About the Department of Geography

Geographers at the University of Nevada Reno employ innovative techniques and methods to examine the complex relationship between humans and their environment and the spatial dimensions of our world’s most pressing challenges. Faculty and student research and teaching extend across the full breadth of the discipline, exploring issues of landscape and climate change, water resource management, urban and regional development, and social inequality, along with the application of GIS and spatial analysis in geographic research. The department offers both Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees in Geography with further specializations available in: Climate, Water and Ecosystems; Environmental Policy and Management; Geotechnologies; and Globalization, Politics, and Place. At the graduate level, the department offers both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Geography and focuses on training students for professional careers in academia, government, NGOs, and the private and nonprofit sector.

Explore careers in geography 


The mission of the Department of Geography is to engage students with the highest levels of scholarship and to conduct integrative research on vital social and environmental problems, in service to our communities, from the local to the global.

We use diverse approaches to analyze human and environmental patterns and processes across space and time, offering BA, BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Geography.  Our undergraduate programs include the ability to specialize in:

  • Climate, Water, and Ecosystems
  • Environmental Policy and Management
  • Geotechnologies
  • Globalization, Politics, and Place.

The Department of Geography serves the diverse university community and shares its core values of excellence, integrity, inclusiveness and collaboration.


The Department of Geography at the University of Nevada, Reno strives to be a leader in the integration of the natural and social sciences to understand and solve problems of people and the environment. Our goals are to:

  1. Foster an appreciation of the value and necessity of spatial thinking.
  2. Build an extraordinary learning community that goes beyond the classroom.
  3. Increase our recognition locally, nationally and internationally as a leader in research.
  4. Be a top resource and destination for students at both the graduate and undergraduate level
  5. Advance the University's core values of excellence, integrity, inclusiveness and collaboration. 
  6. Further connections with the community to address the needs of Nevada's diverse population
  7. To continue as faculty to lead in integration and collaboration across disciplines to advance the mission and vision of the department

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 study 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, spatial ecology, water resources. The Department also has growing UAS and autonomous systems capability for gathering and processing spatial data for mapping and modeling the structure and composition of study sites.

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 of 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.

Our message of support

We strongly support our College's commitment to creating an environment where all are welcomed, valued, and respected. We are angered and deeply troubled by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless other Black people killed by police officers sworn to protect and serve their communities. We stand in solidarity with our Black student leaders who are calling for change. We recognize and condemn the systemic racial inequalities and violence that have maligned and silenced the voices and lives of Black people, Indigenous peoples, and people of color for far too long. America's educational institutions and our own discipline of Geography bear a legacy of racial injustice and underrepresentation that we contend with still today. As a department and discipline, we promise to address this history and combat anti-Black and other forms of racism in our scholarship, teaching, and service while advancing the values of social and spatial justice, equity, and care that continue to be affirmed by new and more diverse generations of geographers and strands of inquiry. We know meaningful research and teaching can only be forged from and practiced by the voices of many. Thank you to our Black student leadership for their powerful letter and call to action. Black lives matter on this campus, in Reno, the U.S., and around the world. In the days and months ahead, we will identify concrete steps to combat racial injustice and create safe and inclusive environments at the University of Nevada, Reno and within our broader local and global communities.