These days the majority of undergraduate degrees are only effective when combined with postgraduate studies, allowing students a fighting chance at the job market.
Geography isn’t very different; however, it places you in a unique position to pursue a variety of different life paths due to the solid foundation of transferable skills you gain as an undergraduate student.
Let’s explore 5 Clear Reasons Why Geography Isn’t A Useless Degree.
Many Career Options To Explore
Unlike other fields such as healthcare where your options are greatly limited by your first degree, geography is a course that leaves the door wide open to many job roles including development surveyor, cartographer, IT officer, and even a secondary school teacher.
Not to mention the fact that you could be dealing with increasingly important issues of the world such as climate change, overpopulation, and natural disasters.
The growing urgency of such issues only makes geography a more sought-after pursuit and is a major reason why the sector is growing.
This, however, isn’t without caution as students should be advised that an undergraduate geography degree won’t be enough to land them their dream job, unfortunately.
The field itself is massive however there is a growing pool of graduates who are unemployed due to a lack of relevant experience and further postgraduate study.
It is of utmost importance that students try and find some relevant work experience either during their studies, straight after, or intercalated between the degree itself.
This is more important than postgraduate studies as it shows you have awareness and a basic understanding of your chosen geography field.
A good form of relevant work experience you could get is an internship at a land surveying company or building site.
It’s much easier to know someone already in the business but you’ll be surprised how many site managers would be happy to have you shadow them and possibly even help train you to one day get hired by that same company!
Never underestimate the power of sending emails!
Potential For Lateral Movement
Due to the large array of transferable skills taught to geography students, most graduates can go on to work in a variety of different sectors including but not limited to healthcare, business and finance, accounting, scientific research, physics, and statistical analysis.
Geography degree modules will typically be separated into human and physical geography but the program itself spans almost every major geography-related topic.
In the first year, students will touch upon topics like population and global geopolitics, but in the subsequent years, will focus mainly on research approaches in human geography and spatial data analysis specifically using GIS.
Optional modules will include studying sustainability and urban growth in cities like Helsinki and Belgrade, as well as learning about transport land use in these countries.
Geography graduates gain an expansive knowledge of global systems and politics, not to mention being skilled at performing detailed research and data analysis.
This can easily be transferred into core scientific work environments such as doing research in medical laboratories or even working as a political liaison in a foreign government.
The skills gained by a geography undergraduate are unparalleled and far-reaching so graduates should have no problem finding work in a range of different markets, provided the right experience and educational requirements are met.
Rated Highly For Student Satisfaction
On the whole, geography is rated as one of the most enjoyable and informative courses according to the Uni Guide who reported on a survey carried out on undergraduate students.
Graduates often find that they enjoy specific modules more than others, and since there are a vast number of topics to cover, there is always something for everyone to enjoy.
Some students with a knack for human geography may enjoy modules such as politics or human activity, and others with a more mathematical interest may enjoy studying statistics and data analysis.
Regardless of your interest, the majority of geography students seem to enjoy the vast options they have when it comes to choosing elective modules, not to mention the overseas trips that are intercalated between your studies.
Some students even choose to study geography entirely because it allows them to potentially travel to different countries and remote areas to explore different cultures and carry out research in their chosen country.
Of course, not every geography student chooses to base their research on data collected overseas, never-the-less the fact that the option is there is a big draw for students, and a quality that is unique with regards to other undergraduate courses where overseas travel is unlikely.
Many Areas of Research
There are many UK institutions dedicated to doing research at a high level, and as we mentioned before, geography is a course with many branches and aspects.
Taken together, this provides students with an array of research topics to explore after graduating. Studying at a Russell group university is recommended, and there are several research areas both in human and physical geography.
In human geography, students find themselves often defaulting to economy and culture as this is usually the most interesting to study with the added benefit of exploring new cultures.
On the physical side, students generally find Ice Sheet and Sea Level research to be most interesting as this will allow them to travel to new expansive climates that are having a big effect on global climate conditions.
Either way, with geography, there is no shortage of topics to discuss or things to do after you graduate. Just be sure to pursue Russell group universities for research as this is the best way to travel to new countries and experience new cultures and climates while doing world-class research.
If you already study at a Russell group university, it is recommended to stay on for postgraduate studies as you are more familiar with the faculty and their teaching methods, not to mention you will have qualified for a much-needed postgraduate discount!
Good Teaching Prospects
Geography graduates are generally the most educated and well-rounded people in any given space as a result of their vast general knowledge. This is precisely the qualities of any good teacher and it shows;
many geography graduates find it relatively easy to find work in both primary and secondary schools, and with the shortage in teachers, this might be an ideal route for many graduates now.
Not every geography graduate will be able to land their dream job right after graduating, and not everyone will get employed as a surveyor or researcher so it is important to be realistic about your job prospects, especially when you haven’t got any relevant experience under your belt.
With teaching, it’s as simple as completing a postgraduate course which will likely include placement and paid experience.
It’s important to note that whether or not you are considering studying geography, your potential to find work isn’t determined by the usefulness of your first degree, but rather the work experience and internship opportunities you are able to do alongside it.
Students who excel after their degree often have plenty extra-curricular activities under their belt and when they are faced with job interviews, the time spent talking about work experience gained is far more than the time they spend talking about what they learnt on their degree.