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Doctor of Geography Programs in America

1-25 of 68 results

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Los Angeles, CA •

University of Southern California •

Graduate School

University of Southern California ,

Graduate School ,

LOS ANGELES, CA ,

UCLA College of Letters and Science

University of California - Los Angeles •

  • • Rating 3 out of 5   1 review

University of California - Los Angeles ,

1 Niche users give it an average review of 3 stars.

Read 1 reviews.

UC Berkeley College of Letters & Science

Berkeley, CA •

University of California - Berkeley •

Blue checkmark.

University of California - Berkeley ,

BERKELEY, CA ,

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College of Arts & Sciences - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC •

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill •

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ,

CHAPEL HILL, NC ,

College of Liberal Arts - University of Texas - Austin

Austin, TX •

University of Texas - Austin •

University of Texas - Austin ,

AUSTIN, TX ,

College of Natural Resources and Environment

Blacksburg, VA •

Virginia Tech •

  • • Rating 5 out of 5   3 reviews

Current Master's student: I am currently enrolled in the online Masters of Natural Resources and I have been impressed with the curriculum so far! Great engagement with students and the material is challenging and fun! ... Read 3 reviews

Virginia Tech ,

BLACKSBURG, VA ,

3 Niche users give it an average review of 5 stars.

Featured Review: Current Master's student says I am currently enrolled in the online Masters of Natural Resources and I have been impressed with the curriculum so far! Great engagement with students and the material is challenging and fun! .

Read 3 reviews.

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Liberal Arts and Sciences - University of Florida

Gainesville, FL •

University of Florida •

  • • Rating 4 out of 5   1 review

Master's Student: Overall, the University of Florida seems to be a great school as far as rankings and attendance rates go. Despite the political turmoil going on in the state of Florida, there seems to be a relatively strong student body of undergraduate students. Graduate students, however, are less cohesive. Likely due to politics, our graduate student union is in jeopardy, and it is so difficult to get the union membership to 60%. In the Department of Sociology, Criminology, and Law, we have a very low union membership status, which is somewhat ironic considering the nature of our disciplines. The demands of balancing an assistantship and academic career are exhausting, and even more so with limited resources (financial, emotional, etc.). The faculty turnover in the dept. is also insane, likely due to the political situation that seems to be driving out all faculty members of color. Lastly, financial support is incredibly limited. All things aside, the education that I am receiving is appropriate. ... Read 1 review

University of Florida ,

GAINESVILLE, FL ,

1 Niche users give it an average review of 4 stars.

Featured Review: Master's Student says Overall, the University of Florida seems to be a great school as far as rankings and attendance rates go. Despite the political turmoil going on in the state of Florida, there seems to be a... .

Pardee School of Global Studies

Boston, MA •

Boston University •

  • • Rating 4.8 out of 5   5 reviews

Current Master's student: I highly assumed that Boston University is what I have been looking for and it would assist me to reach my goals personally and professionally. I convince myself that this program fits my hopes and objectives, and I greafuly am excited to interact and work on together with students and faculty who accept who I am and allow me to share my enthusiasm and passion for this study area. ... Read 5 reviews

Boston University ,

BOSTON, MA ,

5 Niche users give it an average review of 4.8 stars.

Featured Review: Current Master's student says I highly assumed that Boston University is what I have been looking for and it would assist me to reach my goals personally and professionally. I convince myself that this program fits my hopes and... .

Read 5 reviews.

College of Letters & Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Madison, WI •

University of Wisconsin •

  • • Rating 4.22 out of 5   9 reviews

Alum: Aside from being really cold, UW-Madison is a great school. Needless to say, it is one of the top schools in the U.S. with a beautiful campus that has Lake Mendota and a lot of student life to enjoy. Academic was really good too, but given how the city is college town, you can feel the emptiness when students go back home during summer break. It is known as party school too with Mifflin Street Block Party. But it is also highly academically renowned school. So you can make your campus life as fun or as beneficial as you can. There are many gyms and libraries that can handle 40k + students. In addition, you have to check out Camp Randall, the football stadium and attend The MadHatters A Cappella show. I really miss this campus except for the weather. State street has many diverse restaurants that are authentic and delicious. One of the best campuses in the world. ... Read 9 reviews

University of Wisconsin ,

MADISON, WI ,

9 Niche users give it an average review of 4.2 stars.

Featured Review: Alum says Aside from being really cold, UW-Madison is a great school. Needless to say, it is one of the top schools in the U.S. with a beautiful campus that has Lake Mendota and a lot of student life to enjoy.... .

Read 9 reviews.

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences - University of Illinois

Urbana, IL •

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign •

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign ,

URBANA, IL ,

Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

Athens, GA •

University of Georgia •

  • • Rating 5 out of 5   1 review

Current Doctoral student: Overall it is a pretty good program at a school that is really becoming an academic powerhouse. Being at the flagship school of the state helps with certain benefits and great networking opportunities. ... Read 1 review

University of Georgia ,

ATHENS, GA ,

1 Niche users give it an average review of 5 stars.

Featured Review: Current Doctoral student says Overall it is a pretty good program at a school that is really becoming an academic powerhouse. Being at the flagship school of the state helps with certain benefits and great networking... .

College of Letters and Science - UC Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, CA •

University of California - Santa Barbara •

University of California - Santa Barbara ,

SANTA BARBARA, CA ,

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College of Liberal Arts - University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN •

University of Minnesota Twin Cities •

University of Minnesota Twin Cities ,

MINNEAPOLIS, MN ,

University of Washington College of Arts & Sciences

Seattle, WA •

University of Washington •

University of Washington ,

SEATTLE, WA ,

College of Earth and Mineral Sciences - Penn State

University Park, PA •

Penn State •

Penn State ,

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA ,

The Ohio State University College of Arts and Sciences

Columbus, OH •

The Ohio State University •

Graduate Student: Not a bad place, good reputation but the College is cutting funds every year. Cutting funds within sociales sciences and humanities has been a problem that the college face every year. ... Read 1 review

The Ohio State University ,

COLUMBUS, OH ,

Featured Review: Graduate Student says Not a bad place, good reputation but the College is cutting funds every year. Cutting funds within sociales sciences and humanities has been a problem that the college face every year. .

College of Geosciences - Texas A&M University

College Station, TX •

Texas A&M University •

Texas A&M University ,

COLLEGE STATION, TX ,

College of Behavioral and Social Sciences - University of Maryland

College Park, MD •

University of Maryland - College Park •

University of Maryland - College Park ,

COLLEGE PARK, MD ,

College of Social Science - Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI •

Michigan State University •

Michigan State University ,

EAST LANSING, MI ,

College of Social Sciences and Public Policy - Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL •

Florida State University •

  • • Rating 4.73 out of 5   11 reviews

Master's Student: FSU's graduate social work program is competitive & includes several experiential learning opportunities for online students. FSU ensures that online work does not equate to a compromise in education. The professors often include up-to-date lectures and utilize video forums for peer discussions which allows for a different modality of class engagement when synchronous learning is not possible. Additionally, the classes that I have enrolled in have encouraged me to critically analyze the field of social work and even the coursework being taught. I feel challenged in classes while also optimistic that students are encouraged to creatively problem-solve the field's current dilemmas. With the practical experience provided throughout the program it is important for students to consider their motivating influences for becoming a social worker which often includes forms of policy change. FSU offers an academic platform for students to explore such ideas via diverse coursework. ... Read 11 reviews

Florida State University ,

TALLAHASSEE, FL ,

11 Niche users give it an average review of 4.7 stars.

Featured Review: Master's Student says FSU's graduate social work program is competitive & includes several experiential learning opportunities for online students. FSU ensures that online work does not equate to a compromise in education. The professors often include up-to-date lectures and utilize video forums for peer discussions which allows for a different modality of class engagement when synchronous learning is not possible. Additionally, the classes that I have enrolled in have encouraged me to critically analyze the field of social work and even the coursework being taught. I feel challenged in classes while also... .

Read 11 reviews.

UC Davis College of Letters and Science

Davis, CA •

University of California - Davis •

  • • Rating 5 out of 5   2 reviews

Master's Student: Very informative and hard-working staff, graduate students and faculty. Anthropology department is robust, first-rate and diverse. Faculty are continuously researching and dedicating time to advancing the field. ... Read 2 reviews

University of California - Davis ,

DAVIS, CA ,

2 Niche users give it an average review of 5 stars.

Featured Review: Master's Student says Very informative and hard-working staff, graduate students and faculty. Anthropology department is robust, first-rate and diverse. Faculty are continuously researching and dedicating time to... .

Read 2 reviews.

UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

College of arts & sciences - indiana university - bloomington.

Bloomington, IN •

Indiana University - Bloomington •

Indiana University - Bloomington ,

BLOOMINGTON, IN ,

College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment - University of Delaware

Newark, DE •

University of Delaware •

University of Delaware ,

NEWARK, DE ,

Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

Syracuse, NY •

Syracuse University •

  • • Rating 4.33 out of 5   6 reviews

Master's Student: Syracuse was my first choice for their Master's of Social Work program. I have yet to start the program, but I liked that they offered different types of internship options to finish the degree. ... Read 6 reviews

Syracuse University ,

SYRACUSE, NY ,

6 Niche users give it an average review of 4.3 stars.

Featured Review: Master's Student says Syracuse was my first choice for their Master's of Social Work program. I have yet to start the program, but I liked that they offered different types of internship options to finish the degree. .

Read 6 reviews.

Showing results 1 through 25 of 68

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2024 Best Geography & Cartography Doctor's Degree Schools

College Factual looked at 57 colleges and universities when compiling its 2024 Best Geography & Cartography Doctor's Degree Schools ranking. Combined, these schools handed out 249 doctor's degrees in geography & cartography to qualified students.

What's on this page: * Our Methodology

  • Best Doctor’s Degree Schools List

Choosing a Great Geography & Cartography School for Your Doctor's Degree

Best Geography & Cartography Doctor's Degree Schools

Overall Quality Is a Must

A school that excels in educating for a particular major and degree level must be a great school overall as well. To account for this we include a school's overall Best Colleges for a Doctor's Degree ranking which itself looks at a combination of different factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

Average Early-Career Salaries

Average early-career salary of those graduating with their doctor's degree is one indicator we use in our analysis to find the schools that offer the highest-quality education. That is, everyone wants their doctor's degree to be worth something, and salaries are one measure of determining that.

Other Factors We Consider

The metrics below are just some of the other metrics that we use to determine our rankings.

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on geography & cartography students vs. other majors.
  • Major Demand - The number of geography & cartography students who choose to seek a doctor's degree at the school.
  • Educational Resources - How many resources are allocated to students. These resources may include educational expenditures per student, number of students per instructor, and graduation rate among other things.
  • Student Debt - How much debt geography & cartography students go into to obtain their doctor's degree and how well they are able to pay back that debt.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or accredited by a recognized geography & cartography related body.

Our full ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best schools for geography & cartography students working on their doctor's degree.

