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Graduate Catalog 2016/2017

Geography and Environmental Science and Policy (GEP)

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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CIP Code: 45.0799
College of Arts and Sciences (AS)
Total Minimum Program Hours Required (Post Bachelor's Degree): 90
Total Minimum Program Hours Required (Post Masters Degree): 60

Contact Information:
College of Arts and Sciences
School of Geosciences Department (SGS)
4202 E. Fowler Avenue NES107
Tampa FL  33620

Program Director or Coordinator:
Kamal Alsharif
Phone: 813-974-4883


Faculty Search: Arts and Sciences Faculty List

Program Information

The Ph.D. degree in Geography and Environmental Science and Policy is an interdisciplinary program, the curriculum of which is designed to take advantage of the School of Geoscience ’s (SGS ) strengths in critical areas of geography and environmental science and policy, as well as geology. Emphasis is placed on providing theoretical rigor and methodological skills enabling students to make significant and original research and policy contributions in an integrated interdisciplinary environment. In addition, the degree has a very strong applied component reflecting the School’s strong emphases in working on solutions to real-world geographical and environmental problems.

Areas of Emphasis:
Environmental Science and Policy

Accreditation Information:

Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of College and Schools.


Admissions Information

Admission Deadlines

There is an established University deadline for the submission of admission application materials. Programs may have earlier deadlines than the University deadline. The deadlines reflected below are the earliest of the two deadlines. Graduate Programs may continue to accept and process applications after the published deadline if space exists within the program. Check with the Program for availability.

Application Deadline (domestic application)

Fall: February 15
Spring: ---
Summer: ---

International Students

Foreign applicants who are outside the U.S. are required to apply for a visa. Depending on the country of origin, this may take a few months. So the deadlines for these international applicants may be earlier than the Program deadline and these applicants must apply prior to both deadlines. They are strongly encouraged to apply as early as possible. Foreign applicants who are in the U.S. and are currently on a visa may use the domestic application deadline dates. In addition to meeting the published application deadline for the Program of interest, all immigration documents should be submitted as soon as possible, but must be on file at USF no later than the following processing deadlines:

Fall: February 15
Spring: ---
Summer: ---

Admission Requirements

You must comply with general University policies and meet general University Admission requirements in addition to those listed below.

Must meet University requirements (see Graduate Admissions) as well as requirements listed below. 

Program Admission Requirements

  • A Master’s degree, or its equivalent, from an approved regionally accredited university with preparation in geography, environmental science and policy, or a related discipline. Highly qualified applicants can enter directly into the doctoral program from a Bachelor’s degree but must complete a minimum of 90 hours prior to obtaining the Ph.D., including the required coursework in either the Geography or Environmental Science and Policy Master’s program.
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) taken within the last 5 years
  • GPA at least 3.20 in upper division undergraduate and graduate credits
  • If non?native English speaker, TOEFL score of at least 79 on internet based test or equivalent for other forms of test or IELTS (minimum score 6.5)
  • Completed online application through the USF Graduate Admissions’ webpage
  • A letter of intent. The letter should outline the applicant’s specific academic interests and goals and identify faculty members whose interests align with that of the applicant.
  • Three letters of recommendation.  Arrange to have letters of recommendation sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions online prior to the application deadline. Prospective students should solicit the letters of recommendation from sources who are familiar with the applicant’s academic/work history and performance. Signatures and letterheads are required for letters of recommendation.

Students Upgrading into the Doctoral Program from the Master’s Degree Program
After completing a minimum of one semester of course work, an admitted master’s student may apply for the doctoral program with the consent of his/her major professor (must be the major professor and not simply the initial advisor). When the student applies to the Ph. D. program, the application is then reviewed by the Graduate Committee via the established application process, and recommendations are made regarding admission to the program and funding.

Admissions Status: Apply


Program Degree Requirements

Total Minimum Program Hours: 60 hours post-Master’s OR 90 hours post- Bachelor’s

Post-Bachelor’s (Bachelor’s to Ph.D.) (90 minimum hours)
Core Requirements - 12 hours
Electives - 66 hours
Dissertation – 12 hours

Post-Master’s (60 minimum hours)
Core Requirements - 12 hours
Electives - 36 hours
Dissertation – 12 hours

Core Requirements                  ( 12 credits)
All students must complete the following courses:

EVR 7021                (3)                 Doctoral Dissertation Preparation
GEO 7606                (3)              Seminar in Urban and Natural Environments                       
GEO 6116                (3)              Perspectives in Environmental Thought                                
GEO 6058                (3)             Geographic Literature and History                                        

One of these methods courses:
GIS 6100                                 (3)              Geographic Information Systems                                         
GIS 6038                               (3)              Advance Remote Sensing                                                                      
GEO 6119              (3)              Qualitative Research Methods                                              
GEO 6166               (3)              Multivariate Statistical Analysis                                           

Electives - 36 credits (post-Master’s); 66 credits (post-Bachelor’s)
Students complete 36 (post-master’s) or 66 (post-bachelor’s) credit hours in the form of elective coursework related to their area of interest. A Minimum of nine (9) structured credit hours is required for students with a master’s degree.  Students entering the Ph.D. program who have not completed a Master’s Degree in either Geography or Environmental Science and Policy should expect to complete coursework equivalent to the requirements of one of those Masters programs, in addition to these nine (9) minimum structured credit hours. . The student’s major professor and Faculty Supervisory Committee will advise students on the selection of the proper mix of coursework and other study to support the agreed upon dissertation research. Students can include coursework from a variety of departments to support the elective requirements, and students may choose to complete a Graduate Certificate in a particular field, from GEP or another department, as part of their studies.

