Understanding The World And Our Place In It: Geography Degree

Are you naturally curious about the world and the way in which people interact with their surroundings? Although many people believe that geography only involves the study of the environment and physical processes, but there is also human geography. The latter deals more with human societies and their link to the planet. Whichever you choose, obtaining a geography degree can put you on the path to working with some of the biggest issues of our time. From climate change and overpopulation to natural disasters and urban expansion, this degree is not only informative, but can enable you to make a big difference. You’ll also be in good company as some famous figures, including Prince William, Mother Teresa and the philosopher, Immanuel Kant had a keen interest in the geography.

Geography Degree Information

Associate of Arts in Geography

Completing an associate of arts in geography degree typically takes about two years. The program typically consists of a mixture of written communication, mathematics, history, social and behavioral sciences and other general education requirements. In addition, course topics may include world regional geography, human geography and physical geography. Electives often include cultural anthropology, ethics, medical anthropology and 20th century world history.

Bachelor of Science/Arts in Geography

Both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts in Geography degrees are available and take about four years of study. Course topics for this type of degree may include urban geography, remote sensing concepts and political geography. Optional subjects may also include climate change and variability, contemporary urban life, desert landscapes and dynamics, geographies of nature, geomorphical processes, environmental pollution and more. This type of course also usually includes a dissertation where you get to do your own original research and write about a geographical topic.

Master of Arts/Science in Geography

As with the bachelor’s degrees, both a Master of Arts and Master of Science in Geography degree is available. The Master of Arts degree is generally aimed at students who would like to study the theoretical as well as the applied aspects of the field. This is usually done with the intent to work as a professional at GIS service providers, environmental firms, engineering firms or other similar places. The Master of Science degree on the other hand is aimed at students who wishes to pursue careers in research, development or consulting related to geography instead. Generally, to obtain a master’s degree you must first hold a bachelor’s degree. Course topics may include contemporary geographic thought, contemporary research design in geography, GIS analysis, advanced quantitative methods in geography and more. Obtaining this type of degree is usually a two-year process.

Geography Degree FAQs

Is It Possible To Earn An Online Geography Degree?

The most common geography degrees that are available in an online format are at a mater’s level, which makes them ideal for working professionals who want study further without it interfering with their jobs. However, there are also a few online courses at associate or bachelor’s level. In order to take part in an online course you typically need a computer with a stable Internet connection along with software such as Acrobat Reader. In addition to online study material, students can also interact with their peers and instructors via email, chat rooms or forums.

Who Is An Ideal Candidate To Study For This Degree?

A geography degree is ideally suited for students who already took classes in history, English literature as well as languages. These are not a requirement, but can be useful. Certain bachelors degrees also require students to have qualifications in science or maths. It helps to have an interest in the world and cultures around you along with an interest in statistics. Good attention to detail is a must along with good communication skills and the ability to work in a team or on your own.

What Are My Career Options After The Completion of a Geography Degree?

After obtaining a degree in geography, there are a couple of career paths that are directly related to your studies as well as a few that can benefit from the skills and knowledge that you gained. Amongst the jobs that are directly related are cartographer, town planner, environmental consultant, planning and development surveyor, commercial or residential surveyor, and geographical information systems officer. Your degree can also be useful for jobs such as tourism officer, landscape architect, market researcher, transport planner, nature conservation officer and many others. Many students with this type of degree go on to work for environmental consultancies, environmental protection agencies, utility companies and private companies. Opportunities also exist in the armed forces, charities, local government as well as information systems organizations.

How Much Could I Potentially Earn When Working In This Industry?

Since there are various job opportunities available to people with a geography degree your earning potential will depend on which direction you choose for your career path. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, cartographers and photogrammetrists earned about $61,880 per year during 2015. In addition, the job outlook for these professions are also very good thanks to much faster projected employment growth. They also indicate that surveying and mapping technicians earn about $42,010 per year, while geographers had a median pay of $74,260 per year. As with most jobs your experience and geographical location can also have an impact on how much you earn in this field.

What Are The Other Advantages To Obtaining A Geography Degree?

Because geography covers a range of issues from social and economic to environmental it can equip you with skills and knowledge that are useful for many types of jobs. This means that you’ll not only benefit from the core geographic skills that you acquire, but you’ll also sharpen your skills in research, analysis and evaluation. It can also hone your planning and problem-solving skills along with computational and mathematical skills. Finally, studying geography can help you to become a better global citizen and find your place in the world while protecting the environment and contributing to the sustainability of our planet.

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