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Geography is the study of the Earth as the home of humanity. As such, it involves analyses of the spatial and temporal phenomena that make up the human and natural environment of Earth, from multiple disciplinary perspectives. The Department of Geography at UCSB is on the cutting edge of geographic research, technologies, and interdisciplinary studies.

UCSB Geography is internationally recognized as one of the largest and highest ranked Departments of Geography in the world, and our faculty routinely win the most prestigious awards in their fields. Diamond-Graham ranked Geography number one for the number of citations/awards for a given department or program divided by the number of program faculty in 1995; in its last rankings, the National Research Council placed us number four in the nation, based upon reputation by peer review-the highest NRC ranking of any department at UCSB; in 2008, the Chronicle of Higher Education ranked us number two in the nation on its "Top Research Universities Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index"; and currently ranks us the number one "large, prestigious program" among Departments of Geography in the USA.

Geography faculty hold a dazzling array of academic awards and honors, including Michael Goodchild's 2007 Prix Vautrin Lud, considered the "Nobel Prize" for Geography. "The First Law of Geography" is named after our Emeritus Professor Waldo Tobler, who is also known as the father of Analytical Cartography; Reginald Golledge is famous for pioneering the field of Behavioral Geography and, more recently, the field of Disabilities Geography; and Michael Goodchild is known as the father of Geographic Information Science. The Department also has five AAAS Fellows, and three AGU Fellows.

The Department offers two undergraduate and two graduate degrees: Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Geography, Bachelor of Science (BS) in Physical Geography, Master of Arts (MA) in Geography and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Geography. In addition, a Bachelor of Arts with an Emphasis in Geographic Information Science is offered for undergraduates pursuing a deeper study of the science behind spatial information technologies. There are also three minors offered for undergraduates; Focus in Spatial Thinking; Focus in Spatial Science; and a Focus in Space and Place. Graduate students pursuing a PhD may petition to add an emphasis in Cognitive Science, Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences, Transportation, or Environment and Society.