The United States Geography Championships was founded in order to provide American students with a way to qualify for the International Geography Olympiad (iGeo). The 2024 International Geography Olympiad will be held at the University of Maynooth, outside Dublin, Ireland, August 19-24.
Tell me more about how I can qualify to take part in the International Geography Olympiad!
Sure! The top four students on the 2024 USGC Varsity National Championships will constitute Team USA, with the fifth- and sixth-place students as alternates. More information on the exam can be found here.
The International Geography Olympiad is an international tournament for high school students from around the world, which is organized by the International Geography Union, a global professional organization of geographers. The first iGeo was held in The Hague, Netherlands in 1996 – other iGeos have since been held in Portugal, Korea, South Africa, Poland, Australia, Tunisia, Taiwan, Germany, China, Russia, Serbia, Canada, Hong Kong, and Indonesia.
Jason Flowers, a teacher and academic team coach at the Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy in Austin, TX, who has coached Team USA since 2015 will return as head coach in 2024. Steve Muench, a social studies teacher in Leonia, NJ who has coached since 2017 will return to co-coach in 2024.
Please note that only Varsity students in the 2023-2024 academic year (i.e. students born before July 1, 2008) who are enrolled in a high school in the 2023-2024 academic year are eligible to qualify for Team USA for the 2024 iGeo, in accordance with iGeo’s eligibility rules.
All participating countries send four students to compete, but the entire competition is done on an individual basis. All students will compete in a multi-media multiple choice exam, a short-answer exam, and a fieldwork exercise. There is also a poster competition, as well. The students with the top overall scores, factoring in each part of the competition receive medals, and the top performing countries are recognized as well.
Subsequent iGeos will be held in Bangkok, Thailand (2025) and Istanbul, Turkey (2026).
For more information on the International Geography Olympiad in general, see the iGeo homepage as well as the iGeo Wikipedia page.
Full results from previous iGeos can be found here.
How much will this cost?
Students and their families will generally need to cover their own flights to and from the iGeo host city, but USGC will cover up to $1000 in expenses per student (i.e. entry fees, coach flights and stipend, training camp costs, etc.) associated with attending iGeo. The balance of fees (most likely around $500-$1000) will need to be paid by students or their families. IAC will assist with fundraising as needed to help students defray the cost of attending iGeo.
Note: While the exact formula can vary a bit from year to year, typically 50% of students at iGeo receive medals. The top 1/12 receive gold medals, students finishing in the 2nd and 3rd twelfths receive silver medals, and students finishing in the 25th to 50th percentile receive bronze medals.
Past International Geography Olympiad Medalists from the USA and overall team finish