SDSU Joint Degree Program

SDSU Joint Doctoral Student Handbook

The UCSB Department of Geography’s joint PhD program with the Department of Geography at San Diego State University is distinctive in that it brings together two outstanding departments that complement each other. California State Universities do not offer stand-alone doctoral programs. The joint doctorate program thereby provides mutual benefits for two of the strongest research-oriented Geography departments in the US, insofar as it increases SDSU’s attractiveness to students by permitting them to pursue a doctorate, and, in turn, allows UCSB to increase its exposure to a more diverse set of students. SDSU students spend a minimum of one year on each campus and normally start and finish their work at SDSU. Joint Doctoral Committees consist of a minimum of 2 UC tenure-track faculty in the student’s major from UCSB and 2 tenure-track faculty in the student’s major from the partner institution. Applicants should contact Dr. Fernando Bosco, the joint doctoral program adviser at SDSU (

Stuart Phinn received the first PhD as a result of the Joint Program in 1997 with a dissertation titled “Remote Sensing and Spatial Analytic Techniques for Monitoring Landscape Structure in Disturbed and Restored Coastal Environments.” Fifty-seven other PhDs have been granted since then, and SDSU’s Geography Joint Doctoral Program is currently ranked number 7 in the United States, according the “The Chronicle of Higher Education”.