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An online bachelor's in geography degree introduces learners to the study of geography and the tools professionals use to analyze the Earth and its characteristics.

This degree qualifies degree-seekers for most entry-level geography jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for geographers will increase 3% between 2018 and 2028.

This guide ranks the best online bachelor of geography programs to help students find the right program for their needs. We also cover important information for prospective students, including common courses and potential careers and salaries for graduates.

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The Best Online Bachelor’s in Geography Degree Programs

#1 Best Online Bachelor’s in Geography

The University of Florida

  • Gainesville, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

A leader in remote education, the University of Florida facilitates distance learning across 68 virtual programs. The college offers 19 fully online bachelor's degree options to undergraduates. The bachelor of arts in geography is a wise choice for students seeking competitive, flexible study applicable to a career in geography. The geography program accommodates full- or part-time study.

During the geography program, participants complete foundational and advanced coursework relevant to the geography field. Enrollees also complete general education requirements, gaining additional knowledge. While enrolled, learners can customize their studies by choosing electives, minors, and degree concentrations.

The value of a bachelor's degree is clear: graduates increase their job opportunities and earning potential. The college boasts a median salary of $47,700 for alumni six years after completing their studies. The average undergraduate pays $10,457 in tuition and fees every year, after aid. Students can meet with the financial aid office to learn more about funding opportunities and eligibility requirements for scholarships, fellowships, and other financial aid.

The University of Florida at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 24,310

Total Online Programs: 68

Online Bachelor's Programs: 19

Admission Rate: 37%

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,477
Out-of-state
$25,694
Retention Rate
97%
Admission Rate
37%
Students Enrolled
52,407
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Online Bachelor’s in Geography

South Dakota State University

  • Brookings, SD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

South Dakota State University, a public four-year college, enables study across 45 online programs. Of these virtual offerings, nine provide an undergraduate-level education. For students looking to advance in a geography-adjacent career, the online bachelor of arts or science in geography is a wise choice. This program offers customization to help leaners earn a degree that meets their needs.

Throughout their coursework, participants gain industry-relevant knowledge through general and advanced courses. These classes equip degree-seekers with knowledge and skills applicable to a post-graduate career. In consultation with their academic advisor, enrollees can customize their studies through electives, minors, and concentration areas.

Graduates possessing a bachelor's degree can access more job opportunities, and grow their earning potential over time. At the college, students can expect to earn a median salary of $41,100 six years after graduation. The college reports that the average undergraduate pays $18,195 in tuition and fees yearly, after aid. To learn more about admission requirements and financial aid opportunities, prospective applicants should contact the geography department.

South Dakota State University at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 4,358

Total Online Programs: 45

Online Bachelor's Programs: 9

Admission Rate: 90%

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,697
Out-of-state
$11,172
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
90%
Students Enrolled
11,512
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Best Online Bachelor’s in Geography

Marshall University

  • Huntington, WV
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Marshall University, a public four-year school in Huntington, West Virginia, boasts a robust remote learning community. Online undergraduate degree-seekers can benefit from studying in one of four virtual bachelor's programs. Students seeking advanced online study in geography can enroll in the school's online bachelor of arts or science in geography. The geography program supports flexible study for learners across the distance.

Throughout the program, participants attend industry-relevant lectures while completing geography-specific coursework. Enrollees also attend general education classes, to gain a well-rounded education. Students can explore electives, minors, and degree consultations with their academic advisor to individualize their degree.

After earning their degree, graduates benefit from greater access to employment opportunities and higher earning potential. The college boasts a median salary of $32,700 for alumni six years after completing their studies. Learners preparing to apply for the geography program should consider that the average price after aid for tuition and fees is $8,508. To learn more about admission requirements and financial aid opportunities, prospective students should contact the geography department.

Marshall University at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 4,754

Total Online Programs: 29

Online Bachelor's Programs: 4

Admission Rate: 87%

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,190
Out-of-state
$18,044
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
87%
Students Enrolled
12,852
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Best Online Bachelor’s in Geography

Florida Atlantic University

  • Boca Raton, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Looking to earn a flexible online degree in geography? Consider Florida Atlantic University. Of the school's virtual offerings, 11 provide an undergraduate-level education. Students interested in a geography-adjacent career can pursue study through the bachelor of arts in geosciences, geography program at their own pace. The geography program supports degree-seekers from all walks of life through flexible study options.

Enrollees complete both foundational and advanced coursework, granting them the knowledge and skills needed to advance in the geography field. Learners complete general education and advanced coursework, gaining broad and specific skills. Program participants can modify their degree by choosing electives, minors, and concentrations.

A bachelor's degree enables graduates to access higher-paying jobs and more employment opportunities. According to the college, alumni earn a median salary of $38,800 six years after completing their degree. Undergraduates at the college can expect to pay $9,861 in tuition and fees yearly, on average. Students hoping to gain admission to the geography program should connect with the geography department to discuss admission requirements and application materials.

