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Doctor of Philosophy in Geography

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Geography Ph.D. Degree Requirements

The aspirant is expected to demonstrate proficiency in research and achieve a teaching competence in geography. The student may concentrate in 1 area or may offer a concentration in a second area in the department or an outside discipline. Whatever the choice, the student develops the plan of research and study with the advice and supervision of professors in the chosen area(s) of concentration who also sit on the student’s examination and dissertation committees. A minimum of 30 hours of course and seminar work in addition to dissertation credit usually is required beyond the M.A.

There are several options for satisfying the Foreign Language or Other Research Skills requirement (see Doctor of Philosophy, 3. Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship, in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog), which must be completed before the aspirant can be admitted to the comprehensive examination. Possible options for meeting the requirement include the following:

  1. Demonstrate a reading knowledge of 2 foreign languages relevant to the student’s research interest. For each language, the student must attain a level of competence to satisfy general requirements.
  2. For a single foreign language, demonstrate a reading, writing, and speaking capability sufficient to enable the aspirant to do field work without an interpreter. An examination for competence, including written and oral portions, is conducted by a member of the department having expertise in that language or by an examiner from the appropriate language department.
  3. Demonstrate a reading knowledge in 1 foreign language and a satisfactory capability in 1 research skill as listed below under 4a, 4b, 4c, and 4d.
  4. Demonstrate a satisfactory capability in two research skills from the list below. The requirements are to be approved by the adviser with the agreement of the graduate studies committee.
    (a) Computer science: Complete a computer course in electrical engineering and computer science (e.g., C++, Fortran, or visual Basic) and create a substantial computer program that illustrates a geographic application of that language. Both the course and the computer program must be approved by the computer programming committee of the Department of Geography.
    (b) Mathematics: Pass 9 hours of courses at the 500 level or above.
    (c) Statistics: Pass 9 hours of courses outside the geography department at the 500 level or above.
    (d) Demonstrate research capability in a field relevant to the aspirant’s field(s) of specialization in geography. Examples are economics, sociology, psychology, geology, anthropology, and history. This involves at least 9 credit hours of graduate-level work, normally at KU, including a minimum of one research seminar.

The general requirement of 2 semesters (or 1 semester and 1 summer) of residence in full-time academic pursuits also must be met before taking the comprehensive examination.

Note: Responsible scholarship requirements were approved after this catalog was finalized. Contact your department or program for more information about this requirement for doctoral students.

For additional Ph.D. requirements, please see Doctor of Philosophy in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Handbook for Graduate Students

Detailed information on departmental regulations is included in Policies for Graduate Study in Geography at the University of Kansas, available on the department's website.

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