Geography & GIS

Associate Degrees for Transfer

A.A.-T. in Geography

The Associate in Arts in Geography for Transfer degree provides students with a major that fulfills the general requirements of the California State University for transfer. Students with this degree will receive priority admission with junior status to the California State University system. The Associate in Arts in Geography for Transfer (AA-T) degree may be obtained by the completion of 60 transferable, semester units with a minimum 2.0 GPA, including (a) the major or area of emphasis described in the Required Program outlined below (earning a C or better in these courses) and (b) either the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) or the California State University General Education Breadth Requirements.

In addition to fulfilling transfer requirements, this degree exposes students to the core principles and practices of Geography. Students interested in transferring to a CSU campus to pursue a bachelor’s degree in geography should meet with a counselor to confirm the courses required for lower division preparation in the major. Although additional preparatory courses are not required for this degree, a careful review of the requirements at your chosen CSU will increase the likelihood that your transfer experience is smooth and successful.

Degree Requirements

Course Code Course Title Units
GEOG 300 Physical Geography: Exploring Earth's Environmental Systems 3
GEOG 301 Physical Geography Laboratory 1
GEOG 310 Human Geography: Exploring Earth's Cultural Landscapes 3
A minimum of 6 units from the following: 6
GEOG 306 Weather and Climate (3)
GEOG 320 World Regional Geography (3)
GEOG 322 Geography of California (3)
GEOG 331 Exploring Maps and Geographic Technologies (3)
GEOG 391 Field Studies in Geography: Mountain Landscapes (1 - 4)
GEOG 392 Field Studies in Geography: Coastal Landscapes (1 - 4)
GEOG 393 Field Studies in Geography: Arid Landscapes (1 - 4)
GEOG 394 Field Studies in Geography: Volcanic Landscapes (1 - 4)
A minimum of 6 units from the following: 61
ANTH 310 Cultural Anthropology (3)
GEOG 305 Global Climate Change (3)
GEOG 307 Environmental Hazards and Natural Disasters (3)
GEOG 330 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (3)
GEOL 300 Physical Geology (3)
Total Units: 19

1Students may also substitute any course from the previous list not already taken to fulfill degree requirements.

The Associate in Arts in Geography for Transfer (AA-T) degree may be obtained by completion of 60 transferable, semester units with a minimum 2.0 GPA, including (a) the major or area of emphasis described in the Required Program, and (b) either the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) or the California State University General Education-Breadth Requirements.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, the student will be able to:

  • describe the general content and scope of baccalaureate-level geography studies.
  • compare and contrast the general biophysical and sociocultural differences and similarities among world regions.
  • interpret maps and mapped data utilizing basic map elements, including scales, common coordinate systems, and map symbols.
  • compare and contrast common geospatial technologies such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning System (GPS), and remote sensing.
  • evaluate and analyze common geographic problems and their solutions.
  • list and describe at least three career options for geographers.

Career Information

The opportunities for geographers are as varied as the scope of geography itself. Geographers are found throughout the public and private sector, though rarely in positions with the title of Geographer. When combined with appropriate internships and/or other work experience, a baccalaureate degree in geography is excellent preparation for careers in natural resource management, environmental consulting, urban and regional planning, and elementary and secondary teaching. Geographic skills and knowledge are also quite valuable in diverse fields such as real estate, marketing, and demography.

Associate Degrees

A.S. in General Science

This program provides a broad study in the fields of biological and physical sciences in preparation for transfer to a four-year program and continuation of studies in upper division science courses.

