Geography is more than just the study of where places are located. The term “geography” comes from the Greek term geo meaning “the earth” and graphia meaning “to write." So literally, geographers are writing and describing the earth in all of its many aspects.

Geographers ask important questions about human activity and movement, and they seek to understand why people arrange and distribute themselves as they do. Geographers look at the world from a spatial perspective, even though they might use a variety of techniques, from statistics to interviews, to do their work.

At Oakton College, we offer a geography pre-major for students interested in beginning their studies in geography and who plan to transfer to a four-year institution to complete their bachelor's degree. We offer a number of easily transferable introductory and advanced courses that will prepare you for work as an educator, research assistant, geographer, tourism developer, urban planner or any number of other careers.

Geography is generally divided between human and physical branches. At Oakton, our curriculum focuses on the human aspect. (The physical aspects of geography are taught in the Earth Science department).


The following pre-major is recommended for students who are considering completing a Bachelor’s degree in Geography after transferring to a four-year institution. It is designed for students who have not decided upon a specific four-year college or university.

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Job Outlook

Employment of geographers is projected to show little or no change from 2020 to 2030.

Despite limited employment growth, about 100 openings for geographers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

The median annual wage for geographers was $85,430 in May 2020.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 

Potential Careers

• Educator

• Research Assistant

• Geographer

• Tourism Developer

• Urban Planner

Meet Your Faculty

Oakton's geography faculty bring a diverse set of perspectives and areas of specialization to their teaching

Meet our full-time faculty:

Kayla Mitchell
Chair, EGHPS (Economics, Geography, History, and Political Science)
Associate Professor, Economics
B.B. Western Illinois University
M.A. Western Illinois University
Areas of Specialization: Microeconomics and Macroeconomics 
Office: 2602, Des Plaines

Valeria Benson-Lira
Assistant Professor of Earth Science and Geography
B.S. Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Mexico
M.A. Geography, Arizona State University
Office: 202 Lee Center DPC

Meet our part-time faculty:

Arkadiusz Stachnik
Lecturer - Geography
M.A. Geography, Jagiellonian University
Office: 2430, Des Plaines


What's Next?

We are glad you are considering attending Oakton College. No matter where you are in your decision-making process, we are here to help you with your next steps. Whether you're ready to apply now, need information on paying for college or have questions and want to contact someone, we're here to help.

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