The mission of our graduate programs is to produce high-quality scholars, scientists, and professionals equipped with necessary knowledge in geography and environmental science, and geospatial analytical skills that are current and responsive to the job market. Our department is committed to pursue and create new geographical knowledge and research findings through high-quality scholarly publications and externally funded research projects, to provide a vibrant and stimulating research environment and outstanding instructional infrastructure, and to deliver rigorous graduate mentoring and training. Our program aims at fostering graduate students to acquire an in-depth understanding of fundamental geographical concepts and theories, to learn advanced analytical methods and hands-on experience that are critical to their area of specialization, to conduct innovative and original research, and to master necessary skills in communicating and disseminating the results of research. The Department of Geography offers the following graduate degree programs:
- Master of Science (MS)
- Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
o Plan I: thesis option
o Plan II: non-thesis option
o Accelerated Master’s Program (AMP)
Also, the department offers a GIS certificate program that enables students to acquire technical and analytical skills.
Areas of Concentrations
Within the graduate program, there are four areas of concentration:
- Earth system science
- Environment and natural resources
- Environment and society
- Geographic information science
Nearly all our graduate students are funded with paid tuition and stipends. The Department provide merit-based graduate awards in the form of department Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA), and Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA). The University Graduate School offers various fellowships, including the Graduate Council Fellowship (GCF), National Alumni Association (NAA) Fellowship, and McNair Graduate Fellowship (MGF). All applicants, including international applicants, are eligible to be considered for the department GTA and GRA and Graduate School’s fellowships.
Typically, Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA), Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA), or Graduate School Fellowship (e.g. GCF, NAA, MGF) will cover a full tuition waiver, 9-month stipend, and single person health insurance allowance. Additional funding support for conference attendance, field data collection, and research equipment and software are also available from the department, college, and the graduate school.
All graduate students join the research group of one of our faculty and conduct independent research projects under their direction and mentorship. The faculty members in the Department of Geography have a wide range of expertise in various sub-fields of geography. Our faculty members are conducting cutting-edge research projects funded by federal, state and local agencies, including NSF, NASA, USGS, and NOAA. Prospective graduate students are encouraged to explore our faculty’s research interests and contact professors to discuss mutual interest in joining a research group.
The graduate program in geography prepares students to pursue further academic study and to work in a broad range of positions with federal, state, and local governments; environmental consulting firms; private conservation and resource management agencies; and educational institutions. Upon graduating, our students have moved on to positions in academia, industry, and government.
Graduate Program Director
Dr. Hongxing Liu
Professor and Graduate Program Director