Areas of Geographic Depth

The geography program at UC Davis is divided into the following four main areas:

Environmental Sciences

The Environmental Sciences area in the discipline of geography and the graduate group has its center in physical geography. Environmental Sciences Geography is a field of geography concerned with the relationships between between the biological and physical environment, largely encompassing the subdiscipline of physical geography, but overlapping into associated natural science disciplines and engineering. Research is focused on natural and anthropogenic earth surface patterns and the physical and ecological processes that have produced them, as well as change through time and across space. Studies are conducted from local to regional to global scales, with a considerable amount of research in the graduate group within California’s diverse landscapes. Sustainable natural resources management is of great interest, especially in the face of human population growth, land use intensification, and global climate change. Concentrations in Global Environmental Change and Landscape Architecture & Environmental Design are also available to the students.

Environmental geographers rely primarily on quantitative methods, including field work, remote sensing, GIS and affiliated modeling techniques. Research by UC Davis faculty and students is conducted in several subfields of physical geography, including biogeography, geomorphology, climatology, hydrology, and soils geography. With the great strength of the UC Davis campus in the agricultural sciences, biological sciences, engineering, and veterinary medicine, opportunities abound to build a program of course work that builds the foundation for each individual student’s training to best address their interests. Subfields within the Environmental Sciences in Geography that particularly reflect campus strengths and the strength of the Geography Graduate Group are agricultural geography, biogeography and conservation biology, environmental and natural resource management, and watershed science.

Faculty and students working in the Environmental Sciences are also affiliated with campus research units, institutes and centers such as the Bodega Marine Laboratory, the John Muir Institute of the Environment, the Natural Reserve System, the Center for Watershed Sciences, the Center for Biosystematics, the Information Center on the Environment, the Center for Spatial Technologies and Remote Sensing, etc.

Courses

Environmental Sciences (Physical Geography) — Geographic Depth Courses

The list below is the pre-approved selection of courses in the subfield of Physical Geography that students can choose from to fulfill their 12-16 units of Geographic Depth Courses.

Depth Courses Offered by GGG Faculty
(includes those to be Cross-Listed, proposed GEO number in parentheses):
GEO 210 Topics in Biogeography (W - alternate years)
GEO 211 Physical Geography Traditions and Methods (alternate years)
ECI 267 (GEO 212) Water Resources Management
ECL 201 (GEO 213) Ecosystems and Landscape Ecology (W - alternate years)
PBG 296 (GEO 214) Seminar in Geography Ecology
LDA 280 (GEO 253) Landscape Conservation
GEO 280 Field Studies in Geography (S)
Other Depth Courses:
ECL 201 Ecosystems and Landscape Ecology (W - alternate years)
ECL 205 Community Ecology (W)
ECL 206 Concepts and Methods in Plant Community Ecology (F)
ECL 207 Plant Population Biology (W - alternate years)
ECL 208 Issues in Conservation Biology (W)
ECL 214 Marine Ecology (S - alternate years)
ECL 225 Terrestrial Field Ecology (S)
ECL 231 Mathematical Models in Population Biology (F)
ECL 232 Theoretical Ecology 

Methods, Models, and GIS Science

The Methods, Models, and Geographic Information Systems (MMG) Area of Geography focuses on important tools to the field of geography. This sub-discipline is chiefly concerned with the development, application and assessment of tools used in geographic research. A heavily quantitative discipline, this field aims to utilize recent advancements in technology; including computers, remote sensing and geolocation devices.

This subfield provides an opportunity to study mathematical modeling, geographic information systems, remote sensing, spatial statistics, image analysis and visualization, global positioning and surveying technologies, sensor networks, and web-based research and communication of geographical concepts and data.

The UC Davis campus and Geography program in particular with a wide interdisciplinary group of researchers provides ample opportunities to apply and test techniques to solve real world issues.

The MMG geography sub-discipline takes advantage of the globally-recognized environmental, agricultural, and natural resources research programs at Davis to provide students with ample opportunities to apply and test techniques to solve real world issues.

Courses

Methods, Models, and GIScience — Geographic Depth Courses

The list below is the pre-approved selection of courses in the subfield of Methods, Models, and GIScience that students can choose from to fulfill their 12-16 units of Geographic Depth Courses.

