*R. A. Sutherland, PhD (Chair)—geomorphology, soil erosion, water
Cooperating Graduate Faculty
K. W. Bridges, PhD—computer cartography
Affiliate Graduate Faculty
J. Fox, PhD—social forestry
Degrees Offered: BA (including minor) in geography, MA in geography, PhD in geography, Graduate Certificate in Ocean Policy
The Academic Program
Geography (GEOG) provides a broad perspective on human and physical phenomena that define and transform the surface of the Earth. It explores the complexity of and interrelationships among the cultures, economies, histories, ecologies, and physical state that characterize particular places and how such relationships vary across space. Three themes (the operation on interlocking systems of the natural environment; the relationship between environment and society; the nature of place and space and the relationships and processes defining and changing them) focus upon the myriad challenges in the contemporary world, such as global environmental change, its causes, and its implications for the human experience; resource management and regional development in the Third World; regional conflict fed by ethnic, religious, economic, and territorial differences; the making of resource and locational decisions; and the collection, processing, display and communication, and management of spatial information. The department is uniquely placed to examine these issues in the Asia-Pacific region. Hawai‘i’s historical, sociocultural, economic, and environmental context provides a fascinating setting for learning and research and can serve as a springboard into the wider region.
Students with a geography degree have gained both a holistic understanding of the world and a specific set of concepts and methodologies that can be applied to a wide range of career opportunities dealing with environmental and resources issues, location and resource decision-making, planning and policy questions, and the display of information on maps and through geographic information systems in all levels of government, private firms, nonprofit organizations, and international agencies.
Students must complete 37 credit hours including:
Individual programs are designed in consultation with the undergraduate advisor.
The minor in geography requires 15 credits of upper division course work in geography, which should include at least one course in three of four areas: human geography; physical geography; Hawaiian, Asian and Pacific regional problems; and cartography, remote sensing, and geographic information systems.
The department offers programs of graduate study and research leading to the MA and PhD degrees. Faculty interests and supporting strengths of UH Manoa provide advantages for study of the following general topics: (a) environmental studies and policies; (b) resource management and systems; (c) conservation, urbanization, and regional development; (d) cartography, remote sensing, and geographic information systems; and (e) Pacific and Asian regional problems.
Applicants are expected to have a broad-based undergraduate education encompassing basic courses in the physical sciences, social sciences, and humanities. They should have a firm grasp of the fundamentals of physical and human geography and of basic cartographic and quantitative techniques. Intended candidates for the MA or PhD need not have an undergraduate major in geography; students from related fields are welcome, but any subject-area weakness must be remedied by course work.
Holders of graduate degrees in geography are employed in research and
administrative positions in county, state, federal, and international
agencies; research positions in private business, especially consulting
firms; and teaching positions in secondary schools, community colleges,
colleges, and universities.
Applicants for admission to the MA program in geography must provide two transcripts, GRE scores (General Test only), completed application forms (available from the department, the Graduate Division, and the Web), and three letters of reference.
The department offers a Plan A (thesis) program. In consultation with an advisory committee, the candidate plans a coherent program of study drawn from departmental offerings and pertinent courses from other UH Manoa departments and programs. Each MA student must complete a minimum 31-credit program, including:
Ocean Policy Certificate Program
The wise use and careful stewardship of the ocean require people with multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary advanced education in the natural and social sciences. This program is designed for classified graduate students and law students in good standing, and community professional practitioners who hold a bachelor’s degree who meet minimum admissions requirements are eligible to complement their existing degree or curriculum. An advisory committee assists each student in custom-designing a 21-credit (minimum) program that draws on marine-related courses in law, geography, agricultural and resource economics, oceanography, costal management, civil and ocean and resources engineering, geology and geophysics, meteorology, botany and zoology, and includes an interdisciplinary seminar and two practica (one each in natural science and social science). For further information and applications, contact the department.
The PhD program is highly selective, and admission is based upon demonstrated competence in previous work and promise of research ability. In addition to the materials required for MA admission, PhD applicants must submit representative samples of research writing and a comprehensive statement of professional goals and objectives. Students who have completed MA degrees in fields other than geography may be considered for admission to the PhD program. If admitted, however, they must undertake any remedial course work recommended by the department.
The PhD program consists of advanced courses and research seminars in the department, independent reading and research, and work in related disciplines. Each candidate will be expected to have taken the core program required for MA candidates or its equivalent. In addition, the following are common elements of all geography PhD programs
Please note: This Catalog was prepared to provide information and does not constitute a contract. The University reserves the right to change or delete, supplement or otherwise amend at any time and without prior notice the information, requirements and policies contained in this Catalog.
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