Department of Geography, Planning, and Recreation
Geographic Science and Community Planning, Bachelor of Science
The Bachelor of Science in Geographic Science and Community Planning integrates geographic knowledge and GIS mapping technologies with the problem-solving fields of community planning and urban design. Known as Geodesign, this educational framework prepares students for careers in creating more livable and sustainable communities, while contributing to a better world.
Coursework for this degree provides a strong foundation and an option to select one of two available emphases. Geospatial Sciences engages students in the study of geospatial science with courses such as remote sensing and spatial analysis and GIS applications. The community planning and development emphasis introduces students to the permitting and review process for community planning, and environmental impact studies and land use planning law and ethics.
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What Can I Do with a Bachelor of Science in Geographic Science and Community Planning?
This degree encourages you to pursue careers in community planning and design, digital mapping known as geographic information systems (GIS), and physical and environmental geography. Collectively known as Geodesign, you will be prepared to apply geographic science to better analyze existing landscapes and design more livable and sustainable places through 2-D and 3-D modeling tools. You can choose an emphasis that focuses on community planning and development, or geospatial sciences and GIS. Our courses feature many engaging, real-world projects that prepare you well beyond graduation, and you will benefit from personal faculty attention through our smaller courses.
Career opportunities that might be pursued:
- Urban and regional planner
- Environmental resource manager
- Community or land developer
- Sustainable community organizer
With further education, one of these paths is possible:
- Resource ecologist
- Land use lawyer
- International development
- Business and political marketing
- University faculty
Requirements Accordion Closed
To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.
- All of Northern Arizona University's liberal studies, diversity, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
- All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
- At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
- At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
- A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.
Overview Accordion Closed
In addition to University Requirements:
- At least 44 of major requirements
- Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements
- Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units
Please note that you may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.
|Minimum Units for Completion||120|
|Highest Mathematics Required||STA 270|
|Emphasis, Minor, Certificate||Optional|
|University Honors Program||Optional|
|Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Plan||Optional|
|AZ Transfer Students complete AGEC-A||Recommended|
|Progression Plan Link||View Progression Plan|
The Bachelor of Science in Geographic Science and Community Planning integrates geographic knowledge and GIS mapping technologies with the problem-solving fields of community planning and urban design. This educational framework prepares students for careers in creating more livable and sustainable communities, while contributing to a better world.
Coursework for this degree provides a strong foundation in geography and an option to select one of three available emphases. Geospatial Technologies engages students in the analysis of spatial data through geographic information systems and remote sensing. The Community Planning and Development emphasis introduces students to the professional field of land use planning including the development review process, comprehensive plans and ordinances, environmental impact studies and law and ethics. Human-Environmental Systems explores the interrelationships between natural and social systems to solve pressing societal-environmental issues.
Student Learning Outcomes
- 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.
- 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.
- Our Diverse World: GSP Graduates will be able to objectively appraise different perspectives and approaches originating from diverse places and physical environments.
- Written Communication: GSP graduates will be able to professionally communicate synthesized knowledge, research, and designs through written products appropriate for diverse audiences and perspectives.
- Oral Communication: GSP graduates will be able to professionally communicate synthesized knowledge, research, and designs through oral presentations for diverse audiences.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Geospatial Sciences Emphasis
With the successful completion of this emphasis, students will be able to:
- Conduct geospatial analysis through applied project research using primary and secondary sources.
- Apply geospatial data and technology including GIS to collect, analyze, and present spatial information for diverse audiences.
- Demonstrate competence with, and understanding of, the fundamental principles and processes associated within the primary sub-disciplines of physical geography and human-land interactions.
Community Planning & Development Emphasis
With the successful completion of this emphasis, students will be able to:
- Demonstrate a confident knowledge of the concepts, principles, and theories related to public planning policy and related institutional and legal frameworks.
- Communicate professionally and effectively through writing, public participation, teamwork, and professional presentations.
- Demonstrate effective and professional skills in project management and leadership.
Details Accordion Closed
Take the following 44 units with a Grade of "C" or better in each course and a minimum GPA of 2.5:
- ENG 205, STA 270 (5 units)
- GSP 130, GSP 150 (7 units)
- GSP 201, GSP 206 (6 units)
- GSP 303, GSP 371 (6 units)
- Select from: GSP 240, GSP 241, GSP 276* (3 units)
- Select from: GSP 239, GSP 331** (4 units)
- Experiential learning through GSP 408, GSP 485 or GSP 497 with faculty advisor consent. Study abroad transfer credits also apply. (6 units)
- GSP 375W (3 units)
- GSP 480C or GSP 405C (4 units)
**Required for Geospatial Sciences emphasis
You are strongly encouraged to complete one of the two emphasis areas below if you are considering a career in geospatial sciences or community planning. However, no emphasis is required to complete your GSP degree.
Emphasis Requirements (Optional, Select One):
- Geospatial Sciences Emphasis (18 units)
- Community Planning and Development Emphasis (18 units)
Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's Program
This program is available as an Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Plan. Accelerated Programs provide the opportunity for outstanding undergraduates working on their bachelor’s degree to simultaneously begin work on a master’s degree. Departments may allow students to complete both degrees in an accelerated manner by approving up to 12 units applicable toward both degrees. Students must apply to the accelerated program and the master’s program by the application deadline, and meet all requirements as listed on the Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's Programs to be considered for admission. Admission to programs is competitive and qualified applicants may be denied because of limits on the number of students admitted each year. Be sure to speak with your advisor regarding your interest in Accelerated Programs.
Additional coursework is required, if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit.
You may take these remaining courses from any academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you. (Please note that you may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.)
Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.