Education to Explore the World's Wonders and Connections with Geography

Student standing in front of world map

Program Overview

Curious about the Earth’s physical and cultural environments and their interconnectedness? The Geography program at College of Western Idaho (CWI) is a fascinating multidisciplinary journey into understanding our world. This program emphasizes contemporary concepts, geospatial technologies, and critical thinking, preparing you for a myriad of career opportunities in fields like environmental planning, urban planning, natural resources, and demography.

With an Associate of Arts degree that fulfills general-education requirements at Idaho public universities, this program also offers the option to earn a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) certificate concurrently by choosing relevant electives. The interdisciplinary approach of this program provides a unique lens to explore various global issues, from climate change to urban development, through geographical perspectives.

Degree or Certificate Type

Associate of Arts

Fully Online

Time to Complete

2 years

Two people sitting at a table talking in front of a world map

Learning Opportunities

  • GIS Certificate Option: Enhance your geography degree with practical skills in GIS, beneficial for a range of technical careers.
  • Versatile Career Pathways: Prepare for careers in environmental planning, urban planning, natural resources, marketing, GIS, and more.
  • Interdisciplinary Learning: Explore climate change, urban development, or cultural diversity with an interdisciplinary approach.
  • Skill Development: Develop analytical, computer, data visualization, critical thinking, and communication skills essential for geographers.
  • Hands-On Learning: Engage with geospatial technologies such as GIS, GPS, and remote sensing, vital for modern geographical studies.

Area of Study

Degrees & Certificates

Geography – Associate of Arts Degree




Available Fully Online

Degree Requirements
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Career Opportunities

  • Managers, All Other

    All managers not listed separately.


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    Growth (2021 – 2031)*

  • Computer Occupations, All Other

    All computer occupations not listed separately. Excludes “Computer and Information Systems Managers” (11-3021), “Computer Hardware Engineers” (17-2061), “Electrical and Electronics Engineers” (17-2070), “Computer Science Teachers, Postsecondary” (25-1021), “Special Effects Artists and Animators” (27-1014), “Graphic Designers” (27-1024), “Health Information Technologists and Medical Registrars” (29-9021), and “Computer, Automated Teller, and Office Machine Repairers” (49-2011).


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  • Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health

    Conduct research or perform investigation for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or public health. Using knowledge of various scientific disciplines, may collect, synthesize, study, report, and recommend action based on data derived from measurements or observations of air, food, soil, water, and other sources. Excludes “Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists” (19-1023), “Conservation Scientists” (19-1031), “Forest and Conservation Technicians” (19-4071), “Occupational Health and Safety Specialists” (19-5011), “Fish and Game Wardens” (33-3031), and “Forest and Conservation Workers” (45-4011).


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  • Surveying and Mapping Technicians

    Perform surveying and mapping duties, usually under the direction of an engineer, surveyor, cartographer, or photogrammetrist, to obtain data used for construction, mapmaking, boundary location, mining, or other purposes. May calculate mapmaking information and create maps from source data, such as surveying notes, aerial photography, satellite data, or other maps to show topographical features, political boundaries, and other features. May verify accuracy and completeness of maps. Excludes “Cartographers and Photogrammetrists” (17-1021), “Surveyors" (17-1022), and “Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers” (19-2042).


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  • Social Science Research Assistants

    Assist social scientists in laboratory, survey, and other social science research. May help prepare findings for publication and assist in laboratory analysis, quality control, or data management. Excludes “Teaching Assistants, Postsecondary” (25-9044).


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    Growth (2021 – 2031)*

  • Civil Engineering Technologists and Technicians

    Apply theory and principles of civil engineering in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of structures and facilities under the direction of engineering staff or physical scientists.


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  • Urban and Regional Planners

    Develop comprehensive plans and programs for use of land and physical facilities of jurisdictions, such as towns, cities, counties, and metropolitan areas.


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    Growth (2021 – 2031)*

  • Cartographers and Photogrammetrists

    Research, study, and prepare maps and other spatial data in digital or graphic form for one or more purposes, such as legal, social, political, educational, and design purposes. May work with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). May design and evaluate algorithms, data structures, and user interfaces for GIS and mapping systems. May collect, analyze, and interpret geographic information provided by geodetic surveys, aerial photographs, and satellite data.


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    Growth (2021 – 2031)*

  • Archivists

    Appraise, edit, and direct safekeeping of permanent records and historically valuable documents. Participate in research activities based on archival materials.


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  • Curators

    Administer collections, such as artwork, collectibles, historic items, or scientific specimens of museums or other institutions. May conduct instructional, research, or public service activities of institution.


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  • Geological Technicians, Except Hydrologic Technicians

    Assist scientists or engineers in the use of electronic, sonic, or nuclear measuring instruments in laboratory, exploration, and production activities to obtain data indicating resources such as metallic ore, minerals, gas, coal, or petroleum. Analyze mud and drill cuttings. Chart pressure, temperature, and other characteristics of wells or bore holes.


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    Growth (2021 – 2031)*

  • Atmospheric and Space Scientists

    Investigate atmospheric phenomena and interpret meteorological data, gathered by surface and air stations, satellites, and radar to prepare reports and forecasts for public and other uses. Includes weather analysts and forecasters whose functions require the detailed knowledge of meteorology.


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*Data sourced from Lightcast™ (2023), a global leader in labor market analytics, and limited to the state of Idaho. Contact CWI Institutional Research for questions regarding this data.


Step 1

Step 2

  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Academic CalendarNew Student Checklist


Faculty from Boise State’s Environmental and Urban Studies Program will be on campus to discuss transfer opportunities, make connections, and help students explore career paths.

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Congratulations to Kathy Guthrie, College of Western Idaho’s Staff of the Month for July 2019.

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"CWI empowered me by showing me I am smart, outgoing, and able to do so many more things than I thought I could.”

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Department Chair of History, Culture, and Politics, Dr. Justin Vance, has been named to the National Geographic Idaho Advisory Council. 

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University of Idaho geographer will lecture on his project mapping the militarization of police.

Read more about Geography Program Welcomes Dr. Steven M. Radil

College of Western Idaho (CWI) has been sharing stories of success from several of this year’s graduates as we countdown to the 2017 commencement ceremony. The road traveled by students to arrive at...

Read more about Celebrating Student Success

Kelsey Wilber, who will graduate on May 13, 2017, came to CWI in 2014 to pursue her education after feeling “intellectually unsatisfied” and desiring a means to find her true potential.

Read more about Connection, Involvement, and Opportunity

College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Geography program presents, John Abatzoglou, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Geography at University of Idaho, on April 20 to discuss the topic of “How much has climate...

Read more about CWI Geography Program Hosts Guest Speaker
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