Why Study Geography?

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Geographers study the where and why of places, and this involves much more than just memorizing state capitals.  Geographers study location and interaction across horizontal space, and maps are crucial for showing geographic information.  Another focus of geography is the relationship between human beings and their environment.  We also examine cultural differences and similarities around the globe.  In truth, geography may be one of the most useful subjects offered in school.

(left)  The Explorers Club travels to the beautiful north shore of Lake Superior.

Yet even though geography is clearly essential, recent evidence suggests that many students (and world leaders!) have a poor knowledge of the subject.  Many cannot find their own state or country on an outline map or know much about the cultures of other countries.  Many are unaware of the delicate balance between the physical and cultural environments.  This is unfortunate, since geography is a basic skill just as important as reading, writing, and math.  Geography is a required subject in Japan, France, and the United Kingdom.  If the U.S. is to retain its position of leadership in the world, our students need to know geography.

Colleges have noticed recent sharp rises in enrollment in geography courses and in the number of students who choose to major in geography.  Most institutions of higher education offer courses in geography, and many have full-scale programs of study.

Answer these questions to see if you have any interest in Geography.

Richard G. Boehm, Careers in Geography
© National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C.
© The Association of American Geographers