Careers in geography
6th June 2019
Why choose geography? Find out where geography can take you, explore links between geography and jobs, and see real-life examples of geography careers with our quick guide.
What is geography?
Geography is all about places and people. Perhaps you’d like to better understand the world, landscapes and the environment? Or maybe you’re interested in climate change, migration, and how communities live and work together? Geography looks at all these issues. It connects science with social science subjects, such as economics, sociology, and politics. It’s a good general subject. And it leads to wide range of careers.
What skills will I learn if I study geography?
Studying geography can help you develop data, research, scientific, and map skills.
Geography often involves practical work so there are usually opportunities for fieldwork and travel.
Learning about geography can also boost your soft skills, including communication, team work and time management.
Why choose geography for your GCSE options?
Geography is good choice for your GCSE subjects if you want to:
- keep your future subject choices open
- study a general subject
- find out about other subjects – such as sociology or geology – which you may not have had the chance to study yet
- better understand the world today
Geography is part of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), a set of core subjects which can help you choose your GCSE options (and which are also used as a measure for schools).
See Choosing your GCSE options for more details.
Geography at A-level
When you’re choosing A-level subjects, consider how your choices go together. Geography fits with science subjects such as biology, physics and maths. But it also works well with social science options, such as politics or economics, or history and arts subjects.
Taking geography at A-level can be a stepping stone to subjects for further study at university or college. These include earth sciences such as geology and geophysics; urban or town planning; and other social sciences. But be sure to check entry requirements for university courses on UCAS, as entry routes vary.
See Choosing A-level subject: five points to consider for more information.
Geography at university
Geography is a broad academic degree. Graduates go on to work across a wide range of jobs and industries.
The Royal Geographical Society reports that geography has one of the highest rates of graduate employment, high student satisfaction rates, and low dropout rates.
What careers can I follow with geography?
Studying geography can lead to careers in areas such as:
- Environment and ecology
- Town planning
- Cartography (making maps)
Watch real-life videos on geography careers
Simon, cartographer, Forestry Commission WATCH NOW
Simon chose GCSE geography and then A-level maths, physics and business studies. “When it came to choosing my degree, I sort of wanted to choose something that was a bit more practical.” He chose a subject called geophysics which explores the structure of the earth. Now he creates maps for the Forestry Commission.
Owain, hydrologist, Environment Agency WATCH NOW
Owain did a geography degree and now monitors water quality. He started work with the Environment Agency as a temp and from there was able to apply for internal jobs.
Nicole, planning enforcement officer, Westminster City Council WATCH NOW
“I liked all three subjects… Geography, economics, and design & technology is a mix of what makes town planning, so I thought, I’ll do town planning.” After her GCSEs Nicole wanted to become a dancer but was put off by the fees of performing arts school. Before going to university, she looked after people with learning disabilities and worked as a waitress.
Joanne, education ranger, Forestry Commission WATCH NOW
“Most of my work is with school groups so you do need to be able to communicate with children and enjoy being with them.” Joanne took geography at A-level and went on to study ecology and economics at university. She now works with school groups and runs woodland events for members of the public.
Kati, head of digital media, V&A Museum WATCH NOW
Kati took a geography degree and later studied history of design. She has found a career which combines her different interests.
Explore more icould videos on geography careers. Hear what it’s like to work for employers including The Eden Project, The Met Office, and The National Trust, as well as energy providers and local authorities.
And you can see more examples of jobs connected with geography.
Geography jobs: finding work
The Royal Geographic Society has a helpful list of job search websites featuring geography-related jobs.