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PhD Geography: Eligibility, Admission, Syllabus, Institutes, Scope

The PhD in Geography is a three-year doctoral program. The program teaches students about the importance of geography studies in regional planning and the contribution of geographers to strategic planning. The course focuses on the physical characteristics of the earth and its atmosphere, as well as how human activity affects and is affected by them. A PhD Geography course must last at least three years, but it can be continued depending on the length of the research.

PhD Geography covers topics such as oceanography, transport and trade geography, geomorphology, biogeography, and political geography. Candidates must conduct research and write a thesis on any of the themes of their choice.

The scope of geography is really broad; the meteorological department and other departments involved in predicting climate and weather conditions require people with a good understanding of geography. People with a master’s or doctoral degree can also work as teachers in prestigious institutions.

PhD Geography: An Overview

The features of the PhD Geography Course are outlined below.

Name of the CoursePhD Geography
Level of courseDoctorate
Duration of Course3 years
Eligibility CriteriaPost Graduation in any stream
Process of AdmissionEntrance test followed by Personal Interview 
Average fee
INR 2,000 to 5,00,000
Average Salary
Per AnnumINR 4,00,000 to INR 8,00,000 Top Areas of RecruitmentCommunity, Social & Personal Service, Diplomacy, Businesses, Publishing Houses, Geography Departments, Public Administration, Health & Social Work, Teaching, Divinity, Hotels & Restaurants, Insurance Industry, Public Service, Research, Retail Sector Student Affairs, etc.
Top Profiles of Job Geomorphologist, Geospatial analyst, Hydrologist, Water Conservation specialist, Oceanographer, Geographer, Professor, Teachers, etc. 

PhD Geography Eligibility

To enroll in this course, you must have a master’s degree in geography.

  • A minimum of 55 percent in their postgraduate program and a minimum of 60 percent in their graduation is required of the student.
  • The two criteria listed above are the minimum requirements for students interested in pursuing a PhD in Geography.
  • The next important qualification for this course is that a student must pass either the UGC or the CSIR NET. This is a legal requirement. Any student who does not meet this requirement will not be invited to the PhD interview.

PhD Geography Syllabus

The following is a list of the PhD in Geography syllabuses that have been prescribed by numerous universities and colleges.

The following are some of the major topics covered by the discipline:

First YearSecond YearThird Year
GeomorphologyPopulation GeographyGeography of India
ClimatologySettlement GeographyCartography
OceanographyEconomic GeographyStatistical Methods
BiogeographyAgricultural GeographyResearch
History of Geographic ThoughtIndustrial GeographySocial Geography
Political GeographyGeography of Transport and TradeRegional Planning
Cultural Geography

PhD Geography Admission Procedure

Merit-based or entrance-based admission to a PhD in Geography is possible. The procedure for admission is discussed briefly below.

Based on Merit

  • A student applying for admission to the PhD in Geography program must complete an application form.
  • Admission to the PhD program is only available once a year, in September/October.

Based on Entrance

  • Admission to this program is also done through an entrance exam. To be admitted to the course, students must pass an entrance test in the relevant subject.
  • A deserving candidate may be granted an exemption from the PhD entrance exam and course work by the concerned Department Committee.
  • If a candidate has a PhD from a recognized university in a related field, he or she may be exempt from entrance exams and coursework for PhD admission.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview by the department in question.
  • The interview is the concluding round of selection. If you pass the interview, you will be eligible to pursue a PhD in Geography. You will be assigned a research guide who will assist you in finishing your degree on time.

PhD Geography: Preparation Plan

There will be two papers in the entrance exam, paper I and paper II.

