What can I do with a degree in Geography?
Through their Geography degree, graduates develop a valuable set of skills that are transferrable to a range of careers, including:
- Wide ranging analytical skills, including cultural, statistical and geospatial analysis
- Ability to identify positive and negative aspects of the interaction between human activities and the environment
- Practical application of sustainability concepts
- Ability to design and carry out research projects
- Practical methods for collection of field data
- Team work and independent thinking
- Holistic and integrated worldview
- High level of ability to communicate orally and in writing
- Enhanced ability to synthesise different viewpoints and types of information.
Opportunities to apply your learning outside the classroom through work and other experiences also exist and can deepen your skills set and employability. Work and other experiences can also support and inform learning and skill development in the classroom.
Recent graduates have found careers all over New Zealand and the world, from Auckland to Melbourne, California to Antarctica. Many have found careers in the public service, the tourism industry, private companies dealing with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS), the police, local authorities, and in education. Some graduates find work overseas, for Foreign Affairs, development agencies and the United Nations, or in positions that are particularly people-focused, like the union movement, teaching and human resources, where communication skills are critical.
The Resource Management Act has created a lively market for geographers in consultancy, and in regional and local government. Those who gain technical expertise in areas such as GIS and remote sensing are in demand from both the public and private sectors. In addition, research and policy positions in central, regional and local government are popular.
UC’s Guide to Job Hunting offers a variety of career resources including employer information.
For more information about UC student and graduate opportunities, go to UC CareerHub
Every year, significant numbers of Geography graduates enter career paths in the fields of planning, research and management. Others choose policy related work or enter environmental roles. You'll find geographers in career areas as diverse as tourism and computing, electronics and publishing.
Some of the jobs listed may require further study at postgraduate level. Postgraduate study can contribute to your employability. It enables you to extend your knowledge and skills, indicates your motivation and ability to persevere at a high level academically and can make you more competitive in the job market. Postgraduate study may be a prerequisite for certain jobs.
- Environmental scientist /resource management planner
- Geospatial analyst
- Remote sensing analyst
- Coastal/marine scientist
- Natural hazards researcher/analyst
- Sustainable dairy advisor
- Air quality scientist
- Urban/transport planner
- NGO/aid agency practitioner
- Diversity officer / Human rights advocate
- Qualitative research executive
- Ministry of Social Development researcher
- Public relations
- Community development officer
- Geohealth analyst
- University or school teacher.
Entrepreneurship and innovation are increasingly becoming an important part of the world of work and should be considered as a career option. For more information about UC student innovation & entrepreneurship, related internships, scholarships, courses and activities go to Careers, Internships & Employment
For further information on job titles, please see the latest UC Graduate Destinations Survey
Geography graduates, because of their focus on both the human and physical environment, have found ready employment in a wide variety of positions in business, in community organisations and in government. Their job activities may include:
- Policy analysis and advice
- Research and forecasting
- Environmental monitoring
- Weather forecasting
- Geospatial analysis, eg, of crime, health or environmental data
- Environmental and social monitoring; analysis of remote sensing data
- Advising business or government organisations, eg, on good sustainability practices.
.As they progress in their studies and into a career, our students and graduates often join professional bodies specific to their area of interest. These organisations offer the opportunity to network and collaborate with others within the same community. Other relevant organisations are also listed below.
- New Zealand Ecological Society
- New Zealand Geographical Society
- Population Association of New Zealand
- New Zealand Cartographic Society
- Association of American Geographers
- New Zealand Coastal Society
- New Zealand Hydrological Society
Social media networks, such as LinkedIn (including LinkedIn groups), Facebook and Twitter can provide avenues for students and graduates to keep up-to-date with current industry knowledge and 'best practice', networking opportunities, industry-related events and job vacancies.
It is possible to study at postgraduate and graduate level in subjects both directly and indirectly related to your degree. For a list of postgraduate and graduate study options, go to Courses, Subjects and Qualifications
This additional study can impact on your entry level of employment. Some graduates do additional training in for example Teaching, Library, Journalism, Management or Information Technology. Others choose specialist training in areas of Geography including Climatology; Transport; GIS; Remote Sensing and Geomorphology.
Postgraduate study can also lead to an academic career pathway in teaching and research.
Carefully consider your motivation for study, how it fits in with your long-term career plans and whether it is likely to enhance your employment prospects.