More Ways to Rank Geography & Cartography Schools

Since the program you select can have a significant impact on your future, we've developed a number of rankings , including this Best Geography & Cartography Doctor's Degree Schools list, to help you choose the best school for you.

Best Schools for Doctorate Students to Study Geography & Cartography in the United States

Below you'll see a list of the best colleges and universities for pursuing a doctor's degree in geography & cartography.

10 Top Schools for a Doctorate in Geography

UCLA crest

It is difficult to beat University of California - Los Angeles if you wish to pursue a doctor's degree in geography & cartography. UCLA is a very large public university located in the city of Los Angeles. More information about a doctorate in geography & cartography from University of California - Los Angeles

Michigan State crest

Michigan State University is one of the best schools in the country for getting a doctor's degree in geography & cartography. Michigan State is a very large public university located in the small city of East Lansing. More information about a doctorate in geography & cartography from Michigan State University

UNC Chapel Hill crest

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a great choice for individuals interested in a doctor's degree in geography & cartography. Located in the small city of Chapel Hill, UNC Chapel Hill is a public university with a very large student population. More information about a doctorate in geography & cartography from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

UCSB crest

University of California - Santa Barbara is one of the best schools in the country for getting a doctor's degree in geography & cartography. UCSB is a fairly large public university located in the medium-sized suburb of Santa Barbara. More information about a doctorate in geography & cartography from University of California - Santa Barbara

UMCP crest

Located in the large suburb of College Park, UMCP is a public university with a very large student population. More information about a doctorate in geography & cartography from University of Maryland - College Park

UW - Madison crest

UW - Madison is a very large public university located in the large city of Madison. More information about a doctorate in geography & cartography from University of Wisconsin - Madison

UC Davis crest

UC Davis is a fairly large public university located in the suburb of Davis. More information about a doctorate in geography & cartography from University of California - Davis

Ohio State crest

Located in the large city of Columbus, Ohio State is a public university with a fairly large student population. More information about a doctorate in geography & cartography from Ohio State University - Main Campus

UIUC crest

UIUC is a fairly large public university located in the city of Champaign. More information about a doctorate in geography & cartography from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

UGA crest

UGA is a fairly large public university located in the midsize city of Athens. More information about a doctorate in geography & cartography from University of Georgia

Geography & Cartography by Region

View the Best Geography & Cartography Doctor's Degree Schools for a specific region near you.

Other Rankings

Best associate degrees in geography & cartography, best master's degrees in geography & cartography, best value in geography & cartography, best for non-traditional students in geography & cartography, best online in geography & cartography, most popular online in geography & cartography, best bachelor's degrees in geography & cartography, best overall in geography & cartography, highest paid grads in geography & cartography, best for veterans in geography & cartography, most popular in geography & cartography, most focused in geography & cartography.

View All Rankings >

Geography & Cartography Related Rankings by Major

One of 13 majors within the Social Sciences area of study, Geography & Cartography has other similar majors worth exploring.

Geography Focus Areas

Majors similar to geography, notes and references.

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System ( IPEDS ) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s ( College Scorecard ).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Couleur . More about our data sources and methodologies .

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geography phd programs ranking

93 Comments

2013 geography graduate program rankings.

March 18, 2013

About a year ago I posted a ranking of top geography programs based on the NRC survey of U.S. doctoral programs .  There were some complaints about the rankings, which I suppose is inevitable.  Some expressed concern simply because their program of choice wasn’t included.  But, a more legitimate thread of concern came from those who worried that programs focused heavily on Physical Geography were given greater weight by the NRC due to some advantages with grant funding.  In response, I created a survey and collected responses through 2012.  In addition, I collected data on the PhD granting institution of current tenure-track professors and normalized by size of program in terms of number of full-time faculty.  Then, I combined these three criteria and compiled a new set of program rankings.

[highlight color=”options: yellow, black”] I have now produced  2014 GIS Graduate Program Rankings  and, more recently, 2015 Top Graduate Programs for Spatial Careers   . Please check out these newer rankings!   [/highlight]

Unlike the previous rankings, for which I could blame the NRC for any problems, these rankings are all my own and I take full responsibility for leaving your favorite program off the list.  You can post your displeasure in the comments section below.  Note, however, that programs that do not offer a PhD in geography were excluded from consideration.  Also, please note the following caution for prospective graduate students copied from the 2012 rankings post:  selecting a graduate program is an individual decision and the top programs listed here may not be the best program for you .

So, without further ado, here are my 2013 rankings of top Geography Graduate Programs.

  • UC Santa Barbara   http://www.geog.ucsb.edu/
  • Colorado   http://www.colorado.edu/geography/
  • Penn State   http://www.geog.psu.edu/grad/
  • Ohio State   http://www.geography.ohio-state.edu/
  • Wisconsin   http://www.geography.wisc.edu
  • UCLA   http://www.geog.ucla.edu/
  • Clark   http://www.clarku.edu/departments/geography/
  • Boston University http://geography.bu.edu/
  • Oregon http://geography.uoregon.edu/
  • UC Berkeley http://geography.berkeley.edu
  • Arizona State http://geography.asu.edu/
  • Washington http://depts.washington.edu/geog
  • Maryland http://www.geog.umd.edu/
  • Illinois http://www.geog.uiuc.edu
  • Minnesota http://www.geog.umn.edu
  • SUNY Buffalo http://www.geog.buffalo.edu/
  • Arizona http://geog.arizona.edu
  • North Carolina http://www.unc.edu/depts/geog/
  • South Carolina http://www.cas.sc.edu/geog/
  • Syracuse http://www.maxwell.syr.edu/geo

Honorable mention: Iowa, Georgia, Oregon State, Michigan State, Indiana, Kentucky, Texas, Kansas

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.  If you would like to have your opinion on top programs included in future rankings please complete this survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SG75772

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Justin Holman is CEO of Aftermarket Analytics, where he leads efforts to develop cutting edge sales forecasting and inventory optimization technology for the Automotive Aftermarket. Prior to joining Aftermarket Analytics, Justin managed corporate consulting for the Strategy & Analytics division at MapInfo Corporation, leading major projects for retail clients including The Home Depot, Darden Restaurants, Bridgestone-Firestone, Sainsbury’s and New York & Company. Before that, Justin served as Vice President of Software Development at LogicTools, now part of IBM's supply chain application software group. Justin holds a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College, a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon and an Executive Management certificate from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

[…] 2013 Geography Graduate Program Rankings | Geographical Perspectives | March 18, 2013 […]

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I want to point out that this is looking at the top GEOGRAPHY departments, not GIS. I graduated from a college on that list with a geography degree. They only offered a BA, and as a result, I cannot get a GIS job with engineering firms as they want to see a BS. I have quit giving money to that school as a result.

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Heather, yes indeed. This is a ranking of graduate geography programs, not graduate GIS programs. The engineering firm who says they won’t hire you because you hold a BA instead of a BS is full of BS. It’s a justification but not the real reason; and, if it is the real reason, do you really want to work for such an anal organization? In any case, I don’t think you can blame your alma mater. In 20 years you’ll be thankful that you studied geography and learned about the human and physical processes that shape the planet instead of only learning how to push the correct buttons so you can convert raster to vector in ArcGIS. Best wishes on your job search. I know it’s a challenge but persistence and creativity will be rewarded over time. Cheers, Justin

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I appreciate the information in this post, as it differs from the monotonous information on other sites regarding credentials and employment in the field of Geography. I graduated three years ago with a Bachelor’s in Geography and a minor in GIS. My interests fall primarily within the borders of environmental impact assessment/risk management, but not so much urban planning. I have always dreamed of using GIS in a “health management” sense; think GIS Specialist with the Center for Disease Control. Visually representing the spread of viruses like Ebola in central and Sub-Saharan Africa, not to mention the recent outbreak of Bird Flu in China, would be extremely interesting and fulfilling. The utilization of GIS in tracking the concentration and extent of viruses could actually help save lives by assisting in determining the source of the outbreak.

Despite my enthusiasm and recently acquired skill sets, I am finding it virtually impossible to find work related to Geography here in the South Bay area of California. Far too often I find job postings that require a minimum of 5 years of directly-related experience, knowledge and mastery of several programming languages, and several other hoops to jump through….for an entry-level position paying $35,000 or so. It seems that a Master’s and several internships are probably necessary for this kind of entry-level work. Where else can one master Python, SQL, etc. and gain many internship opportunities? I’m finding it in the Planning sector, Environmental Sciences, government, several private companies. In the classroom, I feel that there should be more of an emphasis on the real-world, hands-on implementation of Geography and GIS in today’s markets. Don’t just focus on the theory. And with new versions of ArcGIS coming out now that I’m no longer a student, how can I obtain a student edition to stay frosty? Unemployed and poor, I cannot afford to purchase it. Would a Master’s in GIS from SUNY Buffalo provide me with the skills I need to succeed in Silicon Valley? After reviewing the curriculum in depth, it would seem so….Thank you for your time and insight.

Paul, thank you for the feedback! I completely agree that there should be more emphasis on applied geography in the undergrad classroom. Yes, a Master’s at Buffalo would certainly help in many ways as it’s a top notch program, but it may not be the best choice if your goal is to find tech work in Silicon Valley. I would recommend that you first just find a way to get your foot in the door at a company, any company, in Silicon Valley. Work for peanuts, do whatever it takes to get something going, learn everything you can, and then keep your eyes open for something better. There’s a good chance that you’d be in the same boat after a Master’s degree. Forget about ArcGIS – like you said it’s too expensive, not just for the unemployed and poor, but also for most companies and local government agencies. Download QGIS for free and see what you can do with it. Build your own application using Python, PHP, Leaflet, whatever. Start creating a portfolio to demonstrate your capabilities and potential. Take a job waiting tables at night to pay the bills and do your geography thing all day, every day, until you land that first solid gig that will help launch your career. It would be nice if there were an easier way but this is what it takes in 2013. Best wishes, Justin

[…] Trade-BA program last Fall. My school's Graduate Geography program is ranked #16 nationally: 2013 Geography Graduate Program Rankings | Geographical Perspectives Not sure if relevant or not but my school's Business School is ranked #75 on USNews's […]

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Paul, even if I live thousands miles (kilometers for me!!) away- I am from Greece- the problems you face in the real world are the same with mine. I studied Urbal Planning and now at the age of 30 I went back to study Cartography at a postgraduate level with the hope that I will reach a higher level of expertise in GIS too. Needless to say that 90% of my professors don’t have a clue on real world and what companies ask and mostly we spend our time studying theory… Justin is right- professors are people that have may things to do to follow the evolution in technology/GIS etc. And even if they know things are reluctant to teach them to you. Unfortunately internet appears to be the best teacher in our field and the list is endless to follow all the aspects. My next goal is to finish my postgraduate as soon as possible- as it doesn’t offer something new- and to start learning some python (and these !@#$$@ german language I hate so much)… If you think you have unemployment try to visit Greece in the middle of a crisis. But even here people that are devoted to their goals and good to their job appear to overcome much more easier the difficulties. Unfortunately I’m not one of them. Thank you Justin for your blog- it helped me a lot. Keep writing new ideas!!

