What is human geography?
Geography is the study of the physical earth around us, from the earth and soil right up to the atmosphere and its chemical composition. A field with diverse applications, geography is often grouped with the sciences and the humanities.
Human geography is a subset of the broader geographic field and specifically concerns the way humans interact with their environments. While the physical environment is a core focus, human geography also considers social, economic and political environments and how these holistically contribute to the way humans engage with the world around them.
Geography is highly applicable to those who wish to understand humanity, and our place within the world. The field considers the connections between people and place, and the factors that can strengthen or weaken these bonds.
Analytical reasoning is central to the study of geography. Geographers identify and examine patterns of behaviour and account for them. They investigate changes experienced by the natural and built environments and provide insights into potential future issues. Geographers are also increasingly being called upon to propose solutions to large scale social and environmental problems, such as climate change, food scarcity and urban planning.
Creativity and problem-solving are also key skills for geographers. Human-generated problems are complex and often require multi-stage solutions. An ability to produce new and original ideas to wide-ranging issues will serve you well within geographical roles.
Sustainability is another growing area of focus in geography. As the world grapples with the environmental, political, economic and cultural challenges of climate change, geographers are at the forefront of the conversation. Geographers consider how patterns of behaviour can be adapted to ensure a more sustainable, environmentally positive lifestyle. Innovations in this field will go on to shape the way we live and interact with the world into the future.
What does a human geographer do?
Geographical knowledge is called upon in a variety of roles, as it draws on multiple in-demand skills.
Working as a geographer, you may find yourself working for a government department, assessing and responding to natural hazards. In a sprawling country such as Australia, you may gain experience planning responses to hazards including floods, fires, cyclones and storms. Your knowledge of natural environments could help prevent damage to human lives and property, and the plans you generate could help regions bounce back sooner.
You may find yourself working within urban planning, ensuring we are ready for the needs of tomorrow’s populations. As a geographer, your understanding of the various ways in which individuals and groups engage with environments will assist you in designing effective and environmentally positive spaces and housing. Complex reasoning skills will empower you to communicate your ideas effectively and engage with various stakeholders.
Geographers also frequently work with data. Whether you are working in government or private enterprise, skills in interpreting statistical data will be highly regarded. Your findings could be used to plan future policy or programs, or influence the creation of more sustainable consumer products.
There are also opportunities for geographers to work on the ground with remote or Indigenous communities. Here, you will draw on your interpersonal and communication skills to conduct research and gain new insights into traditional connections to the land, as well as understanding methods of environmental protection and conservation.
You may also choose to dedicate yourself to geographical education and communication. As we strive to engage more sustainably with our planet, individuals and groups of all ages seek additional education on environmental processes and planning. Whether you share your knowledge in a classroom, a boardroom or through the media, you will be contributing to an increased societal understanding of the world around you.
What jobs are there in geography?
Issues relating to human engagement with the environment are widespread and diverse, meaning you’ll have a range of options when looking for geography-focused roles.
Studying geography at JCU gives you unique, hands-on skills that can take you anywhere within Australia or across the world. You may find yourself working for a government organisation, a not-for profit company or a multinational corporation.
JCU graduates emerge with advanced reasoning and problem-solving skills, making them attractive to a variety of employers. Your knowledge base and experience will set you apart from the crowd.
With a JCU Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Human Geography, you may work in roles such as:
- Environmental consultant
- Social researcher
- Data analyst
- Planning and development coordinator
- Logistics manager
- Property assessment and real estate
- Town planner
- Environmental rights advocate.
Why study Human Geography at JCU?
Twenty-first century geographers require advanced analytical reasoning skills, strong interpersonal capabilities, the confidence to make influential decisions, and the creativity to respond to modern problems.
JCU students develop these skills on the job, engaging in practical learning within North Queensland’s richest and most diverse environments, including the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. You will learn to use geographic information systems to understand complex environments and assess the impacts of your proposals on both society and the natural world.
JCU’s world-class lecturers have industry experience and can support you as you deepen your knowledge and expand your skillset. You’ll study within a small, supportive classroom environment, giving you more opportunities for personalised learning.
As you complete your Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Human Geography, you’ll have the opportunity to seek out practical work placements with industry partners. Take advantage of these networks to ensure you are job-ready when you graduate.
Due to the hands-on nature of the subject, Human Geography can only be studied on campus at JCU Townsville or JCU Cairns. You’ll benefit from practical learning and fieldwork across your degree and emerge ready to help tackle the challenges of tomorrow.