  • Paper I will be a 100-point general aptitude test, and Paper II will be a 100-point subject-based test. The General Aptitude Test will consist of 50 multiple-choice questions that will cover research and teaching aptitude, logical thinking, and general comprehension.
  • The second written test will cover the subject of the department in question and will be worth 100 points, with 30 points for objective-type exams and 70 points for descriptive-type exams.
  • Students should have a clear understanding of what they should study and the types of questions that will be asked on the exam.
  • Most entrance exams last between two and three hours, with both subjective and objective questions.
  • Candidates should have a thorough understanding of their subject (Geography) up to the topics taught at the post-secondary level.
  • Candidates should practice sample papers on a daily basis. They must also try to finish the above papers within a certain amount of time.
  • Your graduation percentage should be at least 60%, and your post-graduation percentage should be at least 55% from any nationally recognized university.
  • In addition, your entrance exam score should be within the cut-off range for the specific college to which you applied.
  • As a result, your rank must be excellent in order for students to be accepted into a good college.
  • It is also critical for students to be mentally and physically prepared for the next steps after the entrance exam, such as counselling and interviews. They do not need to be stressed while studying for the exam.
  • Candidates should also keep track of all significant events related to the admissions process in order to avoid missing any deadlines.
  • In order to do well in the entrance examination, aspirants should practice as many practice tests and previous year question papers as they can.
  • Candidates should keep an eye out for the best colleges where they can pursue a PhD program and begin their preparation accordingly.

PhD Geography: Distance Course from IGNOU

  • The Indira Gandhi National Open University in Delhi offers a PhD in Geography.
  • The program lasts three to five years.
  • The program’s average annual fee is INR 1,000.
  • For admission, you must have a minimum grade point average of 55 percent in your postgraduate studies.

PhD Geography: Important Entrance Exams

The following are some of the most popular entrance exams for PhD Geography admission.

  • The National Eligibility Test (NET), also known as the UGC NET, is a test used to determine eligibility for university and college lectureships, as well as the award of Junior Research Fellowships (JRF) to Indian nationals. Its goal is to ensure that new teachers and researchers meet minimum standards.
  • Symbiosis PhD Entrance Exam – The Symbiosis National Aptitude Test (SNAP Test) is the entrance exam for Symbiosis International’s postgraduate program (Deemed University). The entrance exam for the PhD program at Symbiosis University will consist of 75 multiple-choice questions with a time limit of 1 hour 30 minutes.
  • JNU PhD Entrance Exam – The National Testing Agency will conduct the Jawaharlal Nehru University Entrance Exam (JNUEE), as well as the JNU CEEB (NTA). The test takes 3 hours to complete and is conducted in an online mode. According to sources, a total of 1,05,000 candidates took the JNUEE 2019 exam in order to gain admission to 131 courses.

PhD Geography: Important Documents Required

  • A character certificate (from the head of the institute from which the student has obtained his qualifying degree.
  • No objection certificate from the employer (if employed)
  • Documentary proof of the date of birth
  • Mark-list of the last qualifying degree examination
  • Research Proposal
  • Gap certificate (if applicable)
  • Migration Certificate (No objection certificate from the university last attended)
  • passing/degree certificate of the last qualifying degree examination.

Students should be aware that if the aforementioned certificates are not attached to their application, their application will not be taken into account for admission.

PhD Geography: Top Institutes

Some of the best institutions in India that offer a PhD in geography are listed below:

Ranking of Institutes by NIRF 2020 InstitutePlace  Structure  of FeeAverage Salary Per Annum
3Banaras Hindu UniversityVaranasi INR 3,806INR. 7,20,000
5Jadavpur UniversityKolkata INR 8,000
INR 9,00,000
7University of CalcuttaKolkata INR 3,395INR 4,00,000 
10Jamia Millia IslamiaNew DelhiINR 13,870INR 8,00,000 
17Aligarh Muslim UniversityAligarh INR 9,285INR 9,18,000
63Bharati VidyapeethPuneINR 30,000INR 4,80,000
65University of MumbaiMumbaiINR 1,931INR 3,76,000

PhD Geography: Suitable Candidates for the Course

  • Candidates interested in learning about the nature and scope of cultural geography, the environment and culture, scaling techniques, rank score, weighted score, types of regions, and regional delineation methods will benefit from this course.
  • Candidates must have problem-solving abilities, including the ability to extract relevant data, draw conclusions, and make logical recommendations.
  • They must be able to communicate effectively because they will be presenting findings and having to explain complex data, as well as writing technical and non-technical records.
  • Analytical skills, such as analyzing research methods, data, conclusions, and recommendations, are also required.

