People & Society



Get started on your way to a degree in Geography and/or a Geospatial Technology certificate

All fields of geography — from physical to human to geographic techniques, including geospatial studies and analysis — have been experiencing remarkable renaissance and growth that has accelerated during the last several years. Additionally, there is a growing need for professionals in environmental and urban studies to analyze and solve the spatially related problems that confront us. Geospatial technologies consistently rank among the top 10 growth industries of this century according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Modern geographers around our nation and our world are helping solve problems ranging from natural resource distribution to urban planning, from natural hazards preparedness to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Our range of geography courses at SMC provides excellent opportunities for students to build geographic knowledge and skills that can be used in many different fields and disciplines. They also lead our students into geography and related programs at the top universities, including numerous leading California universities.

View Geography Program Flyer

Program Level Outcomes

Upon completion of Geography courses, students will:

  1. Be able to identify spatial patterns and inter-relationships between systems and cycles that affect life and shape landscapes.
  2. Demonstrate cartographic literacy, including map interpretation.
  3. Through spatial analysis skills, they will be able to analyze, recognize, and evaluate spatial distributions on all scales from local to global to become better global citizens.

Geography Courses

All classes (EXCEPT GIS) meet IGETC and GE transfer requirements. Courses are not sequential; there are no prerequisites unless indicated.

  • Geography 1: Physical Geography
  • Geography 2: Introduction to Human Geography
  • Geography 3: Weather and Climate
  • Geography 5: Physical Geography with a Lab
  • Geography 7: Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • Geography 8: Introduction to Urban Studies
  • Geography 10: Living in a Hazardous Environment
  • Geography 11: World Geography
  • Geography 14: Geography of California
  • GIS 19: GIS for Business
  • Geography 20/GIS 20: Introduction to Geospatial Information Systems
  • GIS 21: GIS for Law Enforcement
  • GIS 22: GIS for Disaster Management
  • Geography 23/GIS 23: Intermediate GIS
  • Geography 24: Geospatial Imagery — Maps for the 21st Century
  • Geography 25/GIS 25: Introduction to Cartography
  • Geography 26/GIS 26: Introduction to Remote Sensing
  • Geography 35F: Field Study California
  • Geography 35S: Geography Field Studies
  • Geography 94/Geology 94: Introduction to Geoscience Field Methods

Transfer Preparation

Many colleges and universities offer baccalaureate degrees in this field. Students planning to transfer to a four-year college or university need to know which courses completed at Santa Monica College will be accepted at the specific college/university. Please consult a Counselor. SMC has transfer articulation agreements with the many UC and CSU campuses, as well as many private and out-of-state institutions.

Program Map

Degrees and Certificates


18 units + General Education Requirements

This AA-T degree is geared toward students who want to transfer into an upper-division baccalaureate program at a California State University (CSU). The Associate in Arts in Geography for Transfer (AA‐T) involves the understanding of the environment around us and the interpretation of patterns found across the Earth’s surface. The course of study allows flexibility in course selection while providing a solid background in human, physical, and regional aspects of the discipline. The degree includes GIS, focusing on the use of geocomputation and digital technology to assess spatial and environmental problems and provide solutions. Throughout the degree, students will acquire and develop knowledge and skills that will equip them to be informed, engaged, and productive global citizens, capable of leading humanity toward a more sustainable and adaptable future.

*Completion of this degree will likely give you priority admission consideration in the major at some CSU campuses. In addition, you will need to complete no more than 60 semester/90 quarter CSU units of coursework after transfer to complete your degree. If you are considering transferring to a UC, private, or out of state university, please consult a counselor before applying to transfer, as transfer requirements might be different than those required for the AA-T in Geography.

Program Map View Requirements

Department Certificate - Geospatial Technology

15 units

Geospatial technologies, including geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing (RS), global positioning system (GPS), and digital cartography, are used to capture, store, manage, analyze, and visualize geospatial information related to locations on Earth's surface. These technologies are used to combine various types of geospatial information in a digital environment, and are widely used in our daily life, at government agencies, and in almost every industry. Through this program, students will develop an understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of geospatial technologies, and gain the skills needed to construct high-quality applications.

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Geography Faculty




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