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Here is the ranking from PhD.org if you select the survey and grad student outcomes (Placement). Notice how there is quite a difference in the rankings, this is the problem with rankings.

Oklahoma State University-Main Campus Geography 1-3 1-19 University of Arizona Geography 1-16 1-14 University of Kentucky Geography 2-12 1-18 Kansas State University Geography 1-11 2-16 Arizona State University Geography 1-10 2-17 University of Colorado at Boulder Geography 4-15 1-26 The University of Texas at Austin Geography 4-25 3-20 University of South Carolina-Columbia Geography 1-10 3-22 Ohio State University-Main Campus Geography 7-23 4-22 The University of Tennessee Geography 13-32 3-22 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Geography 8-25 2-28 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Geography 3-19 4-26 University of Georgia Geography 3-14 4-30 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Geography 3-19 3-30 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Geography 11-33 4-32 Texas A & M University Geography 4-24 6-28 University of Kansas Geography 10-28 8-29 Clark University Geography 14-33 4-36 Syracuse University Geography 5-29 9-32 San Diego State University

Rankings provide a starting point in a search for a good program but it’s just one small piece in a very large complex puzzle. So the problem that you point out has more to do with the interpretation of rankings rather than with the rankings themselves. Cheers, J.

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It’s nice to see these rankings not be based off of GIS alone. I just graduated this semester with my B.A. in Geography with an emphasis in Global Analysis (I love me some human geography!) from San Jose State University and I feel I have a lot to offer a company or organization despite not being a GIS-oriented person. Justin, because of these rankings I have been able to get started compiling a list of M.A. programs with U. of Oregon being my first choice. Wish me luck! 🙂

Hi Melissa – thanks for your comment! Good luck with your grad school applications and GO DUCKS! Best, Justin

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Thanks for compiling this list! There’s so much information to wade through as I finalize my list of schools. I’m interested in Human Geography and Political Economy. What would be your top picks in those subfields? Would Georgia make it into the top 20? I know I can eliminate several of your top 20 programs (including UCSB) because they’re heavily skewed toward physical geography and climate sciences. I’m doing this research on my own of course too but any additional insights would be appreciated.

Thanks, Jenny

Hi Jenny, lots of variables to consider. Are you applying for Master’s or PhD programs? Also, do you have a regional interest? For example, if you want to study poltical geography in Europe then Alec Murphy at Oregon is a rock star. But if you have a different regional focus that changes the equation. Let me know if you’d prefer an email exchange. Cheers, JH

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First of all, thank you for this. I’m finding it very helpful. I have some specific interest areas and am hoping you may be able to help me out. Similarly to Jenny, I’m interested in human geography and the way it intersects with political economy. In terms of region, my interest is kind of both broad AND specific — I’d like to look at post-industrial and/or post-colonial areas (U.S. and elsewhere) … mostly cities, though the rust belt is close to my heart. I would also really like to find a program whose pedagogy supports creativity and offers some flexibility, as my background is in oral history/creative writing. This trumps notoriety for me, though it would be great to have some measure of both. Lately I have been immersing myself in place-based writing and am fascinated with psychogeography, so this may give you some idea of where I’m coming from.

It’s totally possible that I’m looking for a needle in a haystack here (I have talked briefly with John Agnew at UCLA — who is great — and have yet to find a just-right fit), but I would greatly appreciate any leads you may have. I’d prefer option for PhD, but am also open to masters programs.

Please feel free to email and thanks again for your insights!

Hi Taylor, Please read this post and let me know if you need further info. http://www.justinholman.com/2015/08/12/seven-steps-to-finding-the-right-geography-phd-program/ Best, Justin

[…] for the top graduate geography programs in the U.S. You can see my 2012 NRC-based rankings and my 2013 rankings in previous […]

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What is your opinion in regards to Portland State? I was thinking of going there for my Masters in Geography so I can specialize in air pollution and how it affects in an urban environment. I know grad school is super important, but I went to a school for undergrad that nobody on the west coast knows about and I am fearful that I won’t ever be able to find a job within research or education if I don’t go to a school that has high praises.

Hi Nicole, Portland State is a great University but you won’t find too much research activity there, especially compared to Oregon or Oregon State. If you tell me more about your career objectives I could probably provide better guidance. Best wishes, Justin

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Good list, I largely agree with some exceptions. I may be biased, but the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities Master of Geographic Information Science program pumps out some great work, and some great students.

Hi Mike. Thanks for the comment. Yes, Minnesota is an interesting case. It was one of the very best geography departments in the 90s but seems to have fallen dramatically in the past decade. I don’t know enough to comment further but I will see what I can find and report back. By the way, when will MIT begin offering geography? I hate to think of all those genius engineering types suffering from a lack of spatial perspective. 😉 Thanks and best wishes, Justin

Good question! I’m fighting the good fight of course! I’m preparing to launch a Carto/GIS/Geography Users Group this spring (perhaps called MITgeo), but it looks like the movement will be all grassroots for a while 🙂 Best, Mike

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I have two comments regarding the rankings.

Five schools ranked in your top twenty including a program you rank very highly, are generally considered to be fall back options for students applying to the heavy hitters, which based on my experience includes Penn State, Wisconsin, Colorado, Illinois, UCLA and Berkeley.

I am unfamiliar with one program on the list. I don’t know anything about it and nobody in my network of contacts talk about it which gives me pause.

Hi John, thank you for your comments. I think what qualifies as a heavy hitter depends largely on the target sub-field within geography. My guess is that your network is biased toward a particular sub-field, probably within human geography. In any case, I stand by my list of top departments and apologize for having given you pause. I hope you are able to make a speedy recovery. Best, Justin

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Justin, thanks a lot for your blog and for the rankings! What do you think of geography at Texas State U? It’s ranking by the US News is 51 (Regional universities). But what about its geography dept? Thank you.

Hi Masha – My impression of Texas State is very positive. I see it as an up and coming program that has been aggressively growing over the past decade or so. That said, I don’t know too much about the quality of the faculty and how they compare to other top programs so I would recommend doing some homework within your given area of interest. Hope that helps. Best wishes, Justin

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Thank you for compiling this list. I do not have the minimum GPA that most of these programs require (just under 3.0 cumulative) and have not yet taken the GRE, but since being diagnosed and treated for ADD and transferring to a new GIS program earlier this year, I have maintained a 4.0 while completing 36 credit hour. My overall major concentration GPA is well over 3.0 as well, but my problem is my pathetic attempt at college 15 years ago when I was 18 and failed almost every class I attempted. I have tried to put all that behind me and have become a really good student in my older age. I am currently doing a research project that relates to sports and geostatistics, and several of my professors think that I have a strong chance of getting the results published in an academic journal. They are recommending that I apply to some of the programs on your list despite not meeting the minimum GPA requirements, and use the personal statement to describe the difficulties that I have overcome since I was diagnosed and the success I have achieved since then. My advisor told me that it is quite rare for undergraduate students to get published, and if it happens she thinks most places would likely overlook the other weak areas in my application.

Do you have any insight into this or opinions/advice? I have seen some advice for marginally qualified candidates on a couple of other websites, but none of them specifically addressed a situation like mine. Also, could you recommend programs that are strong in Geospatial Intelligence?

Hi Jeremy, thank you for sharing your story – intriguing. I don’t think your GPA will prevent you from gaining admission. A bigger obstacle may be volume of competition. Last I heard, the number of applicants coming in was enormous. Hopefully it’s a little less crazy now. It would help a lot to really do well on the GRE but, at the end of the day, if you have a professor who wants to bring you in to the program you’ll get in. Your advisor sounds like a good one. Perhaps she could put you in direct contact with a few professors at good programs who might be willing to take advantage of your geostatistical and GIS skill set? As far as strong geospatial intelligence programs, I guess my suggestion would be to take a look at all of the programs I mention in my most recent rankings, just out last month, focused on GIS related grad programs. Check it out: http://www.justinholman.com/2014/01/05/2014-top-10-gis/ I’m intrigued by your sports + geostats research. I’ve been tinkering with a few ideas in the same ballpark, pun intended. Let me know if you have something you’d be willing to share. I’d be curious to see what you’re doing. Hope this helps. Feel free to get in contact directly, maybe a DM to @justinholman on Twitter, if you have more questions. I’d be glad to try and assist. Best wishes on your applications. Remember that grad school is all about finding the right intellectual mentor(s). What I mean by that is it’s often more important to find the right advisor than it is to select the right program or University. Cheers, Justin

Thank you for the feedback. I have been reading faculty profiles for the programs I am most interested in, and seem to have found a few that may be a good fit for my research interests, including a professor at UCB.

I am having such a difficult time not blabbing away about my research project, but have been warned so many times to keep it under wraps until I can get my results published. I would love to discuss it further at some point with you though, as I am also very intrigued by your areas of expertise (I was briefly pursuing an industrial engineering degree with the hopes of getting into supply chains/logistics, and have kept that in the back of my mind while studying GIS).

If you email me I may divulge a little more of my research – no promises though. 🙂

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Thank you for the list. I am from China and I graduated four years ago with a Master’s in GIS. Through the work of these years, I found myself interested in the business strategy and marketing analysis by using GIS. Now, I am considering to apply for Master’s or PhD programs in these sub-field and collecting related information for a time.Can you give me some advice in these sub-fields? And is there any program you recommanded? Best, doris

Hi Doris, If you mean what GIS programs would I recommend for a PhD, then you should check out my latest rankings focusing on GIS related subfields. Here’s a link: http://www.justinholman.com/2014/01/05/2014-top-10-gis/ If you have developed strong business skills you might also consider a Business School PhD using your GIS training to narrow in on a spatial research focus. Hope this helps! Best wishes, Justin

[…] I started blogging about careers in GIS and graduate programs in geography I’ve received many emails and comments from people who want to get into grad school. Many of […]

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I’m currently looking at two colleges I’ve been accepted to, but I’m having trouble choosing between them. Do you believe there is a big gap between Ohio State and the University of Alabama, in regards to their GIS program?

Hi Joseph. Yes, Ohio State offers one of the very best GIS and geography programs in the world. The University of Alabama is a first class University and I’m sure they offer a good program but it won’t be in the same league as Ohio State. All that said, if you’re an undergrad there are other factors that are likely more important. Columbus and Tuscaloosa are light years apart culturally so I would look for a good fit that will enable you to thrive in general. A top program would be a more important consideration if you’re applying to grad school. If you’re not sure where you’d really like to be you might call both geography departments (or visit if you can) and try to talk to a few professors. Hope this helps! Best of luck to you. Feel free to send me a note if you would like more information before making your decision. Best, Justin

Hello again Justin,

Thank you for the information. I’m currently applying for undergrad at the moment. Are you saying in your statement that rank doesn’t matter as much if you are seeking a job straight from undergraduate? I’ve been favoring Ohio State because of the ranking, but I believe I may fit in better at Alabama.

Hi Joseph. No, I don’t think ranking will make much of a difference as an undergrad. If you have a lousy time at Ohio State and struggle academically the quality of the geography program won’t make up for it. Likewise, if you really excel at Alabama nothing will prevent you from achieving career success, especially not my list of top programs. You should select the college/university where you believe you’ll be most successful. If your gut tells you you’ll be happier or more successful at Alabama then I would advise you to follow your instincts and go to Alabama. As an Oregon Ducks fan it pains me to say this but, Roll Tide! 🙂 You’re fortunate to have the opportunity to select between two outstanding Universities with great tradition. Make the most of it! Best wishes, Justin

Thank you for the help Justice, it really helped out a lot. I thank that clears things up for me a lot. Once again, Thank you!

You’re welcome Joseph! Wishing you the very best!

Think, sorry about that.

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I’m just starting the process of looking for masters programs that would fit me. I’m leaning towards cultural or political geography with a focus on the middle east/north africa. Do you have any out of country schools that you would suggest, preferably within my region of focus? If not, then what in country schools?

Hi Rushing, I’m not familiar with programs outside the US so I can’t really make any recommendations. For cultural/political geography with a focus on the middle east you might check out Shaul Cohen at the University of Oregon. He would be terrific and, of course, I’m quite partial to the geography department at U. of Oregon. If you’re lucky you would also get to interact with Alec Murphy who is perhaps the greatest political geographer anywhere (but focuses primarily on Europe). I’m sure there are many other professors with a similar combination of academic expertise but I don’t know any off the top of my head. One way to find them would be look up some of Professor Cohen’s articles and find other related articles/journals/authors/researchers who are doing similar work. Does this help? Best wishes, Justin

It does thank you very much. I’ll try to shoot him an email just to see if I’m going in the right direction with geography. I’m graduating with a ba in international affairs with a concentration in the middle east, so there’s no telling how it could go.

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thanks for compiling this list. I graduated with a B.A. in Geography and a minor in GIS from UC Berkeley and I’m stumped on choosing a grad school.

The thing is, I’m interested in doing field research and collecting my own GIS data. Brazil and South America are my regions of interest. McGill University, in Quebec, has a really neat graduate Neotropics programs that crosses over multiple fields from geography to biology. I’d rather work on a Master than a PhD, at least for now.

My plan is to explore, even travel to Brazil, to come up with a research proposal before applying to grad schools. Also maybe going back to community college for a while to take some programming and statistics classes so that I can improve my practical knowledge of GIS.

My question to you is: 1) are you aware of community colleges in CA known for a strong program in geography and/or GIS and 2) of a geography graduate program in the US focused on Brazil?

My goal is to use GIS to address social and environmental/climate issues in Latin America.

All the best, H.

Hi H. I would start by learning about David Lopez-Carr’s work at UC Santa Barbara: http://geog.ucsb.edu/~carr/wordpress/ . If he’s not doing something that interests you ask him to point you in the right direction. I would probably look online for classes on programming and stats. Python is the way to go – and then use NumPy and PySAL for stats. If you prefer in-person studies I would just find a conveniently located community college that offers the courses you’re looking to take. I took a few classes at Santa Rosa way back when and was very pleased. Best wishes, Justin

Thank you for your advice, I greatly appreciate it!

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Hi Justin! I’m moving to Eugene this fall to do my MS in Geography. I am interested in cartography and spatial cognition. Do you have anything to share about cartography program at UO? Go Ducks!

Congrats Bullet! Oregon has one of the best cartography programs in the country and a long history of producing top cartographers for both old-school hand-made mapping and digital, interactive, web, etc. Try to get a foot in the door at the InfoGraphics Lab so you might have opportunities to participate in one of their many projects. For GISci/spatial cognition, Dr. Amy Lobben is top notch. I think you’ll love Oregon Geography. Go Ducks! Cheers, Justin

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My name is Diane. I am going to get my masters in Latin American/Caribbean studies this year( i have an undergrad degree in African Diaspora studies and govenment), and I would like to do my PHD in human geography, focused more on political economy. I am really invested in the theoretical aspects- I love the work within Antipode, I would also love to further theorize within a legal framework. I have been looking toward jd/phd programs, but I have yet to see any that market themselves in particular as jd/phd in geography. Do you have any suggestions for programs that are a bit radical kind of like the ones in europe like oxford? Id like if possible to find a school that has a top law program as well so I can embark on such a project

Hi Diane, the person who comes to mind is Alec Murphy. He went to Columbia for a JD and then U. Chicago for a PhD in human geography with an emphasis on Political Geography. He was one of my professors at U. Oregon and he’s still there. His regional focus is Europe but he would be the best source of information I can think of re combining Law and Geography. In fact, I think he taught a course with the same title. A JD + PhD would be a huge time commitment. Very ambitious! Go get ’em, champ! Best wishes, Justin

Thank You Justin, I appreciate the advice!

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Hey Justin,

I am currently an undergraduate fourth-year senior with one year remaining. I am an environmental geographer with particular interests in fluvial geomorphology and soil analysis. I am looking for good grad schools that allow me to pursue these interests, that also allow me to enter into a strong job market. I would be very interested in conducting field research with my advising professor and would want to try for a fellowship or assistantship to help expand my own experience and help pay for schooling. The trouble I seem to be having is narrowing down what I really want to focus on, not because I am unsure of what I like, but rather the opposite. Oregon State and Oregon are two schools that seem to be sticking out to me a bit and I was wondering if these schools, or which schools, have a program potentially in watershed/land management, and if this is a good career to go into. When I graduate I will also have a certificate in GIS through the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where I am currently attending my undergrad. Thank you for any help and thank you for posting these wonderful resources for us to use!

Hi Zach – I don’t know too much about career prospects in watershed/land management and I don’t know where the very best grad programs are for fluvial geomorphology. I do know Andrew Marcus and Pat McDowell are outstanding geomorphologists at the University of Oregon and I hear great things about Mark Fonstad as well. I would recommend reaching out to Pat McDowell and/or Mark Fonstad to see what they think. Andrew Marcus is too busy being Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. I don’t know who to contact at Oregon State but you should be able to find out by browsing their department faculty page. As far as other programs to consider I would check all the top programs on my 2013 Geography Dept Ranking list and see who has geomorphology faculty, especially at the Associate Professor level (i.e., tenured but still making a name for themselves). You might also search separately for programs in watershed management. The ideal might be to find a University with both geography and water resources grad programs so you can benefit from faculty in both programs. After a quick search I see that Oregon State U. fits the bill: http://oregonstate.edu/gradwater/ . Hope this helps. Best of luck! -Justin

It does! Thank you very much for you help and your extremely quick response time!

[…] posting various rankings of Geography graduate programs and GIS graduate programs I’ve received a number of requests to review on-line GIS graduate […]

[…] 2013 Geography Graduate Program Rankings. […]

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Dear Justin Holman,

I’m very close to graduating a BSc in Geography and I am interested in doing a Masters/PhD in the US. Which are the ones who are particularly strong on health geography/epidemiology with an emphasis on GIS. I have taken a look at John Hopkins University to see if they have something similar, to my surprise they have a Geography and Environmental Engineering Department but no geography degrees offered, that was odd. For now, it is most likely too late to apply for the US, and most likely I am going to study my master’s at Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh or Aberdeen next year.

Kind regards, Florin

Hi Florin! I’ve been asked the same question before. Probably ought to do a post on the topic. Here’s what I said last time: “The following programs come to mind: Buffalo, Iowa, Illinois, North Carolina, Colorado. There are probably others that I’m overlooking but if you check out the top medical geography researchers in each of those departments and review some of their publications that would be a great start.” Hope that helps! Best wishes, Justin

Hi Justin! Thank you so much for answering, although my response quite some time after it. Hmm, Illinois proves to be a very strong geography department, well-placed in world rankings and generally through their research. Although, what I mostly know them for is CyberGIS. Anyhow, since you received several comments regarding European or other departments from various places around the world, I can give you a few insights about Europe, especially about Germany, Austria. If you are curious there is a excellent Geography-GIS blog http://www.digital-geography.com/ , at which shortly I shall contribute with a few articles (Just as soon as finish my final exam and presenting my thesis). Indeed, reading what each department’s papers related to a certain branch is probably the more professional means of getting an idea of how strong its research is.

Thanks for your comments! I will check out the digital-geography blog. Best, Justin

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Dear Justin:

I am currently in a masters program in sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, but I don’t think that I want to continue on in sociology for a PhD. I’m really interested in human geography (specifically Urban Studies) as it relates to urban sexualities, feminist studies, and cultural geography (I’m really interested in looking at the geographical forces that play a role in determining urban sexualities). What programs or faculty would you recommend for someone interested in those things? Additionally, do you have an opinion on the geography program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee? Thank you so much!

Hi Lee, I’m not too familiar with this niche within geography but the program that comes to mind is the Maxwell School at Syracuse. This might work well for you since they offer both Sociology and Geography PhDs along with an interdisciplinary Social Science PhD. In any case, I would look at faculty to see if you can find a fit and then make contact to learn about opportunities for funding, key scholars, and other worthy programs to consider. Hope this helps! Best, Justin

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Hi, I am just starting out with my universities’ search. I am a Development Studies graduate from India. I am interested in political geography, dealing with ideas of property, land acquisition, urbanism in the 3rd world. I found Cornell’s rural sociology program interesting but am coming up dry with regard to rankings or universities for political geography. Any suggestions would be great!

Hi Oviya, just browse the top programs (in this post) faculty list and see who lists political geography or political economy/ecology as a research specialty. Check out their publications and see who they cite. Once you spend some time doing this you’ll begin to assemble a who’s who list of political geographers. Send a few emails and see what happens! Best wishes, Justin

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I’m just beginning my search for a MA/MS program in Geography and stumbled across your site. Wow, what a great resource you are! I was wondering if you could help me narrow my search a little bit as you have done for so many others here in the comments.

I come from a stronger GIS background (B.A. in Geography w/ GIS Focus from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN – a highly underrated program in my opinion) but have a passion for the geography side of the work. I would much rather USE a really cool tool than BUILD it. I chose to focus on GIS in undergrad to provide a solid foundation on which I can rely to perform research in Graduate School. I am particularly interested in field data collection and remote sensing using GPS and Drones for ecosystems management and urban planning. I like mapping natural phenomenon with high degrees of accuracy and then analyzing it for patterns. For example, I really enjoy doing impact assessments (i.e. as climate change continues and we see more extreme heat events, which areas of this city will be more at risk based on their demography? If we put up a new solar farm, what parts of the ecosystem will be impacted?).

Can you offer an suggestion of programs that would fit well with my interests? Thank you so much for your help!

