Declaring a Geography Major

Declaring Geography as your major is very simple. There are three primary ways to choose Geography as your major.

    • Declaring Geography as your first major – Meet with the Geography Advisor (GA) to complete the College of Arts and Sciences “Declaration of a Major” form after discussing the major requirements, evaluating the options that you have available and working out a plan for the coursework to take in the first couple of semesters of your major.

    • Changing from another major to Geography – Same as above. Meet with the GA and complete the Declaration of a Major form and discuss your program interests and coursework plan. form and discuss your program interests and coursework plan.

    • Transferring to Mānoa from another institution as a Geography major – When you transfer to Mānoa, the transfer is already associated with a major so you do not have to submit the Declaration form to the college. When you are accepted, the GA is sent your name and ID number. As soon as you arrive at Mānoa or before, contact or meet with the Geography Advisor to discuss your program and check the Geography courses that have been transferred from your prior school and how they fit into the Mānoa requirements.

Major Components


There are three components to Geography major; Core Requirements; Electives; and Concentration(s). There are six core requirements that encompass basic coursework in different parts of the field and analysis methods. In the elective section, we want each student to choose one upper division course in the four areas of Mānoa Geography; Physical, Human, Regional and Technology. A student is also required to declare a concentration and take three additional courses in the one area that they most want to follow. A concentration is not limited to one area. On occasion we have had students pursue more than once concentration.

When you approach graduation, you will have to file a “goldenrod” with your Arts and Science Advisor. The GA must check to make sure that you have fulfilled or are fulfilling your chosen stream and sign off on this form before you take it to the Arts and Science Advisor. Your A&S advisor will know your stream by this time and that person will check again to see how your Geography work fits into your General Education requirements for graduation. To fulfill a graduation requirement, required courses have to be passed with a “C” grade or higher. We do not accept a “C-” or lower as a passing grade.

The 37 hour geography requirements are only a minimum. Most students will take more Geography coursework to enhance their preparation for their careers after graduation. We have had a number of cases where students have delayed their graduations to take all of the courses available in their specialty area and supplemented them with cognate courses in other departments. To help plan your travels through your Geography major at Mānoa, keep in touch the the GA to keep abreast of changes in the program, new courses that might interest you both inside the department and in other departments. Since the GA has copies of almost all syllabi's for Geography courses, he or she may be of help in choosing which courses to select to structure your program to best fit your interests.

It is to your benefit as well as the department to declare your major early in your program. With a longer time in the major you will have a better choice of classes when you want to take them rather than trying to jam them into a couple of semesters. In addition, department funding is partly based on the number of majors that we have. If you delay declaring until the last minute, the department is deprived of much needed funds to offer a stronger undergraduate program.

Additional Information


The current Undergraduate Advisor is Matthew McGranahan, Professor of Geography. Advising office is Physical Science Bldg. 313C, email matt@hawaii.edu office phone (808) 956-7092, fax (808) 956-3512.