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What is Geography?
What can Geography offer you?

Explore Geography (8.3mb PowerPoint slide show)

Keith Loudin (Class of 2003) in Bagan, Myanmar.

Geography is the science of space and place. While maps and place names are popularly thought of as ‘geography,’ professionals in geography do not merely ‘study’ maps. Beyond mere rote memorization of places, students learn that Geography involves a rigorous study of the spatial processes concerning all aspects of the human and natural world. Instead of merely asking ‘where’ things are located, geographers seek to understand ‘why’ things (cultures, economic development, climates, soils, diseases, wildlife, ecosystems, etc.) vary from place to place and ‘how’ their spatial distributions change over time. Geography can best be described as the spatial science.

Indeed, we find ourselves today confronted with a broad range of inherently geographical issues. The Department of Geography is well suited to address the needs of the next generation of college graduates who face an increasingly complex global environment. Students in geography courses at Marshall learn to address these core world issues, from climate change, environmental sustainability, land use and natural resource management to economic development, globalization, and territorial conflict.

Geographers also employ geo-spatial technologies for conservation, community mapping, hazards/disasters management and response. Our focus on human-environment interaction is typically beyond the scope of either the purely natural or social sciences. We analyze the links between globalization, economic development, and social inequality, as well as examining the human impacts on environmental phenomena such as hurricanes, flooding, and erosion.

Geography encourages students to appreciate the nature and variety of differences that make up the world, as well as the reasons those differences exist by examining how humans shape and are shaped by their natural environment. Geography gives students the kinds of local and global understandings unique among natural and social sciences that are necessary if they are to participate meaningfully in a democratic society. This is reflected in the strong demand for graduates with training in geography. The U.S. Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics project that demand for trained Geographers will remain strong for the foreseeable future. Geography has proven to be central in students’ understanding of the differences, similarities, and interconnectedness of the contemporary world’s economic, political, cultural, and environmental processes.

Knowledge of geography opens up a world of opportunities in private industry, government, consulting, education, and many other fields. Career options for geographers are as varied as the landscape itself. Our graduates have taken their degrees into the workplace around the world, but many have been successful in finding employment in the local region as well. Some of the fields that our graduates are employed in include:

  • Cartography
  • Disaster Response
  • Economic Development
  • Environmental Conservation
  • Flood Prevention
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Professions
  • Higher Education
  • Historic Preservation
  • Homeland Security
  • International Business
  • Military Intelligence
  • Natural Resources Management
  • Public Health Planning
  • Public Education
  • Real Estate
  • Regional and Urban Planning
  • Transportation Planning
  • Tourism Planning and Marketing
  • Water/Waste Infrastructure Management
  • …and many more!

Explore the World with Geography (8mb PowerPoint slide show)

For more information about careers in geography, check out our Jobs page or visit the Association of American Geographers web site at

What is Geography?Jobs!Undergraduate | Graduate | Faculty

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