Degree Requirements

Course Code Course Title Units
A minimum of 18 units from the following: 181
Physical Science Courses
ASTR 300 Introduction to Astronomy (3)
ASTR 310 The Solar System (3)
ASTR 320 Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology (3)
ASTR 330 Introduction to Astrobiology (3)
ASTR 400 Astronomy Laboratory (1)
ASTR 481 Honors Astronomy: Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology (4)
ASTR 495 Independent Studies in Astronomy (1 - 3)
ASTR 499 Experimental Offering in Astronomy (0.5 - 4)
CHEM 305 Introduction to Chemistry (5)
CHEM 306 Introduction to Organic and Biological Chemistry (5)
CHEM 309 Integrated General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry (5)
CHEM 310 Chemical Calculations (4)
CHEM 400 General Chemistry I (5)
CHEM 401 General Chemistry II (5)
CHEM 420 Organic Chemistry I (5)
CHEM 421 Organic Chemistry II (5)
CHEM 423 Organic Chemistry - Short Survey (5)
CHEM 495 Independent Studies in Chemistry (1 - 3)
CHEM 499 Experimental Offering in Chemistry (0.5 - 4)
GEOG 300 Physical Geography: Exploring Earth's Environmental Systems (3)
GEOG 301 Physical Geography Laboratory (1)
GEOG 305 Global Climate Change (3)
GEOG 306 Weather and Climate (3)
GEOG 307 Environmental Hazards and Natural Disasters (3)
GEOG 308 Introduction to Oceanography (3)
GEOG 309 Introduction to Oceanography Lab (1)
GEOG 391 Field Studies in Geography: Mountain Landscapes (1 - 4)
GEOG 392 Field Studies in Geography: Coastal Landscapes (1 - 4)
GEOG 393 Field Studies in Geography: Arid Landscapes (1 - 4)
GEOG 394 Field Studies in Geography: Volcanic Landscapes (1 - 4)
GEOG 495 Independent Studies in Geography (1 - 3)
GEOG 499 Experimental Offering in Geography (0.5 - 4)
GEOL 300 Physical Geology (3)
GEOL 301 Physical Geology Laboratory (1)
GEOL 305 Earth Science (3)
GEOL 306 Earth Science Laboratory (1)
GEOL 310 Historical Geology (3)
GEOL 311 Historical Geology Laboratory (1)
GEOL 320 Global Climate Change (3)
GEOL 325 Environmental Hazards and Natural Disasters (3)
GEOL 330 Introduction to Oceanography (3)
GEOL 331 Introduction to Oceanography Lab (1)
GEOL 345 Geology of California (3)
GEOL 390 Field Studies in Geology (1 - 4)
GEOL 495 Independent Studies in Geology (1 - 3)
GEOL 499 Experimental Offering in Geology (0.5 - 4)
PHYS 310 Conceptual Physics (3)
PHYS 311 Basic Physics (3)
PHYS 312 Conceptual Physics Laboratory (1)
PHYS 350 General Physics (4)
PHYS 360 General Physics (4)
PHYS 410 Mechanics of Solids and Fluids (5)
PHYS 421 Electricity and Magnetism (4)
PHYS 431 Heat, Waves, Light and Modern Physics (4)
PHYS 495 Independent Studies in Physics (1 - 3)
PHYS 499 Experimental Offering in Physics (0.5 - 4)
PS 300 Introduction to Physical Science (3)
PS 301 Physical Science Laboratory (1)
PS 495 Independent Studies in Physical Science (1 - 3)
PS 499 Experimental Offering in Physical Science (0.5 - 4)
Biological Science Courses
ANTH 300 Biological Anthropology (3)
ANTH 301 Biological Anthropology Laboratory (1)
ANTH 303 Introduction to Forensic Anthropology (3)
ANTH 370 Primatology (3)
ANTH 372 Primatology Field Studies (2)
ANTH 480 Honors Biological Anthropology (3)
ANTH 495 Independent Studies in Anthropology (1 - 3)
ANTH 499 Experimental Offering in Anthropology (0.5 - 4)
BIOL 300 The Foundations of Biology (3)
BIOL 301 Evolution (3)
BIOL 303 Survey of Biology (4)
BIOL 305 Natural History (4)
BIOL 310 General Biology (4)
BIOL 322 Ethnobotany (3)
BIOL 332 Introduction to Ornithology (4)
BIOL 342 The New Plagues: New and Ancient Infectious Diseases Threatening World Health (3)
BIOL 352 Conservation Biology (3)
BIOL 370 Marine Biology (4)
BIOL 375 Marine Ecology (3)
BIOL 390 Natural History Field Study (0.5 - 4)
BIOL 400 Principles of Biology (5)
BIOL 410 Principles of Botany (5)
BIOL 415 Introduction to Biology: Biodiversity, Evolution, and Ecology (5)
BIOL 420 Principles of Zoology (5)
BIOL 430 Anatomy and Physiology (5)
BIOL 431 Anatomy and Physiology (5)
BIOL 440 General Microbiology (4)
BIOL 442 General Microbiology and Public Health (5)
BIOL 482 Honors Marine Biology (4)
BIOL 495 Independent Studies in Biology (1 - 3)
BIOL 499 Experimental Offering in Biology (0.5 - 4)
BIOT 301 Biotechnology and Human Health (3)
BIOT 305 Introduction to Bioinformatics (1)
BIOT 307 Biotechnology and Society (2)
BIOT 311 Biotechnology Laboratory Methods - Molecular Techniques (2)
BIOT 312 Biotechnology Laboratory Methods - Microbial and Cell Culture Techniques (2)
BIOT 499 Experimental Offering in Biology (0.5 - 4)
NATR 300 Introduction to Natural Resource Conservation and Policy (4)
NATR 302 Introduction to Wildlife Biology (4)
NATR 303 Energy and Sustainability (3)
NATR 304 The Forest Environment (3)
NATR 305 Fisheries Ecology and Management (4)
NATR 306 Introduction to Rangeland Ecology and Management (3)
NATR 307 Principles of Sustainability (4)
NATR 310 Study Design and Field Methods (4)
NATR 320 Principles of Ecology (4)
NATR 322 Environmental Restoration (2)
NATR 324 Field Studies: Birds and Plants of the High Sierra (1.5)
NATR 330 Native Trees and Shrubs of California (4)
NATR 332 Wildflowers of California (3)
NATR 346 Water Resources and Conservation (3)
NATR 495 Independent Studies in Natural Resources (1 - 3)
NATR 499 Experimental Offering in Natural Resources (0.5 - 4)
PSYC 310 Biological Psychology (3)
PSYC 311 Biological Psychology Laboratory (1)
PSYC 495 Independent Studies in Psychology (1 - 3)
PSYC 499 Experimental Offering in Psychology (0.5 - 4)
Total Units: 18

