Best Global Universities for Geography in 2022-2023

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Top Ranked Geography Universities and Programs in the World

About Geography 

Geography is a broad discipline that includes everything from natural and social sciences. It is the scientific study of places and the relationships between people and their environment including political and economic activities. A geographer is an expert in the field of geography that studies the earth’s landscapes, places, climate, people, and environment to solve contemporary environmental and social problems, depending on whether they are physical or human geographers.

With the growth of satellite technology and Geographical Information Systems (GIS), the profession of a geographer is becoming a more viable career option than ever before, from a local to a global scale. It is a potential career option for anyone interested in studying the earth’s geography. This page talks about what a geographer does, what kind of degrees are available to geography students, and job options in this field. It also includes a list of the greatest geography universities throughout the world and the programs they provide.

Duties of Geographers

Depending upon their job type and specialization, geographers can either work full-time in an office or work part-time in an office and then do fieldwork to gather information and data. Physical geographers study the earth’s physical properties, while human geographers study human activity and its interactions with the physical environment. A typical geographer does the following tasks, though their responsibilities vary greatly:

  • Gather data and information on physical properties or study human interactions with the physical environment
  • Conduct research through surveys and interviews 
  • Write reports and present their findings
  • Publish research in the form of articles
  • Create and modify geographical data
  • Help, counsel, or lead other geographers and researchers
  • Stay updated with recent trends in the field

Popular degrees for pursuing a career in Geography

A bachelor’s degree is required to work in the field of geography. Universities all across the world offer both arts and science degrees in geography. Arts degrees provide a broader education with fewer credits, whereas a science degree in geography concentrates on the subject’s depth of understanding. Students typically pursue master’s specialized courses in geography to advance their careers and earn higher salaries. A doctorate in geography is usually required for research and academic purposes.

Popular bachelor’s programs in Geography

  • B.A. in Geography
  • B.A. Hons. in Geography
  • B.Sc. in Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
  • B.S. in Geology
  • B.S. in Geosciences
  • B.S. in Geographical Information Systems

Popular master’s programs in Geography

  • M.A. in Geography
  • M.A. in Geology
  • M.Phil. in Geography
  • M.S. in Geography and Environmental Studies
  • M.Sc. in Cultural Geography 
  • M.S. in Urban and Economic Geography
  • M.S. in Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
  • M.A. in Geography and Environmental Engineering
  • M.S. in Geosciences
  • M.S. in Geographic Information Systems

Popular doctoral programs in Geography

  • Ph.D. in Geography
  • Ph.D. in Political Geography
  • Ph.D. in Geology
  • Ph.D. in Geosciences
  • Ph.D. in Physical Geography and Geoecology

Specializations in Geography

Natural sciences, sometimes known as earth science, and human geography are the two primary divisions of geography. The former is concerned with the physical materials and processes of the earth, whereas the latter is concerned with social science issues of the human race and cultures. Based on these classifications, the following specializations are offered in the field of geography: 

  • Environmental science
  • Resource management 
  • Geomatics 
  • Cultural geography
  • Economic geography
  • Political geography
  • Historical geography 
  • Transportation geography
  • Regional and country-specific geography
  • Medical geography
  • Geomorphology
  • Hydrology
  • Glaciology
  • Climatology

Duration of programs in Geography

In North America, a bachelor’s degree in geography, whether arts or science, normally takes four years, although, in Europe and the rest of the world, it can take three to four years. A master’s degree in geography can be completed in one or two years. Doctoral degrees in geography take three to five years in the USA and Canada, although they take three to four years in other regions.

Country Bachelor’s Degree Master’s Degree Doctoral Degree
USA and Canada 4 years 2 years 3-5 years
UK 3-4 years 1-2 years 3-4  years
Australia 3-4 years 1-2 years 3-4 years
Others 3-4 years 1-2 years 3-4 years

Career opportunities in Geography

Although it may be difficult to believe, occupations in geography can help discover solutions to some of today’s most important concerns, such as climate change, overpopulation, natural catastrophes, and urban expansion. Therefore, a geography degree is a good start for anyone who wants to make a real change in the world. The career path in geography one chooses, depends on whether the student has specialized in physical or human geography. There are plenty of opportunities in both branches of geography. 

