Study Geography at the University of Montana
Study landscapes, people and the dynamic relationships between them. The bachelor’s degree in geography at the University of Montana offers unparalleled opportunities to study mountain landscapes, community and environmental planning, and geospatial science and technologies.
Geography is for the curious. We ask big questions about both natural and human landscapes: designing maps for tiger conservation in India and Malaysia; helping community food banks design more efficient delivery systems; optimizing new community garden locations to improve access to lower-income households; studying how urban land use impacts drinking water in Ghana; mapping brown bear habitat connectivity in Spain and more. Where you take your geography degree is up to you.
Our faculty members are leading experts in their fields who have worked all over the world and have particularly strong ties to the Himalayas and the country of Bhutan.
of W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation graduates are employed or in graduate school
acres of land managed for faculty and student research and learning
estimated average salary of UM geography bachelor’s degree graduates
Other degree options for geography at UM
- Bachelor of Science in Geography – Physical Geography
- Bachelor of Science in Geography – Community and Environmental Planning
- Master of Science in Geography
- Minor in Geography
What can you do with a geography degree?
A bachelor’s in geography is a versatile degree that can open a variety of career pathways or opportunities for graduate study. With concentrations available in physical geography and community and environmental planning, you can also choose to specialize your degree in geography according to your interests. Graduates of the geography degree at UM go on to successful careers in business, industry, government, education and natural resources.
What you’ll learn in the geography bachelor’s degree program
As a geography major, you’ll learn how to acquire and analyze diverse types of data to answer pressing questions of our time. You’ll also develop strong communication and leadership skills and learn how to help communities navigate their futures. Our program specializes in mountain landscapes, community and environmental planning, and geospatial science and technologies.
Potential careers with a geography degree include:
- City/community planner
- GIS analyst
- Transportation planner
U.S. News and World Report ranks geographer ninth in Best Science Jobs, and reports a median salary of $81,540 for this career. Here are average salaries for several other careers you may pursue with a geography degree:*
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS) manager: $74,000
- Cartographer: $65,470
- Surveying and mapping technician: $45,010
*Based on recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Video: W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation Scholarships
Scholarships make big impacts in the lives of our students. Learn more about the opportunities available.
Beyond the classroom: Experiential learning in the geography degree program
Study growing mountain communities in the unique landscapes of Montana. UM’s geography program makes full use of its natural surroundings to offer field-based and experiential learning opportunities you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
Field-based courses in the geography program
Explore Glacier National Park and the North Fork of the Flathead River in a field-based course that covers physical geography, winter ecology, geography vs. geology, national park management and more. You’ll also learn field techniques used by geographers and planners in making field observations and in collecting data.
Undergraduate research and geography facilities
At the Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, you’ll have access to 25,000 acres of land managed for student and faculty research and learning — including Lubrecht Experimental Forest and Bandy Ranch at the south end of the Bob Marshall Wilderness complex. We also offer state-of-the-art geospatial computer labs that are particularly useful for students specializing in GIS.
Career development in the geography program
In the geography bachelor’s degree program at UM, you’ll find a strong sense of community. Our faculty are world-class researchers and scientists. They are also accessible and dedicated mentors who are here to work with you one-on-one. Throughout your program of study, you’ll have opportunities to develop your professional network and connect with potential job opportunities through internships, undergraduate research and other work.
Student organizations for geography majors
The Geography Club at the University of Montana is a great way to network with peers and make new friends.
As a geography major at UM, you’ll be eligible for a number of scholarships through the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation. Geography students are also eligible for Franke Sustainability Fellowships, which fund study-abroad and research experiences focused on sustainability for FCFC students. Explore scholarship opportunities for geography majors at UM.
Explore classes for the geography program
The bachelor’s degree in geography combines education in the unique challenges of mountain environments, the organizing principles of sustainable development and the powerful analytic capabilities of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Concentrations are available in physical geography and in community and environmental planning.