Geographic Science and Community Planning, Bachelor of Science

Department of Geography, Planning, and Recreation

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

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. 

  • Available Emphasis Areas:
  • Community Planning and Development - Emphasis (ending Summer 2022)
  • Geospatial Sciences - Emphasis (ending Summer 2022)
This plan will not be available to new students after Summer 2022

  • 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 diversity, liberal studies, 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.

    The full policy can be viewed here.

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.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Major GPA C
Highest Mathematics Required STA 270
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Optional
Research Optional
University Honors Program Optional
Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Plan Optional
Progression Plan Link Not Available
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.

Major Requirements
  • Take the following 44 units with a Grade of "C" or better in each course and a minimum GPA of 2.5:

    *Required for Community Planning & Development emphasis
    **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)
    • GSP 259, GSP 320, GSP 365, GSP 433 (14 units)
    • Additional coursework in geospatial sciences or related topcis selected in consultation with your advisor from (4 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, which may allow them to complete both degrees in an accelerated manner by applying 6 units 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.

General Electives
  • 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 of the academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. You may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.

    We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you.

Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.