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UT Austin
Grad Catalog 01-03


Graduate Study

Admission and


of Study

Members of
Graduate Studies





Degrees Offered
Master of Arts
Doctor of Philosophy

Facilities for Graduate Work

The teaching and research facilities of the Department of Geography are housed in the Geography Building, centrally located on campus.

Environmental Information Systems Laboratory. This laboratory provides comprehensive resources for learning and research in cartography, geographic information systems, remote sensing, and spatial statistics. It contains twenty-five Windows 2000 microcomputers connected by Ethernet to the campus network and the Internet. The laboratory is also equipped with scanners, digitizers, plotters, GPS receivers, a station for field mapping, and audiovisual equipment for hypermedia production. The computers run a variety of software for microcomputer mapping and GIS, computer-assisted drafting, and statistical analysis; the complete suite of ESRI software, including ArcInfo and ArcCAD; and all Intergraph software for drafting, GIS, image processing, and terrain modeling.

Digital Landscape Laboratory. The Digital Landscape Laboratory, established in 1999, is a GIS and remote sensing facility designed to support research in the modeling and characterizing of Earth's varied processes through geomorphology, biogeography, and landscape ecology. The laboratory includes a server, high-speed Ethernet connections, Windows-based workstations, scanners, and a large-format plotter. Software includes ArcInfo, ArcView (with 3D Modeler, Terrain Analyst, and Image Analyst), Erdas Imagine, Intergraph, Surfer, and the specialized hydrologic software HEC-RAS, and ArcHydro.

Environmental Analysis Laboratories. The Soils Laboratory, the Applied Geomorphology and Geo-Archaeology Laboratory, and the Palynology Laboratory are equipped for field study and laboratory analysis of soils, sediments, pollen, and archaeological materials. Used as both teaching and research facilities, these laboratories are integral to the graduate program in physical geography and cultural ecology.

University libraries. The University libraries are noted for their collections on Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia, and the American West.

Special research, training, and financial aid opportunities are available through area studies centers and research institutes in African and African American studies, Asian studies, Australian studies, Latin American studies, Middle Eastern studies, and Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies. Language training is available in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Malayalam, Persian, Sanskrit, Serbian/Croatian, Tamil, Turkish, Urdu, and all major European languages. Additional University research facilities used by graduate students in the Department of Geography include the Bureau of Business Research, the Bureau of Economic Geology, the Center for Energy and Environmental Resources, the Center for Research in Water Resources, the Center for Transportation Research, the Marine Science Institute, and the Population Research Center.

Areas of Study

The graduate curriculum in geography enables students to obtain an understanding of the heritage and philosophical foundations of the discipline, of contemporary thought and practice in its various subfields, and of the analytical tools and techniques currently used in geographic research. Among the most common graduate specializations are cultural geography, cultural ecology, environmental resources, physical geography, urban and regional analysis, and geographic methods and techniques.

Cultural geographers place particular emphasis on culture regions, cultural origins and dispersals, cultural landscapes, and concepts of space and place. Cultural ecology is concerned with subsistence, settlement, and organizational strategies that people develop to cope with different and changing environmental settings. Environmental resources addresses issues in environmental planning, resource management, and habitat conservation. Physical geography involves analysis of scale, distribution, morphology, and process in environmental systems. Urban and regional analysis engages students in comparative urban development, space and behavior in the urban living environment, and systems of regional organization. Geographical methods and techniques trains students in geographic information systems, computer cartography, remote sensing, field methods, and spatial analysis. In addition to these topical specializations, students often also focus their studies on a particular geographic region, such as the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, Asia, or the American Southwest.

Graduate Studies Committee

The following faculty members served on the Graduate Studies Committee in the spring semester 2000-2001.

