Letter to Prospective Students
We are excited that you are interested in pursuing graduate studies here at the University of Texas at Austin. As one of the top research universities in the country, UT is a great place to study geography. Exceptional academics and the high quality of life offered by the city of Austin combine to make a unique graduate experience rivaled by few geography programs.
While our well known commitment to international fieldwork continues to grow, we are also now expanding research in several exciting new areas: geographic representation, remote sensing, biogeography, political ecology, and urban geography. Our new faculty hires in the last five years bring additional energy and enthusiasm to an already outstanding department.
As graduate students, we continue to succeed in obtaining research funding for fieldwork not only through well recognized outside funding organizations like NSF, Fulbright, NASA, and SSRC, but also from the many funding options available within our own university in the form of University wide Fellowships and those offered by theDepartment of Geography and the Environment. Not surprisingly, given our reputation, the department is also extremely supportive of students designing and implementing research projects with extensive time in the field, particularly those in remote and exciting areas. Currently, we conduct research in places like Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, Nicaragua, Mexico, India, Botswana, Egypt, Cyprus, and Turkey, as well as the U.S.
As one of the largest research universities in the country, UT offers graduate students excellent libraries such as the Benson Latin American Collection, one of the largest Latin American collections in the world, and a wide range of interdisciplinary courses. The geography department is linked to several institutes and centers on campus, such as the Population Research Center, the Environmental Science Institute, the Lozano Long Institute for Latin of American Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and the South Asia Institute. In addition, the geography department is affiliated with faculty from a number of other departments, such as the Department of American Studies, LBJ School of Public Affairs, School of Architecture, and the Section of Integrative Biology, offering a diverse range of courses for graduate students.
We as graduate students benefit from a department committed to supporting us both financially and professionally. In the first years of graduate work, students have typically received fulltime (20 hour) Teaching Assistantships. Many of our doctoral candidates currently work as Assistant Instructors, gaining valuable teaching experience necessary to complement research productivity and compete at the highest level in the academic job market. Other departmental support has come in the form of research travel grants and assistance in presenting at professional conferences such as the annual AAG and SWAAG meetings.
Austin is also an incredible place to live with a wide range of cultural and recreational opportunities. The city’s reputation is accurately represented by established monikers, e.g., “Live Music Capital of the World”, and slogans, e.g., “Keep Austin Weird”™: there is always a good band playing somewhere and interesting activities going on. The city has tons of green space causing locals to claim that you are never more than a mile from a park. Good urban trails for running and biking abound. Located on the edge of Texas Hill Country, Austin also offers easy access to state parks likeEnchanted Rock and Pedernales Falls for good hiking and camping opportunities. When we have the chance we also head out just a bit farther to visit sites of awesome natural beauty, Big Bend National Park, or even foreign countries: Mexico is only a 3 hour drive away.
If you have any questions or would like to hear more in person, please feel free to contact any of our officers.