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10 Most Affordable Bachelor’s in Geography Online for 2019

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Great Value Colleges - Most AffordableBy GVC Staff
July 2019

In this article ranking the 10 most affordable Bachelor’s degrees in Geography online, we will explore the following types of degrees:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Geography Online
  • Bachelor of Science in Geography Online
  • Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Geography Online
  • Bachelor of Science in Geosciences with an emphasis in Geography
  • Bachelor of Arts in Geosciences with a Geography Focus Online
  • Bachelor of Science in Geographic Information Systems Technology Online

If you’re intrigued by ‘where’ things are on earth and ‘why’ they are where they are, studying the discipline of geography would be a good fit for you. And because we know that the pace of life is changing, and people are busier than ever, we’ve compiled a list of schools that offer the degree fully online at an affordable price. Whether you’re just out of high school or already in the professional world, you’ll find something on this list for you. Below is an explanation of our methodology and how we ranked these schools.

Rating and Ranking Methodology

To develop this ranking of the top affordable Bachelor’s in Geography online programs, our editors searched for schools that offered cheap online undergraduate programs in geography.  To rate and rank these programs, we applied the methodology below using information from Google, the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), Payscale.com, and each program’s website. In cases of a tie, the more affordable school pulled the higher rank. If the information didn’t fit within the parameters, zero points were awarded for that category.

Tuition

  • Net Price Below $10,000: 4 points
  • Net Price Below $15,000: 3 points
  • Net Price Below $18,000: 2 points
  • Net Price Below $20,000: 1 point

Student to Faculty Ratio

  • Less than 20:1: 1 point
  • Less than 15: 1: 2 points
  • Less than 10: 1: 3 points

Return on Investment (ROI) According to Payscale.com

  • Top 500: 1 point
  • Top 300: 2 points
  • Top 150: 3 points

Flexibility of the Program (asynchronous course delivery, hybrid options, part-time/full-time schedule, etc. ) – 1 point per item

Online Student Support Network (faculty mentors/advisors, etc.) — 1 point per item

Concentrations/Specializations – 1 point per item

Accreditation (School-Wide and Program-Specific) – 1 point per item

“Wow” Factor – 1 point

#10 University of Nebraska Omaha

Omaha, Nebraska

Online Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Geography

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
Points: 3

This cheap online geography degree at the University of Nebraska Omaha is the only one on the list that is a Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies. The 120-credit hour program includes a well-rounded general education, then a concentration in Geography. For the area of emphasis, students will take 30 credit hours in the geography field, including courses like:

  • Soil Genesis, Morphology,  and Classification
  • Fundamentals of World Regional Geography
  • Water Resources
  • Urban Sustainability
  • Geography in Film
  • Aerial Photographic Interpretation

While you don’t have to live in Nebraska to take these courses, some electives might be appealing to Nebraska natives, as they include a focus in Nebraskan natural resources and geography. All work will culminate to an internship experience. Though the degree typically takes 4 years to complete, you could expedite the process by earning credit for prior knowledge or military experience. The University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Out-of-State Tuition: $20,764

#9 Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw, Georgia

Bachelor of Arts in Geography Online

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 21 to 1
Points: 7
Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Atlanta, GATop 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Atlanta, GA

In Kennesaw State University’s affordable online BA in Geography, you’ll complete 123 credits in 4 years as a full-time student. You can take your summers off for fun, work, or travel, or take summer courses and expedite the time it takes to get your degree. After completing 42 credits of general education, you will choose major courses from these categories: Human/Regional Geography, Physical/Environmental Geography, and Geographic Techniques. Sample courses include:

  • Global Climate Change
  • Introduction to Remote Sensing
  • Political Geography
  • Geography of Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Climatology
  • Advanced Geographic Information Systems

At KSU, you won’t have to worry about your online degree bringing you less rigor or value. The same on-campus faculty will teach your online classes, and you’ll receive the same revered degree as on-site students. And as an online student, you’ll also get access to a plethora of resources, including tutoring, advising, a writing center, and more. The cheap online bachelor’s degree in geography will prepare graduates for careers in various fields like business, education, government, non-profit organizations, or research. Kennesaw State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Out-of-State Tuition: $17,329

