Welcome from the Director

Welcome to the School of Geography and Development (SGD) at the University of Arizona, USA. SGD is part of a top-ranked, Research One, land-grant university and we cover the entire range of contemporary geography. With 25 regular faculty, over 25 adjunct and affiliated faculty, and over 70 graduate students (M.A. and Ph.D.), and approximately 220 undergraduate majors, SGD is a rich, lively learning environment.

Geography is a science of connections, and our faculty and students map, track and measure the things that tie the world together, from rainfall and forest cover to human cultures and political organizations. Geography is a science of experience, and our faculty and students travel and immerse themselves in environments and societies all over the globe, from India to Russia, from Arizona to New England, and from Mexico to Chile. Geography is a science of participation and being in the world, and our faculty and students interact with neighborhoods, stakeholders, policy-makers, and people in their community, to help inform decisions, deliberate over complex problems, and confront hard choices.

We offer a B.A. and B.S. degree in Geography, a B.S. degree in Regional Development, and a B.A. degree in Environmental Studies. We offer to undergraduate students Minors in Geography, Regional Development and Geographic Information Science. We also offer graduate degrees in Geography, including both an M.A. and Ph.D. Our degree in Geographic Information Systems Technology (MS-GIST) is a unique program that allows students to obtain a Masters of Science degree in ten short months.

Faculty and graduate student research interests range broadly, including the sustainability of cities; social theory and culture; climatology and environmental impacts in the American Southwest; economic development; landscape ecology and forest restoration; human impacts of global climate change; geographic epidemiology; international development and environmental sustainability; conflict over the public presentation of ethnic identity; local government restructuring; spatial interaction modeling; American migration; European fertility; GIS/visualization; environmental policy; and remote sensing of fire-induced vegetation change.

The signature of the University of Arizona’s Geography program, and what sets it apart from programs across the country, is its terrific level of synthesis. Students and faculty in our program integrate big theoretical ideas with nitty-gritty work on the ground in a complex world. Together, they build unlikely, exciting, and eclectic teams to produce surprising discoveries, as where remote sensors and climatologists join hands with critical political theorists to confront the problem of mosquito-borne disease, or where hydrologists and paleoecologists link with theorists of urban governance to explore how cities will handle climate change. We also teach the full gamut of contemporary topics in geographic education at the undergraduate and graduate level, where we have an impressive number of award-winning teachers. We are committed to computer-assisted education, research, and public service and hope that this website will provide you with an introduction to how we work to understand the complex relations among people, places, and environments.

Lynn Staeheli, Director