UC Santa Barbara Geography / Graduates / Program Description
Areas of Emphasis
The Geography Department at UCSB offers graduate training leading to the Masters and Ph.D. degrees in a selection of areas including the following.
Earth System Science (ESS)
This systematic area emphasizes the measurement, analysis, and modeling of hydrologic, atmospheric, oceanic, and terrestrial systems and the interactions between systems. A large proportion of the problems addressed by researchers in ESS involve three common elements: large regional issues; mathematical and computational modeling; and large, spatially-indexed datasets.
Human Geography (HG)
This systematic area covers the major components of Human Geography offered by the Department, including: human spatial behavior; spatial decision making and decision support; spatial and geographic cognition; urban and regional modeling, planning, and policy; human movement and transportation systems; resource and environmental management; environmental ethics; and human response to the changing environment.
Modeling, Measurement and Computation (MMC)
This area is the investigation of those sets of techniques from the areas of analysis, statistics and computation that are particularly well-suited to the modeling of the complex, geographic phenomena that are the subject of investigation in both ESS and HER. Important sub-areas include numerical modeling, spatial statistics, remote sensing, computational modeling and database systems (including GIS), and visualization. All of these are increasingly dependent on a knowledge of computational theory and practice.
Optional Emphases in Doctoral Program
Students pursuing a PhD in this department may petition to add an emphasis in Cognitive Science, Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences (QMSS), or Transportation.
The Cognitive Science emphasis involves faculty from PhD programs in Anthropology, Computer Science, Education, English, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Geography, Linguistics, Psychological and Brain Sciences, and Sociology. Its goal is to give students an appreciation of the interdisciplinary study of thinking, perception, and intelligent behaviors, as determined jointly by the nature of the environment and by the internal architecture of the intelligent agent, whether human, animal, or machine. Consult the UCSB Catalog or see the Cognitive Science website for further information.
Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences
QMSS helps students attain the competencies needed to conduct quantitative social science research. The students participate in core design and analysis classes, courses in advanced and specialized methodologies and interdisciplinary colloquia and research projects. The following departments are involved: Communication, Economics, Education, Geography, Political Science, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Sociology and Statistics and Applied Probability. Please see the QMSS website for more information.
Transportation Modeling and Simulation (TMS) is a specialty in the geography department integrating the three principal areas of training: Earth System Science (ESS); Modeling, Measurement, and Computation (MMC); and Human Geography (HG). This special emphasis provides training in the methods used in transportation systems planning, design, and operations with key focus areas on data collection, modeling, and simulation. A variety of courses are available within the specialty, and students belonging to the specialty have many opportunities for fellowships and research grants supporting their dissertation research. The specialty has required courses that are tailored to individual student background and research plans. Admission to this specialty follows the same criteria as the Department of Geography. For more information, please contact coordinator: Kostas Goulias at email: goulias_obf (at) obf.domain: geog.ucsb.edu.