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Graduate Catalog | 2005-2007
College of Liberal Arts


to courses in GRG Geography »

Master of Arts
Doctor of Philosophy

Facilities for Graduate Work

The teaching and research facilities of the Department of Geography and the Environment 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 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, remote sensing, computer-assisted drafting, and statistical analysis.

Digital Landscape Laboratory. The Digital Landscape Laboratory is a GIS and remote sensing facility designed to support research in the modeling and characterizing of Earth's varied processes through geomorphology, biogeog-raphy, and landscape ecology. The laboratory includes a server, high-speed Ethernet connections, Windows-based workstations, scanners, and a large-format plotter. Nearby is the Robert K. Holz Remote Sensing Laboratory, a teaching facility.

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, Australian studies, East Asian studies, Latin American studies, Middle Eastern studies, Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies, and South Asian 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 and the Environment include 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, the Center for Space Research, and the Population Research Center.

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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 and political 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 and political 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.

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Graduate Studies Committee

The following faculty members served on the Graduate Studies Committee in the spring semester 2004-2005.

Paul C. Adams
Karl W. Butzer
Kelley Crews-Meyer
Christopher S. Davies
Diana Davis
William E. Doolittle
Robin W. Doughty
Robert A. Dull
David J. Eaton
Steven D. Hoelscher
Paul F. Hudson
David L. Huff
Brian H. King
Gregory W. Knapp
Ian R. Manners
Barbara McKean Parmenter
Francisco L. Perez
Richard Harvey Richardson
Rodrigo Sierra-Maldon
Emily Skop
Frederick R. Steiner
Peter Ward
Kenneth R. Young
Leo E. Zonn
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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.

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Dual Degree Program

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

The objective of the dual 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 dual 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 dual 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 dual 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 and the Environment.

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For More Information

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

Mailing address: The University of Texas at Austin, Graduate Program, Department of Geography and the Environment, 1 University Station A3100, Austin TX 78712



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Graduate Catalog | 2005-2007 Geography program | courses

Fields of Study

    Office of the Registrar     University of Texas at Austin copyright 2005
    Official Publications 16 Aug 2005