  • Town planner 
  • Academic researcher
  • Geography professor
  • Geographical information systems officer 
  • Conservation officer 
  • Cartographer 
  • Environmental consultant 
  • Landscape architect 
  • Geoscientist
  • Political geographer
  • Health geographer
  • Climate scientist
  • Cultural geographer

Average salaries for Geographers

Many entry-level positions require only a bachelor’s degree in geography, but the salary is lower. A master’s degree in geography opens up additional professional opportunities and pays better. A doctorate degree is seldom required The following are the average salaries for geographers around the world:

Country Average salary in USD*/year
Australia 91,453 (Indeed)
UK 81,595 (Economic Research Institute)
USA 80,706 (Indeed)
Germany 74,183 (Economic Research Institute)
Canada 71,767 (Indeed)

*Note: All prices mentioned in the USD are for reference only. Exchange rates may vary from time to time and from country to country.

Top 50 universities in the world for Geography based on subject rankings

Shanghai Ranking QS Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
1 1 1 University of Oxford UK Click Here Click Here
2 51-100 NA Wageningen University & Research Netherlands Click Here Click Here
3 20 69 Utrecht University Netherlands Click Here Click Here
4 9 18 University College London UK Click Here Click Here
5 3 5 University of Cambridge UK Click Here Click Here
6 16 33 The University of Melbourne Australia Click Here Click Here
7 25 143 Exeter University UK Click Here Click Here
8 15 162 Durham University UK Click Here Click Here
9 48 110 The University of Sheffield UK Click Here Click Here
10 24 50 The University of Manchester UK Click Here Click Here
11 46 146 Newcastle University UK Click Here Click Here
12 32 127 University of Leeds UK Click Here Click Here
13 8 37 University of British Columbia Canada Click Here Click Here
14 48 176 Stockholm University Sweden Click Here Click Here
15 7 54 The Australian National University Australia Click Here Click Here
16 51-100 158 University of Colorado at Boulder USA Click Here Click Here
17 51-100 54 The University of Queensland Australia Click Here Click Here
18 26 35 King’s College London UK Click Here Click Here
19 45 96 University of Copenhagen Denmark Click Here Click Here
20 28 58 University of Wisconsin – Madison USA Click Here Click Here
21 27 29 University of Washington USA Click Here Click Here
22 14 65 University of Amsterdam Netherlands Click Here Click Here
23 51-100 189 Cardiff University UK Click Here Click Here
24 12 18 University of Toronto Canada Click Here Click Here
25 51-100 132 Arizona State University USA Click Here Click Here
26 5 21 National University of Singapore Singapore Click Here Click Here
27 51-100 115 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Netherlands Click Here Click Here
28 NA NA ETH Zurich Switzerland Click Here Click Here
29 17 30 The University of Edinburgh UK Click Here Click Here
30 23 116 Lund University Sweden Click Here Click Here
31 4 8 University of California, Berkeley USA Click Here Click Here
32 NA NA Stanford University USA Click Here Click Here
33 51-100 75 University of Zurich Switzerland Click Here Click Here
34 51-100 150 University of Arizona USA Click Here Click Here
35 51-100 104 Aarhus University Denmark Click Here Click Here
36 51-100 170 Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain Click Here Click Here
36 51-100 86 University of Minnesota, Twin Cities USA Click Here Click Here
38 10 30 The University of Hong Kong Hong Kong Click Here Click Here
39 101-150 93 University of Maryland, College Park USA Click Here Click Here
40 11 74 Humboldt University of Berlin Germany Click Here Click Here
41 37 92 University of Bristol UK Click Here Click Here
42 51-100 101 University of Helsinki Finland Click Here Click Here
43 29 44 McGill University Canada Click Here Click Here
44 2 27 London School of Economics and Political Science UK Click Here Click Here
45 50 85 The Ohio State University – Columbus USA Click Here Click Here
46 6 20 University of California, Los Angeles USA Click Here Click Here
47 51-100 86 The University of Glasgow UK Click Here Click Here
48 101-150 124 University of Southampton UK Click Here Click Here
49 51-100 119 University of Oslo Norway Click Here Click Here
50 NA NA Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Sweden Click Here Click Here

Top universities in the USA for Geography

For students wanting to make a career in geography, the USA is the best place to study as it has world-renowned universities offering ample courses in geography. Although certifications are not required for geographers in the USA, most positions require geographers to be proficient in GIS to demonstrate expertise in the field. The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing is well-known for offering certifications to geographers both for post-graduate and undergraduate degrees in geography. The following table highlights the top American universities offering bachelor’s and master’s courses in geography. 

Shanghai Ranking QS Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
16 51-100 158 University of Colorado at Boulder USA Click Here Click Here
20 28 58 University of Wisconsin – Madison USA Click Here Click Here
21 27 29 University of Washington USA Click Here Click Here
25 51-100 132 Arizona State University USA Click Here Click Here
31 4 8 University of California, Berkeley USA Click Here Click Here

Top universities in the UK for Geography

As per the QS, Shanghai, and THE rankings of geography universities around the world, the highest number of universities offering geography courses are in the UK. Therefore, many aspiring geographers choose to study in the UK. The UK’s top-most universities, such as the University of Oxford, University College London, University of Cambridge, etc., offer a wide range of specializations for master’s in geography. Some universities in the UK offer all three: doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s programs in geography.

