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Making a World of Difference

Geography and the Environment Graduate Studies

Man standing in creek with measurement pole

Geography, Ph.D.

The doctoral program in geography provides students an opportunity to develop expertise in a range of topics across human geography, environment-society geography, community geography, physical geography and geospatial techniques. Students in our doctoral program are fully funded, and our faculty work closely with the small group of doctoral students admitted each year to mentor them in publishing, grant writing, fieldwork and teaching. Graduates from the doctoral program become faculty in geography and cognate fields, and our department has an excellent record of placing our graduates in academic positions. Recent graduates of our doctoral program have also pursued careers in the nonprofit, public and private sectors. 

Geography, M.A.

The master of arts program in geography gives students a critical perspective on contemporary trends in geography, develops research skills and provides advanced training in the discipline. Maxwell faculty members offer concentrations in urban, cultural, political and economic geography; community geography; political ecology, resource geography and environmental history; historical geography and geohumanities; climate science, biogeography and geomorphology; and geospatial technologies. M.A. students have a variety of funding opportunities available to them and most are fully funded.

Joint M.A./M.P.A. Degree Option

Graduate students of geography may complete a joint M.A./M.P.A. degree in conjunction with the Maxwell School’s Public Administration and International Affairs Department. This program takes about three years to complete, and students must apply separately to both programs.

Certificate in GIS and Spatial Analysis

The 12-credit Certificate in Advanced Studies (CAS) in geographic information systems and spatial analysis is designed for graduate students who want to use geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial data analysis in their academic or professional careers. Students in the certificate program must be concurrently enrolled in a graduate degree program.

Funding Opportunities for Graduate Students

Competitive funding opportunities for graduate students are available through Syracuse University and the academic departments within the Maxwell School. For more information, students are encouraged to contact the department’s director of graduate studies for further information.

Professor Robinson with students in GIS lab

Community Geography Graduate Assistantship

Offered in association with Syracuse Community Geography, funding is available for up to three years for students with GIS skills and an interest in using GIS and other research methods to investigate community concerns.

Preference will be given to students with experience and interest in community geography, participatory GIS and participatory research, and community organizing.

Graduate Assistantships

Master's or Ph.D. students can work with faculty as instructors and graders for undergraduate courses. Departmental funding is usually provided for two years for M.A. students and four years for Ph.D. students. Funding is contingent upon satisfactory progress in the program.

University Fellowship

Awarded on the basis of the applicant’s overall merit, the fellowship covers master's students' first year of study and years one and three for doctoral students. Funding for year two, for both master's and doctoral students, and year four for doctoral students, is provided through the teaching assistantship.

Watson Assistantship

This provides a one-year stipend and tuition credits for a student from Latin America or the Caribbean, or students conducting M.A. or Ph.D. research in Latin America or the Caribbean. Students are able to take classes without the need to work as a graduate assistant. The department can typically provide one Watson Assistantship per year.

Summer Research Awards

These awards are intended to help defray the costs of activities that advance the student’s research agenda or professional development. Master's students are guaranteed one year of summer funding, receiving the maximum award. Ph.D. students will be guaranteed summer funding following their first three years of residence, receiving the maximum award each year.

Current students: competitive awards for graduate research including the Hsu Fellowship, Monmonier Award and Sopher Memorial Scholarship are available on the geography Answers website.

Geography Graduate Student Organization

The Geography Graduate Student Organization (GGSO) is an official, university-recognized organization that represents graduate students in the Geography and the Environment Department at Syracuse University. The objectives of the GGSO are:

  • to organize, support and represent geography and the environment graduate students at Syracuse University,
  • to provide a space where graduate students' opinions and concerns can be addressed,
  • to recognize and promote those concerns to the faculty and the University at large via the Graduate Student Organization (GSO) and;
  • to provide resources to strengthen the department academically, professionally and socially.
Geography staff and students in office
Geography and the Environment Department
144 Eggers Hall