1must be transfer-level and must include one laboratory course in a physical science and one laboratory course in a biological science

The General Science Associate in Science (A.S.) degree may be obtained by completion of the required program, plus general education requirements, plus sufficient electives to meet a 60-unit total. See ARC graduation requirements.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, the student will be able to:

  • evaluate new and accepted ideas about the natural universe using scientific methods.
  • analyze a wide variety of natural phenomena using basic definitions and fundamental theories of biological or physical sciences.
  • apply appropriate quantitative and qualitative methods to interpret and analyze pertinent data.
  • outline the basic concepts and fundamental theories of a natural science.
  • articulate orally and/or in writing the importance of continuous examination and modification of accepted ideas as a fundamental element in the progress of science.
  • discuss ethical components of scientific decision making and apply personal and social values within the process of decision making in scientific endeavors.

A.S. in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are collections of computers, software applications, and personnel used to capture, store, transform, manage, analyze, and display spatial information. This powerful technology has a wide range of applications in planning and management by government agencies, business, and industry. The A.S. Degree provides a solid technical background in GIS concepts and applications including database design, the Global Positioning System (GPS), cartography, GIS programming, spatial analysis, and interdisciplinary applications of the technology. The degree also includes ARC General Education and elective courses, which are required for graduation. Completion of the degree requires practical work experience in GIS.

Degree Requirements

Course Code Course Title Units
GEOG 330 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems 3
GEOG 334 Introduction to GIS Software Applications 3
GEOG 340 Cartographic Design for GIS 3
GEOG 342 Introduction to Remote Sensing and Digital Image Processing 3
GEOG 344 Spatial Analysis and Modeling in GIS 3
GEOG 350 Data Acquisition in GIS 3
GEOG 354 Introduction to the Global Positioning System (GPS) 1.5
GEOG 360 Database Design and Management in GIS 3
GEOG 362 Advanced Database Design and Management in GIS 3
GEOG 375 Introduction to GIS Programming 3
GEOG 385 Introduction to Web Based GIS Application Development 3
GEOG 498 Work Experience in Geography 1 -4
Total Units: 32.5 - 35.5

The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Associate in Science (A.S.) degree may be obtained by completion of the required program, plus general education requirements, plus sufficient electives to meet a 60-unit total. See ARC graduation requirements.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, the student will be able to:

  • assess and describe fundamental aspects of geographic information and scale, with specific reference to raster and vector digital spatial data models used to represent such information.
  • evaluate and compile various types of spatial data, with specific attention to geospatial metadata, data quality, and identification of the most appropriate data type for use in a specific GIS application.
  • compare and contrast the variety of available coordinate systems, map projections, and datums, and choose the appropriate variety for a specific GIS application.
  • originate, classify, edit, and manage digital spatial data using various techniques (e.g., manual, scan, and on-screen digitizing, computer-assisted drafting, GPS, etc.).
  • design, synthesize, validate, optimize, and manage spatial attribute tables and databases.
  • apply appropriate data normalization and classification schemes to attribute data.
  • formulate geoprocessing and analysis functions that are appropriate for specific applications, and be able to perform and evaluate the results of such processes (such as buffering, overlay, reclassification, address matching, and statistical analysis).
  • compare and contrast the effectiveness of various GIS output products, including maps, tables, charts, and other digital output for specific applications.
  • describe, assess, and compare common map elements and the cartographic design process.
  • synthesize, design, apply, and manage a GIS project, including estimates of time and labor requirements.
  • propose at least three examples of GIS applications that document spatial distributions or solve spatial problems.
  • list and describe at least three career options for GIS professionals.
  • design, create, and disseminate high-quality maps in both hard-copy (paper) and digital (on-screen) forms.
  • compare and contrast the effectiveness of hard-copy and digital maps.
  • analyze problems encountered in the study of other disciplines, and formulate appropriate GIS solutions.

