Geography, Ph.D.


The PhD in geography enables students to advance both the breadth and depth of their knowledge of geographic concepts and methodologies. PhD students choose one of three sub-fields in which to specialize: Urban Planning, Transportation and Regional Economic Development; Earth Science and Natural Resource Management; or Geographic Information Science.

The degree culminates in one of two projects: the traditional dissertation or three papers of publishable quality. 


  • PhD students are closely mentored by award-winning faculty who are world-renowned researchers in their fields. 
  • Students have access to modern geographic technology, including an oversized cartographic plotter, GPS equipment, and computers with industry-standard software programs like Arc/Info, ArcView, ERDAS Imagine, ArcGIS, Surfer, AtlasGIS, MapInfo, and ER Mapper.
  • State-of-the-art laboratories – like the Geomorphology and Weather and Climate Lab and the Regolith Analysis Laboratory – offer in-depth geographic analysis using the latest precision instruments.  
  • UNC Greensboro is ranked as one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges, according to the Princeton Review (2020).


  • Students work directly with a faculty advisor to undertake their research project(s) and plan major due dates. 
  • Competitive funding packages are available including teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and graduate school fellowships. 
  • The degree culminates in one of two projects: the traditional dissertation or three papers of publishable quality. 
  • Graduate students attend professional conferences and colloquiums and are encouraged to present and/or publish their theses and dissertations. 


  • Recent graduates of the Geography PhD program boast a high placement rate in tenure-stream faculty positions across the country. 

APPLY TO Geography, Ph.D. 

Minimum requirements to be considered for admission include:

  • 36 hours of undergraduate work in geography or an allied discipline.
  • Acceptable scores on the GRE exam. 
  • Three strong letters of recommendation.
  • A personal statement that summarizes your background and interests in pursuing an advanced degree in geography.

Applicants are also encouraged to submit a writing sample (i.e., publication, research paper written for class, report relevant to your professional activities) that demonstrates their writing ability.

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Program Details

Degree Type: Doctoral

College/School: College of Arts and Sciences

Program Type: Major

Class Type: In Person

Contact Us

Dr. Rick Bunch
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Geography, Environment, and Sustainability Studies