Geography is divided into two disciplines: human geography and physical geography. Human geography is the study of the people, places, and cultures, while physical geography focuses on the natural environment, which can include study in meteorology or hydrology. Graduates of a geology program can go on to work in environmental conservation and management, international development, public health, green development, cartography, and teaching. Students who graduate will have the resourcefulness to find information, organize projects, manage their time, think critically, and be better informed about the world around them.
Classes and Assignments of a Geography Major
Some schools offer several specializations within the geography major, including human geography, physical geography, and techniques. The courses change depending on the focus. A student in the human geography program may study Texas, Latin America, Mexican, urban, and retail geography, while a techniques student may take cartography and graphics, geographic information systems (GIS), and GIS programming. The course work varies depending on the class. Social science classes, such as culture, environment, and society, are typically lecture-based and assignments may include required readings, essays, and group or individual projects. On the other hand, some of the earth science classes may require laboratory work in addition to reading assignments, essays, and projects.
Degree Levels for a Geography Major
- Associate. Online associate geography degrees provide a good foundation in the field and fulfill all the standard prerequisites for upper-level undergraduate coursework. Along with the core classes, a student in an associate program may take environmental systems, human geography, and introduction to GIS.
- Bachelor’s. Online bachelors geography degrees can open up a wide range of career opportunities. A geography student may take classes in cartography, meteorology, or regional geography, which can lead to careers in urban planning, climatology, and environmental management. Since many geography programs have specific tracks, students can choose to specialize in a certain field before they graduate.
- Master’s. Online masters geography degrees offer students the chance to further specialize in a chosen subject. In geography’s case, a student could focus on water resources management, applied geomorphology, archaeology, applied GIS, and more. Many programs focus on helping students apply the knowledge they’ve acquired to find solutions for real issues.
- Doctoral. Those interested in a career in higher education should consider pursuing a doctoral degree in geography. In a doctoral program, students may take classes in research design and theory and methods in geography, and to graduate they must complete a dissertation. When a doctoral student graduates, he or she should have a strong understanding of scientific inquiry, knowledge in an area of specialization and the history and methods of geography, as well as analytical and technical skills.
A Future as a Geography Major
A degree in geography can lead to many different career opportunities. For example, with a specialization in GIS, a candidate with a bachelor’s degree can work as a cartographer, which is a person who draws maps. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects employment in this field to grow 19%, or faster than average, between 2008 and 2018. In addition, cartographers earned a median income of $51,180 in May 2008.
Another career option is to work as a urban and regional planner, or someone who develops plans for the use of land and the growth of urban, suburban, or rural communities. The BLS expects job opportunities for urban and regional planners to increase 19% between 2008 and 2018, and they list the median income in May 2008 as $59,810. The average salary and employment statistics do not guarantee pay or ease of finding a job because your salary is dependent upon your employer, where you work, and the state of the economy.
Students with a degree in Geography are considered well prepared for
becoming Cartographers and photogrammetrists.