[highlight color=”options: yellow, black”]This post was written in February 2012. Since then I’ve posted 2013 Geography Program Rankings, 2014 GIS Graduate Program Rankings and, more recently, 2015 Top Graduate Programs for Spatial Careers . Please check out these newer rankings! [/highlight]
I love lists and, especially, ranked lists. Even though I never seriously considered going to medical school or engineering school I was always very interested to find out which programs were ranked at the top. I routinely read the US News & World Report annual rankings of top colleges and graduate programs and I’ve since followed the Wall Street Journal and Economist MBA rankings. When I became interested in pursuing a graduate degree in geography, I was disappointed to find that there were no publications that ranked graduate geography programs. So, I’ve decided to create my own rankings and post them here.
The only available basis for developing rankings of graduate geography programs (that I’m aware of – please comment if you can suggest another good source) comes from the U.S. National Research Council’s survey of doctoral programs. Although some have been critical of the methodology used to develop the rankings, this is as good as it gets for small disciplines like geography. [If you don’t like the rankings below, take my survey and let your opinion be counted!]
Unfortunately, because these rankings were produced by academic types who are masters of creating difficult-to-understand prose for publication in peer review journals, you almost need a PhD to interpret their rankings. So, I’ve tried to clarify these rankings by simply aggregating them together to form a single ranking. So, without further ado, here are my top 20 geography programs in the United States: