PhD Degree in Geography
The PhD is a research degree in which the thesis, contributing original knowledge to the field of research, is the primary focus. Graduates go on to academic careers or to other occupations in which doctoral-level education is an asset or prerequisite. Courses are chosen to ensure that students have the background required to undertake the thesis research. Students are educated in geographical research through courses and especially through direct individual supervision.
Eligibility for funding in the form of teaching assistantships and internal scholarships requires a minimum of 78% for both domestic (Canadian or Permanent Residents) and international students. In practice only those students eligible for funding are admitted and are thus guaranteed a minimum1 level of funding per annum from any number of sources: $19,000 for domestic and $26,000 for international students respectively. The difference between guaranteed domestic and international funding reflects the difference in fees paid by each. Most students also receive Summer term research assistantship money from the Supervisor.
In exceptional cases, very strong Masters students may be considered for promotion to the PhD without completing the Masters degree. Environment & Sustainability students apply for graduate admission to Geography and subsequently apply to Environment & Sustainability early in their first term in the program.
Evidence of proficiency in English is required for applicants born outside Canada whose first language is not English. The required level of proficiency can best be demonstrated by the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), which must have been administered within the last two years. An Official Examiner's Score can be submitted directly to Western by the Educational Testing Service. Western's TOEFL ID is 0984. The minimum total score for the internet-based test is 88, with individual minimum section requirements as follows: reading - 22; listening - 20; speaking - 22; writing - 24. If submitted in lieu of TOEFL, the minimum IELTS (International English Language Testing Service) score is 7.
The Department of Geography does not require applicants to submit GRE scores though these can be submitted in support of an application.
The PhD is primarily targeted towards a thesis based on original research of high academic calibre. For details about course and other requirements see the program components.
PhD students are supervised through a Thesis Supervision Committee consisting of the Supervisor and two additional advisors, normally from Geography, who are knowledgeable in the field of research. The Advisor/Supervisor is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the student’s academic program, especially the thesis research and thesis presentation. On the application form, applicants are asked to identify three possible supervisors of their intended research. The Supervision Committee provides a formal support system, but students are encouraged to draw widely on faculty for informal assistance in their research.
Please contact the Graduate Administrator with any questions regarding the graduate program.
Phone: 519-661-2111, Ext. 85033;
1 Program requirements, course offerings and funding can change due to unforeseen circumstances.