Top Schools for Geography and Cartography

Jan 09, 2020

Learn about degree programs in geography and cartography, through which students learn how to conduct research and track trends among the physical regions around the world. Review the academic options at four leading universities, and see highlights of other schools in the U.S. that offer programs for geographers and cartographers.

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School Overview

Many of the best and highest-ranked schools in the country offer undergraduate and graduate programs to students interested in geography and cartography, with a variety of options and opportunities for students to consider. Top schools offering degree programs in geography and cartography include Clark University, the University of California in Los Angeles, Boston University, and the University of California in Santa Barbara. Each of the four universities offers undergraduate and graduate programs in geography, geographic information science, or geographic information systems. Additionally, all are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

Clark University in Worcester, MA

Clark University is a private institution that tied as the 91st-best national university on U.S. News & World Report's 2020 list. The university offers an accelerated undergraduate and graduate program in geographic information science that leads to a Bachelor of Arts/Master of Science in Geographic Information Science. Undergraduate candidates who are majoring in earth system science, environmental science, geography or global environment studies, among other related fields of study, may be qualified for admission.

Additional degree offerings include a Master of Science (M.S.) in Geographical Information Science for Development and the Environment. Graduate students can also earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Geography. Overall, the programs emphasize the use of geographic information systems (GIS) and technologies; students also take courses in digital image processing.

UC Los Angeles

The University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public university that ranked 20th among the best national universities, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2020 list. Unique to the school's faculty are Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners.

UCLA's Department of Geography offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in geography and geographic information systems and technologies. Within the programs, students investigate the interactions between human beings and their environment, as well as the similarities and differences among the physical environments found around the world. Learners also have the chance to work with geographic information systems (GIS) and develop their computer skills for the gathering and analyzing of geographic data.

UC Santa Barbara

The University of California in Santa Barbara was ranked tied as the 34th-best national university in 2020 by U.S. News & World Report. The university's Division of Mathematical, Life and Physical Sciences offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in geography. Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Geography program receive classroom instruction and hands-on training in the use of GIS while taking courses in physical, political and regional geography. Undergraduates can also earn a bachelor's degree in GIS or physical geography.

At the graduate level, the university offers a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Geography. Areas of specialization include computation, earth systems, science and human systems.

Boston University

Boston University tied as the 40th-best national university on U.S. News & World Report's 2020 list. The school offers doctoral degrees in geography as well as undergraduate environmental science degrees and a combined bachelor's/master's in earth and environment and remote sensing and geospatial sciences. Research opportunities are available for undergraduate students in four areas, including geographical sciences. Internship and study abroad opportunities are also available.

Other Programs

Now let's turn our attention to other schools that offer programs in geography and cartography:

School Name Location Distinction
Ohio State University Columbus, OH Geography major offers four education tracks
State University of New York at Buffalo Buffalo, NY Houses the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis
University of California in Berkeley Berkeley, CA A summer research fellowship is available for undergraduate geography students
University of Illinois Urbana, IL Houses the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology
University of Colorado Boulder, CO Geography students can participate in research projects
University of Wisconsin Madison, WI Offers a bachelor's degree in geography education

Aspiring geographers and cartographers may compare programs by looking at a school's rankings in addition to research opportunities, areas of specialization, and program tracks. Students may also consider internship and study abroad opportunities.

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