Anthropology and Geography, Bachelor of Science

Anthropology and Geography is a global and environmental studies program. It is for internationally minded students who are interested in people, culture, and the environment. We apply science and technology to address today’s most important social, global, and environmental issues, domestically and abroad.

Anthropology and Geography majors choose a concentration in Global Studies and International Development, Environmental Studies and Sustainability, or Human Ecology. This highly flexible program also allows students to design their own concentration to meet their individual career needs.

The Anthropology and Geography major also trains students in cutting-edge technologies such as geographic information systems (GIS), satellite remote sensing, GPS, and quantitative analysis. These technologies are in high demand in industry, government, and non-profit organizations.

As a means of developing relevant job skills and applying Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing motto, majors are also required to complete an internship or a study abroad program. Students take what they learn in the classroom and apply it in the field.

The Anthropology and Geography program has a “Learn by Doing Fund”. Grants are awarded to students to support research, participation in professional conferences, community engagement, and travel for educationally related activities.

For more information about learning objectives, degree requirements and curriculum, major courses and electives, concentrations and GE requirements, please see the Cal Poly Catalog website.


Students may select one of the following concentrations or the individualized course of study. 

  • Global Studies and International Development
    Provides students with the skills necessary for internationally-focused careers in private, public, and non-profit development organizations, the Peace Corps, foreign service, public health, education, and numerous jobs where cross-cultural understanding is essential. Students attain in-depth knowledge of globalization and the social, political, economic, and ecological dimensions of international development. They gain practical skills through research projects, international study, and applied internships.
  • Environmental Studies and Sustainability
    Provides students with an understanding of environmental science, sustainable development, and geospatial technologies (GIS and remote sensing) to analyze the human impact on the earth. Sustainable solutions to resource use and environmental management are emphasized.
  • Human Ecology
    Students learn about the natural environment, human behavioral and cultural systems, and the complex interrelationships between the three. Major concepts and practice emphasize broad spatial and temporal perspectives. Students acquire knowledge and skills related to human evolution, cultural ecology, behavioral ecology, prehistoric and recent environmental change, indigenous cultures of the new world, and methods for analyzing climate change and related human responses in the past and present.
  • Individualized Course of Study or a Minor
    Students have the option to design their own concentration or course of study which meets their individual needs and interests. It consists of 28 units that are selected by the student in consultation with an advising faculty member. Students may also complete a minor from another department or program as their concentration.

Changing Major to Anthropology and Geography

Click here for instructions on changing major to Anthropology and Geography.

About Anthropology/Geography at Cal Poly

A visual depiction of Anthropology and Geography at Cal Poly by alumnus Charles Dunlap (Anthropology and Geography, '18).

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