#8 Florida Atlantic University

Boca Raton, Florida

Bachelor of Arts in Geosciences with a Geography Focus

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 24 to 1
Points: 7

Florida Atlantic University offers a low-cost online Bachelor’s degree in geography that results in an online B.A. in Geosciences with a Geography emphasis. In this 120-credit hour program, you’ll get to choose between the following areas of concentration:

  • Environmental Systems
  • Human Systems
  • Geographic Information Science (GIS)

After taking 10 credit hours of Geoscience core classes (like Weather and Climate, Statistics, & Mapping and GIS), you’ll focus on these geography courses:

  • World Geography
  • Introduction to Physical Geography
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Human-Environmental Interactions in South Florida

Through the Center for eLearning at Florida Atlantic University, you’ll have all the support you need. Services include online tutoring, career services, library services, and disability access. Graduates of the program will be ready for exciting careers in areas like the public sector, education, commerce, industry, transport, and tourism. FAU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Out-of-State Tuition: $17,276

#7 Fort Hays State University

Hays, Kansas

Online Bachelor of Science in Geosciences with an emphasis in Geography

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1
Points: 7
fort-hays-state-university

Through Fort Hays State University’s Virtual College, students can earn an affordable online Bachelor of Science in Geosciences with an emphasis in Geography. The curriculum is 120-credits total, broken down into General Education Foundational Courses (18 hours), General Education Liberal Arts (37 hours), GeoSciences Core (9 hours), Major in Geography (26 hours), and Electives (30 hours). A few major courses you could take are:

  • Elements of Physical Geography
  • World Geography
  • Cartography
  • U.S. Geography
  • Kansas Geography
  • Urban Geography

In addition, what makes this program stand out is your option to add-on three geography related certificates. And to top it all off, FHSU holds true to its motto of “Forward thinking, world ready,” providing you with a rigorous and innovative education that is focused on YOU. As an online student, you’ll join the 15,000 enrolled students (including over 7,000 online students!) and earn your low-cost geography degree online. Fort Hays State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Out-of-State Tuition: $15,210
School Profile

#6 Marshall University

Relocated by editor due to initial miscalculation of tuition numbers, Marshall University has been moved to the number one position.

#6 South Dakota State University

Brookings, South Dakota

B.S. in Geography Online

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
Points: 8

South Dakota State University offers a cheap online degree in geography that focuses on three areas of study: physical geography, human geography, and technical geography. Two areas of emphasis include Planning and Environmental Planning. In this low-cost B.S. in Geography, you’ll take 120 credit hours. Expect to take sample courses like:

  • Local and Regional Planning
  • Urban Geography
  • Atmospheric Sciences
  • Land Use and Planning
  • World Regional Geography
  • Environmental Geography and Sustainability

You will be prepared to pursue a career in areas like Geographic Information Systems Analysis, Urban Planning, Intelligence Analysis, Remote Sensing Analysis, and Cartography.

South Dakota State University prides itself on providing you a personal and practical education that focuses on hands-on education, including study abroad opportunities. SDSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Out-of-State Tuition: $12,128
School Profile

#5 Park University

Parkville, Missouri

Bachelor of Science in Geography Online

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 15 to 1
Points: 8

A program designed to “bridge the social and natural sciences,” Park University offers a low-cost online Bachelor of Science in Geography. In the 34-40 credit hour degree completion program at PU, you will study the relationships between the earth, society, and culture. More specifically, the curriculum will survey fundamental topics in geography, including an in-depth look at geographic and spatial analysis principles, cultural and physical geography, and  Geographic Information Systems (GIS). You will take major courses in 5 core areas:

  • Cultural Geography
  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Geography of North America
  • Physical Geography
  • Natural Disasters

In your last semester, you will complete a capstone assessment that will evaluate your comprehension of the program’s 5 core classes. The program’s website details what kind of careers you could pursue post-graduation, citing examples like:

  • Cartographer
  • Commercial/Residential Surveyor
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Geographical Information Systems Officer
  • Secondary School Teacher
  • Town Planner

If you meet the requirements, you’ll be able to network by joining Gamma Theta Upsilon, the International Geographic Honor Society. For those interested, there are 3 related degrees in Geoscience, Geographical Information Systems, and Global Sustainability. Park University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Out-of-State Tuition: $11,572

