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2023 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 Decreasing

#110 Most Popular Major
8.5k Degrees Awarded
-4.8% Increase in Graduates

In 2020-2021, geography and cartography was the 110th most popular major nationwide with 8,526 degrees awarded. This represents a 4.8% reduction in geography degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 8,936.

Our 2023 Best Geography & Cartography Schools ranking analyzes 234 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for geography and cartography students. Explore this or one of our many other custom geography rankings further below.

2023 Best Colleges for Geography & Cartography
2023 Overall Best Geography & Cartography Colleges >

Best Geography & Cartography Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in Geography & Cartography
Bachelor's Degrees in Geography & Cartography
Master's Degrees in Geography & Cartography
Doctorate Degrees in Geography & Cartography

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.

Prior Education for a Geography Program

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most geography degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. Specific geography careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Types of Geography & Cartography Degrees

Geography degree levels vary. You can get anything from a in geography and cartography to the highest geography degree, a . The type of geography degree you choose will determine how long it takes to get your diploma.

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. People currently working in careers related to geography tend obtained the following education levels.

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%

About 84.8% of workers in careers related to geography obtain at least bachelor's degrees. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in geography and cartography have obtained.


This of course varies depending on which geography career you choose.

Career Opportunities for Geography Majors

Average Number of Jobs
$39.2k 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 Geography Grads Make?

Recently graduated geography and cartography students earned an average of $39,151 in 2019-2020. Earnings can range from as low as $17,450 to as high as $87,475. As you might expect, salaries for geography graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid Geography Careers

Salaries for geography and cartography graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 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 1,268 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.

One of 12 majors within the Social Sciences area of study, Geography & Cartography has other similar majors worth exploring.

Geography Focus Areas

Major Annual Graduates
Geography 4,954
Geographic Information Science 3,231
Other Geography 341

View All Geography Concentrations >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Political Science & Government 49,282
Economics 49,055
Sociology 38,475
General Social Sciences 18,997
International Relations & National Security 14,306

View All Geography Related Majors >


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