Careers in Geography

ONE MAJOR, ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES

SFU Geography offers a tremendous diversity of undergraduate programs that let you gain a broader understanding of your world, learn about fascinating discoveries in science, and gain the skills and knowledge needed for rewarding careers in the public, private or education sectors. 

Human geographers develop highly valued skills for urban, regional and environmental management, planning and policy making, and for teaching. Physical geographers develop the skills needed for work in such areas as terrain analysis and stabilization, environmental impact assessment, wildlife habitat protection, forest hydrology, and atmospheric and soil sciences, and can become accredited Professional Geoscientists or Professional Agrologists. Geographers with SGIS skills are in great demand and our Co-op Program is highly successful in placing students in work-places to gain experience, skills and connections.

Employment rates amongst SFU Geography graduates are high (typically >95%), with average starting salaries in the $45-50k range across a diversity of occupations according to the BC Student Outcomes Survey.

Skills You Will Develop as a Geographer

  • Discipline-specific technical expertise such as using specialized field equipment, satellite imagery and state of the art software
  • Project design and planning
  • Communicate ideas clearly and efficiently in a variety of mediums through listening, clarifying, and responding comprehensively
  • Computer modelling
  • Read critically and write persuasively with a comprehensive knowledge of grammar and vocabulary
  • Share information and ideas using a range of information and communications technologies
  • Using statistical applications
  • Enhanced environmental literacy
  • Organize information and maintain records with accuracy
  • Comprehend and create maps and graphs
  • Conducting research to access, analyze, and apply knowledge
  • Knowledge of the physical environment
  • Use critical thinking skills to evaluate and solve problems
  • Lead, support, and work effectively within in a group
  • Maintaining records
  • Use computer programs to initiate and expand research
  • Work effectively and independently under deadlines
  • Conceptualize, plan and carry out projects
  • Thinking from a global perspective and communication across cultures
  • Understanding spatial relations
  • Conducting field studies
  • Surveying and sampling techniques
  • Gathering, organizing, analyzing data and summarizing results

Career Options for Geographers

Note: This is not an exhaustive list and some of these careers require further education and/or training/designations or experience.

Potential Employers

  • Agriculture Business Corporations
  • Architecture or surverying companies
  • Boards of education, univiersities, colleges
  • Consulting Firms
  • Environmental, Forestry, Mining, Surveying Firms
  • Government Departments and Agencies
  • Insurance
  • International trade
  • Law Firms
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Manufacturers and Industrial Firms
  • Map Publishers and Mapping Software companies
  • Market Research Organizations Media, Print, TV, Radio, Publishing
  • Museums
  • Non-profit Organizations and NGOs
  • Oil and Utility Companies
  • Outdoor recreation companies
  • Private Sector (Construction, Energy, Environmental Planning, Utilities etc.)
  • Real Estate Developers and Appraisers
  • Scientific and Research Institutes, "Think Tanks"
  • Service Management Agencies
  • Transportation
  • Waste Management and Chemical Companies

Career Development and Work Search Resources

At any given time, anywhere between 70-80 percent of work is not advertised. There is more to a job search than searching for work in online databases. You'll want to research potential employers, read about job trends in specific careers and identify specific organizations where you want to work.

In the meantime, what follows is a short list of websites where you may begin to explore the range of current job opportunities. If you want help with your work search visit Career Services and make an appointment to see a career advisor.

Videos of Alumni

Giovanni Gunawan - BA Geography, 2014
Paige Ritchie - BA Geography, 2014
Lee Gavel - BA Geography, 1974