Geography & Environmental Studies

Could you stare at maps all day and dream of making your own? Do you think about how we, as humans, interact with our surroundings, and how our surroundings affect us? Are you curious about how different cultures represent maps, navigation routes, and their relationship to landscape? Or how power and resources move across the globe? Do you want to take a class called World of Beer? If any of that sounds appealing to you, the Department of Geography & Environmental Studies has a place for you!

Geography describes and explains the past, present, and future locations and spatial patterns of humans and their settlements, cultural and economic traits, and natural environment and resources. UNM's Department of Geography and Environmental Studies is an energetic department that is passionate about innovative teaching and research that dynamically explores human-environment relations and change. Our teaching and research are inspired by the complex geographic contexts of New Mexico and the borderlands of the US Southwest and extend to questions, cases, and places around the globe.

We are leaders in areas of spatial thinking, environmental understanding, and geographic information science. We offer an interdisciplinary approach in that we integrate methodologies from different areas of study to conceptual and applied frameworks that are informed by other departments and disciplines. Through these programs, we seek to empower our students, our communities, and ourselves to holistically address current, multifaceted, real-world problems. 

The department’s programs focus on environmental studies (human/environment interactions, natural resource policy and management, legal geography, and social justice) and geographic information science (geographic information systems, cartography and geovisualization, remote sensing, GPS, and spatial statistics).The B.A. degree provides students a breadth of knowledge across multiple fields of study within geography, while the B.S. degree offers students a more in-depth focus in a specific field of study within the discipline. Both of these degrees prepare majors for careers in environmental studies, GIScience, and geography, or for entrance into the M.S. program.

We also offer several minors for students outside the department.


GIScience: GIScience is the study of spatial data and processes and utilizes computer tools necessary to analyze and represent spatial information. This includes cartography (map-making), remote sensing and GPS technologies, and using data to analyze and display geospatial information. The GIScience undergraduate minor is ideally suited for majors from many A&S departments, as well as from other Schools at UNM such as the College of Fine Arts, Population Health, School of Architecture and Planning, and Anderson School of Management. These technologies have many practical applications in the social and physical sciences, engineering, healthcare, architecture and planning, and legal professions.

Law, Environment, and Geography: The Law, Environment and Geography undergraduate minor is ideal for majors from any of the social sciences who are interested in the ways law influences and is influenced by both human and non-human environments. It is an ideal track for students who are interested in pursuing careers in law, natural resource management, criminal justice studies, urban studies, and environmental science.

Departmental Honors

UNM Catalog

Programs of Study


  • B.A. Geography
  • B.S. Geography
  • Geographic Information Science (GIS/GIScience)
  • Geography
  • Law, Environment, and Geography
Shared Undergraduate/Graduate Credit Programs Available: 
  • B.A. in Economics and M.S. in Geography

Contact Information

Undergraduate Academic Advisor(s): 
Advisor office locations vary. Please click on your advisor's name below to learn more.
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Department Location:
Bandelier East (Bldg 8), Suite 108

Department/Program Website

Departmental Brochure