What Can You do with a Degree in Geography?

Caitlin Dempsey

Updated:

Geographers can be found working in a variety of industries.  

While many geographers endure the never-ending “quick name the capitol of…” questions, the types of jobs requiring a geography are actually quite varied.  Very few of these jobs carry the title of “geographer” but these jobs still require a solid background in understanding geographic concepts and spatial analysis.

A good geographer will have knowledge in understanding the relationships between humans and their environments, spatial and statistical analytical skills, the ability to visualize data both graphically and cartographically, and strong verbal and written skills.

Geographic Information Systems Professional

The most closely aligned job is one in GIS.  

GIS stands for geographic information systems and it involves tapping into such such a cartography, spatial analysis, and collecting geographic data. GIS professionals can be found working in all industries from local government to retail to the oil & gas industry.

A photo of a small globe wearing a black graduation ap with a red tassel on top of a keyboard.

Urban Planners

Planners needs to incorporate mapping, environmental impact reports, and local zoning laws into their daily routine.  Many of these areas tap in geographic concepts and spatial analysis.  

Urban geography is a specialized niche in the study of geography that would help those interested in become a planner.

Classes in GIS also come in handy for urban planners as they often need to make maps to show how a development many impact the local environment, impact traffic, or create a need for more schools.

Transportation Planners

Like with urban planners, transportation planners also need a background in GIS, environmental regulations, and spatial analysis.

Demographers

Understanding the socio-economic makeup of a city or a region calls for the skills of a geographer.  

The U.S. Census often hires geographers to help with collecting and analyzing geographic, demographic, and economic data for its various Census products.

Market Researcher

Geomarketing is a growing field that taps into geographic skills.  Having strong economic and geographic knowledge will help a geographer succeed in this field as he or she looks at regional buying habits, local household income levels, and geographic trends in buying buying habits.

Famous geography degree holders

Famous geographers aside, here is a list of some famous people who majored in geography in college.

Kurt Angel, an American professional wrestler, graduated from Clarion University in 1992 where he received his B. S. in Geography.

Michael Jordan, a basketball star, majored in cultural geography at the University of North Carolina starting in 1981.

Sir Matthew Pinsent, English rower and broadcaster, studied Geography at St Catherine’s College, Oxford.

Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop.  Newton Park College of Higher Education, Bath

Prince William (Duke of Cambridge) studied geography while he was a student at the University of St. Andrews.

Related

Photo of author
About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.

Free weekly newsletter

Fill out your e-mail address to receive our newsletter!
Email: