Photo of Fullerton College geography students attending a fair pose with a large globe and hold signs saying "Who made my clothes?". Courtesy Fullerton College


A Great Step Forward for Tomorrow’s Geographers 

Community Colleges and Geography

Skills, Mentors, Inspiration

The Rise of Community College Geography Departments

In just the past few years, geography offerings have risen dramatically at America’s community colleges. AAG’s Guide to Programs and Opportunities documents 210 community college geography programs that grant associates degrees in the United States. Many more two-year programs offer stand-alone courses in geography, GIS, or related subject areas as well.

Community colleges have the most diverse students by any measure at every stage of life. The affordability and accessibility of community colleges have made them the backbone of American higher education, and an important bridge for students’ careers, whether transitioning from high school or returning to college after many years in the workforce.

The American Association of Geographers is proud to support community colleges, their faculty, and students. Read on to find out about our programs geared toward community college geographers and programs. We are excited to help open up the possibilities for a geography career.

Screenshot of the AAG Guide to Programs and Opportunities interactive map showing locations of geography programs throughout the Americas


The Guide to Programs and Opportunities

Our online map and guide lists 210 community college programs that offer associates’ degrees.

Explore the map


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Community College Affinity Group

One of 75 specialty and affinity groups available to members as a subscription benefit, this focused group shares information about funding opportunities for projects relevant to geography, enhances research and professional development opportunities for faculty, and promotes curriculum development of GIS and other technical areas.

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Award for Associates Program Excellence

An award and cash prize to honor community college geography departments, as well as programs within blended departments that have significantly enhanced the prominence and reputation of geography as a discipline and demonstrated the characteristics of a strong and engaged academic unit.

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The Professional Geographer Cover Flat


Geography for All: The Community College Geographer

In this article in The Professional Geographer Jacqueline Housel, Patrick Shabram and Marissa Isaak Wald talk about community colleges playing a significant role in educating geography students, because they often serve as an entry point for majors into the discipline. Yet, only two known studies have analyzed the state of geography at two-year colleges.

Read more


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American Community College Travel Grants

Awarded to outstanding students from community colleges, junior colleges, city colleges, or similar two-year educational institutions to attend the next AAG Annual Meeting. These travel funds are generously provided by Darrel Hess and Robert and Bobbé Christopherson. The award consists of meeting registration, one year membership in the AAG, and a travel expense subsidy of $500 to be used to defray the costs of attending the AAG Annual Meeting.

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Image showing AAG award pin and certificate


Darrel Hess Community College Geography Scholarship

A national scholarship program that awards two $1,500 scholarships to students from community colleges, junior colleges, city colleges, or similar two-year educational institutions who will be transferring as geography majors to four year colleges and universities. These scholarships are funded by Darrel Hess, author of McKnight’s Physical Geography: A Landscape Appreciation, published by Pearson.

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Bridging the Digital Divide

Since 2020, Bridging the Digital Divide has provided more than $500,000 to address the technology needs of geography students at minority-serving institutions (MSIs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) including community colleges that are in one of these categories.

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Career Advancement

AAG offers insights and ideas, learning opportunities, mentoring and networking possibilities and profiles of real geographers at work, and more.  Learn More

Our Careers in Geography brochure is a valuable resource to instructors or school administrators interested in helping students learn more about extensive opportunities in the field.  Order Now

Student members of AAG have access to to Find a Mentor program to connect with geography professors about their education and career.  Learn More


All Regional Divisions of The American Association of Geographers


AAG Regions

The AAG Regions are nine North American divisions that offer a supportive, more specifically regional, connection to AAG opportunities. The Regions each conduct local meetings in the fall and host events and opportunities such as student paper awards and the World Geography Bowl.

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Community Colleges Are Changing the Landscape of Geography Education

As a source of affordable, excellent, post-secondary geography education and degrees, community colleges are the way to the future. If you have ideas for how AAG can further strength its support of community college geography programs, faculty, and students, we would love to hear from you.


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