Doctoral Program

solitary student standing on rock

The Departments of Geography at San Diego State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara offer a distinctive doctoral program in Geography, bringing together two outstanding institutions. The joint doctoral program complements but does not duplicate the existing Ph.D. program at UCSB, which functions separately from the joint doctoral program. The joint doctoral program provides the essential education, technical training and creative experience necessary for professional activity including college-level teaching.

Graduate study at San Diego State University has long been characterized by a close, collegial working relationship between students and faculty. Exceptional technical facilities are available on both campuses. Students spend a minimum of one year on each campus and will normally start and finish their work at SDSU. The joint doctorate is unique and presents many advantages for the student. Because it includes two departments, students entering the program have access to a much larger and more diverse set of faculty than in perhaps any other program. This gives students an opportunity to be exposed to more perspectives and approaches to geography than in most settings. Also, residency on both campuses allows students to experience two different university systems, the California State University and the University of California. Students also become familiar with two attractive but very different communities and environments.

The program is designed around a set of systematic geographic specialties and methodological techniques.

Areas of Study:

  1. Human Geography: Urban, Social, Cultural and Political Geography
  2. Environmental Geography: Society and Environment, Watershed/Ecosystems Analysis
  3. Physical Geography: Biogeography, Climatology, Hydrology, Landscape Ecology
  4. Methodological Techniques: Spatial Quantitative and Qualitative Methods, Cartography and Internet Mapping, Geocomputation and Spatial Modeling, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing and Image Processing, Visualization and Visual Data Mining, Spatial Decision Support Systems and Participatory GIS

Each student’s program is designed around at least one of the four specialty areas and normally at least one of the methodological technique emphases. The main regional foci are California, Latin America, Mexico-U.S. borderlands, Africa, and Asia. To better understand the department’s research, review the Faculty Specializations and Research sections of our website. The Program Facts section in this website also lists the titles of completed dissertations.

All of our graduates to date have attained employment in professional positions that utilize the knowledge and skills developed in the Joint Doctoral program. Most have secured the types of positions that they have sought. These range from research- and teaching-oriented university professorships, to corporate and government research positions. Review the Program Facts section of the JDP website for a list of current positions and occupations of our JDP alumni.

View the Doctoral Program Brochure PDF file.