Florida Atlantic University at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 14,613

Total Online Programs: 29

Online Bachelor's Programs: 11

Admission Rate: 63%

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,522
Out-of-state
$14,374
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
63%
Students Enrolled
30,061
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Best Online Bachelor’s in Geography

Park University

  • Parkville, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Park University enrolls 8,894 distance learners in 58 programs. Of these virtual programs, 22 offer an undergraduate-level education. Students looking to advance in the geography field will find the school's bachelor of science in geography an attractive option. This program offers customization to help leaners earn a degree that meets their needs.

Throughout the program, participants attend industry-relevant lectures while completing geography-specific coursework. Degree-seekers complete classes relevant to the geography field, as well as general education requirements. Enrollees can customize their degree through electives, minors, and concentrations.

Graduates greatly benefit from their education, gaining access to more job opportunities and a higher earning potential. At the college, students can expect to earn a median salary of $42,200 six years after graduation. Prospective enrollees can learn more about the opportunities available at Park University, including admission requirements and financial aid eligibility, by connecting with the geography department.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,999
Out-of-state
$7,999
Retention Rate
66%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
11,415
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
78% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
Best Online Programs

Online Bachelor's in Geography Degree Program Ranking Guidelines

We selected the following degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Choosing an Online Bachelor's Degree in Geography

Students should consider several factors when researching the best online geography degrees, including cost, transfer policies, and on-campus requirements. The following list outlines several important considerations for prospective students.

Program Cost

Tuition rates vary by program. Typically, in-state students at public schools pay the lowest tuition rates; however, some programs allow all online students to pay in-state tuition rates regardless of where they live.

Transfer Policies

Schools may offer transfer credit for prior academic work, professional experience, or military experience. Schools with generous transfer policies can save students time and money on a degree.

School Size and Type

A school's size and type influences the overall learning experience. For example, small schools may offer more personalized attention from faculty but fewer program options than larger schools.

Program Length

Most online bachelor's in geography degree programs take four years of full-time study to complete, but some programs offer accelerated timelines.

On-Campus Requirements

Some online programs have on-campus requirements. Students should ensure they can meet these requirements before committing to a program.

Thesis, Fellowship, and Work Requirements

Some programs have thesis, fellowship, or internship requirements. These can often be completed near to the student's home, but not always. Students should choose a program with requirements aligned with their goals and interests.

What Is Geography?

The word "geography" is a Greek-rooted word that refers to the study of the Earth and its physical features. Geography helps people reach a deeper understanding of the space they live in and how their activities contribute to that space. It also charts how the world changes over time.

Most professional geographers need at least a bachelor of geography.

Geography professionals can assume diverse roles with various responsibilities. For example, professionals working in the human geography subfield measure and analyze how human cultures interact with their environments over time. Cartography and geoscience professionals use geographical information to design new maps and assess the Earth's physical makeup.

Most professional geographers need at least a bachelor of geography. They generally work for large agencies in state and federal governments or private organizations that focus on engineering, architecture, or related fields.

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What Is a Bachelor's in Geography Degree?

A bachelor of geography prepares students for diverse careers and graduate study in the discipline. Most online bachelor's in geography degrees take four years of full-time study to complete, but learners with transfer credits may be able to graduate in less time. Admission requirements generally include a high school diploma or GED with a competitive GPA. Some schools may also require ACT/SAT scores or prerequisite courses in mathematics or social science.

Students pursuing an online geography degree gain skills in systems analysis, inductive reasoning, and complex problem-solving. Learners also gain working knowledge of common geographical information systems, imagery software, and surveying techniques. Graduates can collect data, take measurements, and analyze land features.

What Will I Learn in an Online Bachelor's in Geography Program?

Class offerings vary by program, but most bachelor's in geography programs include versions of the following courses.

  • Foundation of Geographic Information Systems: This course provides degree-seekers with an overview of the main tools geographers use to collect and analyze information. Learners study how advanced GIS tools can help professionals measure and describe environmental features like elevation, topography, and satellite vectors. The class blends theory and practice through individual field projects.
  • Climatology: Degree-seekers in this course study how climate and weather conditions interact with geography and affect geographical analysis. Learners study the scientific aspects of climatology and the way human activities affect global climate. The course covers topics like climate distribution, atmospheric patterns, and severe weather.
  • Regional/Human Geography: This class examines the branch of geography that deals with human communities. It combines geography and anthropology to analyze how different cultures, economies, and societies interact with their environments. Degree-seekers receive an introduction to prominent conceptual models and examine migration, globalization, and international trade.
  • Environmental Geography: This course helps learners develop the skills they need to measure human impact on natural environments. Degree-seekers learn how to assess and describe the spatial relationships between human activities and physical geography. Topics include remote sensing, geographic information systems, and air pollution.
  • Geographic Techniques: Learners in this course study the main techniques and research methods used by geographers. Degree-seekers learn to read and analyze topographical maps, implement archival data collection, and prepare statistical analysis reports. The class also develops hard skills in spatial reasoning and industry software.
  • Anthropology: This class introduces degree-seekers to anthropology, a social science discipline closely related to geography. Students examine the philosophical foundations of anthropology and how its tools can be used to clarify geographical problems. Potential topics include linguistics, cultural difference, and human ethnography.

