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Geography: Physical Geography Emphasis

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Geography: Physical Geography Emphasis

Bachelor of Science

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Geographers study the physical properties of the earth's surface and the distribution of life on earth, including humans and the effects of human activity. Students may focus on world regions and cultures, urban planning, or interaction between people and the environment. Students learn to analyze data, use cartographic and geographic information systems, and work in the field and in remote-sensing laboratories. Internships are integral to the major. Course credit and on-the-job experience can be earned in Tucson's top private-sector firms and government agencies. A teaching major is also offered, leading to certification to teach in Arizona public schools.

Major Details

College: College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Admissions Requirements:

No Additional Requirements

Math Required:


    The M-strand is for students who require mathematical facility at the level of at least MATH 110 (Collegiate Algebra). This strand involves reasonable facility with algebra and algebraic functions, graphs, and simple modeling. Students who choose the M-strand are prepared for further mathematical work. This work may include LING 178 (The Mathematics of Language and Linguistics), MATH 114 (Finite Mathematics), MATH 113 (Elements of Calculus), or a statistics class from outside the Mathematics Department, such as ISTA 116 (Statistical Foundations for the Information Age) or SBS 200 (Statistics for the Social Sciences).
Second Language Required:

2 Semesters

  • Scoring the equivalent of second-semester skill level on an entrance or placement examination administered by The University of Arizona.
  • Completion with a C or better of a second semester course at the post-secondary level.
  • An AP (Advanced Placement), IB (International Baccalaureate) or CLEP (College Level Entrance Program) language score determined by the individual language department.
  • In the College of Engineering by a method determined within the College; however, all students in the college must also take a language placement examination on entrance to the University.
2 Semesters
Fees: Yes
Pre-Major: No
Available at:
  • Main Campus

Four-Year Plan

Archived plans are available on Degree Search 2011-2016 for many degree plans. These are sample plans. Please work with your academic advisor for more specific and up-to-date requirements.

Select a year:

UA Course Requirements Units
1st Semester
GE Moderate Math Strand 3
ENGL 101 First-Year Composition 3
First Semester Second Language 4
Tier I General Education 3
Tier I General Education 3
2nd Semester
ENGL 102 First-Year Composition 3
SBS 200 Introduction to Statistics for the Social Sciences 3
Second Semester Second Language 4
Tier I General Education 3
Tier I General Education 3
3rd Semester
GEOG Human 3
Tier I General Education 3
Tier I General Education 3
Tier II General Education 3
Elective 3
4th Semester
GEOG Methods 3
GEOG Physical 3
Tier II General Education 3
Tier II General Education 3
Elective - Upper Division 3
5th Semester
GEOG Methods 3
GEOG Methods 3
GEOG Concentration Methods 3
Minor 3
Elective 3
6th Semester
GEOG Concentration 3
GEOG Concentration 3
Minor 3
Minor 3
Elective 3
7th Semester
GEOG Concentration 3
GEOG Concentration 3
Minor 3
Minor 3
Elective 3
8th Semester
GEOG Elective 3
Minor 3
Elective - Upper Division 3
Elective - Upper Division 3
Elective 3

AZ Transfer Pathways

This page is designed for in-state transfer students who plan to attend the University of Arizona. The information presented lists the most accurate course equivalencies and may not include all possible requirements. Transfer students are strongly encouraged to use this site for reference only and not for self-advising.

Transfer students should work with their community colleges and UA advisors to develop an individualized plan for transfer, and visit

  • All posted Pathways (except for Bachelor of Applied Science Pathways) fulfill an AGEC and most also fulfill an Associate Degree
  • Following a Pathway does not guarantee admission to the UA nor admission to a college/major/program at the UA
  • Use Pathways in consultation with advisors from your community college and the UA
  • Pathways are subject to change at any time

Which college/university do you attend?

Career Planning

The Physical Geography concentration in the Geography major familiarizes students with human and physical geography, climate systems, dendrochronology, geomorphology, and conservation biology, as well as geographic information systems and remote sensing skills. Graduates are well prepared to work in the public or private sector as research technicians, educators, project managers, consultants, or conservation specialists. This concentration is also excellent preparation for graduate studies in geography, geology, atmospheric sciences, or environmental law. Some of the job titles listed below may require an advanced degree.

Potential Career Areas

  • Research
  • Education
  • Consulting
  • Conservation
  • Resources management
  • Defense
  • Planning

Sample Employers

  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • Research institutes
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Colleges and universities
  • Resource management agencies
  • Park and forest services
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Schools
  • U.S. Military

Sample Job Titles and National Salary Range

Job Title Salary Range
Fire Scientist $30,000 - $40,000
Natural Resources Planner $67,300 - $116,000
NOAA Corps Officer $33,940 - $42,703
Intelligence Officer $33,979 - $60,274
High School Science Teacher $35,000 - $53,200
Science Museum Education Director $18,000 - $45,790
Hydrometeorological Technician $45,100 - $87,800
Environmental Restoration Planner $37,900 - $61,700
Research Technician $20,000 - $69,000
Land Trust Manager $35,190 - $58,720
Environmental Compliance Inspector $34,500 - $58,700