"What do GEOGRAPHERS do?"

Most people in the United States are exposed to geographic education only at the elementary school level. As a result, there is a widespread misconception that Geography is limited to boring memorization of locations of countries, states, capital cities, major physical landmarks and export products. The truth is that modern geography is an exciting science producing research of great value to government interests, planning agencies, and private businesses.

What Do Geographers Do?

Sawyer - Tree and studentsThe term geographer is rarely used either in the title or description of career positions, but geography majors possess unique analytical skills that enable them to succeed in a remarkable range of occupations. Employers welcome the geographer’s comprehensive knowledge of natural and social sciences coupled with his/her distinctive understanding of spatial patterns. There is a high demand in business, industry, and government for geographers with training in physical geography, human geography, and geographic information science (GIS). 

Physical geographers study weather, climate, water and coastal processes, plant and animal distributions, landforms, soils, and natural hazards. Their objective is to improve the understanding of the way the environment operates, both naturally and in response to human-induced changes. Physical geographers evaluate the potential of natural resources, make environmental impact assessments, monitor environmental change, map exotic species expansion, and determine the risks of harm from natural hazards such as storms, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and floods. 

Human geographers examine economic, social and political dimensions of the landscape. They study population, agriculture, industry, tourism, cities, transportation networks, migrations, commodity flows, political units, and behavioral patterns. Their objective is to improve our understanding of how people use the land and help plan more rational uses of natural resources that will benefit society while protecting the environment from excessive deterioration. 

Both physical and human geographers direct their attention toward two fundamental research questions: 

“Where are things located?”

“Why are they located there?”

Could Geography be for Me?

Take this YaNG! Test.
(You’re a Natural Geographer!)

Cumberland trip - 2009 - RiverviewIf you answer “Yes” to 10 or more of the questions below, you should seriously consider becoming a Geography major at the University of South Alabama.

  1. Do you like maps?
  2. Do you like to travel?
  3. Are you curious about places?
  4. Do you enjoy working outdoors?
  5. Do you enjoy group study projects?
  6. Do you like to work with computers?
  7. Do you like to read National Geographic?
  8. Do you prefer the window seat on airplanes?
  9. Do you watch the Discovery Channel on TV?
  10. Have you participated in school science fairs?
  11. Do you like to do scientific research and solve problems?
  12. Would it interest you to study people and what they do for a living?
  13. Do you like “hands on” classes that allow you to develop new research skills?
  14. Are you concerned about deforestation, soil erosion, pollution, global warming and other environmental issues?

Careers in Geography

Graduation Mortar Board - GEOA Geographer may work in the private or public sector as a:

  • demographer
  • transportation analyst
  • cartographer
  • geographic information systems analyst
  • market researcher
  • travel consultant
  • real estate developer
  • resource analyst
  • environmental consultant
  • surveyor
  • remote sensing specialist
  • high school teacher
  • location research analyst
  • city/regional planner
  • traffic planner
  • park ranger
  • soil conservationist
  • soil surveyor
  • administrative analyst
  • waste management coordinator
  • university professor
  • cultural affairs manager

Ready to take the first step? Want more information on what Geography at the University of South Alabama has to offer? Contact us, and we will be happy to help you begin your journey to a fun and rewarding career as a Geographer!