Geography, PhD

This is the first version of the 2024–25 General Catalog. Please check back regularly for changes. The final edition and the historical PDF will be published during the fall semester.

The Doctor of Philosophy program in geography focuses on investigating the environmental consequences of human decisions, the social implications of environmental change, and the geographic information science that enables these studies. Central to the department's studies are the theories, methods, and models of environmental, social, and geographic information science. Within this broad domain, the department has strengths in environmental justice, environmental modeling, geographic information science, remote sensing, land use and its environmental consequences, urban ecology, sustainability, climatology, environmental hazards, development, political ecology, and health geography.

The department provides opportunities for graduate students to gain practical experience through service as departmental teaching or research assistants. Graduate students present their research at professional conferences and publish their work in academic journals. These presentations and papers are the product of independent research or research projects led by a faculty member.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the doctoral program in the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences will demonstrate:

  • both broad knowledge of the field of geography and deep knowledge in their area of research concentration;
  • an ability to communicate their research concisely and effectively to both general and specialist audiences in written and verbal formats;
  • an ability to formulate research questions; select, design, and apply appropriate research methods (e.g., testable hypotheses, data collection, management, analytical techniques); and utilize critical thinking skills to build knowledge, theory, and/or practice in their area of research concentration;
  • competence in teaching geography, environmental, or sustainability related courses; and
  • understanding of and an ability to operate under professional standards of ethical conduct.