Careers

If you want to make a difference to the world, studying geography is an excellent place to start. Geography careers offer opportunities to develop solutions to many of the most pressing challenges to our environment and society, including climate change, natural disasters, biodiversity loss, wildlife habitat degradation and species extinction, overpopulation, urban expansion, multicultural integration and social justice.

The career path you choose may depend on what emphasis you intend to focus on: physical geography, human geography, environment and society, or GIScience. Very briefly put, 1) Physical geography is a natural science, focusing on the Earth’s physical materials, patterns, and processes; 2) Human geography belongs to the social science domain, which addresses issues on human communities and cultures; 3) Environment and society is a cutting-edge area of geography, which aims to understand the interaction between society and the natural environment; and 4) Geographical information science (GIScience) aims to study data structures and computational techniques that capture, represent, process, and analyze geographic information.

Examples of jobs that recent Geography Undergraduates have obtained following their graduation are:

  • Air Quality Specialist
  • Environmental Planning Associate
  • Infrastructure Development Mapping
  • GIS Technician
  • Environmental Resource Planning Assistant
  • Restoration Ecologist
  • Mapping Underwater Resources
  • Environmental and Oceanographic Resources - GIS
  • Environmental Scientist
  • County of San Diego Public Works Planner
  • City of San Diego Planner

Examples of jobs that recent Geography Master’s students have obtained following their graduation are:

  • Research Scientist in Conservation Biology
  • Data Scientist
  • Staff Scientist for Stormwater Monitoring, Wood Consultants
  • Environmental Planner, Helix Environmental
  • GIS Specialist, Padre Dam Water District
  • Computer Scientist, US Army Material Command
  • Geographer, US Geological Survey
  • Environmental Scientist, California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Research Analyst, California Department of Food and Agriculture
  • Stormwater Grants Program Manager

Examples of jobs that recent Geography Doctoral students have obtained following their graduation are:

  • Faculty Member
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Chief Data Scientist (Data Mining)
  • Owner or Co-Owner of Consulting Companies
  • Vice President of Banking and Financial Services
  • GIS Software Engineer
  • Biophysical Remote Sensing Scientist
  • Research Ecologist
  • Associate Water Scientist
  • Water Resources Specialist
  • Senior Director of Data Science

Full list of Doctoral Alumni positions.

The median annual salary of geospatial information scientists and technologists is $80K in 2014, and the median annual salary of environmental scientists is $67K. For more information about what geographers do, where geographers work, list of jobs in geography, geography career tips, and career multimedia resources, some exemplar geographer profiles, and the like, visit the Association of American Geographers career page Leave geography site.