Hi Nick – your interests are broad enough that you should find almost any geography program well equipped to help you along the way. You may want to decide whether you’re more inclined toward “ecosystem management” or “urban planning” in order to narrow your search. At a broader level this means choosing either Physical or Human geography. Choosing one doesn’t preclude you from research involving the other but it’s a choice that must be made in terms of selecting a research advisor as any tenure-track faculty will have sort of self-categorized themselves into one of the two main branches of geography. In addition, there are some programs that really only focus on one side. For example, Maryland and Boston are both top Physical geography programs with limited faculty research involving Human geography. Likewise, Washington (Seattle) is focused almost entirely on Human geography. Narrowing your research interests will help you better identify the right Professors and programs. Hope this helps! Best, Justin

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Hello Justin,

I really appreciate the list (and seeing one of the schools I’m near on it!), though am looking at getting a Master’s only, and so the PhD provision doesn’t apply for me. I don’t know if you’ve ever reviewed/looked into Arizona State University’s Master GIS program, but I am hoping you could help me with a decision between the University of Arizona in Tuscon (which made your list), and Arizona State University, Tempe. The programs seem similar, with more described about the coding/technical use of technology provided in course descriptions of UofA, but more ‘application of technology’ stressed in course descriptions by ASU. I have a BS but not in GIS or geography, though worked as a geographical tech for a year and loved the work.

I want a Masters degree that will teach me the ArcGIS compliment of programs, and I want to be able to create maps utilizing collected data from various sources for a variety of possible uses (from species-specific location mapping, to government land mineral rights to area-income versus public space provisions). I also want to be guided by the program to make myself as employable as possible by what I study. Both programs have stressed how they work hard to place students upon graduation and teach the ArcGIS program, but there is a $10,000 difference in their cost. I am trying to figure out what makes the one more expensive of a program. If it is an educational/training difference, it may be worth it, but if it is just ‘student life’ programming and extras, at 30 years old, I’m not needing that. Any un-biased info or helpful insight to help make this decision would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Hi Jessica, The best possible option would be to gain admissions to Arizona State’s PhD program and get funding for 2 years, leave with a Master’s degree and no debt. You would learn more because you’d be working directly with key faculty and ASU has some of the very best minds in the field. But, if that’s not feasible and the two applied programs are the only alternatives, I don’t think it will matter too much either way. As a student in the applied program you’ll probably cover, more or less, the same material and receive a very good education. So, if UA costs less than ASU I would go there. But, don’t expect ArcGIS to sustain you for an entire career. Hope this helps. Best, Justin

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Thanks for all the great information. It’s been extremely helpful. With that said, I have been working in the GIS industry for over 20 years. I received a BA in Geography from the University of North Texas when all they offered was a BA and one Intro to GIS course. In the 20 years that I have been using/doing GIS, I have worked for city government (planning, water/wastewater utilities), civil engineering firms (stormwater utilities) and contracted to the federal government (facility asset management, location/allocation analysis). I am also a jack-of-all-trades (master of none) when it comes to programming (AML, Avenue, MapObjects with VB, Javascript, SQL and Python). As you have probably guessed, all of my experience is with ESRI products.

So here’s my dilemma – I want to go back to school and earn my Masters (possibly a PhD) in a program that focuses on spatial analysis, spatial statistics, traditional statistics, econometrics, computational science, modeling, etc. I am currently taking (and will be taking in the Fall and Spring) undergraduate courses in economics/econometrics, statistics, calculus and object-oriented programming. Since I have no experience (other than online tutorials) using ESRI’s Spatial Analyst or 3D Analyst nor any experience working with raster data, I am trying to decide what course of action would give me the biggest bang for the buck. I like the Computation Spatial Science focus (PhD) at ASU and the Spatial Analysis and Modeling track (PhD) at UTD but there’s a part of me that wonders if I should pursue a Masters in Statistics or Economics first and/or maybe get a Graduate Certificate in GIS (that focuses on spatial analysis and products other than ESRI.) And since it might not be obvious, one of the other reasons I am taking undergraduate courses now (and considering pursuing a Masters in a complementary field) is to fulfill deficiencies, have recent academic success (4.0 in 9 credit hours so far) and develop relationships with professors so that my application does not rely on my effort and academic relationships from 20 years ago. Any thoughts or advice would be most appreciated. I am open to moving anywhere where the word “blizzard” is never used and/or studying online (which I enjoy).

Hi Teri – sounds exciting! I think you’ve honed in on the best programs for you. Arizona State and UT-Dallas fit your needs with milder weather than Ohio State, Buffalo, Illinois and other contenders. You should also check out UC Santa Barbara and San Diego State. You might also consider Washington. No blizzards but not much sun. If you’re considering a PhD in geography I would not start with an Econ/Stats masters. You can take all the Econ and Stats you’ll need on the side as electives or get a concurrent Master’s. Hope this helps! Best wishes, Justin

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I majored in Human Geography at Miami University in Ohio. Having graduated in May of 2014, I find it nearly impossible to find work at age (soon to be) 45 without a master’s degree and experience. The jobs I found in my field are few and far in between; overwhelmed by GIS and environmental geography jobs. I could use all the help I can get in trying to make a living and finding work that I can use my experiences in. It looks like I must go back to get a masters just to compete. One question I have is, what schools offer the best financial aid for geography grads? I already owe over $34,000, adding more isn’t going to help 🙂

Hi Oliver, the job market is challenging but keep plugging away. You might want to read this post I wrote on how to launch a GIS career http://www.justinholman.com/2012/02/05/how-to-launch-a-gis-career/

Or check out my spatial career series: http://www.justinholman.com/2012/03/28/spatial-career-guide-for-undergrads-currently-studying-gis/

If you decide to pursue grad school: Rather than thinking about financial aid look into teaching assistant (TA) and research assistant (RA) opportunities available at most large Universities. This is the best way to get a graduate degree. The stipend is typically very modest (maybe $1k/month) but typically tuition is fully covered so you can avoid debt. All of the top programs on this list offer some type of funding system like this to grad students.

Hope this helps!

Best wishes, Justin

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Great work putting together a quality list. I have a question not unlike most others on here. I will be finishing my B.S. in Geography next fall and I am starting to look at graduate programs. My interests include historical geography, cultural geography, geoeducation, and Europe. I plan to teach once finishing my graduate studies at the PhD level. With those interests in mind, do you know of a few programs that might hit a home run for me?

Thanks for your time and great insight.

Hi Brian, The home run would be to work with Alexander B. Murphy at the University of Oregon. Yes, I’m biased because I went to Oregon but if you ask people in the know you’ll hear the same thing. Another home run option would be to spend a couple years across the pond living in Europe and studying geography, probably in the UK. You should also look at Berkeley, North Carolina and any other major University you can find offering both geography and European studies programs. Hope this helps! Best wishes, Justin

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Hello Justin, I’m contemplating applying for a PhD in Geography in some near future (in 2ish years). I have a Masters in Earth and Environmental Sciences. I was wondering if you know whether the programs you mention (or Geography Depts in general) require applicants to re-take the GREs if we have already done so for a Masters. Thanks, Cyndhia

Hi Cyndhia, If I remember correctly, GRE scores are valid for 5 years after taking the exam. After that window, you would likely need to retake. I think some programs have more relaxed GRE test requirements than others but if you’re applying to a handful of programs you’ll probably need an up-to-date score. Hope this helps. Best wishes, Justin

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I’m finding these rankings long after they were published, so I hope this comment doesn’t go into a black hole.

I’m a human geographer, and the rankings here immediately jump out at me as weird and unfamiliar-looking. Some of the departments I’ve certainly come to perceive as “prestigious.” Others I have never thought about once in my (8 year) career. I am learning for the first time, looking at these rankings, that U Md, U South Carolina, and SUNY Buffalo have Geography departments at all. This is news to me! I’m somewhat vaguely aware of the BU and UCSB departments — but I’ve always understood those departments as somewhat peripheral — at least to the discipline as I was trained into it. I wouldn’t expect grad students to be reading a lot of Harvey and Cronon at those departments — is that fair? Several departments here — Minnesota, Clark, Syracuse, Washington — I’d be inclined to rank higher.

This stuff is subjective, of course, especially in a discipline like Geography, which is almost a kind of alternative microcosm of a university, combining humanists, quantitative social scientists and hard scientists within a single “discipline” where scholars are bound simply by a shared interest in “space,” “landscape,” “environment,” and so on.

I suspect that what many prospective graduate students in human geography really want to know is this: which departments offer both generous funding packages (hugely important, and I wonder if you’re undervaluing this consideration) and a prestigious human geography faculty for grad students to draw on? The former is something which is easily measured. The latter is trickier: books, articles, citations, grants and prizes can be “tallied,” within limits. However, the prestige game is much more slippery and complex than such tallies. It’s quite possible for a faculty-member to have all of those things and still be relatively undistinguished — meaning a letter from that person will carry relatively little weight. On the other hand, a faculty member can win an ultra-fancy prize on the basis of a monograph which has a very narrow focus and which is probably not very widely cited at all.

Mind you, I do think lists like this can be valuable. I remember when I applied to Geography grad programs in 2005 I found the AAG’s human geography rankings and thought these were instructive. But I think a bit more nuance is needed here. Perhaps three lists would be useful: one for Physical/Climate, one for Human/Qualitative, one for GIS/Spatial-Analysis. Or perhaps even more nuance than this is required, I’m not sure.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I like your idea of creating separate rankings for Human vs Physical geography. Earlier this year I posted rankings for GIS/Spatial grad programs and it would be nice to do the same for other sub-disciplines but it’s time consuming to do it well so I can’t promise such rankings anytime soon.

If you’ve been a geographer for 8 years and never heard of Buffalo or UCSB I think you should expand your professional network beyond the David Harvey worshiping crowd. UCSB has been one of the top geography programs for the past 2 decades, at least, and Buffalo isn’t too far behind. I think the real divide for you is methodology. UCSB and Buffalo are both programs with an emphasis on quantitative methods whereas you seem inclined toward the qualitative side of the discipline.

In my view, the very best Geography Departments are those that are home to outstanding physical, human and applied/technical geographers where ideas and approaches, both quantitative and qualitative, are shared and valued. I’m so grateful that I was able to learn from world class quantitative physical geographers (Pat Bartlein et al), world class qualitative human geographers (Alec Murphy et al) and world class cartography/GIS pros (Jim Meacham et al) from within one department. I suspect the balance, collegiality and resulting cross-pollination at U. Oregon is one of the reasons it’s gained recognition as a top program in recent years. In parallel a few of the programs you mention above have fallen precipitously within the discipline, perhaps due to their failure to provide a similarly balanced environment.

Young geographers would do well to read Harvey. But if they don’t also know something about Tobler, Goodchild, Anselin, Strahler and others their professional opportunities will be far more limited. Worse yet, the discipline will continue to suffer when geography graduates from one-sided departments enter the workforce with a complete understanding of post-modernism but no ability to make a map. Or, vice-versa.

Hi Justin- I agree that a human/qual-heavy program which provides its grad students with little if any instruction in cartography and physical geography is dropping the ball. It’s unacceptable for a new generation of human geographers to have no idea what loess soil is, or a distributary channel is, or a barchan dune is. Not everyone can be a cartographic specialist, but I think that the ability to map a geovisualizable argument ought to be a core communication skill within the discipline.

However, I would say the same thing about a GIS-heavy or physical-heavy department which provides its grad students with few if any humanist or historical perspectives. I worry about physical geographers who’ve never read (or heard of) Bill Cronon; or GISers who only know how to make data-centric maps and have never heard of a hachure line.

