M.A. / Ph.D. Program

Master's of Arts / Ph.D.


For over fifty years, the School of Geography, Development & Environment has been one of the leading geography departments in the United States.

Faculty Expertise

The University of Arizona is distinguished by the broad range of teaching and research interests among its faculty. Our program provides opportunities for graduate students to specialize in many sub-fields including:

  • Analysis of Regional Development Processes
  • Critical Human Geography
  • Human-Environment Relationships
  • Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing
  • Physical Geography and Environmental Systems
  • Geographic Methodologies and Techniques.

Many of our students go on to work in academia, NGO’s and the private sector.  

See the Geography Graduate Student Handbook for full details about the program.

M.A. Program  

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Geography is a two-year program of study. Most students choose the thesis option, which the School recommends whether a student plans to pursue an academic or non-academic career; there is also a non-thesis option. Many of our Master's students continue on for a Ph.D. 

See M.A. Requirements

Ph.D. Program  

The Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Geography is a specialized, research-oriented degree which requires a qualifying examination. You are required to have a M.A. prior to joining the Ph.D. program. You undertake at least one year of coursework (minimum of 18 credits) followed by independent study and research culminating in a dissertation.  

Most students design their own Ph.D. dissertation topics and secure their own funding for field research. However, there are sometimes research and employment opportunities with faculty who have research grants.  

See Ph.D. Requirements

Ph.D. Minor

The School of Geography, Development & Environment offers a minor in Geography for Ph.D. students majoring in other disciplines at the University of Arizona. This program has a minimum of 12 units of graduate coursework in geography, including a maximum of 3 units of independent study. Students considering the Ph.D. minor in geography should consult with the Director of Graduate Studies and potential committee members early on to prepare for the comprehensive examination.