A West Virginia University Program of Excellence

West Virginia University was founded in Morgantown in 1867 as a public land-grant university. WVU is currently ranked by the Carnegie Foundation as having the highest level of research (R1) as defined by the Carnegie Classification of Institutes of Higher Education – one of only 115 among the nation’s 4000 plus higher education institutes. It is the largest institution of higher education, research, and service in the state. The main campus enrollment is approximately 30,000 students including 5000 graduate students. WVU offers 196 undergraduate, graduate and professional programs.

The Geography Program has been recognized for the past 12 years by the WVU Board of Governors as a Program of Excellence.  This extraordinary acknowledgement and strong endorsement is based on three quinquennial program reviews and recognizes the research, teaching, and mentoring quality of the program faculty, its staff and graduate body, and the outstanding resources available to the program.  The Geography Graduate Program offers two advanced degrees: the Master of Arts in Geography, and the Doctor of Philosophy in Geography. The Program has three broad research focus areas: Environmental Geography, Human Geography, and Geographic Information Science.  The program is supported by 17 faculty along with an active group of Professor Emeriti and clinical professors.  Being part of a combined Department of Geology and Geography allows students to also draw on the expertise of an equally well resourced and attentive 18 Geology faculty with expertise in deep geology, geomorphology, surficial processes, Karst landscapes, and hydrology. The department has outstanding teaching and research facilities and is housed in its own extensively renovated Brooks Hall on the Downtown campus of WVU.

Master of Arts in Geography (MA)

The MA program offers both a thesis and a project track.  The MA thesis track is an in-depth research investigation, whereas the MA project is a more structured and focused research undertaking.  The decision whether to pursue a thesis and project MA is usually made in the second semester of graduate study.  An MA requires between 30-32 academic credit hours depending on the track selected and normally takes two years to complete.

Doctor of Philosophy in Geography (PhD)

The PhD is an advanced degree with a program made up of coursework, comprehensive exams, and a major research investigation.  Students are expected to be well grounded in one or more of the Geography Program’s three areas of specialization.  In the doctoral program we seek a close alignment between an applicant’s proposed area of investigation and faculty expertise and applicants to the doctoral program are strongly encouraged to contact faculty in their proposed area of specialization before applying.  The PhD requires 28 hours of academic credit and typically takes four years of full-time study.

The Graduate Handbook and the links above contain extensive information about the program, degree requirements, faculty, department resources, the application process, and Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs).  The program has several GTAs available each year to support our teaching mission and these are awarded on a competitive basis and provide a stipend and full tuition waiver.

For further information about the Geography Program please contact the Graduate Committee or any member of faculty – contact details are available on the Contacts tab and in the Faculty links listed above.

Learn more about WVU and Morgantown