At any rate, the point I was getting at in my original comment was this: if a young prospective grad student came to me and seemed to want to be the next Pred or Cronon or Cosgrove or Domosh or Tuan, I’d be thrilled, but I also wouldn’t fully know what to suggest. This is why I think a separate human/qual rankings would be useful.

Hi Jacob – I think we’re in agreement! Thanks again for weighing in and bringing the human/qual perspective forward. I will see what I can do about providing a set of rankings that would be useful to the next would-be Tuan. All the best, Justin

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Hello, I am in the process of applying to graduate MS programs. I have a BS in both geology and geography and an undergrad certificate in GIS and remote sensing. I was wondering what you thought of George Mason’s program?

Hi Sherry, I like George Mason. The program is mentioned in my Top 10 GIS post (link below). Good luck! Best, Justin http://www.justinholman.com/2014/01/05/2014-top-10-gis/

[…] I published my first set of geography graduate program rankings, based on NRC data. I followed in 2013 with a survey-driven set of rankings. Last year I produced rankings of traditional GIS programs and on-line GIS programs. These four […]

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Hi, Justin, I’m from China. I’ve got a Master’s degree in Human Geography in my homeland and I’ve been working in a Chinese urban planning institute for some years. I like my major and job because they interest me and do solve problems, and my major is helpful with my job on the theoretical and macro level. Presently, I’m thinking about pursuing further studies in the U.S. I’m wondering which to choose, a graduate program of urban and regional planninng, or one more focusing on geograhical study and approaches, in order to promote my career. It seems to me they’re a bit different even under the same name. Thanks for any suggestions.

Hi Yiwei, The University of Kansas offers a program with both elements: http://geog.ku.edu/joint-masters-program-geography-and-urban-planning Sounds perfect for you! Best, Justin

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Hi Justin, Thank you for sharing your ratings, they’re very helpful. I was wondering if you had any opinions on what the best private undergrad colleges are for geography. Thanks, Katie

Hi Katie, In no particular order: Dartmouth, Macalester, Middlebury, Clark. Cheers, Justin

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Big fan of your graduate rankings! I just had a quick question regarding Rutger’s master’s program, specifically their political geography and GIS sections. What is your opinion of their program?

Hi Shelly, Thanks for being a fan! I’m not very familiar with the Geography Department at Rutgers but I like what I see among the faculty ranks. Quite a few Berkeley & Clark PhDs. Could be heavy on theory. Are you interested in a PhD? Or are you hoping to do applied work once armed with GIS skills and a Master’s degree? Either way Rutgers could fit the bill nicely. But, if you want to do applied work you may want to go outside the “Core” faculty to gain a balance of applied/theoretical perspectives. Or maybe learn technical skills from the heavy-duty climate science or RS folks. Good luck! Best wishes, Justin

Thanks for the quick response and more importantly, taking the time to go through the faculty’s background! I’m potentially interested in becoming a PhD and have decided to make this decision once I begin my graduate studies. Regardless of my final decision, I am determined to do a mixture of GIS and political geography. Thank you for the advice! Their interdisciplinary geography department is one of the main reasons I applied to their program. However, their lack of a national or international ranking is a bit concerning. Even though rankings are subjective, I would’ve thought Rutgers would have appeared on a list or two…

Most important element of a research-oriented grad school experience is your faculty advisor. If the right advisor for you is at Timbuktu State, go there. Rutgers is a great University. I wouldn’t let perceived prestige or lack of ranking status enter the picture too much. This is especially true for you given your commitment to finding a good combination of political and gis. Good luck!

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This list is so great for someone outside the states thinking about college in the states. I just started to look in to what schools that offers good grad programmes and after seeing this list I’m thinking about physical geography at Colorado since it seems to focus a lot on field work. Do you have any thoughts on that? Would you say I’m right about the field focus? Or du you consider any other school beeing a better fit? It’s so difficult to look into all theese colleges from the other side of the globe so I would be great if anyone wanted to comment :)))

Hi Louise, Yes, studying physical geography at Colorado would be a great way to go – terrific program and Boulder would be a great place to live. Not sure about the field focus. You might check a few other programs in the Western US and ask them the question directly. I would check with Oregon, UC Santa Barbara, Utah, Arizona. Maybe others. Best wishes, Justin

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I am currently pursuing an undergrad in Communications (concentration – media production), but double minoring in sustainability and geography. As I approach graduation I am now realizing that I am leaning towards pursuing my Masters in Geography, which is incredibly exciting! I found your thread about social theorists and became initially worried because while I also hate discussing theory and abstract ideas, I do believe a base is necessary when it comes to analyzing and interpreting data. I see myself leaning more towards the subtopics human and urban geography, rather than solely GIS (although I do want to learn!). Which of the programs above would you say have the most “balanced” Geography departments? One where I could explore things such as human migration, sustainable development, climate change, etc? As these issues become more and more urgent very day, I’m hoping to find an innovate and forward thinking program/department ready to tackle these problems. I’m a little late to the science game and narrowing my search for a grad program that fits my interests has been slightly overwhelming so far, but your blog has really been helping me begin to understand the field a bit better.

Any input would be appreciated! Best, Amanda R

Hi Amanda, Most of the programs listed above are well-balanced in terms of human/physical/technical. The programs listed above that, in my opinion, are not as well-balanced include Boston, Maryland, Washington and Syracuse. As usual, I have to promote my alma mater, Oregon. Given the topics you list I don’t think you’d find a better department for pursuing your objectives. Best wishes, Justin

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The Ph.D. is a different kind of degree from the master’s degree. A doctoral candidate in Geography must be capable of making original contributions to knowledge and scholarship. It is unlikely that a person will make such contributions unless he or she concentrates on a narrow and clearly defined field of study. We require, however, that doctoral candidates know more of geography than their particular specialties; thus, any aspirant for a doctorate must obtain master’s training or its equivalent before being admitted to doctoral candidacy. In short, admission to doctoral candidacy is official recognition that a student’s general foundation in the breadth of geography is satisfactory. Students then devote their attention to developing depth in chosen specialties.

The general requirements for a doctoral degree in geography are more rigorous than those for a master’s degree. At the same time, the greater flexibility of the doctoral program allows advanced students to pursue programs of study tailored to their special interests and needs.

Progress through the degree is marked by: 

·       a successful performance in a verbal qualifying exam; 

·       a four-day written comprehensive exam, with a verbal portion after the written answers have been assessed by the committee;  

·       a formal dissertation proposal; and 

·       a verbal defense of a completed dissertation.

The four-year Ph.D. program is reserved for students who have a master’s degree from another graduate program. That can be another geography program at another university, a non-geography program at another university, or a non-geography program at Penn State.

Students entering the four-year Ph.D. program must take the doctoral qualifying exam in their first year. A committee from three of the four fields of geography and formally appointed by the Graduate Program Officer will administer the qualifying exam. The qualifying exam can take place any time during the year, but students in the four-year Ph.D. program typically take it during spring semester.

Students in the four-year Ph.D. program complete a comprehensive exam and defend their dissertation proposal in the second year. Depending on the needs of their research, and in agreement with their doctoral committee, students can fulfill these two requirements in either order. Once students have successfully passed their comprehensive exam and defended their proposal, they typically take two years to research, write, and defend their dissertations.

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Why Apply to Clark Geography’s Doctoral Program?

Please note: GREs are no longer required.

Established in 1921, the Graduate School of Geography at Clark is internationally renowned for innovative scholarship and is an acknowledged leader in the field. Consistently ranked as one of the Top 10 graduate programs by the National Research Council , Clark Geography enables graduate students to train with top professionals and participate in a world-class research community. Students are guaranteed tuition remission and graduate assistantships for eight semesters, paid at a nationally competitive rate ($28,853 for the 2023/2024 academic year) with fully funded health insurance, in order to foster a tight-knit, supportive intellectual community. Having awarded more Ph.D.s than any other geography program in the U.S., Clark Geography has a reputation for training future leaders in the field.

Our Close-Knit Community

The Graduate School seeks talented students with diverse backgrounds who can contribute to the atmosphere of innovation and collaboration that defines Clark Geography. The intimate atmosphere of a small urban university fosters close faculty-student relationships that are a key component of graduate study at Clark. The program offers a strong emphasis in both qualitative and quantitative analysis and the option to combine both in a research project.

Our objective is to produce scholars and other professionals whose research and pedagogy are path-breaking. We intend our students to contribute significantly to research and application in one of four main geography areas of focus:

  • Human-Environment/Nature-Society Geography
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Within these areas of focus, we encourage an education of excellence and innovation across a number of areas of specialization:

  • Climate change
  • Economy and culture of cities
  • Ecosystem ecology
  • Environment and development
  • Feminist geography
  • Forest ecology
  • Geographies of energy and extractive industries
  • Geographies of social movements
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  • Global economic change
  • Land change and sustainability science
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  • Political/cultural ecology
  • Political economy
  • Resource geography
  • Social and spatial theory
  • Urban geography
  • Urban political
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Program Timeline and Requirements

How long will it take to complete the Ph.D. in geography at Clark University? Can students who already hold master’s degrees enter the program? What are the requirements?

View University Overview: Doctoral Program in Geography Program Timeline Geography Ph.D. Program Handbook

Please note that the GRE exam is no longer required for this program.

Recent Dissertations

Our Ph.D. students conduct research across the world on issues ranging from the impact of mining on communities in South America to the decline of ice in the Arctic and Antarctica. For dissertation titles before 2012, visit the Burnham Index .

Prospective Doctoral Program Applicants

All prospective applicants for Clark University’s Doctoral Program in the Graduate School of Geography should contact the department with any questions pertaining to the program or the application process, or to schedule a campus visit. Applicants are also strongly encouraged to contact faculty with whom they have aligning research interests.

Prospective applicants are welcomed and encouraged to visit the Graduate School of Geography, if possible. To learn more about the Clark University campus or about the Admissions process, visit the Graduate Admissions website. To request a visit to the Graduate School of Geography, please email [email protected] .

Graduate Admissions Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), Doctoral Program in Geography

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Looking for colleges with a Geography Major? See a list of colleges with Geography here to evaluate admissions data, tuition, rankings and more.

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Here are the best colleges with a Geography Major

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geography phd programs ranking

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL

  • #12 in National Universities  (tie)

The University of Chicago, situated in Chicago’s Hyde Park community, offers a rich campus life in a big-city setting. Since 1987, the private institution has hosted the University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt, a four-day event that is regarded as the largest scavenger hunt in the world.

(fall 2022)

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geography phd programs ranking

University of California, Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA

  • #15 in National Universities  (tie)

The University of California, Los Angeles is just five miles away from the Pacific Ocean. The public institution offers 5,000 courses, 140 bachelor's degree programs and 97 minors.

