Why choose Geography?


Our major can be completed in one year, leaving plenty of time for students to double major, add a minor, or explore different departments at Cal. Berkeley Geography includes such broad-ranging topics as the culture of cities and the dynamics of the global economy; race, gender, and social movements; glaciers and climate change; the origins of agriculture and the evolution of plant life. Non-GEOG classes can be used toward our requirements, including hundreds of study abroad courses from programs around the world.


Students engage in hands-on learning during field study courses that travel from the metropolitan Bay Area to the Klamath Mountains. Undergrads are hired for paid research positions, collaborate with faculty through independent studies, and can shadow Geography alumni at work.


Our department size offers students the benefits of an intimate community and cohort-style classes. We think you’ll find the whole Geography Department staff always friendly, eager to help you, and extremely capable in their roles. Undergrads have access to alumni and graduate student mentors and can connect with other Geographers during our weekly speaker events and student club meetings (Berkeley United Geographers).


From working on climate change-related issues to studying critical political economy and antiracist geospatial representation, our faculty and students research the social and environmental dimensions of the world’s most pressing challenges. The Geography Computing Facility or CAGE Lab provides a spacious laboratory specially equipped for computer graphics. Powerful workstations with large monitors are used in the GIS and cartography classes in web design and advanced techniques in geographic imagery.


A delightful perk of being a Geography major is hanging out on the fifth floor balcony of McCone Hall. Enjoy a panoramic view of the Bay and the Golden Gate far above the campus and urban bustle. Have lunch near the treetops, study in the sunshine, and hold your meetings alfresco. It’s also a great way to meet other geographers.


“Because you are studying the Earth and people’s responses to it, you really learn something about every subject!”

“The great thing about geography is that it is situated at the intersection of peoples and their environments and uses knowledge from both earth and social sciences to understand them as interconnected.”

“Geography is not just about maps, earthquakes, and wide oceans. In Physical Geography we study why the Grand Canyon is what it is. In Economic Geography, we study the roots of the late 90’s Asian Crisis. In Political Geography we look at ethno-religious differences and conflicts around the world and their causes. Geography is what you want it to be.”

“I love the fact that the classes are usually small which means in both of my Geography classes my professors grade my work, not GSIs.”

“Geography offers the advantages of a ‘small school’ environment on a ‘big school’ campus.”