 

Depth Courses Offered by GGG Faculty

(includes those to be Cross-Listed, proposed GEO number in parentheses)

PLS 205 (GEO 270) Experimental Design and Analysis
PLS 206 (GEO 271) Multivariate Systems and Modeling
ECL 220 (GEO 272) Spatio-temporal Ecology
HYD 273 (GEO 273) Introduction to Geostatistics
ESP 228 (GEO 274) Advanced Simulation Modeling
HYD 275 (GEO 275) Analysis of Spatial Processes
ECS 266 (GEO 276) Spatial Databases
WFC 222 (GEO 277) Advanced Population Dynamics
ECL 231 (GEO 278) Mathematical Methods and Population Biology
ECL 254 (GEO 279) Discrete Choice Analysis of Travel Demand
TTP 200 (GEO 280) Transportation Survey Methods
HYD 286 (GEO 281) Advanced Remote Sensing
LDA 280 (GEO 253) Landscape Conservation

 

Other Depth Courses

ESP 231 Population Biology

Nature and Society

“Nature and Society Geography” is a field of geography concerned with the relationships between people and the environment. The field is broad and includes geography’s two centuries of emphasis on humankind’s interaction with and modifications of natural systems, as well as newer interests in conflicts over natural resources and environmental change, assessments of the sustainability and equity of primary production systems, and critical analyses of the meanings of taken-for-granted concepts like “nature,” “natural resources,” and “degradation.”

The Nature and Society Geography subfield in geography and the UC Davis geography program occupies a middle ground between human and physical geography. Nature and society geographers rely on both qualitative and quantitative methods, including GIS and cartographic design. In this way, overlap among the subfields is intentional, and our faculty work across fields (e.g., teach courses in human geography and nature and society geography).

The subfields of Nature and Society Geography at UC Davis that are particularly strong include: agricultural geography; cultural and political ecology; environmental hazards; environmental justice and conflict; and historical nature and society geography.

Agricultural geography
UC Davis, as one of the nation’s leading research universities focused on agriculture, offers great potential for Nature and Society Geography students interested in the intersection of agriculture, environment, and society. The areas of sustainable agriculture, agricultural development, and agricultural policy and models are particularly strong in UC Davis geography. The new Agricultural Sustainability Institute offers Nature and Society Geography students engagement with cutting-edge work on organic, transitional, and local food and farming systems.

Cultural and political ecology
Central to Nature and Society Geography is the subfield of cultural ecology and political ecology. Cultural ecology, a subfield in geography and anthropology, has a long history at UC Davis with current faculty members including David Boyd, Stephen Brush, Benjamin Orlove, and emeritus faculty Jack Ives. Cultural ecologists use ethnographic and other methods to understand indigenous resource management and the iterative relationship between culture and environment. In the late 1970s, cultural ecology was expanded to political ecology, which emphasizes extra-local political and economic forces that cause environmental change and degradation. UC Davis has one of the top ranked ecology graduate programs in the country, giving Nature and Society Geography graduate students ample opportunity to engage and collaborate with ecologists.

Environmental hazards
Floods, extreme weather events, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes have important ramifications for society. Dating back to the work of Gilbert White in the mid-20th century, Nature and Society Geography has a tradition of informing policy by emphasizing that environmental hazards are invariably strongly influenced by social relationships.

Environmental justice and conflict
Environmental justice is the principle that all people and communities have a right to live in a healthy environment and to have equitable access to sufficient resources to maintain a good quality of life. Geographers and others from allied disciplines highlight uneven distribution of costs and benefits of environmental modifications along the lines of race, ethnicity, gender, and class. Additionally, environmental justice examines conflicts over the lived environment and the successes of the environmental justice movements. UC Davis houses the Environmental Justice Project through the John Muir Institute for the Environment, the lead faculty of which often collaborate interdisciplinarily with faculty and researchers associated with the Center for the Study of Regional Change, as well as faculty in Environmental Science and Policy, Plant Ecology, and other departments and disciplines.

Historical nature and society geography
Key to elucidating nature and society relations is an understanding of the processes that have shaped those interactions over time. An historical perspective offers multiple temporal scales of analysis, allows an examination of the ways different nature-society relations are constructed over time, and reminds researchers that environmental change is multidirectional and multifaceted.

Courses

Nature & Society — Geographic Depth Courses

The list below is the pre-approved selection of courses in the subfield of Nature-Society Geography that students can choose from to fulfill their 12-16 units of Geographic Depth Courses.


