The PhD is a highly individualized degree that emphasizes advanced training and research. Students develop and demonstrate both depth and breadth in geographical inquiry. They gain an understanding of the major epistemological and methodological questions that have shaped the development of geography as a discipline and master a set of research methods that are appropriate to their area of specialization. Students acquire a detailed understanding of a particular sub-field of geography, conduct and disseminate independent research in that sub-field and broaden their backgrounds through study in one or more allied disciplines.
The program is intended to lead students into innovative research as demonstrated in research seminars, independent investigations, and the completion of a dissertation. The student's academic performance must be marked by initiative, intellectual integrity, a sense of problem, and critical acumen.
Students can enter the PhD program through two routes:
- after earning a Bachelor’s degree or
- after earning a Master’s degree
Admission to the PhD is limited to those who have achieved distinction in previous undergraduate and graduate work (a 3.2 GPA on a 4 point scale is a generally accepted criterion) and who have demonstrated the determination and initiative required for doctoral success.