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Geography & Cartography Major

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Geography & Cartography

1,192 Master's Degrees Annually
280 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#98 in Popularity (Master's)
$80,530 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Geography & Cartography Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many geography and cartography graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 1,192
Graduate Certificate 827
Doctor’s Degree 280

What Geography & Cartography Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to geography were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for Geography Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in geography should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Geography - Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Skills for Geography Majors

A major in geography prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Abilities for Geography Majors

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a geography student include the following:

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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

What Can You Do With a Geography & Cartography Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with geography:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Cartographers and Photogrammetrists 19.0% $64,430
Compliance Managers 8.0% $107,480
Geographers 13.3% $80,300
Geography Professors 8.0% $80,350
Regulatory Affairs Managers 8.0% $107,480
Supply Chain Managers 8.0% $107,480
Wind Energy Project Managers 8.0% $107,480

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Geography & Cartography?

1,192 Master's Degrees Annually
43% Percent Women
17% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This major tends to be male dominated. About 57% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of geography majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Geography Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 44
Black or African American 44
Hispanic or Latino 73
White 746
International Students 194
Other Races/Ethnicities 91

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Geography, too. About 16.3% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • India
  • South Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Hong Kong

How Much Do Geography & Cartography Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

The U.S. Department of Education found that students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree in geography and cartography made a median starting salary of $58,400 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $52,525 (25th percentile) and $66,500 (75th percentile).

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It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in geography, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Geography majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $68,340 to $88,950 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Geography & Cartography Major  ( 68340 to 88950 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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Some careers associated with geography require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

Find out what the typical degree level is for geography careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 1.3%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 5.5%
Some College Courses 1.5%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 5.1%
Bachelor’s Degree 46.4%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 1.6%
Master’s Degree 16.2%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 2.6%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.6%
Doctoral Degree 19.4%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.1%

Online Geography & Cartography Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 507 schools offered some type of geography and cartography program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 167 18
Certificate (1-2 years) 62 6
Certificate (2-4 Years) 5 1
Associate’s Degree 140 9
Bachelor’s Degree 114 24
Post-Baccalaureate 167 18
Master’s Degree 187 20
Post-Master’s 16 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 69 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Geography & Cartography Worth It?

The median salary for a geography grad is $80,530 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 102% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $812,600 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to geography.

Major Number of Grads
Economics 48,297
Political Science & Government 47,035
Sociology 37,611
General Social Sciences 19,694
International Relations & National Security 15,207
Anthropology 11,703
Criminology 9,783
Other Social Sciences 2,729
Urban Studies 1,647
Sociology & Anthropology 543
Archeology 364
Demography & Population Studies 77

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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