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Programs at the PhD and Master's Levels
With the establishment of its new doctoral program, the Department of Geography and Urban Studies at Temple University now offers both a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies and a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Geography and Urban Studies. Both degrees emphasize geographic approaches to the study of urban conditions and dynamics in U.S. and international settings. The challenges and opportunities that face cities and metropolitan regions are central to the well being of billions of people around the globe. Our program focuses on the themes of globalization, sustainability, and social justice, three areas that increasingly are central to understanding such challenges and opportunities.
In Fall 2009, the department accepted its first doctoral students in the new program which is designed to educate students for academic careers in teaching and research, as well as for leadership in governmental and private institutions that work on social, economic, environmental, and equity issues in metropolitan regions.
The new doctoral program reflects Temple University's commitment to sustaining and improving cities within its own region and around the world. Under the leadership of President Ann Weaver Hart, Temple is strengthening its urban mission to give the university “a strong role in advancing the city and the region through the creation and application of knowledge” and is expanding its global linkages: “in an era when local conditions are directly linked to global patterns, Temple must not restrict its work on urban trends and problems to the United States alone” (these excerpts from President Ann Weaver Hart's addresses on “21 st Century Cities: Research from Temple” and “Temple in the World,” can be accessed on-line).
The complexity and pace of economic, environmental, and social change require that students are trained in interdisciplinary and spatially integrative analytical frameworks and specialized skills to apply to real-world conditions. Therefore, our curriculum emphasizes theory, applied research, and a range of spatial analytical methods including quantitative (emphasizing Geographic Information Science or GIS) and qualitative skills.
The PhD program is a 61-credit program that admits students holding the bachelor's degree or master's degree in a related social science. To fulfill the degree requirements, students must complete coursework, pass a comprehensive examination, submit a thesis proposal, and then write and defend that thesis.
The program draws upon the interdisciplinary expertise of faculty in the Department of Geography and Urban Studies, but also involves the expertise of graduate faculty in related areas across the University, including Community and Regional Planning, Economics, Sociology, Criminal Justice, Education, and Public Health. Students will engage in research and scholarly activity with scholars who are active in helping to build multiple social science disciplines. In recent years, members of the department have published a half dozen books with leading publishers in the field including Oxford University Press, Wiley and Routledge; contributed articles to leading journals like the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Environment and Planning A, and the Journal of Urban Affairs, etc., and won competitive grants totaling over $2 million. Faculty research has been sponsored by the World Bank, the United Nations, the United States Information Agency, the Overseas Development Institute, the Inter-American Foundation, and the American Institute of Indian Studies.
Graduates of the program with doctorates in Urban Studies will be able to compete for faculty positions in a range of departments –from geography to interdisciplinary urban departments (such as those in urban studies, urban planning, urban development, and a host of mixed departments). They will also be equipped to seek employment outside of academe. Non-governmental organizations, think tanks, research institutes, service delivery institutions, international development and economic development organizations, increasingly conduct independent research and employ graduate degree holders in interdisciplinary areas like urban studies and environmental studies.
The new Master's curriculum combines and reorganizes two previously-offered MA programs into a single curriculum that aligns closely with the new doctoral program. Given that a number of courses were shared between the two programs, we believed we could improve the overall quality of instruction and consolidate resources by combining and redesigning these programs in line with the PhD.
The 36-credit MA degree is designed to prepare students for further graduate study as well as professional positions related to urban and economic development, environmental sustainability and social justice, including local and governmental agencies, non-governmental organiations at the local and internationa scale, community-based and public interest organizations, and business.
The complexity of human-environment interactions, as well as the interconnectedness of the global economy, culture, and politics, have fueled a resurgence of geographic theory and methods as a framework for analyzing metropolitan and urban conditions. The MA program encourages (although it does not absolutely require) students to develop familiarity with GIS as a research tool. BY bringing together a wide range of geaographic data at varying spatial scales for representation and analysis, GIS permits a simultaneous view of the human and environmental dimensions of urbanizations.
Our faculty excels at theoretical and applied analysis of metropolitan areas within their broader regional, national, and global contexts, often using the complex Philadelphia metropolitan region as a laboratory. We draw upon our Philadelphia location to provide students with opportunities to engage in public policy and applied urban research. Students can use our faculty's linkages with public agencies, educational institutions, community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, and social movements in our region to deepen their knowledge of urban dynamics.
The culminating exercise in the new M.A. program is no longer the traditional comprehensive examination and thesis. Instead, the department now requires that every student produce a
Masters Research Paper, under the supervision of both a faculty member with expertise in the content area of the paper, and an instructor guiding a class in which the individual students are producing these papers. This is a supervised but independent research experience that enhances the student's ability to contribute to professional conferences and journals upon graduation.
Meet a few alums of our MA program and see what they're doing here.
To view the requirements for the department's previously-offered MA in Geography and MA in Urban Studies, go here.