graduate program provides students with an understanding of the theory,
principles, and research skills needed for geographical inquiry.
Students seeking a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degree take courses and write a dissertation
that is based on original research in a subfield of geography.
for the master's degree must complete coursework, write a thesis worth
6 credits, and complete successfully a comprehensive oral examination.
As an alternative, students may write a shorter research paper, take an
additional 6 credits of coursework, and successfully complete a written
and oral examination.
The program's strengths lie
in human geography and social theory, environmental geography, and
physical geography. The following are specific topics:
Human Geography and Social Theory. Geographies
of globalization; political economy; urban development; comparative
urbanization; women and the environment; urban restructuring; housing
and spatial segregation; gentrification; Eastern European urban policy;
regional development and decline; uneven global development; political
geography; and space and social theory.
Environmental Geography. Global
environmental change; natural and technological hazards; environmental justice; remote sensing; GIS applications; resource
management; land use; political ecology; gender; development; critical
forestry, fisheries, and wildlife studies; and environmental risks and planning.
Physical Geography. Quaternary
studies; global and regional climate change; cryospheric dynamics;
coastal geomorphology; coastal management; groundwater and water
supply; biogeography; and invasive species.
The geography department is linked with various research institutes,
programs, and other departments at the university. In addition to core
coursework in geography, graduate students are encouraged to enroll in
courses relevant to their research interests in other units of the
university. A two-course sequence focused on the history and theory of
geography and research design and methods is required of all students.
For the Ph.D., a minimum of
72 credits is required. Of the total credit load, 48 credits should be
in coursework beyond the bachelor's degree and at least
24 credits should be in dissertation research. In consultation with
their advisers, students select a faculty committee. Upon completion of
coursework, they submit a dissertation proposal and take the qualifying
The master's degree program requires 30
credits beyond a bachelor's degree, with a minimum of 24 of those
credits taken in coursework. The master of arts (M.A.) degree is awarded to students specializing in human geography, and the master of science (M.S.) degree to those who focus
on physical geography.
Applicants for the graduate
program in geography should hold an appropriate, accredited
undergraduate degree, although this need not be in geography. Four
criteria guide the admissions process: (1) a cumulative grade-point
average of 3.25 or better (or equivalent for international students);
(2) competitive Graduate Record Examination general test scores; (3)
strong letters of recommendation from at least three references; and
(4) a persuasive and well-focused personal statement describing
academic goals and research interests. Financial support through
teaching assistantships, graduate assistantships, and university
fellowships is available on a competitive basis to students with
excellent qualifications. Applicants seeking financial aid should
submit applications by January 15.
Further information can be obtained from the current edition of the booklet Graduate Study in Geography at Rutgers University, available from the department office or by visiting the department's website.