What jobs can I get with a geography degree?
Geography can be a useful degree for people considering a career in construction or a related job role. There are several careers, which we highlight below, where the skills and knowledge acquired from studying geography can be very beneficial.
Types of geography degree and specialisations
A degree in geography focuses on both human and physical geography. In human geography, students learn about global trends in human population, economics, religion and society, while physical geography is concerned with the natural environment, climate, weather, geology and oceanography. Geography students will get the chance to combine aspects of human and physical geography in their degree. Physical geography is more directly useful for careers in construction.
Geography jobs in construction
Environmental advisors or environmental consultants ensure that construction projects comply with environmental regulations and targets. They strategically plan ways to keep air pollution or water and soil contamination to a minimum, reduce material waste and ensure that any necessary waste is disposed of in the correct manner. A sound knowledge of maths and geographic skills would be useful for anyone considering a career as an environmental advisor.
Environmental engineering focuses on protecting the environment by reducing waste and pollution. Environmental engineers optimise the use of natural resources, help to develop renewable energy resources and maximise the use of existing materials. They design technologies and processes that control pollution and clean up contamination. As an environmental engineer, you will be reporting on the environmental impact of construction work, mainly by visiting sites and carrying out assessments and technical audits. You will be designing and developing technical solutions to manage or resolve negative impacts, interpreting data and making recommendations.
A town planner is responsible for the design and development of urban areas, such as towns and cities. As a town planner, you would ensure there is a good balance between demands on the land being developed and the needs of the community. This can be on a national, regional, or local level and requires an awareness of the environmental and economic impacts of a proposed development. To prepare for a career in town planning, geography graduates often take postgraduate qualifications in subjects such as urban planning or property development.
Land surveyors measure and map the shape of land. They gather data for civil engineering and construction projects so that accurate site plans can be drawn. As a land surveyor, you’ll be part of a fast-moving, technologically advanced industry. Much of your time will be spent on-site, using technical instruments to record the environment. A degree in geography, especially one that specialised in physical geography, would be a good background, but entrants into land surveying could also take postgraduate conversion courses in land surveying or graduate diplomas.
Hydrographic surveyors use state-of-the-art technology to produce detailed plans of seabeds, harbours and waterways. They measure and map underwater surfaces and study the construction of the seabed, showing the depth, shape and contours. They specialise in precise positioning, data acquisition and processing in onshore or offshore marine environments. Construction projects that will impact on waterways will require hydrographic surveyors to work in partnership with planners, ecologists and civil engineers to protect water-based environments.
A sustainability manager oversees the implementation of sustainability strategies during a construction project. This usually relates to the environmental impacts of the work being carried out, to ensure that the project adheres to the most economically and environmentally friendly methods possible. You will be completing sustainability plans, conducting site assessments and initiating renewable energy assessments, as well as organising and chairing meetings.
Continuing your education and professional development
Geography graduates also have the option of taking their studies further. Postgraduate courses and Masters degrees are available in a wide range of disciplines, but these are often more attractive to graduates keen to work in research rather than a construction-related field.
Education can continue in any of the job roles featured above, in the form of continuing professional development (CPD). This could involve professionally recognised qualifications, training courses, distance learning or attending seminars and conferences. All these activities will help to improve a geography graduate’s practical skills, experience and competency.
Starting your career: Tips and advice
Studying geography as part of a university degree is just one of the routes you can take to a career path in construction. You could take a college course, complete an apprenticeship or apply directly to an employer if you have relevant work experience.
Explore graduate opportunities in construction
A wide range of jobs, graduate schemes and apprenticeships for geography graduates interested in construction are advertised regularly on Talentview. You can filter your job searches by job role, location and also look for management traineeships, work experience, placements and internships.