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What can I do with a geography degree?

7 Feb 2023, 09:06

Find out more about the skills you will have developed, the job roles open to you and the career paths taken by other geography graduates.

What can I do with a geography degree?

Studying geography develops your analytical and communication skills and your ability to evaluate data, all strengths that are in demand in the graduate jobs market. Like other social science graduates, you have a broad range of career paths open to you, though you may be particularly drawn to areas such as environmental planning, health, politics and international relations. Geography students tend to be open-minded and interested in the world around them, qualities which are attractive to employers and may be a particular advantage if you are working for an international organisation.

This guide should help you think about the skills you have, the jobs they can be applied to, and the options available.

Skills for your CV

Specific skills you will have gained include:

  • The ability to view problems from a number of angles.
  • The ability to write a professional standard document, as well as effective verbal communication.
  • The ability to work to deadlines gained from projects and fieldwork.
  • The independence gained from working abroad and producing a report in foreign conditions.
  • The ability to work in a group gained from fieldwork or project.
  • An analytical approach to people and their environment, which means that geographers should also have developed an objective aptitude for management.

Job roles and career areas you could work in

There are a broad range of careers open to a geography graduate. You could seek work in the private or public sector or in a non-governmental organisation or charity, specialising in an area connected to housing, property, land management, the environment or international development. Alternatively, you could train to become a teacher, take a law conversion course, or apply for the Civil Service Fast Stream or NHS graduate scheme.

Traditionally, employers such as housebuilders have only been willing to recruit geography graduates into land management roles if they had undertaken an industry-approved postgraduate conversion course. However, some of these companies have recently opened up their graduate schemes to applications from geography graduates fresh from university.

With further qualifications or training, job roles open to you include the following:

If you are keen to work in an area that involves protecting the environment or promoting sustainability, our advice on green careers sets out your options.

What do geography graduates go on to do?

Here’s what geography graduates who finished their degrees in 2016 were doing six months after graduating, according to the What do graduates do? report published in 2017.

Destination Percentage
Full-time employment in the UK 46.1
Part-time employment in the UK 10.1
Working overseas 3.1
Working and studying 5.3
Further study 23.0
Unemployed 5.4
Other 7.0

Source: What do graduates do? 2018

Key areas of employment for fresh geography graduates

These are the top five areas of work taken up by 2017 geography graduates six months after graduation, according to the 2018 What do graduates do? report.

Areas of employment Percentage
Business, HR and finance professionals 22.1
Retail, catering, waiting and bar staff 16.4
Marketing, PR and sales professionals 14.7
Clerical, secretarial and numerical clerks 8.0
Other professionals, associate professionals and technicians 7.8

Source: What do graduates do? 2017

What salaries can geography and environmental science graduates earn?

Want to know what graduates in your degree discipline typically earn in different locations? The Pay Index has provided targetjobs with a handy graduate salary tool showing just that.

Famous people with geography degrees

If none of these options appeal to you, there are plenty of other things you can do. These well-known graduates were once geography students:

  • Theresa May – initially worked in finance after graduating, before going into politics and becoming prime minister in 2016.
  • Prince William – studied at the University of St Andrews, where he met his future wife Kate Middleton.
  • Hugh Dennis – the actor and comedian studied at the University of Cambridge before becoming famous as the dad in Outnumbered and a regular participant on Mock the Week .

targetjobs editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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