Career Information

According to an Environmental Systems Research Institute survey, over 80 percent of the data used for decision-making in government and industry has a spatial component. New areas of rapid growth are in criminal justice, homeland security, marketing, retail site location, resource allocation, banking, health-care planning, disease control, insurance, real estate, and disaster preparedness, management, and response. Most local, state, and federal government agencies use GIS and maintain a staff of GIS technicians, analysts, and professionals. GIS is also commonly used in the private sector by businesses, planners, architects, foresters, geologists, environmental scientists, archaeologists, real estate professionals, marketers, sociologists, and bankers. The growth in application areas of GIS and of GIS as a specialized discipline represents a new way for individuals, agencies, and businesses to view the world. The expansion of jobs in GIS is anticipated to continue for many years to come. It is likely that all students, regardless of their particular field of interest, will at least be exposed to and probably use a GIS in some capacity in the years ahead. The purpose of American River College's GIS program is to prepare students for careers in this expanding technological field.


A.S. in Geography

This degree provides students with a solid foundation in Geography as well as the standard prerequisites for upper-division coursework leading to a baccalaureate degree. The required and elective coursework covers a broad spectrum of Physical Geography, Human Geography, and GIS.

This is not an official transfer degree, such as the Geography AA-T, which guarantees admission to any California State University. However, this degree has been designed with an emphasis on University of California (UC) transferability. With two exceptions, all courses satisfy the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) that meets freshman/sophomore level general education requirements at a UC This degree can also be used to prepare students for transfer to geography programs at private institutions, but in all cases students are strongly encouraged to research the lower division requirements at all programs they might be interested in.

Degree Requirements

Course Code Course Title Units
GEOG 300 Physical Geography: Exploring Earth's Environmental Systems 3
GEOG 301 Physical Geography Laboratory 1
GEOG 310 Human Geography: Exploring Earth's Cultural Landscapes 3
GEOG 330 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (3) 31
   or GEOG 331 Exploring Maps and Geographic Technologies (3)
   or GEOG 334 Introduction to GIS Software Applications (3)
GEOG 391 Field Studies in Geography: Mountain Landscapes (1 -4) 1 - 4
   or GEOG 392 Field Studies in Geography: Coastal Landscapes (1 -4)
   or GEOG 393 Field Studies in Geography: Arid Landscapes (1 -4)
   or GEOG 394 Field Studies in Geography: Volcanic Landscapes (1 -4)
PSYC 330 Introductory Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences (3) 3 - 6
   or STAT 300 Introduction to Probability and Statistics (4)
   or STAT 305 Statway, Part II (6)
A minimum of 6 units from the following: 6
GEOL 320 Global Climate Change (3)
   or GEOG 305 Global Climate Change (3)
GEOG 306 Weather and Climate (3)
GEOG 307 Environmental Hazards and Natural Disasters (3)
   or GEOL 325 Environmental Hazards and Natural Disasters (3)
GEOL 330 Introduction to Oceanography (3)
   or GEOG 308 Introduction to Oceanography (3)
GEOG 309 Introduction to Oceanography Lab (1)
   or GEOL 331 Introduction to Oceanography Lab (1)
GEOG 320 World Regional Geography (3)
GEOG 322 Geography of California (3)
Total Units: 20 - 26

1GEOG 331 is recommended for students who plan to transfer to a California State University.

The Geography Associate in Science (A.S.) degree may be obtained by completion of the required program, plus general education requirements, plus sufficient electives to meet a 60-unit total. See ARC graduation requirements.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, the student will be able to:

  • describe the general content and scope of collegiate level geography studies.
  • compare and contrast the general biophysical and sociocultural differences and similarities among world regions.
  • interpret maps and mapped data utilizing basic map elements including scales, coordinate systems, and symbols.
  • compare and contrast common geographic information technologies such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning System (GPS), and Remote Sensing.
  • evaluate and analyze geographic problems and their solutions.
  • list and describe at least three career options for geographers.

