Geographers are in demand, with opportunities for employment continually expanding.
Geography at Ship
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.
Students who 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 should consider studying geography. Our graduates are enthusiastic about research and the ability to organize and interpret data, and they like to share geographic information by teaching, writing, and research to provide for a sustainable earth.
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, including GIS and Image Processing.
Admission and Degree Requirements
Shippensburg University 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 Bachelor of Science (BS) 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.
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.
Careers in Geography
The Bachelor 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, 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.
Most geographers eventually work in four basic career fields: business, government, planning, or teaching. A strong internship program and alumni network has been developed to assist majors in the job selection process. 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
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.
Three student organizations are available to all geography majors: 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.