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Geography Graduate Program


Please contact the Graduate Director or Graduate Program Specialist with any questions regarding the Geography Master's or Doctoral Degree Program.

Graduate Program Contacts

Graduate Director
Dr. Ruiliang Pu
Office: NES 213
Phone: 813/974-1508
Email: rpu@usf.edu
Graduate Program Specialist
Ms. Davina St. Catherine
Office: NES 206
Phone: 813/974-9854
Email: dstcatherine@usf.edu

M.A. Degree in Geography

The Master of Arts Program in Geography at the University of South Florida provides the theoretical foundation and methodological expertise necessary to conduct publishable-quality geographic research, as well as hands-on experience for real-world professional opportunities. Course offerings emphasize human geography, environmental geography, and geographic information science (GISc) and spatial analysis. The School of Geosciences offers a Masters of Arts (MA) in Geography with a thesis and non-thesis option. Students must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate level course work for the thesis option and 36 hours for the non-thesis option. Students in the thesis option must complete the core course requirements outlined below before they are eligible to enroll in thesis hours.

Program Requirements

Required courses for the major
Course Descriptions

Please note that a degree planner for tracking degree progress can be printed by clicking on the "Degree Planner" icon on the top right of the Graduate Catalog entry.

Concentrations:

Students enrolled in the M.A. Geography degree may specialize in one of the following three areas of concentration:

Human Geography studies the construction of space, place, and power. It encompasses the study of economic geographies (e.g., globalization and development), political geographies (e.g., geopolitical struggles and new social movements), and social and cultural geographies (e.g., identities and exclusions). Human geography is key to providing insights into contemporary spatial arrangements, including the role of cities within the global economy, locating urban-rural intersections in the production of uneven development, and how class, gender, and race shape struggles for social justice.

Environmental Geography links the study of nature and society and considers the ways in which conventional divisions between human and non-human (natural) worlds are bridged through the production of socio-natures. This understanding is crucial to explaining and ameliorating contemporary environmental problems, including the privatization of natural resources, inequalities in access to food and water, injustices associated with environmental hazards and undesirable land uses, and the role of human activities in spurring large-scale environmental change.

GIScience and Spatial Analysis concentrates on the use of advanced geospatial technologies, and the development and use of spatial analysis methodologies, to applied research problems in human and environmental geography. A thorough understanding of such geospatial technologies as Remote Sensing, GIS, and GPS, as well as modern methods of spatial statistical analysis, and emerging spatial analytical techniques such as agent-based modeling, is a critical aspect of developing appropriate approaches to the analysis of geographic data.


Ph.D. Degree Track in Geography

The Geography track of the PhD degree is designed to draw on the interdisciplinary strengths of the Geography faculty and to educate our students to respond to rapid changes in knowledge production and application. To that end, emphasis is placed on providing theoretical rigor and methodological skills that will enable students to make significant and original research and policy contributions. Course offerings emphasize three research themes: (a) human geography, (b) environmental geography, and (c) geographic information science (GIScience) and spatial analysis. Through a commitment to quality interdisciplinary teaching, combined with research and hands-on learning opportunities, the Geography track is dedicated to ensuring that students are well prepared for careers in academia, and the private and public sectors.

Program Requirements

Required courses for the major
Course Descriptions

Please note that a degree planner for tracking degree progress can be printed by clicking on the "Degree Planner" icon on the top right of the Graduate Catalog entry.

Program Areas of Emphasis

Many organizations, including the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, have recognized the need for expanding the capacity of faculty to develop and communicate disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge in order to respond to real-world issues and problems. The Geography track of the Doctoral Program distinctly focuses on developing state-of-the-art researchers who are able to navigate today’s complex world. We expect that our graduates will address many important local, regional, national, and global issues that require a cross-disciplinary perspective. To that end, the Geography track of the Ph.D. program is designed to expand opportunities for students interested in complex social and environmental problems. The track currently comprises three research themes that reflect the strengths of the faculty. However, the faculty is also open to new areas of research that reflect student needs and interests. The three current research themes are:

  1. Human Geography
  2. Environmental Geography
  3. GIScience and Spatial Analysis

Human Geography studies the construction of space, place, and power. It includes economic geographies (e.g., globalization and development), political geographies (e.g., geopolitical struggles and new social movements), and social and cultural geographies (e.g., territories and identities). Human geography is central to explaining contemporary spatial processes, including 2the role of cities within the global economy, locating urban-rural intersections in the production of uneven development, and how class, gender, and race shape struggles for social justice.

Environmental Geography links the study of nature and society by considering the ways conventional divisions between human (social) and non-human (natural) worlds are bridged through the production of socio-natures. This understanding is crucial to explaining contemporary environmental problems, including the privatization of natural resources, inequalities in access to food and water, injustices associated with environmental hazards and undesirable land uses, and the role of human activities in spurring large-scale environmental change.

GIScience and Spatial Analysis concentrates on the use of advanced geospatial technologies, and the development and use of geospatial data and methods, to applied research problems in human and environmental geography. A rigorous understanding of such geospatial technologies as Remote Sensing, GIS, and GPS, as well as modern methods of spatial statistical analysis, and spatial analytical techniques such as agent-based modeling, is critical to developing appropriate analytical approaches to geographic problems.