Why Study Geography?

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Why Study Geography?

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Are you interested in how the world works? Literally? Then Geography could be for you.

What is Geography?

Geography is a pretty unique subject because it looks at both the physical structure of the planet and the social structure (i.e. how we affect our environment and how it affects us) in the past, present and future.

So is Geography a Natural Science? Is it a Social Science? Is it Ancient History?

The answer is, a bit of everything, to begin with at least.

Geography can be divided into two main branches:

Physical Geography: is a branch of earth science, which looks at the natural elements of the world, including the atmosphere, land and oceans. Physical geographers study things like climate, soil, how the earth was formed and how it is changing over time.

Human Geography: is a social science that studies how humans interact with the planet and covers things like population growth, migration, how urban and rural settlements develop, how we work with animals and even how our economies are effected by the environment we live in.

Because geographers deal with the natural world and how we behave in it, their jobs can take them everywhere, from taking soil samples on the edge of a volcano to mapping a new town, charting the changes to a glacier in the arctic, or even teaching you in a comfortable classroom.

Geographers have done some pretty important things for the human race, including charting new territory, developing maps (cartography) and measuring distances to help us get from A to B long before we could simply take a picture of an area from space. We wouldn’t have Google maps without them. Imagine…

What Skills will I get from Studying Geography?

Geography will help you develop your communication and teamwork skills, as you’ll often work on group projects. You’ll also develop your research and analysis skills including in IT, lab and fieldwork, which means you will be able to collect and look for patterns in data.

Employers love the mix of technical and social skills people get from studying geography, which they see as very transferable, i.e. useful for a whole range of jobs.

What Careers Can I do with Geography?

According to the Royal Geographical Society, Geography graduates have some of the highest rates of graduate employment.

Geography is great for any kind of career that involves the environment, planning, or collecting and interpreting data. Popular careers for people with geography qualifications include: town or transport planning, surveying, conservation, sustainability, waste and water management, environmental planning, tourism, and weather forecasting.

The army, police, government, research organisations, law and business world also love the practical research skills that geographers develop.

Because geographers learn about human and population development, geography can be useful for jobs in charity and international relations too.

If you're interested in pursuing a career in geography, check out our post Career Choices for Geography Students.

What Subjects go With Geography?

Geography will support the study of sciences, especially health and social sciences, like Biology, Sociology and Psychology.

Geography A-level is also a facilitating subject, which means that it can be useful for a whole range of university courses and will help you keep your options open. Find out more about facilitating subjects here.

What Degrees and Other Qualifications do I Need Geography for?

If you want to study Geography at university, you’ll almost certainly need to study it at A-level. Geography A-level is also required from some environmental science and planning courses.

According to the Russell Group, Geography A-level is useful (that means it’s a good idea to study it!) for courses in: Archaeology, Civil Engineering, Geology and Sociology.

A GCSE or A-level in Geography could also be useful for apprenticeships in surveying, horticulture, agriculture, land based engineering or BTEC’s in environmental sustainability or environmental conservation, although it won't always be required.

Where can I find out more?
Royal Geographical Society
Geographical Association - careers advice and useful links
Which? Geography at University

Other Subjects in our Why Study? Series:
 
Chemistry
English Language
History
Music
Psychology
Design & Technology
Languages

Photo via Flickr.co.uk CC Attribution

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