Geography Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree On-campus

About Geography

Prepare for a top career in fast-growing industries.

In today's world, the study of geography goes far beyond studying maps and learning world capitals. At California University of Pennsylvania, you will gain unique professional advantages with our comprehensive Bachelor of Arts in Geography degree program. This degree gives you opportunities to work with modern technologies, software, databases and field methods, preparing you for job opportunities ranging from tourism to emergency management.

In the B.A. in Geography program, you'll receive top-caliber teaching, plus excellent research and service opportunities, to help you develop critical and constructive knowledge. Cal U offers two concentrations within the B.A. in Geography degree program: 

Gain a career advantage with Cal U's accredited, hands-on program.

The GIS and emergency management concentration provides a basic grounding in emergency management concepts and techniques. Students complete courses combining geographic knowledge with advanced technological information in remote sensing, hazards research and advanced geographic information systems. Required and recommended courses follow the guidelines suggested by the International Association of Emergency Managers, the premier professional organization for this field. The GIS program is also part of the YouthMappers project, a network of college students working on humanitarian mapping.

The mission of Cal U's tourism studies program is to achieve academic and professional distinction in response to the needs of the tourism industry in the United States and abroad. Your learning will integrate interactive classroom experiences with real-world projects and practical internships.

The tourism studies concentration is accredited by the World Tourism Organization's TedQual (Tourism Education Quality) certification system. The WTO TedQual certification is an international quality assurance system for education, training and research in the field of tourism. Through this accreditation, the tourism program at Cal U is regulated by a series of rigorous education standards with universal scope.


Concentrations: In the B.A. in Geography degree program, students can choose from two concentrations: tourism studies, or GIS and emergency management.  Students in both concentrations complete a foundational core of courses in geography, the study of the world, its land and people, before specializing in their chosen concentration. Tourism studies is part of the geography program because it is an industry of global proportions and considered the world's largest. Geospatial technology, which includes GIS, has been identified as a high-growth industry by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Solid foundation: Your learning integrates interactive classroom experiences with real-world projects and practical internships. Cal U's B.A. in Geography program provides many opportunities for student development beyond the classroom, including organizing on-campus events and trips, taking part in service-learning projects, and participating in regional and international conferences. Both the Tourism and Geography Instructional Facility and the Peter J. Daley Geotechnology Institute offer opportunities for research and instruction with the latest equipment and software.

Learn more about applying

Student-to-faculty ratio at Cal U.
Credit hours for the bachelor's degree in geography, which can be completed in eight semesters or four years.
Degree icon.

Degree Benefits

Tourism studies graduates are poised to fill upper-level career positions within the growing tourism industry, including resort attraction developers, hotel and hospitality managers, tourism bureau directors, and more. GIS and emergency planning graduates are prepared for graduate school or career employment in a variety of roles in emergency management, disaster relief, land use analysis, recreational planning and homeland security.


Cap icon.

Graduate Outcomes

Cal U tourism studies graduates are employed at such renowned facilities as Walt Disney Resorts, Hilton, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Marriot, Visit Pittsburgh, Destination Gettysburg, Cannery Casino Resorts, and Intercontinental Hotels Group. Our graduates also have pursued international tourism and hospitality management at institutions such as Bournemouth University and University of Queensland. Cal U GIS and emergency management students currently hold positions at the National GeoIntelligence Agency, Jacksonville Police Department, Vocelli Pizza IT Department, Range Resources, and the University of Pittsburgh Facility Management. Students in the GIS program also have pursued advanced degrees at schools such as the University of South Carolina, Michigan State University and Northeastern University.


Geography (B.A.)
Thomas Mueller teaches a geography class.

Faculty Expertise

Dr. Susan Ryan, who oversees the B.A. in Geography and the tourism studies concentration program, also is the director of the Cal U Tourism Research Center. This state-of-the-art facility within the Department of Earth Sciences is equipped to provide custom tourism research for tourism planning and development initiatives. Dr. Ryan has directed a variety of research projects throughout North America, with an emphasis on sustainable tourism development in Pennsylvania. Dr. Thomas R. Mueller conducts extensive research at California University of Pennsylvania, by focusing on applying spatial theory to the real world using GIS.  His research interests include humanitarian mapping, foreign policy geography, demographic analysis and geography education. His work is featured in conference presentations and in publications.

A Cal U student poses in front of a world map.

Global Connection

California University of Pennsylvania is an affiliate member of the World Tourism Education Council, composed of the world's leading tourism education institutions. Cal U also is a member of YouthMappers, a network of humanitarian mappers, and a school member of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a leading think tank.

Students gather in the student center.

Student Resources

To prepare for a wide range of career options, Cal U geography students are strongly encouraged to complete internships where they can apply classroom theory to realistic, professional-level situations. Cal U's Career and Professional Development Center helps to connect students to potential employers through networking events, job shadowing opportunities, on-campus recruiting, job and internship fairs, and organizational visits. Students who meet eligibility requirements can become members of Gamma Theta Upsilon, the international honor society in geography, and professional organizations including the American Hotel and Lodging Association, Meeting Professionals International, the Resort and Commercial Recreation Association, the National Association of Sports Commissions, and the International Council on Hospitality and Institutional Education.

B.A., Geography Courses

Students build a comprehensive foundation in geography, and can choose to specialize in tourism studies or in GIS and emergency management.

Example Courses
  • Introduction To Geography
  • Demographic Analysis
  • Natural Hazards
  • Emergency Management
  • Impacts And SustainabilityY Of Tourism
  • Developing The Master Plan

B.A., Geography - Concentration and Minrors


Geography Faculty

Dr. Swarndeep Gill
Associate Professor

View profile
Dr. Thomas R. Mueller

View profile
Dr. Susan Ryan

View profile