Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Thesis-based program

Program overview

Engage in deep scholarship on the relationships between spaces, people and places. Graduate students admitted into the Geography program join a community of internationally recognized scholars offering one-on-one supervision and small graduate seminars. The program offers a judicious mix of course work and investigation that is tailored to meet the needs of each student's research endeavour. Faculty have extensive experience with physical and human geography, as well as geographic methods. With a campus located in Alberta's open prairies at the foot of the stunning Rocky Mountains, the University of Calgary offers students an incomparable location to pursue advanced study in Geography.

Students are normally admitted to the Fall term. However, off-cycle admissions may also be considered on an individual basis, but will require alternate funding arrangements. Program funding will only be distributed in the competition for Fall admissions. Please contact the program for details

Completing this program

  • Seminars: Students will participate in four semesters of graduate research seminars.
  • Conference: Students will participate in the annual department conference.
  • Thesis: Students will be required to submit and defend an original research thesis.
  • Courses: Topics may include remote sensing, statistical methods, spatial analysis and modelling, geocryology, fluvial geomorphology and others.
  • Candidacy: Students will complete both oral and written candidacy exams.


Cartographer, commercial/residential surveyor, environmental consultant, planning and development surveyor, teacher, planner, demographer, community developer, resource management specialist, municipal advisor, development officer.

A PhD in geography is usually considered a final degree.

Thesis-based program

Students are required to prepare a thesis and successfully defend in an open oral defense.


Two courses and four graduate research seminars

Learn more about program requirements in the Academic Calendar

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Four years full-time; six years maximum


A supervisor is required, and must agree to oversee the student's research before the student applies for admission

Fees and funding

See the Graduate Calendar for information on fees and fee regulations, and for information on awards and financial assistance.


Learn about faculty available to supervise this degree.
Please note: additional supervisors may be available. Please visit this page for more information.

  1. Shelley Alexander

    Shelley Alexander

    Accepting Inquiries
    Human-Animal Relationships, Conservation and Geospatial Science
  2. Darren Bender

    Darren Bender

  3. Gwendolyn Blue

    Gwendolyn Blue

    Seeking Students
    Public engagement with science and technology; Science-based controversies (climate change, genomics), Human-animal relations; More-than-human geographies
  4. Ryan Burns

    Ryan Burns

    Accepting Inquiries
    Urban GIS, Critical GIS, Digital Humanitarianism, Open Data, Smart Cities, Geovisualization and geovisual analytics, Geographical software studies, Geographic political economy
  5. Placeholder Profile Image

    Dianne Draper

    Sustainability; resources and environmental management and planning, Sustainable tourism, Parks and protected areas, Experiential education
  6. Brent Else

    Brent Else

    Seeking Students
    Air-sea interactions in the Arctic, Arctic marine carbon cycles, Remote sensing of Arctic marine environments, Arctic marine ecosystems, Improved weather observations for Arctic operations
  7. Andrea Freeman

    Andrea Freeman

    Seeking Students
    Geoarcheology, Pedagogy in Geography and archaeology
  8. Geoffrey Hay

    Geoffrey Hay

    Accepting Inquiries
    GEOBIA - Geographic Object Based Image Analysis, Thermal Imaging: HEAT - Heat Energy Assessment Technologies, MyHEAT - Startup Company (, **Please visit these sites for more information:
  9. Dan Jacobson

    Dan Jacobson

  10. Greg McDermid

    Greg McDermid

    Accepting Inquiries
    Remote Sensing and Geospatial Technologies, The Boreal Ecosystems Recovery and Assessment Project, Forestry and Ecological Applications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Characterizing the Effects of Linear Disturbances on Peatland Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Remote Sensing for Biodiversity Monitoring in Alberta, The Alberta-Bavaria Research Network (ABBY Net)

Admission requirements


A minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 10 full-course equivalents or 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.

Minimum education

A master’s degree, or equivalent from a recognized institution.

Work samples



  • A proposal describing applicant’s intended research area
  • A C.V

Reference letters

Two (one of the references must be from your master's supervisor)

Test scores


English language proficiency (ELP)

An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:


For admission on September 1:

  • Canadians and permanent residents - apply by January 5, submission of all supporting documents due at time of application.
    • Online reference submission required by January 15
  • International applicants – apply by January 5, submission of supporting documents due at time of application.
    • Online reference submission required by January 15

If you're not a Canadian or permanent resident, or if you have international credentials, make sure to learn about international requirements

Learn more about this program

Department of Geography

Earth Sciences Building, Room 356

2500 University Drive NW

Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit the departmental website

Faculty of Arts

University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Visit the Faculty of Arts website

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