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2021 Geography & Cartography Degree Guide

If you're fascinated by maps, geography and the climate of different regions a major in Geography and Cartography could be perfect for you. This study will involve exploring Physical Geography: mountain ranges, soil, water, and climate. Another aspect is Human or Cultural Geography which involves the study of how humans use the land and space given to us. In addition to those studies, you will also learn Cartography and how to make maps using GPS technology, computers, photographs, and mathematics.

Your classes will cover many different topics including geographic methods, environmental change, cartography, climatology, geology, statistics, research methods, air pollution meteorology, and environmental remote sensing.

Geography & Cartography Degrees Remain Stable

#107 Most Popular Major
8.7k Degrees Awarded
-0.5% Increase in Graduates

In 2018-2019, geography and cartography was the 107th most popular major nationwide with 8,673 degrees awarded. This is approximately the same as the 8,717 graduates the prior year.

There are 355 schools offering degrees in geography and cartography in the United States. Our 2021 Best Colleges for Geography & Cartography ranking analyzes 61 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for geography and cartography students. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of geography programs later in this article.

What Are The Requirements For a Degree in Geography & Cartography

Accuracy and attention to detail is critical in this field. You will need to complete accurate research with the appropriate data to create developmental plans or maps. Students in this field should be strong in math and science. You will spend a lot of hours in the computer lab researching and assembling data for written. A good sense of direction and spatial skills will also aid you.

Students should be creative problem solvers with the ability to think outside the box. You will work with many different people and perspectives and should be able to clearly explain thoughts and ideas to others. Many schools will require you to get experience in the field by working on an independent research project in the area that interests you the most.

Geography Degree Program Entry Requirements

geography and cartography degree applicants generally need have finished high school or their GED. Many schools may also have GPA and SAT/ACT score minimums that must be met. Specific geography careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Geography & Cartography Degree Types

There are many different geography degree levels. Geography & Cartography programs offered by schools range from a associate's to a research/scholarship based doctorate, which is the highest geography degree you can get. Depending on the geography and cartography degree you choose, obtaining your diploma can take anwhere from 1 to 4+ years.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to geography, with approximately 49.3% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for geography workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 46.4%
Doctoral Degree 19.4%
Master’s Degree 16.2%
Post-Secondary Certificate 5.5%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 5.1%

84.8% of geography workers have at least a bachelor's. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in geography and cartography have received.


The education level required is different depending on the geography career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for Geography Majors

Average Number of Jobs
$36.1k Average Starting Salary
8% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

A degree in Geography and Cartography will allow you to become a geographer or a cartographer. You may also create maps using data gathered from social media.

Geographers study the land and human interactions as related to geography. The majority of geographers are employed by the federal government. Students with advanced degrees will have the best job prospects.

Solid Growth Projected for Geography Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your geography degree? Geography & Cartography careers are expected to grow 8.2% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to geography and cartography.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Managers 1,071,700 8.0%
Cartographers and Photogrammetrists 15,000 19.0%
Geography Professors 5,400 8.0%
Geographers 1,700 13.3%

How Much Money Do People With a Geography Degree Make?

Geography & Cartography graduates between 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $36,126 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $21,200 to as high as $73,200. As you might expect, salaries for geography graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Geography Majors

Salaries for geography and cartography graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers geography grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Managers $115,590
Geography Professors $88,950
Geographers $80,530
Cartographers and Photogrammetrists $68,340

Getting Your Geography & Cartography Degree

With over 1,238 different geography degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased geography school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Geography & Cartography

Geography & Cartography is one of 13 different types of Social Sciences programs to choose from.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Economics 48,297
Political Science & Government 47,035
Sociology 37,611
General Social Sciences 19,694
International Relations & National Security 15,207

View All Geography Related Majors >


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