Depth Courses Offered by GGG Faculty
(includes those to be Cross-Listed, proposed GEO number in parentheses)

ECL 211 (GEO 250) Advanced Topics in Cultural Ecology
ARE 214 (GEO 251) Development Economics
LDA 260 (GEO 252) Landscape and Power
LDA 280 (GEO 253) Landscape Conservation
CRD 244 (GEO 254) Political Ecology of Community Development
GEO 260 Global Political Ecology

Other Depth Courses
CRD 245 The Political Economy of Urban and Regional Development
ECL 210 Advanced Topics in Human Ecology
ECL 211 Advanced Topics in Cultural Ecology
ECL 212A Environmental Policy Process
ECL 216 Ecology and Agriculture
ESP 170 Environmental Impact Reporting
ESP 212A Environmental Policy Process
ESP 212B Environmental Policy Evaluation
ESP 278 Research Methods in Environmental Policy
SOC 206 Quantitative Analysis in Sociology
SOC 207A-207B Methods of Quantitative Research
SOC 233 Gender, Culture, and Local/Global Transformation.
SOC 245 Developing Societies
SOC 295 Special Topics: Environmental Sociology, Social and Political Ecology, Environmental Philosophy
 

People, Place, and Region

Courses in the People, Place, and Region Area of Geography encompass political, cultural, social, and economic aspects of social science. “People, Place, and Region” is a field of geography concerned with the relationships between space and society. Encompassing many foci under the heading of human geography, this field analyzes human processes vis-à-vis the physical environment and, in particular, the ways in which people assume, require, refer to, or seek particular geographical relationships.

As a broad area of emphasis, People, Place, and Region draws from other disciplines such as sociology, cultural studies, philosophy, history, urban planning, and the humanities, to name a few. Given this diversity, this area of emphasis utilizes a range of methodological approaches, using qualitative, quantitative, and participatory methods; theoretical and empirical investigations; GIS and other forms of spatial analysis.

Subfields of People, Place, and Region at UC Davis with particularly strength include cultural and historical geography, international development, political and economic geography, planning and urban design, and social geography. These subfields and the interests of associated faculty members, many of whom work in multiple subfields, are described below.

Courses

People, Place, and Region (Human Geography) — Geographic Depth Courses
The list below is the pre-approved selection of courses in the subfield of Human Geography that students can choose from to fulfill their 12-16 units of Geographic Depth Courses.

Depth Courses Offered by GGG Faculty

(includes those to be Cross-Listed, proposed GEO number in parentheses)

LDA 200 (GEO 230) Citizenship, Democracy, & Public Space
LDA 201 (GEO 231) Theory and Philosophy of the Designed Environment
LDA 202 (GEO 232) Methods in Design and Landscape Research

LDA 205 (GEO 233) Physical Planning and Design
LDA 270 (GEO 234) Environment and Behavior
SOC 295 (GEO 235) International Migration
TTP 220 (GEO 236) Transportation Planning and Policy
CRD 240 (GEO 240) Community Development Theory
CRD 241 (GEO 241) The Economics of Community Development
CRD 245 (GEO 245) The Political Economy of Urban and Regional Development
CRD 246 (GEO 246) The Political Economy of Transnational Migration
CRD 248 (GEO 248) Social Policy, Welfare Theories and Communities

Other Depth Courses

CRD 242 Community Development Organizations
CRD 247 Transformation of Work
ECL 217 Conservation and Sustainable Development in Third World Nations
ECL 222 Human Ecology of Agriculture CST 206 Studies in Race Theory
LDA 204 Case Studies in Landscape Design and Research

LDA 215 (GEO 215) Ecologies of Infrastructure
LDA 220 Public Space and Culture
LDA 230 Landscape and Memory
LDA 240 Historic, Cultural Landscapes: Concept, Perception, Preservation
LDA 250 Life-Place: Bioregional Theory and Principles
LDA 260 Landscape and Power
LDA 280 Landscape Conservation
SOC 215 Economy, Polity, and Society
SOC 225 Cultural Sociology
SOC 227 Sociology of Reproduction
SOC 230 Ethnic (Race) Relations
SOC 233 Gender, Culture, and Local/Global Transformation
SOC 234 Gender, Family, and Society
SOC 242AB Comparative Methods in Historical Sociology
SOC 243 Urban Society
SOC 245 Developing Societies
SOC 248 Social Movements
SOC 292AB Field Research Methods