Opportunities for employment as a geographer are continually expanding.
What is 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.
Do you like to work outdoors? Are you committed to understanding and improving our environment? Are you interested in an holistic understanding of the natural and social sciences? Do you have enthusiasm for research and the ability to organize and interpret data? Would you like to share geographic information by teaching, writing, and research to improve the earth as a home for humankind? If you do, then a career in geography may be for you.
What geography programs are offered at Shippensburg University?
The Geography bachelor of science program enables students to study three different tracks of interest: land use, human-environmental studies, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)/cartography. All majors must have 13 credit hours of courses that give a general overview of geography and then 18 credits of course work in one of the three areas of interest.
The Geography Social Studies Education (B.S.Ed.) program provides the student with a broad-based education background in the social sciences and 24 credit hours of major courses in geography.
The Earth-Space Science Education (B.S.Ed.) program allows students to teach earth science, general science, and environmental science at the middle school, junior high, and senior high school level.
What kinds of courses will I take?
During your career at Shippensburg University you will be required to take 48 credit hours of general education in which you will receive a background in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, mathematics, history, English, and communication skills. Your specific major courses will be in geography with allied courses in psychology, sociology, government, economics, computer science, and the natural sciences.
What kinds of career choices can I expect?
The bachelor of science degree in geography at Shippensburg University prepares graduates for a wide range of employment opportunities. Some examples are industry, consulting firms, federal, state, and local governmental agencies, as well as in higher levels of education. Many employment opportunities are available for individuals trained in environmental planning, geographic information systems, cartography, remote sensing, and computer mapping.
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.
What about geography internship opportunities?
Most geographers eventually work in four basic career fields: business, government, planning, or teaching. A strong internship program and alumni network have been developed to assist majors in the job selection process.
Some sample internships geography majors have completed were:
- 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
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.
What kind of computer skills will I acquire?
Computer applications are extremely important in geography. All areas of employment, whether in government, business, or education are using computer applications to portray and analyze data. A variety of computer courses are available in the Department of Computer Science and Department of Geography-Earth Science.
What student organizations are available to geography majors?
Three major student organizations available to all geography majors are Gamma Theta Upsilon, an international honorary society in geography-earth science; the Student Environmental Action Committee, in which students can become more actively involved with environmental issues both on campus and in the community; and the Geography-Earth Science Organization, which sponsors many environmentally oriented programs, field trips, and outdoor activities.