Career Information

The opportunities for geographers are as varied as the scope of geography itself. Geographers are found throughout the public and private sector, though rarely in positions with the title of Geographer. When combined with appropriate internships and/or other work experience, a baccalaureate degree in geography is excellent preparation for careers in natural resource management, environmental consulting, urban and regional planning, and elementary and secondary teaching. Geographic skills and knowledge are also quite valuable in diverse fields such as real estate, marketing, and demography.

Certificate of Achievement

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Certificate

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are collections of computers, software applications, and personnel used to capture, store, transform, manage, analyze, and display spatial information. This powerful technology has a wide range of applications in planning and management by government agencies, business, and industry. The certificate provides a solid technical background in GIS concepts and applications including database design, the Global Positioning System (GPS), cartography, GIS programming, spatial analysis, and interdisciplinary applications of the technology. Completion of the certificate requires practical work experience in GIS.

Certificate Requirements

Course Code Course Title Units
GEOG 330 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems 3
GEOG 334 Introduction to GIS Software Applications 3
GEOG 340 Cartographic Design for GIS 3
GEOG 342 Introduction to Remote Sensing and Digital Image Processing 3
GEOG 344 Spatial Analysis and Modeling in GIS 3
GEOG 350 Data Acquisition in GIS 3
GEOG 354 Introduction to the Global Positioning System (GPS) 1.5
GEOG 360 Database Design and Management in GIS 3
GEOG 498 Work Experience in Geography 1 -4
A minimum of 6 units from the following: 6
GEOG 362 Advanced Database Design and Management in GIS (3)
GEOG 375 Introduction to GIS Programming (3)
GEOG 385 Introduction to Web Based GIS Application Development (3)
Total Units: 29.5 - 32.5

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, the student will be able to:

  • assess and describe fundamental aspects of geographic information and scale, with specific reference to raster and vector digital spatial data models used to represent such information.
  • evaluate and compile various types of spatial data, with specific attention to geospatial metadata, data quality, and identification of the most appropriate data type for use in a specific GIS application.
  • compare and contrast the variety of available coordinate systems, map projections, and datums, and choose the appropriate variety for a specific GIS application.
  • originate, classify, edit, and manage digital spatial data using various techniques (e.g., manual, scan, and on-screen digitizing, computer-assisted drafting, GPS, etc.).
  • design, synthesize, validate, optimize, and manage spatial attribute tables and databases.
  • apply appropriate data normalization and classification schemes to attribute data.
  • formulate geoprocessing and analysis functions that are appropriate for specific applications, and be able to perform and evaluate the results of such processes (such as buffering, overlay, reclassification, address matching, and statistical analysis).
  • compare and contrast the effectiveness of various GIS output products, including maps, tables, charts, and other digital output for specific applications.
  • describe, assess, and compare common map elements and the cartographic design process.
  • synthesize, design, apply, and manage a GIS project, including estimates of time and labor requirements.
  • propose at least three examples of GIS applications that document spatial distributions or solve spatial problems.
  • list and describe at least three career options for GIS professionals.
  • design, create, and disseminate high-quality maps in both hard-copy (paper) and digital (on-screen) forms.
  • compare and contrast the effectiveness of hard-copy and digital maps.
  • analyze problems encountered in the study of other disciplines, and formulate appropriate GIS solutions.

Gainful Employment

The US Department of Education requires colleges to disclose a variety of information for any program that is eligible for financial aid that "prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation." The following link provides Gainful Employment Disclosure information for this certificate program:

Gainful Employment Information for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Certificate of Achievement

Career Information

According to an Environmental Systems Research Institute survey, over 80 percent of the data used for decision-making in government and industry has a spatial component. New areas of rapid growth are in criminal justice, homeland security, marketing, retail site location, resource allocation, banking, health-care planning, disease control, insurance, real estate, and disaster preparedness, management, and response. Most local, state, and federal government agencies use GIS and maintain a staff of GIS technicians, analysts, and professionals. GIS is also commonly used in the private sector by businesses, planners, architects, foresters, geologists, environmental scientists, archaeologists, real estate professionals, marketers, sociologists, and bankers. The growth in application areas of GIS and of GIS as a specialized discipline represents a new way for individuals, agencies, and businesses to view the world. The expansion of jobs in GIS is anticipated to continue for many years to come. It is likely that all students, regardless of their particular field of interest, will at least be exposed to and probably use a GIS in some capacity in the years ahead. The purpose of American River College's GIS program is to prepare students for careers in this expanding technological field.