Graduate Program in Geography
The department is committed to graduate education, research, and innovative teaching. The graduate program integrates course work with teaching and research experience. Some teaching assistants conduct their own courses while others run laboratory sections of physical and technical offerings. Research assistants are involved in collaborative research with faculty members. Current faculty research includes global climatic change, precipitation system analysis, vegetation-soils interaction, and paleoenvironmental reconstruction (Quaternary studies) within physical geography; visualization and animation, spatial and contextual image processing, and computational methods for the analysis of spatial data within GIScience; and cultural and regional development studies for East Asia, East Africa, Latin America, Russia/Central Asia and the United States.
Graduate Programs in Geography
The department graduate program emphasizes physical geography, geographic information science (cartography-GIS-remote sensing), and cultural/regional studies. Each is well supported by faculty strength throughout the university and by appropriate laboratory and library facilities. Physical geography concentrations include atmospheric science/climatology, fluvial geomorphology and landscape evolution (both complemented by work in geology), plant geography, and soils. The geographic information science program is a highly interconnected unit that builds on pioneering work begun in cartography and remote sensing at Kansas in the 1950s under George Jenks and David Simonett, respectively. Current remote-sensing research emphasizes visual and digital analysis whereas the GIS program stresses computational methods of analysis and applications in natural resources; cartographers concentrate primarily on design, visualization, and interactive statistical mapping. The cultural/regional programs take advantage of Kansas's well-developed interdisciplinary language and area-studies centers for Africa, East Asia, Latin America, and Russia-East Europe. The last three of these officially are designated "National Resource Centers" by the U.S. Department of Education. The university's American Studies program and its T.R. Smith map collection are similarly regarded as among the best in the nation. Specific strengths within the cultural realm include political ecology, historical and humanistic geography, and development studies.
Overall supervision of the graduate program is the responsibility of the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC). This committee evaluates applications and makes recommendations to the department concerning admission and financial support of prospective students. It periodically reviews and evaluates each student's program and achievement and also approves specified stages in an individual's progress toward a graduate degree. Communication with the GSC is usually through written petition, although committee members will try to answer questions at any time.
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