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Geography at Illinois State is an interdisciplinary program centered around a holistic approach to teaching and learning. The study of geography improves our understanding of the world in which we live today and prepares us for our roles as global citizens of the 21st century. Geography emphasizes the importance of diversity, inclusiveness, and international perspectives in its approach to solving human, physical, and environmental challenges facing our world.

Our Geography program is the second oldest in the country, with seven full-time faculty members who focus on undergraduate education and professional student training. The program offers hands-on and field training opportunities in and outside of the classroom. Our students receive individualized attention and have the opportunity to participate in faculty-led research. All Geography majors complete a required internship program before graduation.

The program places a strong emphasis on study abroad.

Why Study Geography?

A degree in Geography provides a strong preparation for a diverse range of careers. It is also an effective preparation for a range of professional schools. However, geographers also have a number of specific technical and analytical skills that prepare them well for very specific tasks. Traditionally, geographers have been sought after as cartographers, planners (urban and environmental) and location analysts. Geographic Information Systems specialists are increasingly in demand. Geography provides a broad foundation for future career endeavors.

Related Majors

Related Skills

  • Strong writing and speaking skills
  • Ability to examine data and conduct field studies
  • Using technical tools to survey and sample
  • Ability to use statistical applications
  • Ability to communicate to different cultures
  • Good research skills and management skills
  • Maintain records and utilize them in projects
  • Develop project designs
  • Ability to work independently
  • Desire to help and influence mankind
  • Keen interest in the natural and social sciences
  • Computer knowledge is becoming extremely important in geography.  Obtain experience with geographic information systems.
  • Develop strong mathematical and statistical skills.
  • Develop skills and interest in mapping, graphics, and charts. An interest in photography may prove beneficial.
  • Develop good communication skills.

Being Successful in the Field

  • Bachelor's degree qualifies you for entry-level positions in government and industry.
  • Master's degree qualifies you for community college teaching and advancement in industry and government.
  • Ph.D. is required for research and teaching positions in colleges and universities and senior positions in government and industry.
  • Obtain volunteer, part-time, summer, internship, or co-op experience in your area of interest.
  • Join professional organizations such as the American Geography Society or the National Council for Geographic Education.
  • Become a member of groups directed toward improvement of natural resources or environment and pollution control.
  • Maintain knowledge of current environmental issues including policy, conservation, and industry trends.

Related Fields

Here are some employers of recent geography graduates from Illinois State:


  • Esri
  • State Farm Insurance
  • Dow AgroSciences
  • Archer Daniels Midland (ADM)
  • Integrys Energy Services
  • Roadview Inc.
  • GIS Solutions
  • Earlybird Feed and Fertilizer
  • PAQ Interactive
  • Cloudpoint Geographics

Federal, state, and local governments

  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
  • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)
  • Illinois Department of Transportation
  • City of Moline
  • Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
  • McLean County Regional Planning Commission
  • North Central Illinois Council of Governments
  • Village of South Elgin
  • Village of Shorewood
  • City of Chesterfield, Missouri
  • Illinois Department of Revenue
  • DuPage County GIS
  • Illinois State Treasurer

Nonprofits and organizations

  • Illinois State Geological Survey
  • Illinois Water Survey
  • McLean County Museum of History


  • Boylan Catholic High School
  • Elgin School District U46
  • Naperville Park District
  • Olympia Community Unit School District 16
  • Peotone Community School District 207-U
  • Consolidated High School District 230
  • Lincoln-Way Community High School District 210
  • Ball-Chatham Community Schools

Career Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Laurenn York  110 Student Services Building  (309) 438-0735 

Internship Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
RJ Rowley  104 Felmley  (309) 438-7832 

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for freshman students for the fall semester is September 1-November 15. Applying early is encouraged, as the University must limit enrollment due to space at the University and in specific majors/programs. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for fall transfer students is September 1-January 15. For the spring semester, the preferred filing period is from April 1-August 1. You are encouraged to apply early in the preferred filing period for best consideration for admission into competitive majors. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Minimum GPA


Middle 50% GPA

2.19 - 3.22

Required Courses


Recommended Courses

Human Geogrpahy (GEO 140)

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Jill Freund Thomas  Felmley Hall 200B  (309) 438-8403 

Middle 50% GPA

2.19 - 3.22

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Application Period

Applications are always available.

Application Information

Current students can use the Apply to Your Program tool on

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Jill Freund Thomas  Felmley Hall 200B  (309) 438-8403 
2016-08-03T11:23:40.188-05:00 2016