BA General Information
The purpose of the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geography and Environmental Studies (GES) is to provide students with an understanding of the discipline of geography. This includes courses in physical, human, and cultural geography, as well methods courses that provide exposure to the various tools and techniques of geographic research.
Why major in GES?
GES features award-winning faculty with diverse interests that create high impact learning opportunities for students in inclusive, small group settings, both inside and outside the classroom. GES is one of UCCS’ ‘Unique and High-Need Programs.’
GES offers undergraduate (BA) degree and a graduate (MA) degree in Applied Geography, minors in GES, Geology and Sustainability, and undergraduate and graduate certificates in GIScience. To customize the BA, undergraduates may elect to follow one of four ‘tracks’ in the program: Human and Cultural Dynamics; Physical Systems; Environmental and Sustainable Studies; and Geospatial/ GIScience. For the MA program, GES graduate faculty offer a range of diverse research interests. Our faculty run four on-campus labs: Forest Hydrology, Geomorphology, Geospatial Technology, and Tree Ring.
A core of our teaching is to get students out of the classroom and into the field.
- Most courses offer field trips to indoor and outdoor places (we are, after all, at the foot of Pikes Peak in a city of nearly 600,000)!
- Many field courses (an option for the capstone requirement) are offered. As examples, GES field courses are taught in Silverton, Colorado and the San Luis Valley, geology field courses visit hot-spots across the Four Corners region, and other courses are taught in Ireland, Iceland, and beyond.
GES’ faculty scholarship in teaching and research far exceeds what is expected.
- GES’ collective academic accomplishments (books, research papers, reports, National Science Foundation and National Geographic grants, community and national leadership positions, public outreach, media presence) demonstrate our deep commitment to understanding and advancing our discipline and our world.
- Based on a report from the UCCS Office of Sponsored Programs, the department’s awards totaled nearly $3,000,000 as of 2021. Each day in the classroom, this scholarship – and enthusiasm to advance scholarship – is made accessible to our students through our teaching and mentoring.
To earn a BA in GES, students complete 41 credit hours of GES courses, 21 of which must be upper divisions. The curriculum is comprehensive and designed to serve students in potential careers in research, government, industry and education. As students fine-tune their interests in geography, a GES advisor or other faculty encourages students to follow one of four academic tracks. These tracks, which include a carefully selected set of related courses, are intended to accelerate and direct students toward a specific career.
Jobs / Careers
In 2019, median wages for geographers were $81,970 (AAG 2021). The lowest paid 25% of geographers made $63,300, far exceeding the median wages for all income earners (AAG 2021).
Bureau of Labor Statistics for different geography-related position. Median wages are for 2019 (BLM 2021):
- Geospatial Information Scientists and Technologists: Median wages: $88,550
- Geosphysical Data Technicians: Median wages: $51,130
- Geographic Information Systems Technicians: Median wages: $88,550
- Cartographers and Photogrammetrists: Median wages: $65,470
- Remote Sensing Technicians: Median wages: $50,550
- Urban and Regional Planners: Median wages: $74,350
- Transportation Planners: Median Wages: $83,330
- Environmental Scientists and Specialists: Median wages: $71,360
- Environmental Restoration Planners: Median wages: $71,360
High demand occupations stemming from a degree in geography (AAG 2021):
- GIS Technician
- Aerial Photo Image Interpreter
- Urban and Regional Planner
- Transportation Planner
- Physical / Environmental Scientist
- Environmental Scientist / Consultant
- Climate Change Analyst
- Environmental Restoration Planner
- Land Use Planner
- Water Conservation Planner
Required Courses / Tracks
Undergraduate Certificate in GIScience