EVR 6101                Geomorphology for Environmental Scientists
EVR 6216                Advances in Water Policy and Management
EVR 6320                Environmental Management
EVR 6408                Wildlife Ecology
EVR 6922                EPS Capstone seminar
EVR 6936                Seminar in Environmental Science
EVR 6937                Seminar in Environmental Policy
GEA 6195                   Seminar in Advanced Regional Geography 
GEA 6215                Seminar in North American Geography
GEA 6252                Seminar in the Geography of the American South 
GEA 6406                Seminar in Latin American and Caribbean Geography
GEA 6504                Seminar in European Geography
GEA 6745                Asian Geography Seminar
GEO 6115                Field Techniques
GEO 6209                Physical Geography Seminar                                                   
GEO 6215                Geomorphology Seminar 
GEO 6217                Karst Geomorphology            
GEO 6255                Weather, Climate, and Society     
GEO 6263                Soils Seminar 
GEO 6286                Advances in Water Resources  
GEO 6288                Hydrological Systems
GEO 6347                Natural Hazards
GEO 6345                Technological Hazards and Environmental Justice
GEO 6428                Seminar in Advanced Human Geography 
GEO 6475                Political Geography Seminar
GEO 6545                Economic Geography Seminar
GEO 6605                Contemporary Urban Issues
GEO 6627                Site Feasibility Analysis
GEO 6704                Transportation Geography
GEO 6908               Independent Study
GIS 5049                 GIS for Non-Majors                                               
GIS 5075                 Global Positioning Systems         
GIS 6038                 Advanced Remote Sensing      
GIS 6039                 Readings in Remote Sensing
GIS 6103                 Programming for GIS
GIS 6112                 Spatial Database Development
GIS 6146                 GIS Seminar
GIS 6306                 Environmental Applications of GIS
GIS 6307                 Socioeconomic Applications of GIS
GIS 6355                 Water Resources Applications of GIS
GLY 6573                 Fluvial Hydrology and Geomorphology
GLY 6824                 Ecohydrology
GLY 6828                 Ground-Water Geochemistry
CWR 6305               Urban Hydrology
CWR 6533               Water Quality Modeling
ECP 6305                 Environmental Economics and Policy
IDS 6215                  Seminar in Global Sustainability
PAD 6338                 Urban Land Use and Policy Administration
PAD 6339                 Housing and Public Policy
PCB 6933                 Seminar in Ecology
PHC 6301                 Water Pollution and Treatment
PHC 6312                Environmental Fate of Chemical Releases
PHC 6313                 Indoor Environmental Quality
PHC 6353                 Environmental Risk Assessment
POS 5159                 Urban Policy Analysis
URP 6056                                City and Regional Planning
URP 6100                                Planning Theory and History
URP 6115                                Planning, Policy and Politics
URP 6232                                Research Methods for Urban and Research Planning
URP 6930                                Special Topics in Urban and Regional Planning
URP 6940                                Internship in Urban and Regional Planning

Doctoral Qualifying Exam
As soon as the substantial majority of the course work is completed, the student must pass a written qualifying examination covering the subject matter in the major and related fields. This examination may be supplemented by an oral examination. Students must be enrolled for a minimum of two (2) hours of graduate credit in their discipline at the time they take the qualifying examination. If the exam is taken between semesters, students must be enrolled for a minimum of two (2) hours of graduate credit in the semester before or following the exam.

Dissertation hour requirement and directed research ( 12 Credit hours)
Directed Research hours shall not exceed 50% of the doctoral dissertation hour requirement. Directed research hours cannot retroactively be converted to dissertation hours.

 EVR 7980        Doctoral Dissertation
GEO 7980        Doctoral Dissertation
GEO 6918        Directed Research

Other Requirements and Information:

When a student is admitted to the Program, the student, with the assistance of the Graduate Director, will have an initial advisor based upon mutual interests of the student and faculty member. The role of the advisor is to guide the student in selecting appropriate coursework for his/her program of study and to work with the student in developing research ideas and an eventual dissertation topic. In consultation with his/her advisor, the student will select a committee that will serve not only as the student's dissertation committee, but as the qualifying exam committee as well (See procedures for Academic Progress for SGS PhD students).

Policy for Taking Graduate Courses outside USF and the Tampa campus
Graduate courses offered at other universities or other USF campuses can have a different focus than those offered on the USF Tampa campus. Students must get approval from their advisors and the Graduate Director prior to taking any outside courses to verify that these courses will count toward their degrees. Additionally, only faculty at the School of Geosciences Tampa campus can serve as the major professor/advisor for graduate students enrolled on the Tampa campus.

College Degree Requirements

Refer to the College Section of the Graduate Catalog for College requirements and information.


USF Degree Requirements

See USF Degree Requirements —


Financial Assistance

Financial Aid

Fellowships & Scholarships

Graduate Assistantships


Registration Process

First, contact your graduate program advisor for guidance courses to register for. Obtain any electronic course permit if necessary. Register for the new student orientation online at Then go to the link to OASIS, USF's on-line registration system to register for your classes. Follow the directions given on-line.

To access online course materials, students must have a USF NetID (e-mail account). Please visit: to obtain your NetID.

New students, including those studying online, may obtain a USFCard. Please visit: to obtain your USFCard.

Tuition and fees: Fees are determined by the level of the course. Please visit Cash Accounting, Controller's Office, for information on tuition and fees.


Graduate Course Information

Use the list below to lookup graduate courses related to this program in the USF Course Inventory:

EVR7980, GEO7980,