Specialized Areas of Study

The following areas of specialization are of particular strength of coursework and research at UC Davis:

Global Environmental Change

A number of GGG faculty and graduate students do research on global environmental change, as linked to paleoclimates, contemporary global warming, changes in ocean-atmosphere circulations, air quality, sea-level rise, biological response to climate change, and ecosystem-level impacts on watersheds, estuaries, the nearshore ocean, agriculture and urban areas. The faculty span all four of our areas of specialization in geography (environmental sciences, methods, models and GIS, nature and society, and people, place and region).

Studies in Global Environmental Change have their conceptual center in physical geography and the affiliated disciplines of atmospheric science, ecology, geology, hydrology, and their associated environmental subdisciplines. With the great strength of the UC Davis campus in the agricultural sciences, biological sciences, ecology, engineering, law, physical sciences, 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. Faculty and students associated with Global Environmental Change courses are primarily in the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Environmental Science and Policy, Geology, Land, Air and Water Resources, Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design, Plant Sciences, and Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology. They are also affiliated with campus research units, institutes and centers such as the John Muir Institute of the Environment, the Center for Watershed Sciences, the Information Center on the Environment, the Center for Spatial Technologies and Remote Sensing, and the Tahoe Environmental Research Center.

Courses in Global Environmental Change Concentration prepare students to (1) teach and conduct research in academic programs in geography and the environmental sciences at the university level (2) serve as researchers in public (e.g., National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, NOAA, UCAR, California Resources Agency, U.S. Geological Survey), private (e.g., environmental consulting organizations, research organizations), and non-governmental organizations (e.g., The Nature Conservancy); and (3) assume leadership positions in agencies engaged in issues of global change at the local, regional, national and international levels.

Global Environmental Change Courses

Students interested in developing expertise in Global Environmental Change should consider the courses listed below.

Core:
GEO 210 Topics in Biogeography
GEO 211 Advanced Physical Geography
ATM 241 Climate Dynamics

Methods courses:
HYD 286 Selected Topics in Environmental Remote Sensing
HYD 275 Analysis of Spatial Processes
HYD 273 Introduction to Geostatistics
LDA 280 Landscape Conservation

Electives:
ATM 215 Advanced Hydroclimatology
ATM 221 Advanced Atmospheric Dynamics
ATM 240 General Circulation of the Atmosphere
ECI 267 Water Resources Management
ECL 201 Ecosystem and Landscape Ecology
ECL 216 Agroecology
ECL 219 Ecosystem Biochemistry
EVE 220 Species and Speciation

It is important for students to have an understanding of climatology and the mechanisms of global climate change, to go along with the linked ecological, geographical, and geological changes in our environment. If the student has not taken undergraduate courses in climatology/climate change and physical geography/environmental change, they should expect to take one upper-division courses in climatology and one in physical geography to fulfill these deficiencies. Suggested courses include:

Climatology:
HYD 141 or 143
ATM 115, 116 or 133; 150, 160
ERS 120, 131, or 186;
GEL 150A.

Physical geography:
ECI 123;
ERS 100, 121
ESP 151;
EVE 115, 117, 147 or 149;
GEL 107, 108, 116, 136, 139, 144
PLS 130, or 162;
WFC 155, 156 or 157;

Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design

Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design (LAED) focuses on interdisciplinary inquiry related to landscape meaning, spatial patterns, the built environment, and environmental design. The Geography Graduate Group (GGG) faculty who teach and mentor students in LAED courses work in the areas of landscape architecture, urban and community design, sustainable development, public participation, environmental planning, landscape ecology, cultural and historical studies. Courses and research in this area prepares students for advanced research, practice and teaching in landscape architecture and related fields of environmental design.

Landscape architecture and environmental design concern the relationship between people and their environment. Typically, this is manifested through the planning, design, and use of the physical and everyday environment. However, as design is human intent expressed in the material world, a central focus is how society shapes the physical landscape across different scales. Landscape architecture and environmental design is seen as an interactive and dynamic process where each informs the other. Analyses of these processes require a knowledge base in areas as diverse as culture, ecology, policy, economics, and history, among others areas. An appreciation for interdisciplinary inquiry and understanding is a common thread that defines the LAED concentration. Some examples of graduate-level study in LAED include analyses of landscape patterns using methods in geographic information science, design and planning at advanced levels, historical and cultural studies of landscapes and places, and the development of advanced methods and techniques in citizen participation.