Karl W. Butzer
Kelley Crews-Meyer
Christopher S. Davies
Diana Davis
William E. Doolittle
Robin W. Doughty
David J. Eaton
Stephen A. Hall
Steven D. Hoelscher
     Paul F. Hudson
David L. Huff
Terry G. Jordan
Gregory W. Knapp
Ian R. Manners
Francisco Perez
Julie A. Tuason
Kenneth R. Young

Degree Requirements

Master of Arts

To obtain a master's degree in geography, students must complete either thirty semester hours of coursework, including eighteen hours of geography, six hours in a minor subject, and six hours in the thesis course; or thirty-six semester hours of coursework, including twenty-seven hours of geography, six hours in a minor subject, and three hours in the report course. A student who wishes to substitute courses in another field for geography courses must demonstrate that these substitutions are appropriate to his or her program of study and must have the consent of the graduate adviser and the supervising professor for the courses substituted. All master's degree students must complete Geography 391K with a grade of at least B and must demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language or in quantitative techniques. The foreign language requirement may be fulfilled by completing twelve semester hours in a foreign language with a grade point average of at least 3.00 or by passing an oral or written examination in a selected foreign language. The quantitative techniques requirement may be fulfilled by completing twelve semester hours of mathematics or other quantitative techniques courses with a grade point average of at least 3.00 or by passing a written examination. Fulfillment of this requirement is supervised by the graduate adviser.

Each student must enroll in at least one organized graduate course in geography during both the first and the second semester in the graduate program. Geography 391K, a required course for all new graduate students, may not be counted as one of these courses. By the middle of the second semester, the student should have chosen a supervising committee.

When all course and language requirements have been fulfilled, the student completes the degree by presenting independent research in the form of a thesis or report.

Doctor of Philosophy

All students entering the doctoral program must hold a Master of Arts degree or the equivalent.

To qualify for advancement to candidacy, a student must (1) complete, with a grade of at least B, two required seminars, Geography 391K (in the first year of study) and Geography 386; (2) fulfill the language requirement by demonstrating proficiency in two foreign languages or in one language and quantitative techniques; (3) select a faculty supervisor and dissertation committee by the end of the second semester; the student may later change supervisors and alter the committee if appropriate; (4) present a Program of Work that meets with the approval of the dissertation committee; (5) demonstrate comprehensive knowledge in depth in two areas of specialization in geography; and (6) pass a qualifying examination.

After admission to candidacy, a student has completed the formal program of coursework and engages in the research and writing of the dissertation, culminating in an oral defense of the dissertation.

Joint Degree Program

Doctor of Philosophy/Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning

The objective of the joint program in geography and community and regional planning is to stimulate interdisciplinary research and advanced understanding of contemporary issues involving cultural, spatial, social, and environmental dimensions of urban and regional growth and to develop in students the technical skills and knowledge necessary to analyze and resolve problems associated with such growth.

A student seeking admission to the joint degree program must apply through the Graduate and International Admissions Center. He or she must be accepted by each program in order to be admitted to the joint program. Like all other graduate applicants, the student is responsible for submitting any additional information required by the Graduate Studies Committee for each program. Students without a master's degree apply to the joint program after completing eighteen semester hours of graduate work in community and regional planning.

Each candidate is assigned a supervising committee composed of faculty members in both geography and community and regional planning. After completing the required coursework, a student advances to candidacy for the doctoral degree according to the procedures of the Department of Geography.

For More Information

Campus address: Geography Building (GRG) 334, phone (512) 471-5116, fax (512) 471-5049; campus mail code: A3100

Mailing address: Graduate Program, Department of Geography, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712-1098


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Geography Courses: GRG



Graduate Catalog
Chapter 1 - Graduate Study
Chapter 2 - Admission and Registration
Chapter 3 - Degree Requirements
Chapter 4 - Fields of Study
Chapter 5 - Members of Graduate Studies Committees
Appendix - Course Abbreviations

Related Information
Course Schedules
Academic Calendars
Office of Admissions

Office of the Registrar
University of Texas at Austin

26 July 2001. Registrar's Web Team

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