Careers with Geography
Graduates are working across the globe in education, engineering, heritage and transport industries.
Where are they now?
Read about the varied careers of our geography graduates.
Hannah Orr: GIS Consultant - Renewables Industry
I graduated from Ulster University in 2012 and got a role as a Mapping and Charting Officer with Land and Property Services (LPS) before completing an MSc in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at Ulster. I then went on to work for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service as an Information Analyst which involved the use of GIS to assist in performance monitoring and decision making. I am now working with Gaelectric as a GIS Project Officer predominantly working on Onshore Wind Farm Projects.
Patricia Doran: Hydraulic Modeller
I graduated in 2009 and then completed a PgDip in GIS. I worked for Northern Ireland Water (NIW) as a GIS technician. This provided the groundwork for my current position as a hydraulic modeller with civil engineering company, Mouchel. I am responsible for the construction and calibration of hydraulic models based on NIW’s supply network across the whole of Northern Ireland. Alongside this I am also completing an online course with World Bank Group on ‘Designing and implementing successful water utility reform’ and working towards chartership with the Institute of Water.
Katie McFarland: GIS Consultant - Water Management
I graduated in 2011 before completing an MSc in GIS at Ulster. During my postgrad studies a gained valuable work experience with a 6 week placement with Land and Property Services. I also got involved on a Fuel Poverty project run by Ulster University in conjunction with the Department of Social Development (DSD) and the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM). I switched to taking the MSc on a part time basis which allowed me to work on this project whilst completing my dissertation. I have since worked on several different GIS projects in Northern Ireland Water and Northern Ireland Housing Executive and now work as a GIS Consultant with ESRI Ireland.
Matthew Strahan: Heritage Scientist
I graduated in 2010 and then completed an MSc Heritage Science from Queen's University. After my postgraduate course I secured a Heritage Lottery Funded Bursary placement with Historic Environment Scotland in Edinburgh working in the Digital Documentation team. I carried out 3D Laser Scan surveys and other digital documentation techniques on properties including Edinburgh Castle and The Forth Bridge. I then worked for CyArk - a non-profit company dedicated to digitally archiving the world's heritage sites for preservation, conservation, and education. I got to survey the Fountain of Peirene and the Temple of Apollo at Ancient Corinth, as well as processing survey data from various sites around the world. I currently work for Russel Geomatics, who specialise in surveys of heritage sites.
I wouldn't have been able to get into any of these positions without my Geography degree. It gave me an understanding of many different systems and processes, from GIS to geology skills and an understanding of how a place can be shaped by culture and the people using it.
Richard Smyth: Geography Teacher
I graduated from the Ulster University in 2014 and began a PGCE with Geography at Liverpool Hope University. Before the completion of the course I had secured a job at West Kirby Grammar School, a high performing, selective state school. During my time at WKGS I have had the opportunity to teach across the curriculum from Key Stage 3 to 5. I have had many opportunities including 2 fieldtrips to Iceland, 1 to Belgium and a 2 week geography trip to China. I have taught an array of topics at varying levels, including specialising in human geography at A Level and assisting in the planning of a new course and the implementation of a new fieldwork study at this level.
Ryan Johnston: GIS Engineer - Transport Industry
I graduated in 2012 and started my first job the day after graduation working for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) before returning to Ulster University to complete an MSc in GIS. I started my Masters on a full time basis before completing my dissertation part time which allowed me to work as a Mapping and Charting Officer for the Department of Finance and Personnel. The modules taught at University helped me to develop a well-rounded set of skills highly sought after by industry, including the economic importance and impact of decisions.
Since my Masters, I have worked for Terra Quest (private mapping company), as a GIS consultant for Ordnance Survey Northern Ireland. I currently work in Milton Keynes as a GIS Engineer for Transport Systems Catapult. Much of the work involves researching new emerging technologies such as Virtual Reality, CAV’s (connected and autonomous vehicles) and providing Geo-spatial expertise to projects and partners.
Louise Brown: University Lecturer
I graduated in 1996 with a Geography degree and am now a Property Research Lecturer in the School of the Built Environment at Ulster University. My teaching and research are related to property market investment and planning. For example, one of the modules I teach is ’housing market dynamics’ which includes issues such as affordability and the number of first time buyers.
Once I finished my degree, my first job was in a small private town planning practice as an assistant town planner completing multi-use planning applications and liaising with planning officers on behalf of developers. My background in geography including experience of GIS and mapping skills with an understanding of land use, geology and topography were valuable assets.
Matthew McCready: GIS Officer - Public Sector
I graduated with a geography degree in 2012 with a Diploma in International Academic Studies (DIAS) for my ERASMUS study placement year abroad. I I lived in Gießen, Germany, studying geographical modules in German, such as Spatial Planning, Crime Mapping and Urban Geography, at Justus-Liebig Universität. I would strongly recommend taking a year out in the third year of undergraduate study, as the experiences I had were beyond any of my expectations, from travelling around Europe to meeting like-minded students from all over the world, it is something I will never forget!
After graduation I travelled Australia, Asia and the South Pacific for three years and on my return I completed a MSc in GIS at the University of Portsmouth. I did my MSc dissertation in wildfire research using GIS and remote sensing which was sponsored through the Ordnance Survey Dissertation Programme Award. I was offered a job as a GIS Analyst at Savills in Dorset almost two months before finishing my MSc and of course jumped at the opportunity. I have now started a new position as GIS Officer for East Kent Services.
Scott McFarland: Geography Teacher
I graduated from Ulster University with my geography degree in 2011. I was heavily involved in youth work and loved my subject so decided I wanted to be a teacher. I spent the next 3 years working as a SEN Classroom Assistant before starting my PGCE in Post Primary Education at Ulster University. I now work as a Geography teacher in a secondary school in Belfast and absolutely love it.
Becoming a teacher did not come easily; I got onto the PGCE course on my third attempt, but I am glad I persevered. My undergraduate degree set me up for one of the best careers. Every day, I get to play a small part in shaping the lives of the next generation, teaching them to be sustainable stewards of the world around them - what a privilege.
Paul Fearon: GIS Consultant - Engineering Industry
I graduated with a BSc (Hons) Geography (2008) and an MSc in GIS (2009) from Ulster University. I now work for AECOM in New Zealand, where I am involved in all GIS aspects of a major Fortune 500 engineering consultancy firm operating on a global scale. I have been involved in hydro dams construction throughout the Asia-Pacific region, major transport and rail projects from electrification to a new subway, flood hazard modelling and mapping, aviation projects and mining projects in Australia to name but a few.
Siobhan Murtagh: Geography Teacher
I graduated from Ulster University in July 2014 after spending a year during my degree gaining some work experience and teaching practice at Dominican College, Fortwilliam. I was fortunate enough to be accepted onto the PGCE Post-Primary Geography at Ulster University and graduated from this in July 2015. After completing my PGCE, I took the plunge and moved to England in August 2015. I now work as Assistant Director of Humanities with responsibility for Geography at Lealands High School, Luton.
Martine Scott: GIS Consultant - Public Sector
I graduated in 2016 and immediately took a temporary role as a Mapping and Charting Officer with Land and Property Services (LPS) as a GIS Consultant. Before completing my temporary role I was taken in as a full time permanent staff member.
At Ulster, through varied lessons and modules and my fast-paced, high pressure placement with the Green Party in Northern Ireland, I learned to be flexible and adaptable; two skills that are in demand for the dynamic role of a GIS consultant.