What can I do with a Geography degree? 

What can I do with a Geography degree? 

What can I do with a Geography degree?

A degree in geography will provide you with strong research and analytical skills that are valued highly by many employers. If you are interested in helping to improve the world’s landscape and help find solutions to some of modern society’s most pressing issues – such as climate change, natural disasters, overpopulation, urban expansion and multicultural integration, then a geography degree will be a great choice of study. 

There are two types of geography degrees – physical geography and human geography. Your career will very much depend on which one you choose. The former is the study of natural science, looking at the Earth’s physical materials and processes, while the latter is a social science where you will study issues relating to human communities and cultures. 

Career options

Natural career paths following a geography degree:

  • Architectural technologist
  • Business analyst
  • Cartographer
  • Data analyst
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Geographical information systems officer
  • Marketing Executive
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Social researcher
  • Town Planner
 

Transferable skills career paths:

  • Construction manager
  • Landscape architect
  • Market researcher
  • Nature conservation officer
  • Political risk analyst
  • Sustainability consultant
  • Transport planner
 

These should only be used as a guide. Many employers will accept applications from students that have studied various degrees. 

Work experience

Those wanting a career with geography skills should investigate doing an industry placement – pre-entry work is valued highly. Your careers department at your university should be able to help you identify these. These may include opportunities within the following:

  • Charities
  • Environmental consultancies
  • Local councils
  • Planning departments
  • Utility companies
 

If your university course does not offer a placement year, you may want to consider doing part-time, summer or voluntary work. To give yourself a head start, you can reach out to local businesses to see if there is a need for the skills you have already developed throughout your degree and the opportunity to learn and grow. 

 

Any kind of pre-entry experience will give your application an advantage. It will also help you to develop the essential skills needed to succeed in the industry. Employers value work experience very highly, and it will also allow you to network and build a list of contacts who may become useful in the future.  

Typical employers

The skills you will develop through a geography degree are in demand across various sectors including education, commerce, industry, transport, tourism and public sectors. You’ll also have developed transferable skills that can just as easily be applied in other roles in industries such as law, business and finance. 

Typical employers of geography students include:

 

  • The armed forces
  • Charities
  • The Civil Service
  • Environmental consultancies
  • Environmental protection agencies
  • Information systems organisations
  • Local government
  • Ministry of Defence
  • Police service
  • Private companies
  • Utility companies
 

Below are some of the job titles you earn with a geography degree: 

 

  • Environment consultant
  • Cartographer 
  • Town planner 
  • Geographic information system officer
  • Conservation officer 
  • Landscape architect 
  • Teacher/Lecturer 
  • Politics or non-profit organisational role

Skills for your CV

Through your degree, you will gain a good understanding of a whole host of practical, social, economic and environmental issues. Geography allows you to apply that knowledge to the real world to help solve some of the biggest issues facing humanity. You will also learn industry-specific skills such as field work, using specialist equipment, preparing maps and diagrams and using social surveys and interpretive methods. 

 

You may also cover a module in population geography which combines human geography with quantitative research and analysis. This will provide you with a particular skill set that is sought after, as most social science degrees focus mainly on qualitative research. These will be especially valued in roles where social research plays a big factor. Make sure the following skills are highlighted on your CV:

 

  • Research and data collection, analysis and evaluation
  • Mathematical and computational skills
  • IT skills, for example, computer cartography and the use of databases and spreadsheets
  • Written and oral communications skills, including report writing and data presentation
  • The ability to understand abstract concepts and articulate these to a range of audiences
  • Planning and problem-solving skills
  • Creative thinking and the ability to recognise the moral and ethical issues involved in debates
  • The ability to work independently and also in a team, taking on board ideas and coming to a consensus
  • Self-motivation and self-reliance
  • Time management and the ability to meet deadlines

Further study

It’s not uncommon for geography graduates to continue their studies with a postgraduate degree. This is usually because they want to specialise in areas such as geographical information systems, remote sensing, environmental conservation, environmental management, human geography research, oceanography, coastal and marine management, meteorology, urban studies or water resources.

 

You may also choose to do a postgraduate degree in a different area, such as teaching, surveying, urban/rural planning or landscape architecture. This will ensure that you are qualified to work in these sectors.

What are Geography graduates doing?

The most popular careers held by geography students are in sales, marketing and related associate professionals, teaching, business, research, admin, architects, chartered architectural technologists, planning officers, surveyors and construction, conservation and environment and finance. 

Related Courses

The UWS BA (Hons) in Social Sciences focuses on the central themes of social justice, power and inequalities. The first two years of this degree equip you with a firm grounding in the essential disciplines of politics, policy and sociology.

Investigating social and political change, you will explore how we understand society and how we can improve it, developing your critical thinking alongside a wide range of research and transferable skills highly valued by the public, private and voluntary sectors.

 

This professionally-accredited degree has been developed with input from industry experts, local authorities and the Society of Chief Environmental Health Officers in Scotland. It is the only one of its kind in the UK.

You’ll explore how the natural and built environment impacts on human health and learn how to keep people safe and healthy using science, technology, law and professional practice.

This degree will provide you with an underpinning of the basic sciences and environmental health before allowing you to focus on specialist subjects of your choice.

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