What can I do with my geography degree?

Discover employment and further study opportunities that you could consider once you graduate with a Geography degree and learn how you can stand out to graduate employers.

We encourage you to:

  • undertake career planning and research
  • build your networks, meet employers and graduates
  • gain essential work experience during your course
  • attend career fairs and events
  • continually develop your skills and knowledge
  • get involved with relevant clubs and societies
  • visit the Careers Service for advice.

Knowledge and skills

Studying geography, you'll gain an insight into a range of practical, social, economic and environmental issues. In addition to core geographic skills, for example field work and the use of specialist equipment, preparing maps and diagrams and using social survey and interpretative methods, you'll also develop a range of key skills that are relevant to many jobs and sectors.

Your study of geography will provide you with knowledge and skills that are valuable to employers including:

  • skills in research and data collection, analysis and evaluation utilising GIS skills and reports
  • mathematical and computational skills
  • IT skills, for example computer cartography and the use of databases and spreadsheets
  • verbal communication skills developed through conveying complex information and delivering presentations
  • written communication skills developed through regular submission of essays, reports and dissertation
  • the ability to understand abstract concepts and articulate these to a range of audiences
  • planning and problem-solving skills
  • creative thinking and the ability to recognise the moral and ethical issues involved in debates
  • the ability to work independently and also in a team, taking on board ideas and coming to a consensus
  • self-motivation and self-reliance
  • time management and the ability to meet deadlines.

Finally, students can get involved with clubs and societies and enhance their transferable skills such as leadership, communication, teamwork and problem solving. The Students Union Geography Society organises volunteering opportunities as well as departmental football and netball teams.


Career options

The Royal Geographical Society notes 'there is no such thing as a geography job; rather there are multiple jobs that geographers do'.

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 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 education, commerce, industry, transport, tourism, public sectors 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. You'll also have many transferable skills, attracting employers from the business, law and finance sectors.  

You could also apply the broader skills developed during your degree to many other opportunities: it is estimated that although graduate employers often specify a minimum degree classification as part of their shortlisting, approximately 70% of graduate employers do not specify that you must have studied a particular subject to work for them. However, graduate employers do highly prize skills such as strategic planning, resilience under pressure, creative problem-solving and commercial awareness which are some of the key skills you can develop during your course. Therefore, you could use your degree to access work in a multitude of sectors or industries.

It is also worth noting that around one quarter of Geography graduates go onto postgraduate study.

Researching your career options

With such a wide range of careers open to you as a Geography graduate, it is important to make sure you explore and research your options thoroughly so that you can make informed decisions about your future.     

Take a look at the Prospects, TargetJobs and the professional associations websites for inspiration:

Employment Opportunities

Below is a snapshot of what some of University of Plymouth Geography graduates told us they were doing six months after graduation. For some graduates, these jobs serve as steppingstones to professional posts by providing relevant workplace experience.

  • Assistant Planning Officer
  • Graduate Analyst
  • Communication Specialist
  • Applications Engineer
  • Connect Advisor
  • Area Manager
  • Junior Broker
  • Graduate Planning Officer
  • IT Support Technician
  • Assistant Planning Officer
  • Corporate Partnerships Intern
  • Graduate Transport Planner
  • Planning Officer
  • Laboratory Coordinator
  • Trust officer
  • Assistant property management surveyor
  • Latin American specialist
  • Quality Checker for an IT company
  • Graduate Planner
  • Market researcher
  • Flood and Coastal Risk Management - Asset Performance Office
  • Coastal Process Scientist
  • Town Planner
  • Graduate Estates Surveyor
  • Vice President of Activities at University of Plymouth
  • Graduate Transport Consultant
  • Assistant Hydrographic Surveyor
  • GIS Technician
  • Graduate Project Officer
  • Sustainability Coordinator
  • Trainee Tutor for the Field Studies Council
  • Procurement buyer for National Grid
  • Aggregate analyst
  • Software Expert
  • Plymouth Coastal Scientist
  • Cartographic designer
  • Ticket and Membership Executive
  • GIS Technician
  • Trainee wildlife site officer
  • Intern for the North Devon Biosphere
  • Trainee Estimator
  • Project Analyst Junior Consultant
  • Catchment risk assessor
  • Planning Technical Support Officer
  • Data analyst
  • Microbiology Laboratory Technician
  • Environmental planning consultant specialising in hydrology
  • Research assistant
  • Hydrology technical officer
  • Assistant Coastal Technician
  • Business Support Graduate
  • Development Management Officer
  • Product Specialist
  • Risk administrator
  • Planning Advisor
  • Graduate Trainee Underwriter
  • Supply Planner
  • Business Development Analyst
  • Project analyst
  • Graduate Highway Design Engineer