#4 Arizona State University

Scottsdale, Arizona

B.S in Geography Online

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 23 to 1
Points: 9

Impressively ranked among the top Innovative Colleges for 2019 by the U.S. News and World Report, Arizona State University offers a low-cost B.S. in Geography online that will “explore social or environmental science in relation to economic patterns, human populations, and transportation.” A broad-based and interdisciplinary curriculum offering 7.5 week classes, students must also complete 45 credits of upper-level classes in the field with the consultation and approval of their student advisor. Popular course topics include Statistics for Geography and Planning, Geographic Information Science, Introduction to Physical Geography, Introduction to Human Geography, and Quantitative Natural Science. As the largest public university in the country with nearly 70,000 enrolled undergraduates, all ASU graduates – online or otherwise – benefit from an enormous alumni network that acts as an excellent bridge to employment opportunities. Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Out-of-State Tuition: $18,629
School Profile

#3 University of Florida Online

Gainesville, Florida

Bachelor of Arts in Geography Online

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 65 to 1
Points: 9

If you’re looking for an affordable degree in geography that doesn’t skimp on rigor or career preparation, the University of Florida online might just be your best bet. Plus, you’ll get an education from a major university, with an esteemed degree to prove it. With this low-cost online Bachelor of Arts in Geography, you’ll get an interdisciplinary curriculum that focuses on key elements of the geography field. Upon graduation, you’ll be prepared to continue on to graduate school, or to pursue careers in fields like environmental science, urban and regional planning, business geography, medical geography, and geographic education. For a more well-rounded education, add-on minors like anthropology, business administration, or mass communication.

When it comes to flexibility, UF Online provides is among the best. Take your time with only 3- 6 credits a semester, or load up with a full-time class schedule of 15-18 credits. While the courses are asynchronous, meaning you can complete your work on your own time, your professors will make sure you know when your assignments are due and when your tests are scheduled. Maximize your experience with the guidance of an academic advisor. The University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Out-of-State Tuition: $16,580
School Profile

#2 University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Online Bachelor of Science in Geographic Information Systems Technology

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 15 to 1
Points: 10

The University of Arizona’s online B.S. in Geographic Information Systems Technology is the only of its kind on this ranking list. But don’t worry, just because it’s flying solo, doesn’t mean that it isn’t worthy to be here. In fact, it’s ranked one of the top 10 programs of its kind in the nation. And that’s just one reason why it got the #1 spot on this list. It is the most expensive school on the list, but the value for the price is worth it.

The program will emphasize both professional and apply GIS, giving you a competitive edge upon graduation. The curriculum will utilize a project-based learning model, as laid out by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Geospatial Technology Competency Model. Within this 120 credit geography program, you’ll take classes like:

  • Web Mobile GIS
  • Cartographic Design and Production
  • Geovisualization
  • Introduction to Remote Sensing
  • Introduction to Spatial Analysis and Modeling
  • Integrated Geospatial Technologies

With your online BS-GIST degree from the University of Arizona, you’ll not just get a degree from a reputable university. You’ll also get tools along the way to help you succeed both in school and beyond. Each online student will have academic coaches, student success specialists, a personal enrollment team, and more. What’s more, the school has earned impressive rankings (such as the Top College in Arizona and one of the best Online Bachelor’s programs via the US News and World Report), so you’ll be confident knowing that your tuition money will be well spent. The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Out-of-State Tuition: $36,366
School Profile

#1 Marshall University

Huntington, West Virginia

Online B.A or B.S in Geography

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 19 to 1
Points: 11

If you’re self-motivated and manage your time well, you will excel in Marshall University’s affordable online undergrad degree in geography. Even if you are managing work and home commitments, you could still fit in this education, as you can access your coursework anytime anywhere. Plus, the program is extremely flexible. Already have an Associate’s degree? Great! Pick up where you left off. Have random college credits? Easy. Just transfer your credits to Marshall and get started moving forward. Just graduating high school? No problem. You’ll be able to complete your degree start to finish at Marshall. While pursuing this degree, you can choose between 2 options: a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science. The BA degree will focus on human geography and foreign language, and the B.S. will focus more on physical geography and geographical information systems.  But whichever path you choose, you’ll have an immense amount of support for your online journey, including services like libraries, a Writing Center, technical support, and career services. Marshall University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Note that beyond 12 credit hours full time, a $40 per credit hour fee applies, which bumps up tuition $120 per semester for the typical student with 15 credit hours.
Out-of-State Tuition: $7,282

What is an affordable online Bachelor’s degree in Geography?

