged to develop with their advisors an individualized program of study within these degrees, allowing them the flexibility to explore the breadth of the discipline. All students are required to have a minor.

What it means to earn a Mackay degree

This degree is awarded by the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering. Find out what Mackay's rich history, strong connection to industry and dedication to student internship and career support can do for you.

Learn more about the Mackay School
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Careers with a degree in geography

You can afford the University of Nevada, Reno

76% of students receive financial aid

Almost everyone is eligible to receive financial aid. If you think your family’s income is too high to qualify for financial aid, you might be surprised.

54% of all students graduate with no debt

That's right. More than half of our students leave the University of Nevada, Reno with no student debt.

Life's a journey. Honors makes it meaningful.

At the University of Nevada, Reno Honors College, our students maximize their unique gifts and passions through a series of personalized experiences that deepen their capacity for transformative societal impact.

Visit the Honors College
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