Geography and the Environment (PhD)
Faculty and graduate students have contributed in many ways to understanding and managing earth’s diverse cultural and physical environments, ranging from local to global scales across the full range of human history. Current areas of faculty research include Space, Place, and Social Worlds; Environmental Changes and Surface Processes; and Digital Landscapes. The faculty has always had a strong international orientation and is well prepared to guide students in field based research in Latin America, Africa, Europe, and the Southwestern and Western regions of the United States. The Department encourages interdisciplinary and collaborative work, taking advantage of the University’s extensive scholarly resources.
The goal of the doctoral program is to nurture intellectual leaders in their respective fields of specialty and within the broader discipline. Doctoral students commonly enroll in courses over a couple of years. The coursework is designed to provide doctoral students with a substantial foundation in the history and philosophy of the discipline, expose them to theoretical and methodological approaches within their areas of specialty, and prepare them to undertake their dissertation research. Students complete the Ph.D. by writing a dissertation that demonstrates command of an area of specialization and the ability to advance knowledge in that area. They conduct several years of intensive research, often in an international setting, that shows intellectual rigor, comprehensiveness, and creativity in expanding the frontiers of their field. Because students often compete at the highest levels for national and international funding in support of their work, they are able to clearly, succinctly, and persuasively elucidate their research objectives, methodologies, and schedules. The department places its graduates in major research and teaching intuitions in North America as well as internationally.