(out-of-state)

geography phd programs ranking

Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH

  • #18 in National Universities  (tie)

Dartmouth College, a private institution in Hanover, New Hampshire, uses quarters, not semesters, to divide the school year. Among more than 300 student organizations at Dartmouth is the Outing Club, the nation's oldest and largest collegiate club of its kind, which offers outdoor activities, expeditions, gear rentals and courses.

geography phd programs ranking

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC

  • #22 in National Universities  (tie)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, often referred to as UNC, offers a wide range of student activities. Popular student organizations include The Daily Tarheel, UNC's student newspaper, and WXYC, the student-run radio station. Nearly 20% of students are members of Greek life. Chapel Hill, which surrounds UNC, is often considered one of the best college towns in the country, offering music, restaurants and shopping. Almost half of all undergraduates live on campus in one of the residence halls or apartment complexes. The North Carolina Tar Heels are members of the Atlantic Coast Conference and are known for their men’s basketball team, which maintains a storied rivalry with nearby institution Duke University and is one of the most successful programs in college basketball. Former players include Michael Jordan and Vince Carter.

geography phd programs ranking

University of Southern California

  • #28 in National Universities  (tie)

Undergraduates study in the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences at the University of Southern California, a private school based in Los Angeles. The USC Trojans compete in the NCAA Division I Pac-12 Conference and are particularly competitive in football.

geography phd programs ranking

University of Texas at Austin

  • #32 in National Universities

The University of Texas at Austin is one of the largest schools in the nation. It’s divided into 13 schools and colleges, the biggest of which is the College of Liberal Arts. It also has highly ranked graduate programs, including the McCombs School of Business, Cockrell School of Engineering and School of Nursing. Students can participate in more than 1,000 clubs and organizations or in the sizable UT Greek system. The university has several student media outlets, and its sports teams are notorious competitors in the Division I Big 12 Conference. UT also offers hundreds of study abroad programs, with the most popular destinations being Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, France and China. Freshmen do not have to live on campus.

geography phd programs ranking

University of California, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, CA

  • #35 in National Universities  (tie)

Located 100 miles up the coast from Los Angeles, the University of California, Santa Barbara sits atop cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Students can get involved in any of the more than 400 clubs and organizations on campus, including a Greek community that comprises about 10% of undergraduate students. UCSB provides housing to about 30% of students in eight residence halls and several university apartment complexes. The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos compete primarily in the NCAA Division I Big West Conference and are known for their successful women’s basketball and men’s soccer teams. Non-varsity students can join a club team such as cycling, surfing, rugby or ski and snowboard.

geography phd programs ranking

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL

The University of Illinois is located in the twin cities of Urbana and Champaign in east-central Illinois, only a few hours from Chicago, Indianapolis and St. Louis. The school's Fighting Illini participate in more than 20 NCAA Division I varsity sports and are part of the Big Ten Conference. The university boasts one of the largest Greek systems in the country, and almost a quarter of the student body is involved. It’s not hard to find something to do on campus with more than 1,600 student organizations, including professional, political and philanthropic clubs. All freshmen are required to live on campus.

geography phd programs ranking

University of Wisconsin--Madison

Madison, WI

The University of Wisconsin—Madison lies along the southern shore of Lake Mendota in the city of Madison. The Wisconsin Badgers compete in more than 20 NCAA Division I sports and are part of the Big Ten Conference. Students can get involved in nearly 900 organizations on campus. There is also an active Greek life and social scene on campus, evident in Wisconsin’s reputation as one of the top party schools in the country. Freshmen are not required to live on campus, but many choose to do so. Students can opt to live in one of several residential communities where they learn and live with other students and faculty.

geography phd programs ranking

Rutgers University--New Brunswick

Piscataway, NJ

  • #40 in National Universities  (tie)

Rutgers University--New Brunswick, the flagship campus of New Jersey's state university, is split into five mini campuses, each with a unique setting and identity, student center and dining options. Freshmen are not required to live on campus. Students can join more than 500 student clubs and organizations, including more than 80 fraternities and sororities.

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CU Boulder Geography Ranked #1 in the U.S.

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The Academic Ranking of World Universities by ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2020 has rated the University of Colorado at Boulder's Geography Department #1 in the U.S. and #13 in the world.

"The University of Colorado Boulder is the major research university in the Rocky Mountain region of the U.S. CU Boulder has a proud academic tradition, with five Nobel laureates in the sciences, nine MacArthur “genius grant” recipients, more than 100 Fulbright scholars since 1982, and approximately 80 combined members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Education, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Sciences. Several CU Boulder research faculty from the National Snow and Ice data center shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore for their contributions to the international report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The university has historically ranked as one of the top five sources of Peace Corps volunteers among U.S. colleges and universities and is the home of the founding chapter of Engineers Without Borders."  -- 
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Greetings, prospective graduate student  .

Our 2020 Graduate Cohort

Welcome to the UW Department of Geography! We are excited that you are considering the University of Washington for your graduate work. As the director of the graduate program, I look forward to working with you. The pages listed below should answer many of your questions about our graduate programs, but if you have additional questions please do not hesitate to get in touch :

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We offer both an M.A. and Ph.D. in Geography and these programs are fashioned at the intersection of several broad research specialties. Following the work of the faculty, graduate students are encouraged to think outside the box of any particular "adjectival" sub-field of human geography. Our programs draw on expertise in the following key areas: critical development and poverty studies; racial capitalism; economic geographies; labor geographies; political ecologies; feminist and queer geographies; carceral and abolition geographies; urban, social, and political geographies; geographic information systems; remote sensing; spatial data science, and critical and humanistic approaches to these technologies and fields. We encourage you to visit faculty members' websites and explore their recent publications to learn more about how each of us engages these themes.

We have an outstanding record of successful graduates. You can read more about their work in their   profiles   and find details about our  diverse fields of interest . You can also find  recent publications by both faculty and graduate students . 

Please read about   how to apply to our graduate programs , as well as the requirements for our   M.A.   and   Ph.D.   programs. Our deadline each year is the weekday closest to December 15, to be considered for autumn quarter admission in the following year. I look forward to speaking with you further about your research interests: please feel free to contact myself or Nell Gross, Director of Academic Services ( [email protected] ).

Sincerely,  Prof. Suzanne Withers , Graduate Program Director ( [email protected] )

Why choose the UW Department of Geography?

  • A leader in the discipline:   For over 80 years the Department of Geography has consistently ranked among the top ten departments in the US. The University of Washington is currently ranked No. 3 among U.S. public universities on the most recent Academic Ranking of World Universities .

Financial support:   The department is committed to providing funding for new and continuing students throughout their graduate studies with teaching and research assistantships.

  • Interdisciplinary opportunities:   Strengthen your research and networks through UW's many possibilities for cross-campus collaboration, including with the   Simpson Center for the Humanities   and the   College of Arts & Sciences Social Science Research Centers .
  • Awards and grants:  Our outstanding graduate program attracts a diversity of national and international students who engage in original field research and are regularly awarded prestigious grants and fellowships to fund their research and writing.   
  • Career options:  Our graduate students take up teaching and research positions in the academy as well as in the public and private sectors at the international, national, and regional levels.  

For information about our graduate programs, or for questions related to your application, please contact:

Prof. Suzanne Withers, Graduate Program Director  ( [email protected] ) Nell Gross, Director of Academic Services  ( [email protected] )

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Geography and Environmental Engineering

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Onsite | Full-Time | 5 years

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About the PhD in Geography and Environmental Engineering Program

A PhD student in the Geography and Environmental Engineering program will explore the current state of knowledge in his or her field. Information and ideas developed by others are critically examined and placed in proper context.

Subject areas are identified that are important to achieving the goals of the discipline, but which have not been explored or developed. The student will propose new research to improve understanding in this key area. A research proposal should then outline, in an orderly and logical manner, how key questions are addressed. While pursuing these research hypotheses, the student must take time to consider alternative explanations for experimental observations, and devise new experiments that critically test assumptions and theories.

The student will learn to state problems clearly and solve them in a reliable and efficient manner. Whatever lines of reasoning one uses, one must be as sure as possible that the conclusions are correct, particularly since there is always some uncertainty in science and engineering. The student must think through their research plans to avoid unproductive activities. Because research involves managing time and resources, the PhD student is receiving excellent preparation for future professional work.

Students have the option to focus their study: Track in Environmental Sustainability, Resilience, and Health (ESRH) .

Doctoral students in the Geography and Environmental Engineering doctoral program have the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with faculty from a wide variety of disciplines, including:

  • Air pollution and greenhouse gases
  • Energy systems
  • Public health
  • Water quality
  • Economic dimensions of environmental health
  • Anthropological dimensions of environmental health

PhD in Geography and Environmental Engineering Program Highlights

Fully funded.

Students are guaranteed tuition, health insurance, and stipend coverage for 5 years. 

MULTIDISCIPLINARY

Opportunities to work across departments in the Schools of Public Health, Engineering, and more

WRITE AND PUBLISH

Help with academic writing and grant proposals embedded into coursework, with opportunities to learn from published faculty and peers

TEACHING TRAINING

Teaching assistantships, training, and support for learning to teach, and opportunities for paid TA positions as well

What Can You Do With a Graduate Degree in Geography and Environmental Engineering?

  • Research or Teaching Faculty
  • Research Scientist
  • Environmental Engineer (water/wastewater engineer, hydrogeologist, ecologist)
  • Data Scientist
  • Postdoctoral Research

Curriculum for the PhD in Geography and Environmental Engineering

Browse an overview of the requirements for this PhD program in the JHU  Academic Catalogue and explore all course offerings in the Whiting School  Course Directory .

Admissions Requirements

For general admissions requirements, please visit the Graduate Admissions  page.

Vivien Thomas Scholars Initiative

The  Vivien Thomas Scholars Initiative (VTSI)  is an endowed fellowship program at Johns Hopkins for PhD students in STEM fields. It provides full tuition, stipend, and benefits while also providing targeted mentoring, networking, community, and professional development opportunities. Students who have attended a historically Black college and university (HBCU) or other minority serving institution (MSI) for undergraduate study are eligible to apply .  Vivien Thomas Scholars Initiative  applicants for the  PhD in Geography and Environmental Engineering  are automatically vetted for eligibility for the VTSI fee waiver during the application process.

viven-thomas-scholars

Faculty Advisers

The following faculty may be willing to advise PhD students. If you identify a faculty member that you want to work with who is not on this list, we encourage you to ask them about their availability.

man wearing glasses, shirt and suit jacket, standing outdoors

Peter DeCarlo

Peter studies the chemical composition of gas particles in the air to improve our understanding of climate, air quality, and health impacts of pollutants.

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Paul Ferraro

Paul ­ is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor with joint appointments in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering and the Carey Business School. He is known for his research on behavioral economics and the design and estimation of impacts of environmental programs.

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Ciaran Harman

Ciaran, an associate professor of landscape hydrology and Russell Croft Faculty Scholar, studies how the structure of landscapes controls the movement of water from rainfall to streams, and how that structure evolves over time.

Thomas Hartung

Thomas Hartung

Thomas Hartung, MD, PhD, steers the revolution in toxicology to move away from 50+ year-old animal tests to organoid cultures and the use of artificial intelligence.

