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Where Can You Go From Here?
Career paths for Geography graduates are extremely diverse. As a multi-disciplinary field that integrates technical skills in GIS, mapping, and data analysis with the ability to understand how the earth's systems interact, communicate complex environmental information, manage projects, think critically and provide an understanding of how human behaviour impacts the spaces and places in which we live, the options for Geography grads are extensive.
Find out more by exploring the career pathways highlighted below. You can find additional career pathways and alumni profiles on our Alumni pages.
Employment rates amongst SFU Geography graduates are high (typically >95%), with average starting salaries in the $45-50k range (according to the BC Student Outcomes Survey-search by institution/discipline).
Our graduates work across a wide range of career fields, and are employed by organizations and institutions all over the world. Click on the links below to view typical careers for each of our programs, or visit our Alumni page to find out more about the work our graduates are doing.
Human Geographers are interested in the interactions between humans and their environments and seek to better understand how space and place intersect.
Common occupations for human geographers include positions in urban, regional and environmental management, planning and policy making, strategic communications and education, among others.
Global Environmental Systems (GES)
With a comprehensive understanding of the interactions between socio-economic and biophysical systems, graduates of the GES major support environmental decision-making across a range of sectors and industries.
Typical occupations include positions in environmental planning and resource use, system and transportation planning, resource management, knowledge translation and policy development among others.
Physical geographers are concerned with processes that impact the natural environment and work in areas such as terrain analysis and geotechnical consulting, environmental impact assessment, wildlife habitat protection, forest conservation, natural resource development and atmospheric and soil sciences, among others.
Graduates of our Physical Geography programs have the opportunity to gain accredition as a Professional Geoscientist or Professional Agrologist. In fact, as of Sept 2022, certification as a registered professional agrologist will be required to practice agrology within BC.
Geographic Information Science (GIS)
Geographers with GIS skills are in great demand as more and more industries expand their use of spatial data. All of our degree programs include courses within the field of GIScience and students can gain additional expertise through completion of the GIS Certificate program.
GIS skills are commonly used in urban and land-use planning, healthcare, transportation planning, resource management, public safety and risk assessment, among others.
Not sure which Geography program is right for you? Take our quiz to get started...
Critical Thinking, Research and Analysis
- Read critically and write persuasively with a comprehensive knowledge of grammar and vocabulary
- Use critical thinking skills to evaluate and solve problems
- Conduct research to access, analyze, and apply knowledge
- Use qualitative and quantitative research methods
- Initiate and test hypotheses about earth systems
Data Aquisition, Methods and Modelling
- Develop discipline-specific technical expertise (i.e. use of specialized field equipment, satellite imagery and state of the art software)
- Deisgn and develop computer models
- Use statistical applications to generate and interpret spatial data
- Organize information and maintain records with accuracy
- Gather, organize, analyze and summarize data
- Conduct field studies
- Understand surveying and sampling techniques
- Use computer programs to initiate and expand research
Communication and Teamwork
- Communicate ideas clearly and efficiently in a variety of mediums through listening, clarifying, and responding comprehensively
- Share information and ideas using a range of information and communications technologies
- Lead, support, and work effectively within in a group
- Think from a global perspective and communicate effectively across cultures
Spatial and Environmental Literacy
- Reading, interpreting & creating spatial data products like maps and graphs
- Understand the ways in which humans interact with the physical and built environment
- Develop a multidisciplinary perspective on environmental, social and economic problems
- Understand spatial relations
Project Design and Planning
- Conceptualize, plan and carry out projects
- Work effectively and independently to meet deadlines
- Anticipate and manage risk
- Adapt to changing priorities
- Develop creative solutions to problems
Advice for Prospective Students:
"You never know where life will take you. I followed my interest in geography and aerial photography and now I fly satellites for a living!!"
"Geography introduces you to the world, helping you understand the processes you see every day and how they relate to you"
"Although now retired, I work closely with the community on a variety of projects from heritage to community health. These 'boards' are dominated by fellow geographers. Their careers range from school teachers and principals to librarians, urban planners, museum curators, archeologists, politicians, conservation officers and chief administrative officers. Geography is a well-based academic background with a gateway to a diverse range of opportunities."
"If you love working outdoors and have a passion for the environment, a Geography degree and some field experience will get you into a junior position or technician position in most organizations. Organizations are always looking for field technicians so try it out! Once you are in, other opportunities often open up."
"The open-ended nature of Geography can give you the flexibility to fit into a position within an organization that you would not have otherwise considered - many jobs and careers are not clearly defined, and are often waiting for the right candidate with the right aptitude to learn and develop.!"
"Physical Geography (geoscience) is definitely a good option for people who like travelling, hiking, working outside and exploring."
"A geography degree is the first step in entering the environmental field. I have found that the most employable or attractive colleagues to work with have a combination of technical or quantitative skills combined with a geography background.!"
"Geography is very well rounded. I am always meeting new people who have careers they never would have envisioned a geography degree to lead to, but all agree their geography degree underpins how they see and interact with the world."