Employers

Further study

Some of the careers chosen by geography graduates will require or benefit from further study, so this should be considered carefully. The University of Plymouth offers the following postgraduate study options that could be of interest to geography graduates:  

You should consider the financial implications of further study as well as selecting a programme that suits your interests, learning style and future career direction. The following websites are a good starting point for exploring postgraduate options, but you may also benefit from talking to a Careers Consultant about your particular situation.  

Some useful websites to help you find a suitable post-graduate programme;  

Careers Service support

Accessing support from the Careers Service couldn’t be easier, come along to the Careers Service Helpdesk in the Student Hub or access our 24/7 online resources.

There is a wide range of support available from skills workshops to events, placements and internships advice, 1-2-1 appointments and help getting started with LinkedIn.

Our bite-sized Skills Workshops can give your career the boost it needs. Choose from a range of topics:

  • effective career planning
  • job hunting techniques
  • finding part-time work
  • CVs and interviews
  • mastering LinkedIn
  • and more.

Workshops are delivered by the Careers Service; however, they are also an opportunity to learn from your peers, share experiences and ask questions. Visit myCareer to see the full range of activities and to book your place.

Connect with graduates

Build your network and job sector knowledge using LinkedIn’s alumni tool. This will allow you to see the career journeys of graduates from your programme, the qualifications they completed, the skills they developed and employers they worked for. You can then ‘connect’ with people of interest.

  • Search LinkedIn for ‘University of Plymouth’
  • click on ‘Alumni’
  • filter the results by subject, sector, company or location.

For more information about the alumni tool click on LinkedIn alumni tool guide. If you are looking for help to set up or learn how to make the most out of your LinkedIn profile, click on the LinkedIn guide for students or come to one of our workshops.

Other advice and guidance

Gain work experience

Undertaking work experience in your first and second years will help you stand out from the crowd when the time comes for you to complete applications for graduate employment and further study. Work experience develops valuable skills and qualities that employers are looking for and is essential for many roles. It can also help you to confirm or rule out particular career choices. Furthermore, experience in the workplace can bring you into contact with people who may be able to assist you at the beginning of your career.

You have plenty of options open to you. You could apply for a placement year, work part-time around your studies, undertake volunteering or approach organisations directly to negotiate short periods of work experience. Some organisations offer paid internships over the summer or of one year’s duration.

The University of Plymouth Students’ Union also offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities.

Clubs & Societies

Engaging in a sport or society shows employers you are engaged and seek out opportunities, it also helps you improve your teamwork, communication and negotiation skills. Committee members develop leadership, diplomacy and organisational skills and will gain experience of meetings, handling funds, and society promotion

You may choose to join a society that is specifically linked to geography such as GeogSoc or take the opportunity to explore the huge range of clubs, societies and sports, all of which can help you to broaden your horizons and explore new interests.

Tutor and academic support

Your tutor and other academic staff are an excellent source of support for your career development. They will have experience and contacts across industry and academia, so do approach them for advice and insights into careers you are considering. Your tutor will ultimately be writing references for your employment or further study applications, therefore establishing a positive relationship with this person is invaluable.