Careers and Internships
Internship in Geography
Students are strongly encouraged to seek relevant internship experiences as part of their undergraduate program. Students can sign up for up to 6 credit hours of internship credit through the Geography Department. The Department will assist in internship placement provided that the internship is related to the student’s geography program. We recommend that internships be taken at the end of the student’s junior year, and summer can be a particularly good time for internships. Internships can also be done in the student’s senior year, and occasionally a sophomore year internship opportunity is approved.
Internships can involve staff work or research within the Department, or they can be positions in the community or with agencies or organizations in other parts of the country or even the globe. Some examples of organizations where our students have had recent internships include the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation, the City of Bloomington Peak Oil Task Force, the national Weather Service, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and several commercial television station weather divisions, to name a few.
Faculty members in the Geography Department can provide suggestions and sometimes contacts to students looking for internship opportunities. The undergraduate advisor can also help in this regard. Students can have success doing an internet search for “geography internships”, and can also search using terms associated with their concentration area, such as “climate internships”, “meteorology internships”, “sustainability internships”, etc. The Career Development Center on the IU Bloomington Campus can also provide help finding and getting internships.
A handout with detailed information and guidelines for geography internships is available from the Geography Office in Student Building Room 120 and from the undergraduate advisor in Student Building Room 055. A short form must be completed and submitted to the Geography Office in order to register for an internships course G460 Form.
Careers for Geography majors
After college, most geography majors go on to professional careers and graduate school programs. They work in a variety of fields in the public and private sectors. Globalization and the increasing necessity and urgency of understanding geographic aspects of economic activities and human interactions with the environment means that geography is an exciting and rapidly growing field. Geography helps makes sense of a world growing ever more interdependent and complex.
Geographers manage natural and urban environments, analyze relationships between people and places, plan transportation, work in economic development, create sophisticated mapping, and much more. They are employed in agencies like the National Weather Service, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Commerce, the Great Lakes Commission, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and in many other government agencies at the local, state, and national levels. They are employed at hundreds of TV stations, consulting firms, and other businesses in the private sector working as land use and development planners, cartographers, GIS analysts, trade consultants, climatologists and weather forecasters, and demographers. And they teach and do research at schools and universities everywhere.
For general information about careers and job opportunities the worldwide web is of course always a place to start. The links listed below are useful. The Department’s undergraduate advisor can also be a resource, as is the IU Bloomington Career Development Center.
- Association of American Geographers (AAG)
- Careers in Geography
- Careers in Geography, About.com, Geography
- Geography Jobs. In Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Spring 2005
- GIS Lounge: Potential Jobs in Geography
- NCSE New Environmental Internship Clearinghouse
Graduate School in Geography and Related Fields
Beyond the geography B.S. and B.A. students may pursue a master’s degree (M.A. or M.S.) and a Ph.D. These graduate degrees will increase the number of career opportunities and options and generally increase the salaries one can expect to earn. The Ph.D. path is the most demanding and involves coursework, comprehensive exams, teaching, and writing a dissertation. It is generally a prerequisite for college or university teaching and research. If you are thinking about graduate study, talk to your professors. They have first-hand knowledge of the graduate school experience, what programs best fit your interests, and what it takes to succeed.