Geography is a unique subject that combines studying the environment and also how
interactions with the human population affect both. As a result, we have a rich, intriguing, and
Contrary to popular belief, geography is not just knowing the names of the countries and cities in the world—it is that, but also so much more. We have divided geography into three different
disciplines for this reason: physical, human, and environmental. Through these subdivisions, all
aspects relating to the Earth are covered.
And if you are curious about what a degree in geography will entail, read on to have your
Is Geography Hard?
Geography is not hard unless you do your best to complicate things for yourself. The subject content is quite straightforward and simple, a moderate level of critical analysis is required, and the topics are highly interconnected which makes it easy to study.
It is easy to keep up with the course content typically, but it is even better if you enjoy studying it. A lot of it is interconnected so once you have established the foundation principles, you are good to go. Aside from a little effort here and there, geography has an uncomplicated curriculum.
This is best explained by geographers calling geography the jack of all trades and master of
none. The reason is that while geography covers a wide range of topics, it does not go too
much into depth in any of them except what you specialize in. So while you will be informed about
quite a lot, you will not have a difficult time. Unless of course, you are not interested in it at all.
Geography is easy because ultimately, you are studying things you see in your day-to-day lives. Even if you do not know the science behind these phenomena, you have been witnessing them since your childhood. As such the course material is comparatively more understandable.
Not only that but the concepts are fairly connected to each other. Once you get the hang of the basics, you can maintain a good grip on the more advanced stuff.
The difficulty you experience pursuing a geography degree also depends on what area you choose to specialize in. Some domains may be harder than others, some areas might have more demanding projects and tasks, and some fields may be more physically draining.
For example, if your primary focus is physical geography, you will find that there is a bit of physics incorporated into your degree. Since physics is a tad harder for people to grasp generally,
you might struggle a little with this field.
However, at the end of the day, geography itself does not get too hard.
There is also quite a bit of memorization in this major. You will have to learn facts ranging from the capitals of countries to river systems around the world to how different types of governments affect crop growth. Even if rote learning is an issue for you, smart study tricks such as flashcards, playing quiz-based games, or tracing maps for 15 minutes a day will save you on your exams.
Being enthusiastic is about half the key to understanding anything.
If you are interested in the subject you are more likely to pay rapt attention to what is being taught in classes and try to clear any confusion you have. Furthermore, you will look up available resources to increase your knowledge outside of the classroom.
Is Geography Harder than History?
What you find ultimately easier essentially depends on your strengths. If you enjoy writing long pieces, have a good memory, and can remember the little details, history may very well end up becoming your niche. On the other hand, if you are more of a logic-oriented person, geography is more likely to come naturally to you.
It is important to first establish that neither degree is lesser than the other. Both are very interesting and do not hold any significant superiority and as a result, the answer as to which is harder is not set in stone.
Geographers are more analytical individuals. You are provided with knowledge, facts, and methods, and you must work with them. It is closely linked to the present and what is going around you at the moment. For example, in school, you might find yourself using GIS to make urban maps. Or you might end up visiting mangrove forests to study the causes of declining marine life in a particular ecosystem.
All in all, geography is a degree that requires comparatively more methodical thinking. If you have difficulty applying your knowledge to analyze real-world issues, simply put, geography will be harder for you.
However, if you struggle to work with extensive facts about the bygone era, then you will probably find history the greater challenge of the two.
There is obviously a decent amount of analysis required in history as well. This includes using facts to make sense of why people in the past did what they did, or why historic events took a particular course. Without a doubt, you will be required to use your memory to a greater extent while majoring in history.
That said, students of both fields will study a little of the other. A history student will, for example, track how the Indus river changed course over time to theorize how the Indus civilization adjusted.
Is a Geography Degree Useful?
Without beating around the bush, we can agree that a geography degree is useful. Not only does it lead to jobs in varying industries, but the study of geography is instrumental in understanding cultures, political systems, economies, landscapes, and environments.
To start off, do you use GPS in your daily life to get around from place to place? Millions do every day. If you are one of them then you will no doubt appreciate the work of geographers since it was their contribution to map-based systems that allowed such a useful aid to be developed.
Whether it is traditional cartography, a more technology-based field like the telecom industry, or even a country’s meteorology department; all require geographers to some extent or other. Without having the knowledge of subjects pertaining to geography, these industries will collapse.
Rest assured, you do not have to worry about finding a job after graduating. Not only does your major meaningfully contribute to making the lives of individuals easier, but there is also a demand for geography degree holders.
Even if you do not pursue anything professionally the knowledge you gain from studying geography is quite valuable.
Is Geography a Respected Subject?
Generally, degrees that help you land jobs after graduation are considered decently respected. Therefore, if we judge a subject’s “respectability” through this standard, geography is respected. However, geography is less respected than other STEM majors since they are more difficult and lead to higher wages.
We have already spoken about the utilitarian value of geography majors. Geography students have dignified careers, and they contribute to technological advancements, aid in day-to-day activities, and boast great knowledge. Thus, they get due recognition, and geography is considered a respected subject.
This is especially when you compare it to subjects more along the liberal arts line, such as media sciences or gender studies which are not as well respected as geography
However, ask any geographer and they will admit that they are less respected in the workforce when compared to medicine or engineering majors. This is because these subjects are considered harder and more challenging.
Additionally, when you set the median pay of these STEM degrees and geography side by side, you will notice a stark imbalance. Doctors, for example, earn above six figures while an average geography major can only dream of doing so.
Is Geography a Good Subject for the Future?
In an ever-evolving world where globalization and change are happening at a rate faster than we can keep a track of, a subject that helps us make sense of the earth based on its physiography and its inhabitants is not only good but a requirement. Geography does exactly that. So yes, geography is a good subject, not just for the present, but also for the future.
There is no denying the fact that climate change is the pressing issue of today and the future. If a proper solution is not devised soon, disasters are going to end much of Earth’s life. Sooner or later we will need several professionals including those who are aware of the environment and atmosphere i.e. geographers.
Moreover, to address globalization’s growing need for mapping connections, we will need to take help from geographers. As more routes are formed, new trade links are established, and railway lines are set, there will be an increase in infrastructure development which will fuel employment.
Additionally, geographers are needed for developing new cities and towns as the earth’s population continues to expand.
Technological advancements, especially in the field of AI are rapidly taking jobs away from humans. But we still need smart and creative people in the field as AI, at the moment, is still in its infancy stages.
While there might be apprehension about the loss of jobs due to automation, students who bring new ideas to the table and have strong critical thinking and analytical skills will be appreciated.
Thus, rest assured, geography is a subject that will be in need immediately and will stay in demand for the foreseeable future.