PhD Geography: A Comparison among Institutes

Basis of Comparison Banaras Hindu UniversityUniversity of CalcuttaJadavpur University
Highlight Banaras Hindu University, located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, is a public central university. It’s one of India’s oldest universities, as well as one of Asia’s largest public residential universities. BHU has six institutes, 14 faculties (streams), and approximately 140 departments. It has around 75 hostels for resident students, all of which are equipped with modern amenities.Calcutta University (CU) is a government-owned university in Kolkata. It is a “Five-Star University” with an NAAC grade of “A.” It offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in a variety of fields, including engineering, management, science, the arts, and commerce.. In Kolkata, there is a public university called Jadavpur University. In 1955, it first opened its doors. The university is a semi-residential university with two campuses in Kolkata City. It has won numerous awards both at home and abroad. In 2020, the QS World University Ranking ranked Jadavpur University 651-700th.
Ranking by NIRF101112
Process of Admission Entrance & Merit basedEntrance followed by InterviewEntrance followed by Interview
Average Fees 
INR 3,806INR 3,395INR 8,000
Average Salary 
Per Annum
INR. 7,24,000 INR 4,00,000 INR 9,00,000
Top Employers Infosys, IBM, Amazon, Wipro, Reliance, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank, HDFC Bank, Berger, Bosch Ltd etc.Aditya Birla Groups, HSBC, Wipro, HDFC Bank,TATA, etc.Cisco, Cognizant, Facebook, IBM, Maruti Suzuki, Oracle, etc.

PhD in Geography: Focus Areas

  • Geography is studied by students in order to comprehend how the world is changing. They consider why it is changing in a scientific and analytical manner.
  • to gain a better understanding of historical geography and how it has influenced the evolution of people, ideas, places, and environments.
  • Students will learn about all of the factors that affect the Earth’s land distribution, research about areas and regions, land types, earth science, and much more in this course.
  • Rivers, sustainability, environmental modeling, the physical environment, climate change politics, the making of the modern city, political geography and geopolitics, economic geography, estuarine and coastal environments, environmental hazards, and energy resources are all possible topics for modules.
  • Students will learn where certain things are found, why they are  present at those places, and how they develop and change over the years in this course.

Institutes Ranked by NIRF

Ranking by NIRF 2021 Institutes Process of AdmissionAverage Fees
Average Salary
Per Annum
8Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New DelhiEntrance-based1,38112,00,000
15University of Hyderabad [UOH], HyderabadEntrance-based9,94010,00,000
16Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), New DelhiEntrance-based
(Personal Interview after University level Entrance)
35IIT, GandhinagarEntrance-based
(entrance, academic record track, and interview)
79Banasthali Vidyapith University, JaipurEntrance-based1,45,0003,60,000

PhD Geography and PhD Geology: Key Differences

With a few exceptions, PhD Geography and PhD Geology are nearly identical programs. In the table below, the courses have been compared.

 Basis of ComparisonPhD GeographyPhD Geology
Overview This course covers topics such as human-land relations, Earth science, and the spatial analysis of human and natural phenomena, among others.geological hazards, Petroleum Geology, Geo-Informatics, Economic Geology, Paleontology, Hydrogeology, Sedimentology, and other topics are covered in this course.
Eligibility CriteriaPost Graduation in any stream.Master’s degree from a recognized university with at least 55% marks.
Process of AdmissionEntrance Exam followed by Personal Interview Entrance Exam followed by Personal Interview 
Average Fees 
INR 2,000 to 5,00,000 INR 1,00,000 to INR 2,00,000
Positions of JobHuman Resources Officer, Insurance Underwriter, Clergy Person, Social Worker, Information Management/Science, Lecturer Survey Interviewer Teacher and Tutor etc. Earth Science Teachers, Glacial Geologists, Paleontologists, Structural Geologists, Environmental Geologists,Hydro geologists, Engineering Geologists, etc.
Average Salary 
Per Annum
INR 4,00,000 to 8,00,000 INR 3,00,000 to INR 9,00,000

PhD Geography: Research opportunities in IITs

  • Many IITs in India have earth sciences departments that offer PhD geography students research opportunities.
  • Entrance exam scores are used to determine admission to the research-based program, which is followed by a personal interview.
  • The majority of IITs require a minimum of 60% in postgraduate studies to be considered.
  • To impress the selection panel, the students must have a clear understanding of the research they will be conducting.
  • The duration and cost of the course are determined by the length of the research and the research topic chosen.

PhD Geography: Important Job Profiles

There are numerous job opportunities for PhD in Geography aspirants. Environmental consultant, geographical information system officer, professor, planning and development surveyor, cartographer, teacher, and other positions are available to the candidates.

