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Geography and Geosciences

Page Index: Geography

Academic Information:

What is Geography and Geosciences?

According to the Association of American Geographers, Geography is the science of place and space. Geographers ask where things are located on the surface of the earth, why they are located where they are, how places differ from one another, and how people interact with the environment.

There are two main branches of geography: human geography and physical geography. Human geography is concerned with the spatial aspects of human existence - how people and their activity are distributed in space, how they use and perceive space, and how they create and sustain the places that make up the earth's surface. Physical geographers study patterns of climates, land forms, vegetation, soils, and water. They forecast the weather, manage land and water resources, and analyze and plan for forests, rangelands, and wetlands.

Career Information

Possible/Typical Job Titles

  • Aerial Photo Interpreter
  • Agricultural Extension Agent
  • Air Pollution Specialist for a regional air quality district
  • Air Quality Analyst
  • Air/Water Quality Control Manager
  • Airline Cargo Marketing Executive
  • Airlines Researcher
  • Appraiser for a real estate corporation
  • Area Specialist
  • Avalanche Specialist in a U.S. National
  • Forest
  • Budget Planning and Policy Manager for a major metropolis
  • Business Analyst in a corporation
  • Cartographer
  • Climatologist
  • Coastal Zone Manager
  • Colonel in the U.S. Army
  • Community Development Analyst
  • Computer Mapping Specialist
  • Computer Programmer
  • Computer Specialist for a U.S. National Park
  • Conservation Education Coordinator for a state
  • Data Analyst for an insurance company
  • Demographer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Director of Planning and Zoning for a township
  • Ecologist
  • Economic Development Analyst
  • Economist
  • Engineer, Civil
  • Environmental Impact Analyst
  • Environmental Manager
  • Environment Planner for a state department of transportation
  • Environmental Quality Specialist
  • Facilities Planner
  • Forestry Technician
  • Geographer at the U.S. Defense
  • Mapping Agency
  • Geographer at the Smithsonian Institution
  • Geographer at the U.S. Bureau of the Census
  • Geographer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Geographer at the U.S. National
  • Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Geographer at the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Geographer for a water management district
  • Geographer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Geographer for the U.S. Army
  • Topographic
  • Engineering Center
  • Geographer for the U.S. Forest Service
  • GIS Analyst in a corporation
  • Geographic Area Specialist
  • Geographic Info. Sys. Specialist
  • Geographic Attaché
  • Geophysics Assistance
  • Hazardous-Waste Planner
  • Health Services Organization Manager
  • Health Services Planner
  • Hydrologist
  • Industrial Planner
  • Industrial Developer
  • Insurance Analyst
  • Intelligence Analyst at the U.S. National Photo Interpretation Center
  • International Business Rep.
  • Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Defense
  • Intelligence Agency
  • Interpreter
  • International Investment Analyst
  • Land Use Planner for a city
  • Land Developer
  • Land Economist
  • Location Expert
  • Map Analyst
  • Map Editor
  • Map Librarian
  • Map Curator
  • Marketing Analyst
  • Meteorologist at the U.S. National Weather Service
  • Meteorologist, Television
  • Natural Resource Specialist
  • Outdoor Guide
  • Park Ranger
  • Peace Corps Volunteer
  • Physical Scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey
  • Physical Scientist for the U.S. Defense
  • Mapping Agency
  • Political Analyst
  • Pollution Control Specialist for a metropolitan area
  • Principal Scientist in a corporation
  • Project Planner for a county
  • Property Manager
  • Public Utilities Specialist
  • Ranger in a U.S. National Park
  • Real Estate Appraiser
  • Recycling Coordinator for a state
  • Redevelopment Coordinator for a city
  • Remote Sensing Analyst
  • Regional Environmentalist for a state department of transportation
  • Regional Planner
  • Risk Analyst in a corporation
  • Site Researcher
  • Soil Conservationist for a state natural resource conservation service
  • Supervising Topographic Engineer for a state geological survey
  • Surveyor
  • Systems Analyst
  • Teacher
  • Tourism Developer
  • Traffic Management Specialist, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Transportation Planner for a county
  • Transportation Analyst
  • Transportation Manager
  • Travel Agent/Specialist
  • Urban/Regional Planner
  • Weather Forecaster
  • Wildlife Manager
  • Writer/Author
  • Web Master
  • Wetlands Conservation Supervisor for a reclamation authority
  • Zoning Administrator

*Denotes additional education required

Typical Places of Employment

  • State, regional and local government
  • Depts. of State
  • Defense & Commerce
  • Publishers (textbooks and maps)
  • Real estate developers
  • Scientific and research groups
  • Forestry
  • Mining
  • Federal Government
  • Engineering firms
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • U.S. Geological
  • Survey
  • Defense Mapping
  • Agency
  • Architectural firms
  • Bureau of Census
  • Construction
  • Surveying firms
  • Consulting firms
  • Utilities
  • Planning agencies
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Elementary/secondary schools
  • International Trade Org.
  • Agricultural organizations
  • Manufacturing firms

Government Departments

  • Housing
  • Planning
  • Conservation
  • Natural resource management
  • Transport

Private sector industries

  • Mining
  • Tourism
  • Banking

Private sector consultants

  • Environmental planning

Non-government organizations

  • International aid
  • Community development
  • Environmental development
  • Environmental advocacy

Social Policy Agencies

  • Urban
  • Housing
  • Social welfare


  • Retailing and marketing
  • Computing
  • Telecommunications
  • Teaching in secondary and tertiary education
  • Human management and public relations
  • Graduate studies and research

Required Skills and Abilities

  • Writing material for publication, for example, scientific and general publications, reports, environmental impact statements, textbooks, grant proposals
  • Studying physical and human geography
  • Develop theories on how humans adapt to environmental conditions and analyze how they alter their environment
  • Plan long-term projects
  • Interview skills
  • Gather & organize data
  • Summarize results
  • Develop project designs
  • Understand group dynamics
  • Examine data
  • Write clearly
  • Write grant/proposals
  • Observe human interactions
  • Read/construct maps/graphs
  • Utilize statistical applications
  • Conduct research
  • Making and manipulating maps to understand patterns and processes
  • Analyzing geographic contexts of specific activities/issues
  • Working on community and other collaborative projects
  • Conduct field studies
  • Present/defend position
  • Evaluation
  • Recognize/similarities
  • Apply non-intrusive methods
  • Communicate across cultures
  • Maintain records
  • Surveying & sampling
  • Computer modeling
  • Understand societies
  • Identify value systems

Alumni Resources

(Listed below are examples of SU Alumni and their Jobs in this major-For more alumni resources, go to Mentor Network)





Timothy Kane 2002 Emergency Preparedness Specialist NYC Office of Emergency Management
Carrie Tragert 2007 Research Assistant East Carolina University Research Assistant
Nicole Gagnon 2007 Geoscientist The Boeing Co Geoscientist
Stacy Blanchard 2003 Dynamix Corp. GIS Analyst

Related Links: Further Explore this Career Field

Professional Associations:

US Army Corps of Engineers

Association of American Geographers

National Climate Data Center


National Geographic

National Park Service

US Geological Survey

National Council for Geographic Education

Career-Related Links:

Professional Organizations And Resources for Geographers

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