Geography (B.S. or B.A.)
Why Study Geography at NIU?
Geography is the study of place and location, why things are where they are, and how a location’s characteristics affect natural processes, the environment, and human activities. It explores how we interact with, alter, and manage the physical environment. Geography is a practical science that not only helps us understand our world, but adapt to and thrive in it.
You can earn the B.S. or B.A. degree with emphasis in geography by selecting electives from GIS and mapping science, natural environmental systems, urban-economic systems, or area studies, or by sampling from across our entire curriculum. We also offer the B.S. degree with emphasis in geomatics, which blends the traditional land surveying practices with today’s technology -- Geographic Information Science (GIS), cartography, remote sensing and spatial analysis.
We offer a minor in geography as well as a certificate in GIS.
Careers with a Geography Degree
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for geographers is expected to grow 35% through 2020. Graduates can work for federal agencies, regional or local government, educational institutions and for companies in the transportation, utility, real estate or marketing sectors. Careers include:
- Forest/soil ecologist
- Land use specialist and environmental planner
- Land surveyor
- City planner
- Environmental program administrator
- Geographic market analyst
- Transportation systems planner
- GIS system and data consultant
- Urban/Regional planner
- Commercial and residential property analyst
Many of our faculty are leaders in the fields of climatology and meteorology research. Their research encompasses many areas including:
- Precision agriculture
- Food systems and sustainable agriculture
- Economic geography
- Mapping mortality rates
- Soil science
Hands-on Learning Opportunities
In addition to regular course work, students develop valuable pre-professional experience by:
- Participating in faculty-mentored research projects
- Learning opportunities in our Advanced Geospatial lab, Biogeography and Cartography labs and our soil analysis lab
- Interacting and networking with alumni during our annual Career Day
- Developing practical skills through laboratory and field-based coursework
- Internship experiences in a wide variety of settings
With a Student Chapter of the American Meteorological Society, a Geography Club and a Soil Judging Team, the fun and learning never ends!