Thank you for your interest in the Ph.D. degree in Geography from Northern Illinois University. The Ph.D., or Doctorate of Philosophy, is the highest level graduate degree offered in the Arts & Sciences at most American universities. The Ph.D. is awarded upon completion of a dissertation of original research that makes a substantive contribution to geographic knowledge. The degree requires at least 60 semester hours of graduate credit beyond the Masters.
A unique aspect of the Ph.D. program in geography at NIU is the requirement that students participate in an applied research experience outside the university prior to the dissertation. Course requirements are determined in consultation student's advisement committee, but must include three core courses, at least 6 hours of advanced topical course work in geography, and at least 9 hours of cognate course work outside of geography. Proficiency in spatial analysis and at least one additional research method relevant to the student’s field of specialization is required. Admission to candidacy is awarded upon successful completion of written comprehensive examinations and defense of a dissertation proposal.
The Ph.D. is a highly individualized degree, where students work closely with faculty and members of their advisement committee. The main foci of department curricula are human organization of geographic space, spatial environmental science, and geographic information science. Within these foci, current areas of faculty interest include: urban geography, economic geography, health geography, environmental management, and human impacts on the environment; biogeography, forest ecology, hydrology, water resources, climatology, soil science, geophysical hazards, and natural physical systems; and geovisualization, GI science, spatial analysis, geomatics and spatial modeling.
The department’s Graduate Certificate in GIA can also be earned while enrolled in a graduate degree program at NIU.
For more information on the Ph.D. in Geography, please see the Graduate Catalog or our Graduate Student Handbook, or contact the department’s Graduate Coordinator: Michael Konen (firstname.lastname@example.org), 815-753-6849.