Why choose Geography?


Take a class in Geography and fall in love! Geography at Berkeley 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. The faculty are as varied and interesting as the classes they teach, as well as outstanding scholars in their fields. What’s more, the major curriculum allows for a lot of choice. A typical semester’s offerings might feature:

  • California
  • Economic Development in China
  • Food and The Environment
  • Climatology
  • Biogeography
  • The American City
  • Physiography & Geomorphology
  • Geographic Information Science
  • The Urban Experience
  • Cartographic Representation
  • The Southern Border
  • Prehistoric Agriculture
  • Local and Regional Transformation
  • Development & Underdevelopment
  • Terrestrial Hydrology
  • Globalization


Looking for adventure? As a Geography major you will be eligible to participate in field trips both in and outside classes. The urban field course explores the metropolitan Bay Area, while the Spring semester field methodology class involves trips to study sites in the delta and Klamath Mountains.


The Berkeley United Geographers organization (BUGs) sponsors movie nights, beer-on-the-balcony afternoons, picnics, parties and potlucks. But BUGs don’t just want to have fun – they also organize field trips, informal lectures, career and graduate school seminars, and lunch time talks. Stay in touch by joining the BUGs Slack channel and/or Facebook page. Share geography-related news and course advice, learn about events and research opportunities, and get connected with a community of Berkeley Geographers! Questions? Email BUGs at berkeleybugs@gmail.com.


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. Here you can 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.


Undergraduates typically need a bit of help negotiating bureaucratic hurdles, finding the faculty they need to talk to, figuring out how to “do” Berkeley. We think you’ll find the whole Geography Department staff always friendly, eager to help you, and extremely capable in their roles. If you hang around enough, we’ll know your name!


“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.”