PhD Geographers can earn a lot of money. The table below lists candidates for most of these job profiles.

Job RolesDescription of JobAverage Salary 
Per Annum
Geographical Information System OfficerAs a GIS officer, you are going to be responsible for gathering, storing, analyzing, and presenting geographical and spatial data. In the field, you’ll need to: use a variety of GPS tools to capture the location of ‘assets’ like bridges, street lights, road barriers, and flood defences.INR 4,78,000
Environmental ConsultantEnvironmental consultants provide their clients with expert assessment and advice on issues concerning the management of environmental issues. You’ll also be in charge of ensuring that the updated environmental policies and practices adhere to all applicable laws and regulations.INR 8,18,000
CartographerCartographers are interested in every aspect of the map-making process (scientific, technological and artistic). They are in charge of conducting research, gathering data, storing it, retrieving it, evaluating and manipulating it, and creating maps.INR 7,49,000
Nature Conservation OfficerYou’ll work as a nature conservation officer to protect, manage, and improve the local environment. Grassland, woodland, forests, coastal areas, moorland, mountains, and rivers are all examples. You could also work in marine habitats, depending on your region.INR 6,00,000
Human Resources SpecialistA Human Resource (HR) Specialist’s job is to recruit, support, train, and place company employees. A human resource department might well have multiple specialists to perform specific tasks, such as overseeing performance reviews and keeping employee records, depending on the size of the company.INR 6,90,000

Some other important areas of Employment

  • Academic Institutes
  • Agriculture Sector
  • Specialist in Geo Web Metrics
  • Content Editor
  • FMCG Companies
  • Assistant Professor
  • Teacher & Lecturer
  • Cartography Office
  • Subject Matter Expert
  • Geo-Engineering Solutions Specialist
  • Logistics Departments
  • Food Processing Companies:
  • Geo Digital Strategist

PhD Geography: Benefits and Scope

  • Geography has been identified as among the most employable subjects, with students having opportunities in both the public and private sectors.
  • Geographers with training in geographic information systems may be in the highest demand right now.
  • Studying geography develops a sense of place, which is important if you think it matters what you know about geography education and want to see it improved and supported at all levels.
  • More importantly, knowing geography assists us in making sense of current and historical events, whether they are economic, political, or social in nature.
  • Knowing this information helps us become better critical thinkers. Every aspect of our lives is influenced by geography.
  • In the technical fields of multivariate analysis, remote sensing, GIS, and computer cartography, the course is beneficial.
  • It also helps students understand the importance of geography in regional planning and familiarize themselves with the role of geographers in the planning phase.
  • Candidates can work as forest managers in economic or agricultural institutes, as well as map and interpret remote sensing data, and as demographers for the government and research institutes.


What can I do with a doctorate in geography?

You can work in Health & Social Work, Divinity, Teaching,Hotels & Restaurants, Public Service, Research, Public Administration, Geography Departments, Retail Sector Student Affairs, and Insurance Industry,among other fields.

What is the procedure for applying to a PhD Geography program?.

Shortlisted candidates will be subjected to an entrance exam and then face-to-face interviews

What is the typical salary for jobs requiring a PhD in Geography?

An average salary for a PhD Geography holder ranges from INR 4,00,000 to INR 8,00,000 per year.

Is there a future for a PhD in Geography?

The scope of geography is really broad; the meteorological department and other departments involved in predicting climate and weather conditions require people with a good understanding of geography.

. What are the best colleges for a PhD in Geography?

Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Milia Islamia,University of Calcutta, University of Mumbai, Presidency College and others are some of the colleges and universities in India.

What are my chances of passing the entrance exam for a PhD Geography degree program?

You should improve your observation and visualization skills, as well as your speed. Try to complete as many sample papers as possible.

What are the most important entrance tests for a PhD in Geography?

JNU PhD entrance exam, Symbiosis PhD entrance exam, UGC NET exam, AIMA PhD entrance exam, and others are examples.

What are the topics covered in the PhD Geography program?

Geomorphology, Oceanography, Transport and Trade Geography, Biogeography, and Political Geography are among the topics covered in this course.

How long does a PhD Geography course last?

The PhD Geography Course takes a minimum of three years to complete, but it could be extended.

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