Shanghai Ranking QS Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
1 1 1 University of Oxford UK Click Here Click Here
4 9 18 University College London UK Click Here Click Here
5 3 5 University of Cambridge UK Click Here Click Here
7 25 143 Exeter University UK Click Here Click Here
8 15 162 Durham University UK Click Here Click Here

Top universities in Canada for Geography

Students looking for scholarships and funding should definitely choose Canada as a study destination. Even the private colleges in Canada are known to offer fully-funded scholarships to their international students. Well-known Canadian universities like the University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, and McGill University top the list of the best universities for master’s and bachelor’s degrees in geography. While there are other universities too in Canada that offer quality education in the form of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geography. 

Shanghai Ranking QS Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
13 8 37 University of British Columbia Canada Click Here Click Here
24 12 18 University of Toronto Canada Click Here Click Here
43 29 44 McGill University Canada Click Here Click Here

Top universities in Australia for Geography

With the highest immigration rates and high-quality education, Australia ranks high on the list of the best study abroad destinations for international students. As per job statistics provided by Indeed, geographers in Australia, preferably with a master’s degree in geography, are paid an average salary of 91,453 USD/year, which is higher than in the USA and UK. Even candidates with a bachelor’s degree in geography are well paid. 

*Note: All prices mentioned in the USD are for reference only. Exchange rates may vary from time to time and from country to country.

Shanghai Ranking QS Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
6 16 33 The University of Melbourne Australia Click Here Click Here
15 7 54 The Australian National University Australia Click Here Click Here
17 51-100 54 The University of Queensland Australia Click Here Click Here

Top universities in the Netherlands for Geography

Many Dutch universities offer English-taught master’s and bachelor’s courses in geography. Therefore, a lot of prospective geographers prefer to study geography courses in the Netherlands. The bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geography offered by these Dutch universities are internationally recognized, which makes it easier to get a job anywhere in the world. 

Shanghai Ranking QS Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
2 51-100 NA Wageningen University & Research Netherlands Click Here Click Here
3 20 69 Utrecht University Netherlands Click Here Click Here
22 14 65 University of Amsterdam Netherlands Click Here Click Here
27 51-100 115 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Netherlands Click Here Click Here

Academic requirements for studying Geography

Applicants in the field of geography should have studied basic geography principles in school. Some high schools also teach geography and related subjects. Geographers must also possess specific skills, such as analytical, problem-solving, communication, and computer skills. Students must also write strong inspiring and recommendation letters while applying to universities abroad, as many universities select candidates based on them. Since the competition for admission to top colleges in geography is intense, students can apply through the Gyanberry website to improve their chances of acceptance. Before applying for geography degrees, students should take into account the following academic prerequisites.

Bachelor’s level

  • A high school education with a 3.0 GPA or above 
  • Academic transcripts
  • Valid passport
  • Personal statement 
  • Passport photographs
  • Completed visa application
  • Letter of recommendation
  • English proficiency test scores such as TOEFL (90 and above) or IELTS (6.0 and above)

Master’s level 

  • Internationally recognized bachelor’s degree in geography or its relevant field with a GPA of 3.0 
  • Academic transcripts 
  • Valid passport
  • Passport photographs
  • Completed visa application
  • Motivational letter
  • Resume
  • Recommendation letters
  • Research publications
  • English language proficiency (TOEFL 90 or above and IELTS 6.0 and above)

Doctoral level 

  • Honours or master’s degree in  geography or related fields with a GPA of at least 3.0
  • Academic transcripts 
  • Valid passport
  • Passport photographs
  • Completed visa application
  • Statement of purpose
  • Recommendation letters
  • Resume
  • Work experience (highly recommended) 
  • Research publications
  • Personal interview 
  • English language proficiency (TOEFL 90 or above and IELTS 6.0 and above)

*Note: All prices mentioned in the USD are for reference only. Exchange rates may vary from time to time and from country to country.

Frequently Asked Questions

A geography degree provides students with a set of transferable abilities that can be applied to a variety of fields, including education, business, trade, law, finance, transportation, tourism, and government.

A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system that gathers, saves, analyzes, and depicts data for geographic locations on the earth’s surface. GIS is an increasingly sought-after specialization in industries from agriculture to healthcare. 

The USA, UK, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sweden, Switzerland, and Denmark are well known for offering globally recognized degrees in geography.