Geography and Planning

Geography and Planning (B.S.)


If you say you are a geographer, most people have no idea what you do. There is a reason: “geography” is almost never a job title. Instead, it is a discipline and skill set that is used by a wide range of careers, all of which have one thing in common – the ability to spatially organize and analyze information.

 

What geographers do

Graduates with a degree in geography have a wide range of career options, from Fish and Game warden to urban planner to CIA analyst. Many graduates work for local conservation districts, coordinate regional emergency management programs, or consult — perhaps with architectural firms or community developers. If a map is needed for a job, it is likely that someone with a degree in geography is involved.

An entire branch of geography is concerned specifically with cartography (maps), remote sensing (satellite imagery), and geographic information systems (computer-aided mapping, or GIS). Our majors learn these important skills in state-of-the art computer laboratories, and as a result, are often sought after.

Major Program Checklist | Minor Program Checklist

Internships give you the edge

All of our students cap their experience at Bloomsburg with a full-time summer internship. This is the time they explore potential careers, make contacts with a community of professionals, and gain valuable experience for the resume. Our program has an excellent reputation in the Mid-Atlantic region and we have alumni in positions all over the state and beyond.

Examples of recent internships include the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area, York County Conservation District, Bucks County Planning Commission, Covanta Energy Corporation, Rickett’s Glen State Park, and Columbia County GIS. If you have a particular area of interest, we will help you find that internship.

Why not go to a bigger school?

Two Reasons

  • We are personal — All of your classes, labs, and field experiences will be taught by professors - not graduate students. We are accessible. We know all of our majors and we want to help you maximize your potential. If you are willing to put in the hard work, we will help you achieve great things.
  • Cost — If you attend a larger state school (Penn State, Temple, Pitt) or private with a graduate program in environmental science, you will pay tens of thousands of dollars more for your undergraduate degree. Compare the costs for in-state residents in 2018: a year at Bloomsburg costs $23,406; Penn State (main campus) costs $35,758; Pitt costs $32,782, and Temple costs $33,048 (www.collegesimply.com).

In four years, you will have saved between $37,500 and $49,400 by attending BU — enough to cover an entire year of graduate school. Some master's programs are only a year long, so by choosing BU, you essentially get your B.S. and M.S. for the same price as a bachelor's degree only at other schools.

How much can you make?

This is not the most important question you should ask about a future career, but it’s obviously important.

The good news is that geographers, cartographers, and GIS specialists are all well paid. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that Geographers (covers all of the above) had a 2016 median pay of $74,260 per year with a solid job outlook for 2016-26 of 7 percent growth (average). Cartographers and GIS specialists had a 2016 median pay of $62,750 per year, but this is an exploding field (job outlook for 2016-26 of 19 percent growth — much faster than average), so the median pay is likely to also rise rapidly.

 

Human Geography

Professor extends geography beyond classroom walls

Geography is more than just knowing where a state capital is or being able to find the Nile River on a map. It’s also knowing things like why the capital of the United States is located in Washington D.C.

“Geography isn’t about learning places as much as it is about learning a technique of how to study something,” stated Bloomsburg University professor of human geography and environmental science, Daryl Wenner.

Wenner takes his geographical knowledge beyond the walls of a classroom by serving as a co-coordinator for the Pennsylvania State Geography Bee through the National Geographic Society. According to him, geography is applicable in more ways than one, so it is an essential field for students to be educated in.

“It is daily life,” he stated. “Whether it be the roads we travel or the applications to cost-effectiveness or jobs in logistics, you need geography. If you don’t have a good geographic understanding of what it is you’re looking at, problems can seem very off scale to what they are.”