Welcome to Geography at UC Davis

Geography StudentsGeography is the study of the earth’s peoples, places and environments. It bridges the social and natural sciences, with an emphasis on the study of the spatial processes that shape our landscapes and societies. Geography provides a framework for relating multiple fields of knowledge to the study of complex human and environmental systems.

The Geography Graduate Group (GGG) at UC Davis is an interdisciplinary academic program that spans multiple departments. We offer both Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Geography. Our program provides a strong core in Geographic concepts, theories, methods and traditions, with more in-depth course-work available in geography’s four main areas of emphasis: Environmental Sciences; Methods, Models and GIS Science; Nature and Society; and People, Place and Region. Particular strengths and recent developments in our program include the following:

  • With over 55 geography affiliated world-class faculty members in 20 departments across campus, in terms of the number and diversity of affiliated faculty, we are the nation’s largest geography graduate program. The graduate group structure emphasizes shared research interests among faculty and students, with the flexibility to grow and quickly change to reflect emerging areas of interdisciplinary knowledge and technology. Current areas of faculty strength include: global environmental change; environmental and social dimensions of regional change; community development; analysis of the built environment; agrifood systems; political ecology and environmental justice; and geoinformatics and computation geography.
  • Our faculty are all involved in cutting edge research that often transcends traditional academic departmental boundaries. Specific research centers and programs led by GGG faculty members include:
  • In our educational programs, we have a particular emphasis on three areas where we provide more detailed course-work and advising: community and regional development; landscape architecture; and global environmental change.
  • We have over 120 alumni from all over the globe, with positions in a range of universities, non-governmental organizations and government agencies.
  • Our location in the heart of the Central Valley provides a unique and invaluable context for our faculty and student research efforts. The region provides an invaluable living laboratory for exploring some of the most critical issues facing our world. Recognized by Time Magazine as "America's Most Diverse City", Sacramento is simultaneously the Capitol of a state with the 8th largest economy in the world, a node in diverse trans-national diasporas reaching across the globe (students in the Sacramento school district speak more than 70 different languages at home), and the core of a dynamic metropolitan region striving to grow sustainably and equitably in the 21st century. We are located in the heart of what has been described as the most fertile and productive agricultural region in the world but with substantial challenges related to the need to promote more sustainable agro-food systems and manage the urban-rural interface. The Sacramento Delta lies at the mouth of a watershed whose boundary stretches from beyond the north-east border of California to the mountains south of Bakersfield and provides water to more than 22 million California residents, highlighting critical issues related to watershed science, the impacts of climate change, and the complex political and economic dynamics in managing water, the most critical of environmental resources. The diverse ecology of Northern California, ranging from the deep underwater trenches of the Monterey Bay, to the highest mountains in the continental U.S. and everything in-between, provides nearly unlimited opportunities for research in physical geography and related environmental sciences