Against popular belief, geography isn’t just locating dots on a map. It’s much more intricate and intertwined than that. According to National Geographic, the study of geography “seeks to understand where things are found, why they are there, and how they develop and change over time.”

The modern discipline of geography breaks the study down into three parts:

  • physical geography
  • human geography
  • geographic information science

Physical geography will study elements such as:

  • the Earth’s climate
  • the atmosphere
  • seasons
  • water
  • soil
  • nature
  • landforms

Human geography, on the other hand, will explore how cultures and physical location intertwine together. You’ll study how people interact with their surroundings, and in turn, how that affects the Earth.

Geographic Information Science is more technical and seeks to decipher, store, analyze, and manage data relating to geography.

When pursuing your undergraduate degree in this field, you’ll have a few options to choose from. A Bachelor of Science degree will focus more on the math and sciences, and would be a solid fit for someone seeking jobs in the physical geography field. In contrast, a Bachelor of Arts will focus more on foreign language and social sciences, and would be a better option for those seeking careers in the human geography field.

What concentrations are available for a cheap online Bachelor’s degree in Geography?

The colleges and universities on this list don’t offer many concentrations, but the few that are available include:

  • Planning
  • Environmental Planning
  • Human Geography
  • Physical Geography
  • Environmental Systems
  • Human Systems
  • Geographic Information Science (GIS)

It seems that in a Bachelor degree setting, a more general approach is taken, with a major in Geography that will examine the major elements of the discipline. To get more advanced or specific knowledge, consider continuing your degree and earning a Master’s or even doctoral degree. Degrees in geoscience (GIS or GIST) are also available.

What minors would best accompany an affordable degree in geography online?

The answer to this question could depend on what you plan to do with your degree! A few options could include business, business administration, politics, social sciences, or communication.

What coursework can I expect to take in my low-cost online geography degree?

You can expect most programs to provide a comprehensive examination of the 3 sectors of geography: human, physical, and technical geography. Sample classes from programs on this list include:

  • Web Mobile GIS
  • Cartographic Design and Production
  • Geovisualization
  • Introduction to Remote Sensing
  • Introduction to Spatial Analysis and Modeling
  • Integrated Geospatial Technologies
  • Cultural Geography
  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Geography of North America
  • Physical Geography
  • Natural Disasters
  • Local and Regional Planning
  • Urban Geography
  • Atmospheric Sciences
  • Land Use and Planning
  • World Regional Geography
  • Environmental Geography and Sustainability
  • Soil Genesis, Morphology,  and Classification
  • Fundamentals of World Regional Geography
  • Water Resources
  • Urban Sustainability
  • Geography in Film
  • Aerial Photographic Interpretation

What are the most frequently searched online geography degree programs?

To gather this information, we used Answer the Public. The top three most searched programs in the United States happen to also be on this ranking! The results also yielded programs in other countries like the UK, Canada, and Ireland, but we left those programs off this list.

Arizona State University: ASU offers a fully online Bachelor’s degree in geography through 7.5 week online classes. By enrolling in this interdisciplinary program, you’ll join a network of almost 70,000 enrolled students.

The University of Florida: UF Online’s Bachelor in Geography degree is both affordable and flexible. In fact, you can take as little as 3 credit hours per semester or jump ahead with as many as 18. Choose from 3 related minors to make your degree even more versatile.

Marshall University: Marshall University’s online geography degree offers you two paths: a B.A. degree that focuses on human geography and foreign language and a B.S. degree that emphasizes physical geography and geographical information systems.

Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degree in Geography FAQs:

Q: Is getting an online degree worth it?

Absolutely. Any time you advance your education, you’re advancing your future and your future paycheck. You’ll be able to build a better career, and in turn, secure a more stable financial future.

