Any geography majors here?

Well, she’s a chef, so she does best in resort towns like Phoenix, Miami, Santa Fe, etc., or really big cities like NYC or LA, but I think she could make it just about anywhere if she had to. We’re also not at all married to living in Arizona. In fact, though we do love it here we would quite like a change.

I’m pretty confident I can do a masters while raising a family as I’ve known several people who have done it. The PhD is obviously something I need to think long and hard about along with the wife, and do a lot of research on, but luckily I don’t have to decide today. It’ll be awhile before it’s time to cross that bridge. And I know a lot of people with their sights set on a PhD are burnt out for life by the time they get their masters.

Hmm. Mine was in a “Geography and Geology” Department with HEAVY emphasis on Geology, although they had some wonderful faculty in human and environmental geography. No Poli Sci or architecture. Would have loved to attend one with more of an urban design or architectural pairing.

Anyway, back to Geography - it’s not a “done” field by any means, and just to echo someone above, GIS (Geographic Information Systems) has exploded and is useful in almost any industry. You’ll probably hear the term “enterprise GIS” thrown around. If you are a cartographer at heart, you’ll be fascinated by it, although it’s much more than “mapping.”

I also have a geography degree, and am one of those few people out there with a graduate degree in cartography. For what it’s worth, in response to “hasn’t everything been mapped already?” one of my carto-friends likes to respond, “everywhere may have been mapped, but not everything.” I actually have a hard time describing cartography as I learned it. It’s not like the rest of geography, and it’s not GIS. We have use for GIS, but GIS is not what we do.

Anyway, I got my master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which has one of the major geography departments in the US, so I was around lots of people pursuing PhDs in geography. Unfortunately, my experience in the cartography master’s program was very different from the majority of the department, so I can’t actually offer a whole lot of insight into a geography PhD. The one thing I will say is that the study of geography, at least at the graduate level in a major research university, is a lot more specialized than the impression of the field I got as an undergrad at a small liberal arts school. At Madison, you’d take a couple of classes required for breadth, but apart from that and a weekly lecture series, there is nothing outside your narrow research area. The interactions between people in the different subdisciplines were almost purely social. (It was a pretty good bunch, socially speaking.)

So, cartography I can speak to, but regular geography a little less so. I’d be glad to try to answer what I can based on what went on around me at UW, though. It ended only about a year ago, so the memories are still pretty good.

By the way, Cisco, that your wife is a chef is interesting to me, because it reminds me of one of my fellow students. His wife was the pastry (or dessert or whatever the title was) chef at the finest restaurant in Madison, and the job kind of sucked. That’s my only chef-related story about going to school in Madison for geography, if it means anything.