Physical Sciences, Physics, Astronomy, Geography (+GIS/GPS), and Geology - department FAQs

Possible career opportunities in astronomy
Considered a branch of physics, astronomy is really a marriage of the physical sciences from planetary science and atmospheric science, to physics and chemistry. Study in astronomy prepares students for careers in scientific research, systems analysis and engineering, as well as software engineering and development. More than two years of college study is usually required.

Possible career opportunities in geography
Geography is an interdisciplinary study focusing on the spatial relations of physical, cultural and economic systems of our world. As such, geographers are employed in a wide array of fields in many capacities such as: city/county planning; surveying; cartography; aerial photographic interpretation; remote sensing; environmental studies; meteorology; GIS (geographic information systems: and GPS (global positioning systems). Geographers are employed by private sector firms, government and non-profit organizations. Many career options may require more than two years of college study.

Cultural geography careers include geography education at many levels, analyst, consultant and planner. Most career options require more than two years of college study.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)/Global Positioning System (GPS)
PDF presentation: Managing a GIS/GPS Certificate Program (2163.35 KB)

Traditionally, maps have been used to explore the Earth and analyze its resources. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology, as an expansion of computer-based cartographic science, has enhanced the efficiency and analytic power of traditional mapping. Global Positioning System (GPS) technology provides spatial data that are essential to GIS operation. Over the past years, GIS and GPS have become closely integrated and are increasingly being used by government agencies and businesses that use spatial information.

Many occupations use GIS and GPs for applications ranging from resource allocation to market analysis. Some of the leading industries that use GIS and GPS are: surveying and mapping, urban and regional planning, civil engineering and transportation, parks and recreational services, utility services, emergency response systems, agriculture, forestry, environmental management, retail business, property and real estate.

Possible career opportunities in geology
Geologists work in exploration for oil, natural gas, coal and uranium for energy, and for metals used in everyday life. They search for clean sources of groundwater for drinking and agriculture (hydrology). They seek to understand geologic hazards and how to mitigate them (seismology, flood and landslide control, and volcanology). They work to monitor and clean up pollutants in soil, groundwater and surface water. Currently, the best employment opportunities are in hydrology and pollution control. Many career options may require more than two years of college study.

Possible career opportunities in physics
Career opportunities available for physicists include: research in industry, universities, and national laboratories. Many teach in high schools, colleges, and universities. Others can be found in hospitals, the military, oil fields, power plants, in the astronaut corps, in museums, in patent law firms, and in management positions in business and government. A background in physics can help a technical writer or a computer programmer. Most career options require more than two years of college study.

Back to top