Faculty associated with Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design is based in the Landscape Architecture Program, but also include a multidisciplinary group of faculty who are members of the Geography Graduate Group, the Community Development Graduate Group, the Ecology Graduate Group and other graduate groups at UC Davis. They are also closely affiliated with research organizations at UC Davis including the John Muir Institute of the Environment, Institute for Transportation Studies, Center for the Study of Regional Change and California Center for Urban Horticulture. We also cooperate closely with UC Berkeley and courses are available there to supplement graduate study.

In addition to a professional career in geography offered through the GGG, focusing on LAEDwill prepare students to: (1) teach and conduct research in academic programs in landscape architecture, architecture, and planning; (2) serve as researchers and analysts in public, private, and non-governmental research institutions; and, (3) assume leadership positions in agencies engaged in issues of planning and design at the local, regional, national, transnational, and international levels.

Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design Courses

Students interested in developing expertise in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design should consider the following courses: 

LDA 201 Theory and Philosophy of the Designed Environment Studio 

LDA 181 A-Q Planning Studio

LDA 191 Workshop in Landscape Architecture

LDA 210 Advanced Landscape Architecture Studio Methods:

LDA 202 Methods in Design and Landscape Research

LDA 205 Urban Planning and Design

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 270 Environment and Behavior

LDA 280 Landscape Conservation
Students without a design or planning background should take a graphics course such as LDA 21, Design 21, etc. before taking a studio. It is recommended that these be taken (if offered) during summer session as space is limited during the academic year.

Regional and Community Development

Courses and related research in Regional and Community Development (RCD) offers students a Ph.D. degree program founded on the premise that strong theory and research are the basis for solving problems related to the social, economic, and political development of localities worldwide. The Geography Graduate Group (GGG) faculty who teach and mentor students in this sub-field work in the areas of urban studies, rural development, migration studies, communications research, urban design, the political economy of social networks, and global-local interconnections.

Understanding the current dynamics of community development requires the analysis of the networks of social practice that interact in the social construction of place. The networks are both local and extra-local in scope, linking local social actors to wider social fields like state- and non-governmentally based organizations, corporate business networks, and transnational migrant networks. Investigating networks requires innovative approaches to theoretically driven research seeking to: (a) map the social organizations involved in the politics of community development and the ties connecting them; (b) comprehend the multiple contexts in which interacting networks are produced and changed; (c) grasp normative structures guiding these interactions; and, (d) assess changing patterns of community development resulting from cooperation and conflict.

Faculty teaching and advising students in Regional and Community Development are based in the Community Studies and Development Unit of the Department of Human and Community Development at UC Davis and it also includes a multidisciplinary group of faculty who are members of the Community Development Graduate Group (CDGG) and the GGG.

Graduates of the doctoral program who focus on Regional and Community Development will be prepared to: (1) teach and conduct research in academic programs in community development; (2) serve as teaching and research faculty in related departments such as urban design, city planning, rural development, communications, and other applied social sciences; (3) serve as researchers and problem-focused analysts in public, private, and non-governmental research institutions; and, (4) assume leading positions in agencies engaged in issues of community development at the local, regional, national, transnational, and international scales.

Regional and Community Development Courses

Students interested in developing an expertise in Regional and Community Development should consider taking the following courses:

Core:

CRD 240 Community Development Theory

CRD 250: Professional Skills for Community Development

 

Methods Courses:

EDU 200* Educational Research

EDU 201 Qualitative Research in Education

EDU 202N Computer Analysis of Qualitative Data

POL 211* Research Methods in Political Science

SOC 206* Quantitive Analysis in Sociology

SOC 207 A/B* Methods of Quantitative Research *quantitative methods

 

Other courses:

CRD 241 The Economics of Community Development

CRD 245 The Political Economy of Urban and Regional Development

CRD 246 The Political Economy of Transnational Migration

CRD 247 The Transformation of Work

CRD 248 Social Policy, Welfare Theories and Communities

CRD 248A/B Social Policy, Welfare Theories and Communities I & II