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Ph.D. Program


Dissertation Plan

Course Requirements - minimum 48 units

At least 48 post-graduate course units (M.A. & Ph.D.) must be completed (exclusive of 299 and 396 units). The 48 units include the 38 units of core courses listed below and additional 200-level courses in appropriate elective courses.

GGG Core Courses – 16 units

  1. GEO 200AN – Geographical Concepts (4 unit, fall quarter)
  2. GEO 200BN – Theory and Practice of Geography (4 units, winter quarter)
  3. GEO 200CN – Computational Methods in Geography (4 units)
  4. GEO 200DN – Methods of Socio-Spatial Analysis in Geography (4 units)
  5. GEO 200EN—Advanced Research Design in Geography (2 Units)

Students are encouraged to take the first four of these core courses in their first year in the program. The graduate adviser will not waive these core courses unless the student has transcript notation and a syllabus from a similar graduate-level course taken at another institution. The course GEO 200EN is designed to help students in finalizing their dissertation research proposal, and should be taken during their second or third year of the program, depending on their level of preparation.

Geographic Depth Courses – 16 units

Every student is required to take at least 16 units of Geographic Depth Courses from a pre-approved selection of courses that cover the four recognized sub-disciplines of Geography:

Seminar Requirement – 4 units

GEO 297 – Seminar in Geography

Electives – variable units

Elective courses may be required to reach the minimum number of units required.

Course Work Summary

There are total of 48 post-graduate units required. Of these, at least 36 units must be at the graduate level (200-level). A minimum course load per academic quarter is 12 units. Geography depth and elective coursework must be approved by the student’s Guidance Committee, then reviewed by the Graduate Adviser, and then approved by the Graduate Group Executive Committee. Ph.D. students must be in residence for at least six quarters and must complete 30 units of coursework at UCD. The Graduate Adviser can assist students who wish to transfer courses from other institutions or through UC Extension (via petition) into their program.

Dissertation Requirements

Before advancing to candidacy for a doctoral degree, a student must pass a Qualifying Examination before a committee appointed to administer that examination. All students will complete the course requirements before taking their Qualifying Examination. The qualifying exam should be taken by the 7th quarter in the program (end of Fall quarter, third year). The Qualifying Examination will consist of written and oral examinations. The Qualifying Examination will be both oral and written and cover general geography, the student’s Area of Emphasis and/or Concentration, and course preparation indicated in the student program of study, and the area of proposed research. The dissertation itself, including the proposal and final product, is developed by the student under the guidance of a Dissertation Committee. This committee must have at least three members, including at least two members (including the Chair) who are Geography Graduate Group members. Members of a Ph.D. student’s Dissertation Committee are recommended by the Graduate Adviser, in consultation with the student, and appointed by the Dean of Graduate Studies.