PhD in Geography

PhD in Geography, University of North Carolina at Charlotte 

The PhD in Geography is our department’s core doctoral program reflecting the multi-disciplinary research and teaching expertise of our exceptional and award winning faculty.  Graduate students engage in coursework from within and across three areas of focus: Urban and Regional Analysis, Earth and Environmental Systems, and Geographic Information Science. A broad range of elective courses build upon shared training in the theoretical and methodological foundations of Geography, advanced research approaches (quantitative and/or qualitative) and spatial technologies and analysis. Independent research follows yielding a dissertation that advances knowledge in Geography and its related disciplines.

Doctoral students in Geography at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte are members of a student-centered, well-resourced and collegial department comprised of social, physical and applied scientists. About half of our PhD students are supported through competitive Graduate Assistantships and our students are frequent recipients of the university’s most prestigious fellowships and national awards.

Our commitment to professional development translates into student involvement in faculty-led research and outreach teams; summer field work grants; financial support to present at national and international conferences; and preparation for teaching and research excellence both pre and post-graduation.  Doctoral students in the program have established a tradition of engagement and leadership in the department, across campus, and within national and international professional associations such as the American Association of Geographers and its regional and specialty groups.

The program is structured to be completed within 4 years and our graduates find professional success across the occupational spectrum - as tenure-track professors, international researchers, community planners, analysts with local to national scale governments, post-doctoral fellows, applied scientists, spatial entrepreneurs, private sector consultants and more.

For further details about program admission and requirements, please refer to the UNC Charlotte Graduate School catalogue

To apply to the program please see

For information about The Graduate School at UNC Charlotte, please see 

Prospective students are always welcome to visit the department in McEniry Hall or to contact Dr. Heather Smith, Program Director, by phone 704-687-5989 or email

Associated Centers
The Center for Applied Geographic Information Science
UNC Charlotte Urban Institute
The Infrastructure, Design, Environment and Sustainability Center

Current Geography graduate students, alumni and a few faculty

Current Geography graduate students, alumni and a few faculty celebrating one of the doctoral program's newest graduates - Dr. Liz Morrell, May 2018.