Geography is the study of Earth's environments, landscapes, peoples, and places. It includes natural science (physical geography), social science (human geography), and geospatial science (GIScience). Geographers collect, analyze, and display spatial information, and apply the concepts and theory of geography to explore social and environmental questions.
Geography at OSU focuses on topics including water, climate and society; hazards and resources; and human-environment relations with an international perspective aimed at enhancing global awareness. Geography and Geospatial Sciences students begin their studies with basic introductory courses in physical and human geography and geospatial science. These are followed by courses that demonstrate the power of geography to integrate human-environment interactions in space, such as disaster management; land use planning for sustainable communities; and water, climate, and society. Students also take an introductory field course. At the upper-division level, students take required physical geography (climatology or biogeography) and geospatial science (GIS, geovisualization, and remote sensing). Then they choose among a set of electives drawn from four categories: geospatial science; international studies; water resources; and hazards, resources, and planning. The final year includes an advanced field course; an internship, research project, or undergraduate thesis; and a capstone course that examines the social, political, and ethical dimensions of geospatial science.
Geography faculty are listed on the graduate geography program page.
Career opportunities are bright because OSU geography and geospatial science graduates are well prepared in issues concerning natural resources, the physical environment, land use planning and the latest computer mapping and analysis techniques. Such graduates fill planning and resource management positions in federal, state, city, and county agencies. Others work as specialists in cartography, remote sensing, or geographic information systems.
Recent OSU graduates are employed by:
If you answer yes to a majority of these questions, you may have a bright future in geography.
From the Association of American Geographers web site.
What do geographers do? Geographers work in a wide variety of jobs using their diverse skills. Perhaps the current highest demand for specific geographic skills is in the field of geographic information science (GIScience). In 2004, the U.S. Department of Labor called geotechnology (encompassed by GIScience) one of the three leading areas of science along with nanotechnology and biotechnology where job growth will be high in the next decade as new applications for the technology are developed and new users adopt the tools of GIS, remote sensing, digital image processing and cartography.
Undergraduates who develop a set of skills in techniques such as GIS, remote sensing and computer-assisted mapping find job opportunities in federal, state and local government agencies in such diverse areas as land and resource management, population (Census Bureau), economic forecasting, agriculture, forestry, tourism, transportation, public health and emergency response. The private and non-profit sectors also have a high demand for college graduates with GIS skills as shown in current job listings in The GIS Jobs Clearinghouse. Due to the high demand for graduates with GIS/remote sensing skills, the starting salaries are often quite attractive. Depending on their focus as an undergraduate, geography graduates offer employers combinations of skills beyond GIScience. Employment fields that particularly open opportunities for geographers involve the environment, human-nature relations and people-space relations such as:
Geography graduates enter the job market with a broad background in the natural and social sciences. To strengthen their preparation for a career area, advisors in the OSU Geography Program may suggest coursework in fields such as foreign language, computer science, statistics, anthropology, economics or chemistry.
What about graduate school? Many geography majors continue their education at the master's or Ph.D. levels. OSU undergraduate majors have successfully gone on to complete graduate degrees in geography and allied fields both in the United States and abroad. Graduate geography degrees are offered in a wide variety of universities, each offering different specializations depending on the faculty, facilities and related programs. More information about Oregon State's graduate geography degree can be found on the Graduate Program page of this website.