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Scot Miller

Scot Miller combines satellite data and statistics to understand greenhouse gas emissions across the globe.

Roni Neff

Roni A. Neff

Roni Neff, PhD '06, ScM, researches ways to cut food waste and address climate change through more resilient, equitable, and healthy food systems.

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Carsten Prasse

Carsten's research focuses on the occurrence and fate of organic contaminants in the urban water cycle and their impact on environmental and human health.

Need-Based Relocation Grants Students who  are admitted to PhD programs at JHU  starting in Fall 2023 or beyond can apply to receive a $1500 need-based grant to offset the costs of relocating to be able to attend JHU.   These grants provide funding to a portion of incoming students who, without this money, may otherwise not be able to afford to relocate to JHU for their PhD program. This is not a merit-based grant. Applications will be evaluated solely based on financial need.  View more information about the need-based relocation grants for PhD students .

Questions about the program? We're happy to help. [email protected]

Compare Programs

  • Check out similar programs to find the best fit.
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental Health
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Earth and Planetary Science

College of Arts and Sciences » Academic Units » Geography

Geographers study the spatial dimensions of human activities and physical landscapes. The discipline of Geography focuses on the interrelationships between humans and their environments, linking the physical and social sciences.

Geographers use a variety of tools, but much of their work revolves around developing and analyzing various forms of spatial data and information, with a special emphasis on satellite imagery, vector graphics, historical, and paper maps.

Possessing the ability to "think spatially," along with a diverse toolkit of quantitative and qualitative methods, geographers have a wide variety of employment options. Our alumni have taken positions in business, government agencies, academia, and non-profit organizations. The job market is especially strong for those with skills in Geographic Information Systems and Science (GIS).

The Department of Geography at UC offers PhD, MA, BS and BA degrees .

All students are encouraged to develop individualized programs meeting their specific needs, in consultation with their academic adviser. For more information on courses and requirements for the BA/BS program, please visit the  Undergraduate Program  site. For more on the PhD and MA programs, please visit the  Graduate Program  site.

COVID-19 Resources

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Recent Publications

An updated list of publications can be found in the Google Scholar profile of the Department of Geography and GIS.

Google Scholar Profile

Faculty Accomplishments

  • Richard Beck: Fulbright Specialist in Eastern D. R. Congo.
  • Nicholas Dunning: AAG Robert McC. Netting Award 2015 (a life-time achievement award).
  • Kenneth Hinkel: 2010 Francois Emile Matthes Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Cryospheric Sciences; 2012 William and Anne Manierre Award for publication of primary research in the Huron Mountains.
  • Hongxing Liu: NASA Group Achievement Award
  • Lin Liu: Best Service Award and Excellence in GIS Education Award of the International Association of Chinese Professionals in Geographic Information Sciences.

Student Accomplishments

  • Daniel Schleith: 2016 Incentive Summer Stipend for Geography PhD Students
  • Min Xu: Competitive Scholarship for Geography PhD students 2016-2017
  • Song Shu: Graduate School Dean's Fellowship 2016-2017.
  • Jacek Niesterowicz: Geocomputation 2015 Best Paper Award in the recent Geocomputation 2015 conference.

Tweets by @UC_Geography

Residents in 'digital deserts' have fewer health care options

June 13, 2023

A University of Cincinnati epidemiologist found that residents in counties with limited access to high-speed internet face fewer health care options than people who live in counties with widespread computer literacy and access to high-speed internet.

Spectrum News: UC study provides window into woodpecker's world

April 27, 2023

Spectrum News highlighted a study that examined the habitat needs of urban woodpeckers in Ohio. UC student Ruijia Hu found that pileated woodpeckers can survive in fragmented habitat if it has wooded corridors that allow them to move from patch to patch.

WVXU: How America's digital divide affects health care

UC Associate Professor Diego Cuadros talks to WVXU's Cincinnati Edition about how disparities in internet access is putting rural Americans' health at risk.

IMAGES

  1. PhD Geography Colleges, Admission, Syllabus, Job, Scope, Salary 2024

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  2. Rankings and Top 10 Degree Granting Institutions for Four-Year

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  3. Geography doctorates awarded by group between 1997 and 2019 for groups

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  4. 2023 Geographic Information Science Degree Guide

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  5. Rankings and Top 10 Degree Granting Institutions for Four-Year

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  6. Does your department have a Licensure Qualifying Program?

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VIDEO

  1. Unveiling Zealandia: The Hidden 8th Continent #shorts #space #content #earth

  2. EDU515_Topic012

  3. PhD admission Geography #UttarPradesh

  4. ASSISTANT PROFESSOR-GEOGRAPHY

  5. MA final Geography lecturer 44

  6. U of G 3MT® Finalist

COMMENTS

  1. QS World University Rankings for Geography 2023

    Discover the top universities in the world according to the QS World University Rankings 2021, which compares institutions from all around the world across six different key indicators. By Craig OCallaghan. Feb 06, 2024. 0M 74.

  2. 2023-2024 Top Geography Graduate Programs

    1-25 of 153 results School of Design - University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA • University of Pennsylvania • Graduate School Add to List Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences Los Angeles, CA • University of Southern California • Graduate School Add to List UCLA College of Letters and Science Los Angeles, CA •

  3. Best 56 Geography PhD Programmes in United States 2024

    Best 56 Geography PhD Programmes in United States 2024 - PhDportal.com Ph.D. Degrees in Geography Geography degrees Geography degrees teach students about places on Earth and the relations between humans and natural environments.

  4. 2023-2024 Top Doctor of Geography Graduate Programs

    Program Clear filter Online Masters Doctorate See all programs College type Public Private For-profit Not-for-profit Religious affiliation Any 1-25 of 68 results Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences Los Angeles, CA • University of Southern California • Graduate School Add to List UCLA College of Letters and Science Los Angeles, CA •

  5. Top 20 Graduate Geography Programs in the U.S

    So, without further ado, here are my top 20 geography programs in the United States: Boston University http://geography.bu.edu/ University of Colorado http://www.colorado.edu/geography/ University of Maryland College Park http://www.geog.umd.edu/ University of California - Los Angeles http://www.geog.ucla.edu/

  6. 2024 Best Geography & Cartography Doctor's Degree Schools

    If you plan on getting your doctor's degree in geography & cartography, you won't be alone since the degree program is ranked #75 in the country in terms of popularity. So, you have a fair amount of options to choose from when looking for a school.

  7. National Research Council Rankings

    How is Clark's Geography Ph.D. program ranked by the NRC? What do the R and S rankings mean? Why does Clark University's Ph.D. in geography program rank so high? Our Graduate School of Geography has a unique and long-standing tradition of excellence Our graduate students in geography land prominent academic positions

  8. 2013 Geography Graduate Program Rankings

    2013 Geography Graduate Program Rankings. March 18, 2013. About a year ago I posted a ranking of top geography programs based on the NRC survey of U.S. doctoral programs. There were some complaints about the rankings, which I suppose is inevitable. Some expressed concern simply because their program of choice wasn't included.

  9. 2024 Best Geography & Cartography Master's Degree Schools

    $61,277 Avg Early-Career Salary Geography & Cartography is above average in terms of popularity with it being the #111 most popular master's degree program in the country. This means you won't have too much trouble finding schools that offer the degree.

  10. QS World University Rankings for Geography 2021

    Out Now: QS World University Rankings 2021. Discover the top universities in the world according to the QS World University Rankings 2021, which compares institutions from all around the world across six different key indicators. By Craig OCallaghan. Feb 06, 2024. 0M 74.

  11. What are the Top Geography Programs in 2020?

    The latest QS World University Rankings by Subject reveal updated rankings for Geography departments around the world. To determine the rankings, the universities are assessed based on four metrics: employer reputation, H-Index citations, number of citations per paper, and university reputation.

  12. How to Find a Top Geography Degree Program

    Within the United States, the most well respected ranking system for graduate degree programs is the National Research Council (NRC). In 2010, the NRC released its rankings for geography departments. The NRC used multiple factors by which to rank geography departments such as time to degree, faculty input, and publications.

  13. Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

    The four-year Ph.D. program is reserved for students who have a master's degree from another graduate program. That can be another geography program at another university, a non-geography program at another university, or a non-geography program at Penn State. Students entering the four-year Ph.D. program must take the doctoral qualifying ...

  14. QS World University Rankings for Geography 2022

    QS World University Rankings for Geography 2022 | Top Universities Rankings Rankings Rankings Overview QS World University Rankings QS World University Rankings by Subject QS Sustainability Rankings QS University Rankings by Region QS Best Student Cities QS Global MBA Rankings QS Business Masters Rankings QS International Trade Rankings

  15. Ph.D. Program

    Consistently ranked as one of the Top 10 graduate programs by the National Research Council, Clark Geography enables graduate students to train with top professionals and participate in a world-class research community. Students are guaranteed tuition remission and graduate assistantships for eight semesters, paid at a nationally competitive ...

  16. PhD Program

    The PhD is granted to candidates who complete a dissertation that makes a significant and original contribution to geography. Additionally, candidates must demonstrate proficiency in conducting independent research. Completion of a Master's Degree is expected prior to full admission into a Ph.D. program . Course requirements are determined by ...

  17. Colleges Offering a Geography Major

    256 results Sort by: School Name Location Rankings Tuition and Fees <$5,000 - $50,000+ Enrollment 0 - 14,000+ Acceptance Rate <10% - 90%+ Area of Study Majors Geography and Cartography High...

  18. CU Boulder Geography Ranked #1 in the U.S

    July 23, 2020 The Academic Ranking of World Universities by ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2020 has rated the University of Colorado at Boulder's Geography Department #1 in the U.S. and #13 in the world.

  19. Graduate Programs

    Resources for Graduate Students. We offer both an M.A. and Ph.D. in Geography and these programs are fashioned at the intersection of several broad research specialties. Following the work of the faculty, graduate students are encouraged to think outside the box of any particular "adjectival" sub-field of human geography.

  20. PhD in Geography and Environmental Engineering

    A PhD student in the Geography and Environmental Engineering program will explore the current state of knowledge in his or her field. Information and ideas developed by others are critically examined and placed in proper context. ... Doctoral students in the Geography and Environmental Engineering doctoral program have the opportunity to learn ...

  21. Best Master's in Geography Programs

    Our Top Pick University of California, Los Angeles Why It's #1: The geography program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) boasts a 92% graduation rate, one of the features that put this school at the top of the list. The average net price of $15,720 makes this program economically competitive, with others in the top 10.

  22. QS World University Rankings for Geography 2020

    Feb 12, 2024. 0M 148. Ranked: The top 100 universities in the USA. These are the top 100 US universities, based upon the QS World University Rankings 2024. Find out which universities are the best in your home state! By Craig OCallaghan. Feb 11, 2024.

  23. Geography

    The Department of Geography at UC offers PhD, MA, BS and BA degrees. All students are encouraged to develop individualized programs meeting their specific needs, in consultation with their academic adviser. For more information on courses and requirements for the BA/BS program, please visit the Undergraduate Program site.