Geography Jobs

Earning a geography degree cultivates versatile skills with broad applications in fields like business, science, and nature conservation. The following list outlines several common careers for graduates with a bachelor's degree in geography. However, some careers may require additional credentials, such as professional certification or an advanced degree.

Cartographers and Photogrammetrists

These detail-oriented professionals create maps and produce charts. They rely on strong analytical and computer skills to measure, collect, and interpret technical geographical information. They often use remote-sensing technologies to capture and compile the aerial imagery needed to map terrain.

Cartographers and photogrammetrists usually need a bachelor's degree in geography or a related field. They may also need licensure or certification in a closely related field, like surveying. Most professionals work full time in an office setting, but some may need to travel to collect data.

Median Annual Salary

$64,430

Projected Growth Rate

15%

Geographers

Geographers study the planet, the land features that comprise the planet, and the impact people have on its environment. They spend most of their time collecting information through maps, field observations, satellite imagery, and census data. Sometimes they work in collaboration with other professionals to analyze data, generate reports, and find connections between geography, economics, and public health.

Some geographers may work with governments and other organizations, making recommendations based on their research findings. These professionals typically need a bachelor's degree. Geographers possess strong analytical skills and typically work full time in office settings.

Median Annual Salary

$80,300

Projected Growth Rate

3%

Geoscientists

Geoscientists study the physical aspects of the Earth, including its composition, structure, and natural processes. They use data to examine the Earth's history and make predictions based on trends and correlations. They often carry out field studies and lab experiments to support the research and development interests of their organizations.

Most geoscientists work full time in an office setting. While some geoscientists may only hold a bachelor's degree, these professionals typically need a graduate degree in a related field. Some employers may also require additional training in the software platforms that geoscientists often use to fulfill their responsibilities.

Median Annual Salary

$91,130

Projected Growth Rate

6%

High School Teachers

These full-time educators help prepare secondary students for life and work after graduation. They develop and implement lesson plans, assess student progress, and work with administrative staff to craft and enforce school policies.

High school teachers at public schools need a bachelor's degree and state licensure. Some school systems may also require teachers to earn a master's degree. High school teachers work full time during the school year.

Median Annual Salary

$60,320

Projected Growth Rate

4%

Accreditation for Online Geography Degrees

Accreditation indicates that a school or program meets high academic standards. Schools may receive regional or national accreditation. Regional accreditation typically applies to nonprofit, degree-granting institutions, while national accreditation applies to for-profit, vocational, and technical schools. Regional accreditation is generally considered the more prestigious of the two. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation oversee regional accrediting bodies.

Programs within a school -- such as social work, nursing, and business programs -- may also receive accreditation. Currently, no programmatic accrediting body exists for geography programs.

Geography Professional Organizations

Geography students and professionals should take advantage of professional organizations. These organizations offer benefits like networking opportunities, professional development, and continuing education. We cover several professional organizations for geographers below.

American Geographical Society

Established in 1851, this organization promotes geography research initiatives and publishes several prominent periodicals related to the discipline. It also honors exceptional work in geography through fellowships and awards.

National Council for Geographic Education

Based in Silver Springs, Maryland, NCGE supports local professionals working in geography education through training programs and annual events. It also maintains an extensive directory of professional and classroom-based resources.

American Association of Geographers

With members from over 100 countries, AAG advances geography by raising awareness and promoting scholarly work. It sponsors several high-profile journals and magazines, curates a regular newsletter, and hosts continuing education programs. It also maintains a comprehensive job board for recent graduates and working professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Geography?

Geography is a scientific sub-discipline that focuses on the physical features of the Earth, its atmosphere, and the impacts of its human inhabitants.

How Long Is a Geography Degree?

Most bachelor's in geography degrees take four years of full-time study to complete.

How Much Do Geography Majors Make?

Salaries vary by role, experience, and education, but according to the BLS, the median annual pay for geographers with a bachelor's degree is $80,300.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Geographer?

Most entry-level geography jobs only require a bachelor's degree. However, some employers may require additional credentials or relevant experience.


Featured Image Credit: Rawpixel | iStock | Getty Images Plus


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