Welcome from the Director

Welcome to the School of Geography and Development (SGD) at the University of Arizona, USA. UA is a top-ranked, research and land-grant university with about 45,000 students (35,000 undergrad and 10,000 grad) and 3200 faculty with the main campus in Tucson, Arizona.   SGD covers the entire range of contemporary geography and also has strong expertise in environment, geographic information sciences and development. We have 30 faculty, many adjunct and affiliated faculty, over 70 graduate students (M.A. and Ph.D.), and approximately 220 undergraduate majors across several degree programs, SGD is an exciting and diverse learning environment.

Geography is about connections and patterns, and our faculty and students map, track and measure the differences, links and similarities that tie the world together, from rainfall and forest cover to human cultures and political organizations. Geography is about experiences, and our faculty and students travel and immerse themselves in environments and societies all over the globe, from India to Russia, Arizona to New England, and Mexico to Chile. Geography is about engagement and being in the world, and our faculty and students interact with schools, neighborhoods, stakeholders, policy-makers, international organizations and people in their community, to help inform decisions, deliberate complex problems, and confront difficult choices.  Our School embraces interdisciplinarity with many faculty and students also identifying as environmental or earth scientists, information systems professionals, and international, development, urban or regional experts.

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. Undergraduate students can take Minors in Geography, Regional Development and Geographic Information Science.  Our graduate degrees include an M.A. and Ph.D in Geography, the MS in Geographic Information Systems Technology (MS-GIST) and a MA in Development Practice (MDP).  

Faculty and graduate student research interests range across human, physical and environmental geography and include water, climate, ecosystems and global change; social theory; political and cultural geography; urban, economic and international development; migration and demography; the geographies of crime, health, gender, and finance;  and support for communities and decision making through GIS, visualization, remote sensing, school gardens and other tools and practices.  Many faculty work in the American west, the US-Mexico border region and across Latin America and have affiliations with other units across the university such as the Udall Center for Public Policy, the Center for Latin American Studies and the Institute of the Environment. 

The signatures of the University of Arizona’s Geography program are collaboration and synthesis within the department and across the university and a committment to environmental and social justice. 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 climate vulnerability or mosquito-borne disease, or where economic, political and urban geographers collaborate with environmental researchers to address problems of inequality on the border or within the city of Tucson.  We teach the full gamut of contemporary topics in geography 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.

Diana Liverman