College of Arts & Sciences







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Geographers work in a variety of fields, leveraging data and fieldwork to understand our dynamic planet, including its environmental, economic, social, and political systems. Geographers explore the world through perspectives on space, place, and landscape. They study spatial relations, meanings of place and placemaking in our lives, and the changing urban and rural landscapes in which we live. To do so, they employ scientific methods, concepts, and theories of our social fabric, while using state-of-the-art methods in digital data analysis, mapping, and cartography.


Grow Your Future

Geographers make valuable contributions to business, non-profits and government agencies, using skills in understanding social systems, improving the environment, and enhancing financial performance. In the private sector, geographers use skills related to spatial thinking, mapping, location analysis, logistics, database management or economic planning. In government agencies, geographers may focus on topics such as transportation, health, planning, development or GIS. Geographers in non-profit organizations may be involved in issues such as conservation, child welfare, development, health, education, culture and the arts, and historic preservation. 

Career opportunities in Geography

  • International area specialist
  • Business site selection
  • Cartographer
  • GIS analyst
  • Environmental scientist
  • Geoscientist
  • Teacher
  • Environmental planner
  • Natural resource manager
  • Geographer
  • Geopolitical analyst
  • Hydrologist
  • Intelligence Analyst
  • Land use planner/analyst
  • marketing analyst
  • urban/regional planner
  • community developer
  • technical writer


Classes & Requirements

What You'll Study

Geography is both a social and a physical science that analyzes and explains the location of and interrelationships between human and physical features of the earth’s environment. Geography majors examine how and why features and their locations change over time, with particular interest in the many impacts of these changes on both people and natural settings. Students build solid academic foundations that draw from and interrelate areas of study from the social and behavioral sciences, humanities, computer science and graphic communication, and the natural sciences.

Geography B.A. Four Year Plan Geography B.S. Four Year Plan

Graduation Requirements

Any student earning a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree must complete a minimum of 39 hours at the 300+ level. These hours are generally completed by the major requirements. However, keep this hour requirement in mind as you choose your course work for the requirements in the major. Students interested in earning a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree must complete a minimum of 60 hours in biological, physical, mathematical and/or computer sciences. See the complete description of College requirements for a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Sciences degrees in the Arts and Sciences section of the 2015-2016 Undergraduate Bulletin.

UK Core Requirements

  • The Nature of Inquiry in Arts and Creativity (3 hours)
  • The Nature of Inquiry in the Humanities (3 hours)
  • The Nature of Inquiry in the Social Sciences (3 hours)
  • The nature of Inquiry in the Natural, Physical and Mathematical Sciences (3 hours)
  • Composition and Communication I (3 hours)
  • Composition and Communication II (3 hours)
  • Quantitative Foundations (3 hours)
  • Statistical and Inferential Reasoning (3 hours)
  • Community, Culture and Citizenship in the USA (3 hours)
  • Global Dynamics (3 hours)

Total Credit Hours - 30

Major Requirements 

Core Requirements

  • GEO 130 - Earth's Physical Environment [3 hours]
  • GEO 172 - Human Geography [3 hours]
  • GEO 200 - Orientation to Geography [3 hours]
  • GEO 406 - Field Studies in Geography [3 hours]
  • GEO 309 - Introduction to GIS [3 hours]
  • GEO 499 - Senior Research Seminar [3 hours]

Methods Requirement

  • Choose one methods class from the following options: GEO 305 - Elements of Cartography, GEO 310 - Quantitative Techniques in Geography, GEO 311 - Qualitative Methods in Geography, GEO 409 - Advanced GIS [3 hours]

Other Course Work Required by Major

  • Choose at least 18 hours of additional Geography courses to include: no more than 3 hours of 100-level courses, no more than 6 hours of GEO 560 and GEO 399, a minimum of 3 hours of 400+ level courses (not including GEO 409, 406 or 499). Students will choose from focus areas and specializations within Geography including: Environmental Geography, Physical Geography, Urban Geography and Planning, GIS, Human Geography, International Studies [18 hours]

Total Hours - 39

Imagine Your Future


Geographers study the Earth and the distribution of its land, features, and inhabitants.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary


per year in 2018

Number of Jobs


in 2018

Work Environment

Most geographers work full time during standard business hours. Many geographers do fieldwork, which may include travel to foreign countries or remote locations.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Similar Occupations

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • Anthropologists and Archeologists
  • Cartographers and Photogrammetrists
  • Economists
  • Geoscientists
  • Market Research Analysts
  • Political Scientists
  • Postsecondary Teachers
  • Surveying and Mapping Technicians
  • Surveyors
  • Urban and Regional Planners

A&S Undecided/Exploratory Studies

Understanding that over 70 percent of university students will change their declared major at least once during their college careers, the College of Arts and Sciences has developed an Exploratory Studies program for students who have yet to decide the specific field of study that most closely aligns both their personal interests and their professional career goals and objectives. The Exploratory Studies Program provides students with an extraordinarily diverse educational environment that includes coursework spanning Math and Natural Sciences, Humanities, and Social Sciences and provides students with the unique opportunity to explore multiple areas of interest during their first several semesters on campus. For more information please contact a recruiting representative at 

Enhancing Your Time at UK

There are countless ways to “see blue.” on campus, but the best way to maximize your journey at the University of Kentucky is by engaging in an Education Abroad opportunity.

This will allow you to gain a global perspective and enhance future employability. As you take the first step towards investing in your future, we encourage you to take advantage of all the opportunities UK has to offer. Take a look at some of the options UK Education Abroad & Exchanges office suggests to complement your major! #SeeBlueAbroad

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