Why Study Geography

Geography is both a natural science (because it deals with the physical environment) and a social science (because it is concerned with the distribution of cultural phenomena). The demand for geographers has grown with the increased concern over our environment. The geographer is challenged to interpret the constantly changing physical and human landscapes.

If you like to work outdoors, are committed to understanding and improving our environment, and are interested in a holistic understanding of the natural and social sciences, consider studying geography. Our graduates are enthusiastic about research and the ability to organize and interpret data. They like to share geographic information by teaching, writing, and through research to provide for a sustainable earth. Ship provides hands-on learning opportunities, tools and resources to help undergraduate geography students excel within the program.

Why Study Geography at Ship

At Ship, a strong internship program and alumni network has been developed to assist majors in the job selection process. This helps students find employment in well-respected positions following graduation. Over the past 20 years we’ve assisted thousands of students in landing quality internships and jobs in the environmental field.

Some sample geography internships include:

  • County planning organizations — Franklin County Planning Commission and Tri-County Planning Commission
  • Consulting firms — Martin and Martin, Inc., Technologies, Skelly and Loy, and KCI
  • National Audubon Society
  • State agencies — Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
  • Tri-County Regional Planning Commission
  • Metropolitan Transit Authority, Washington, D.C.
  • Topographic Engineering Center, Virginia
  • Department of Environmental Protection
  • West Penn Power and Allegheny Power Systems

The bachelor of science in education degree programs prepare students for teaching in the middle school, junior high, and senior high levels. Because many elementary and high school programs have added or strengthened geography courses, the demand for good geography teachers has increased.

Education majors student teach for one semester during their undergraduate studies. The student teaching placement provides background in teaching geography, earth science, general science, and environmental education.

Career Opportunities and Salary Estimates

he Bachelor's of Science in geography at Ship prepares graduates for a wide range of employment opportunities. Some examples are, consulting firms, federal, state, and local governmental agencies, as well as in higher education. Many employment opportunities are available for individuals trained in:

  • Environmental planning
  • Geographic information systems
  • Cartography
  • Remote sensing
  • Computer mapping

The average salary for geographers in PA is $54,000

Major and Minor Requirements

Shippensburg University geography students are required to take 48 credits of general education and receive a background in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, mathematics, history, English, and communication skills. Majors take discipline-specific courses in geography with allied courses in psychology, sociology, government, economics, computer science, and the natural sciences.

The Geography Social Studies Education (BSEd) program allows students to teach in the social sciences and geography at the middle school, junior high or high school levels. It provides background in the social sciences and 24 credits of major courses in geography.

The Earth-Space Science Education (BSEd) program allows students to teach earth science, general science, and environmental science at the middle school, junior high, and senior high school level.

The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) minor (18 credits) allows any non-major to develop knowledge and an array of skills using GIS and other geospatial technologies. The GIS minor is an excellent complement to any major that focuses on people, economics, resources, or the environment.

The GIS Certificate program is a short program (12 credits) designed for students in any major who want a solid hands-on introduction to GIS and exposure to a range of applications.


The Bachelor of Science in geography offers students three different concentrations:

All these majors share a 13-credit core of courses that give a general overview of geography and then an additional 18 credits of coursework in one of the three areas of interest. By choosing from one of these three areas, students can work towards an undergraduate degree in PA that truly matches their passions and skill sets.

Student Groups

Three student organizations are available to all geography majors:

Contact Info

Geography/Earth Science
Shearer Hall 104, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1685
Department Website