Bachelor of Science in Geographic Science and Community Planning

This major explores the intersection of geographic knowledge and GIS mapping technologies with community planning and urban design known as geodesign (see our GeoDesign Blog). In this program, you will learn how to manage our natural resources and create more livable and sustainable communities.

Community Planning & Development Careers

With your community planning and development emphasis, you can work as a:

  • city, county, or regional land use planner
  • state, federal, or international development planner
  • utility or land resources company planner
  • private land and property development planner

Geospatial Sciences Careers

With your geospatial sciences emphasis, you can work as a:

  • business location analyst
  • land development and research consultant
  • government or intelligence cartographer
  • social science or science teacher
  • environmental planner
  • GIS technician

Courses and Degree Requirements

  • Go to the NAU academic catalog for more details on courses and degree information. (In the "Search Degrees" box, enter "bs planning" or "bs geographic science".)
  • Also see our department's Advising Resources to help you plan your degree in Geographic Science and Community Planning. 

GSP Program Goals  

  • GSP Students will gain awareness of the earth and develop confidence to engage with places, whether in their own communities or across the globe.  Through an understanding of geographic scale, students will consider interrelationships between our physical and human environments to explain local and global issues.   Likewise, they will explore how local and global influences create contemporary places and landscapes through environmental, social, and cultural processes. They will apply emerging technologies that engage them locally while thinking globally, better preparing them for a globalizing world.
  • GSP Students will communicate and apply approaches for maintaining sustainable environments, communities, and landscapes for the benefit of future generations. To do so, they will learn the fundamental interrelationships between the earth’s physical and human systems.   Physical systems include interactions of climate, water, landforms, and habitats, which are increasingly modified by human use and exploitation. In turn, human systems include cultural, social and economic processes that shape community development, design, and sense of place.  Students will develop a variety of geospatial technology and community-based skills that support local, regional and global sustainability.
  • GSP Students will develop an understanding and appreciation of the diversity of the planet in terms of its physical and human geography. They will learn how our natural and cultural landscapes have evolved through geographic time, space, scale, and context. They will develop self-awareness of their own situation and awareness and empathy for other peoples, cultures, communities and environments, and an openness to the earth’s great geographic differences. They will learn skills of spatial thought and analysis that enhance their ability to work with and appreciate diversity, while maintaining the objectivity needed to succeed in their chosen careers.

GSP Learning Outcomes

1) Global Awareness and Engagement - GSP Graduates will be able to articulate how external or global processes influence and interact with local places and development decisions.   

2) Sustainable Environments and Communities - GSP Graduates will be able to evaluate and design more sustainable and livable places while considering the interrelationships between physical and human environments.

3) Our Diverse World - GSP Graduates will be able to objectively appraise different perspectives and approaches originating from diverse places and physical environments.   

4) Written Communication - GSP graduates will be able to professionally communicate synthesized knowledge, research, and designs through written products appropriate for diverse audiences and perspectives.

5) Oral Communication - GSP graduates will be able to professionally communicate synthesized knowledge, research, and designs through oral presentations for diverse audiences.

6) Geospatial Techniques - GSP graduates will be able to interpret, design, and produce quality 2D and 3D computer-generated maps and illustrations that communicate spatial knowledge at local, regional, and global scales.

7) Planning and Participation - GSP graduates will be able to work effectively in teams to design more sustainable places through the synthesis and input of various disciplinary and community perspectives.

8) Research and Analysis - GSP graduates will be able to apply relevant qualitative and quantitative research methods to conduct scientific, objective inquiries at local, regional, and global scales.