Q: How useful is my affordable online degree in geography?

There are some that might agree a geography degree isn’t very useful. But, to play devil’s advocate here, the field is far more vast that we give it credit. And especially as the world keeps evolving and changing, we’ll always need people who can evaluate and analyze it. Careers could range from working with anthropologists, to teaching, to interpreting weather patterns.

Q: Can I take my classes part-time?

In most cases, the answer to this question is yes. Most programs allow you to take your course load as light or as heavy as you can handle. In addition, colleges and universities are hyper-aware that students need fully online programs so they can manage home life, work, and school. But because details for every program vary, you’ll want to verify that your specific program offers your program part-time before you commit to it. One point to consider is that taking your program on a part-time basis will lengthen the time it takes to get your degree.

Q: Will I be able to work and go to online school at the same time?

Yes! If you need to work while also attending school, try looking for a program that offers asynchronous courses and doesn’t have scheduled times for classes or tests. While you could possibly manage due dates, it might be easier to create your own schedule and fit your schooling in when it’s best for you. Also, don’t overdo it. You don’t want to be spread thin, so consider only taking on a part-time load so you can make sure you’re giving your best to school and work!

Q: What kind of technology will I need to complete my online degree?

This will depend strictly on your specific program! To find out exactly what you need, most program websites will list this information on the page where they describe their online studies. If you don’t see the information you need, simply call the school and they can direct you to the right department.

Typically, though, all you’ll need is a computer and access to the internet. Other programs that utilize video conferencing or participation might require camera and microphone access on your computer.

Q: How will I pay for my cheap online geography degree?

While the cost of higher education can be daunting, the good news is that you can find scholarships or even programs that offer special discounts. Don’t let the price of school deter you from chasing your educational dreams! Here a few ways you can cut down the cost of your education:

  • credit for prior knowledge (through testing)
  • credit for military service
  • tuition discounts for military personnel and dependents
  • special rates for online students
  • flat rate tuition (tuition caps)

While not every school on this list utilizes all of these cost-saving methods, even just one of them could drastically impact your future. Check with your school to see what they offer. They will also be able to direct you to available scholarships that could be a good fit for you.

Q: When can I start my online degree in geography?

Again, this will depend on your program specifically. Some schools follow a traditional path, offering start times each semester and sometimes in the summer. Other programs even offer monthly start times! Take a look at the details in your program, and see if what the school offers matches with your own personal timeline.

Q: Is the cost of my books included in the tuition cost?

Most of the time, the answer to this question will be no. Typically, the cost of books will be on top of your tuition rates. However, there are some schools out there that either (1) use online textbooks to save money or (2) don’t charge extra for books. If you do need to purchase your books, try buying them used to save money. There are plenty of online resources out there to help you with your search.

Career FAQs:

Q: What are some careers I can pursue with my low-cost online degree in Geography?

With a  degree in geography, you’ll be able to start careers in many different fields. For example, options in politics, marketing, planning, technology, and education will be available to you. Specific choices could include:

  • Cartographer
  • Community Developer
  • Environmental Education Specialist
  • Geography Teacher
  • Emergency Management
  • Writer/Researcher
  • Geographic Information Systems Officer
  • Land-Use Analyst
  • Landscape Architect
  • Mapping and Analysis
  • Planning and Development Surveyor
  • Zoning Investigator
  • Climatologist
  • Marketing Director

Q: What kind of salary can I expect with an online geography degree?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, salaries could be:

  • Cartographer: $64,430 per year
  • Surveyor: $62,580 per year
  • Emergency Management Director: $74,420 per year
  • Geographers: $80,300 per year
  • Urban and Regional Planners: $73,050 per year

Q: Are there any professional organizations for people in Geography related careers?

Yes, there are! Professional organizations are so helpful once you start your career because they guide you along your journey. You’ll stay up to date on best practices and helpful current information, research, and studies in your field. You can choose an organization that is more general to encompass the breadth of the discipline or get very specific in your given field (i.e. the North American Cartographic Information Society). A few options include the following:

Association of American Geographers

American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing

National Council for Geographic Education

North American Cartographic Information Society

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