Curriculum

Students choose their coursework and design original research in consultation with a faculty advisor and dissertation committee. Most students complete the program in four to five years, and all degree requirements must be completed within eight years of matriculation. The minimum residency requirement is four semesters, not including summer semesters.

The program requires a minimum of 66 hours of graduate work, 30 of which must be earned while in residence. Prior to advancement to candidacy, students complete a minimum of 36 credit hours in core requirements and elective courses in their area of focus, all of which must be at the Graduate level (5000 and above). All PhD students are required to take 12 credit hours of core courses. After coursework is completed, students pass a comprehensive exam, defend their dissertation proposal, and then write and defend their dissertation.

Learning Outcomes

The program is committed to developing and implementing efficient and effective processes of assessment and evaluation to advance student learning, teaching effectiveness, and program quality. The program’s five student learning outcomes provide the faculty and students with a shared understanding of the goals directing the curriculum. Upon graduation with a PhD in Geography, Planning, and Design, students will be able to:

  • exhibit a comprehensive understanding of content area(s) of focus;
  • anchor ideas in scholarship and identify novel areas for scholarly pursuit;
  • conduct quality research appropriate to the field;
  • create written products that are clear and logical in form; and
  • present clear and convincing ideas orally that demonstrate a strong understanding of the areas of focus.

Overview

The minimum requirement is 36 credit hours of coursework, all of which must be at the Graduate level (5000 and above) and 30 hours of dissertation credits. All PhD students are required to take 12 credit hours of core courses.

The curriculum is divided into four stages:

The program requires a minimum of 66 hours of graduate work, 30 of which must be earned while in residence.

Each student’s curriculum is tailored to his/her individual needs and is determined in close consultation with the dissertation advisor. Within their area of specialization, students will identify a major area of study and an outside field of study. All students are required to enroll in the PhD colloquium and Research Methods core courses during the first and second years of course work.

Typical Course of Study

Independent Studies

All independent or directed studies must be related to the student’s major or minor area of study, comprehensive examinations, and/or dissertation topic. The number of credit hours for independent studies is limited to a maximum of three per semester over the first four semesters of coursework. Independent study course work cannot exceed 25 percent of the 66 credits of course work required for the PhD degree.

Transfer Credits

Incoming students may request transfer credits from previously-completed graduate-level courses by following the regulations outlined in Section 4 of the Graduate School Policies and Procedures document, with the exception that the PhD program only allows up to nine (9) transfer credits for each student.