2009-2010 Graduate Catalog 
    May 18, 2021  
2009-2010 Graduate Catalog [Archived]

Geography, Geology, and Anthropology

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Master of Arts in Geography
Master of Science in Earth and Quaternary Sciences
Doctor of Philosophy in Geography

Department of Geography, Geology, and Anthropology
Science Building, room 159
Phone: 812-237-2444
Fax: 812-237-8029
E-mail: cstafford@indstate.edu
Web site: http://web.indstate.edu/gga/gga/javatest/index2.html

Interim Department Chairperson: Dr. C. Russell Stafford
Graduate Contact Persons: Dr. Qihao Weng (Geography); Dr. Tony Rathburn (Earth and Quaternary Sciences)

Phone: 812-237-2255



Dutta, Prodip K., Ph.D., Indiana University
Professor of Geology
Specializations: Sedimentary Petrology, Stratigraphy, Environmental Geochemistry

Gomez, Basil, Ph.D., University of Southampton
Professor of Geography and Geology
Specializations: Geomorphology, Sediment Transport

Pontius, Steven, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Professor of Geography and Geology
Department Chairperson, Department of Math and Computer Science
Specializations: Cultural Geography, Economic Development, Communications, Tropical Africa, Southeast Asia

Stafford, C. Russell, Ph.D., Arizona State University
Interim Department Chair and Professor of Anthropology
Specializations: Archeology, Statistics, Geoarcheology, Hunter-Gatherers, Lithics, and Eastern United States

Weng, Qihao, Ph.D., University of Georgia
Associate Professor of Geography
Specializations: Remote Sensing, GIS, Environmental Modeling

Associate Professors

Berta, Susan M., Ph.D., University of Oklahoma
Associate Professor of Geography
Specializations: Physical Geography, Geomorphology, Remote Sensing

Bierly, Gregory D., Ph.D., Michigan State University
Associate Professor of Geography, and Director of University Honors
Specializations: Synoptic and Dynamic Climatology and Meteorology, Remote Sensing

Brake, Sandra S., Ph.D., Colorado School of Mines
Associate Professor of Geology
Specializations: Environmental Geology and Geochemistry, Economic Geology

Gatrell, Jay, Ph.D., West Virginia University
Associate Professor of Geography and Women’s Studies and
Dean, College of Graduate and Professional Studies
Specializations: Industrial and Economic Geography, Spatial Research Methods, Public Policy

Obermeyer, Nancy, Ph.D., University of Chicago
Associate Professor of Geography
Specializations: GIS, Urban Geography, Cultural Geography

Ould-Mey, Mohameden, Ph.D., University of Kentucky
Associate Professor of Geography
Specializations: Global Studies, Development Theory and Policy, Middle East and Africa, Islam Geographic Thought

Phillips, Shawn, Ph.D., State University of New York—Albany
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Specializations: Biological Anthropology, Forensic Anthropology, Bioarchaeology, Health and Disease

Rathburn, Anthony, Ph.D., Duke University
Associate Professor of Geology
Specializations: Oceanography, Paleontology, Paleoclimatology, Geochemistry of Marine Ecosystems, Paleoecology, Geobiology

Speer, James, Ph.D., University of Tennessee
Associate Professor of Geography and Geology
Specializations: Dendrochronology, Quaternary Paleoecology, Paleoclimatology

Assistant Professor

Stephen Aldich, PhD., Michigan State Univesity
Assistant Professor of Geography
Specializations: Geographic Information Systems, Amazon

Latimer, Jennifer, Ph.D., Indiana University
Assistant Professor of Geology
Specializations: Environmental Geology, Geochemistry, Oceanography


A graduate program in geography was established in 1963 beginning with the master of arts in geography. In 1968, the master of science degree in geology and the doctor of philosophy degree in geography were first offered. In 1994 anthropology joined the department which resulted in the further enrichment of curricular and research offerings. The disciplines of geography, geology, and anthropology have since been integrated to provide graduate students with an unique opportunity to study the dynamic relationship between the physical environment and culture on the Earth’s surface.

The department currently has 19 full-time tenured/tenure-track teaching faculty and over 60 graduate students. State-of-the-art research facilities are available for graduate research projects. These include laboratories for remote sensing/GIS, climatology, geomorphology, biogeography, spatial analysis, environmental geology, geochemistry, paleoceanography, sedimentary petrology, dendrochronology, archaeology, bioanthropology, and astrophysics. The department also has equipment for sample preparation, including rocks saws, crushing and grinding equipment, ovens, and thin-section equipment, and microscopes for the studies of rocks, minerals, fossils, and tree rings. Other analytical facilities are also available in life sciences, physics, and chemistry.

Students finishing the geography and earth and quaternary science graduate programs have been extremely successful in securing high salary, decision-making positions with the U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, CIA, ES RI, Inc., ERDAS, Inc., British Geological Survey, Indiana Geological Survey, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and environmental firms. In addition, graduates of the department’s programs also hold university-level academic positions.


The department offers a master of arts degree and a doctor of philosophy degree in geography and a master of science degree in Earth and quaternary sciences. The programs emphasize innovative interdisciplinary applied research that can be summarized as six distinct research clusters that offer graduate students excellent opportunities to develop the professional skills they desire. The clusters are: cultural-historical-regional, economic-urban, remote sensing-GIS-cartography, geomorphology-climatology-biogeography, geology, and geoarchaeology. Remote sensing, GIS, cartography, and quantitative techniques link the clusters together into a cohesive graduate program. Students interested in the departmental offerings should contact the department’s graduate coordinator or the faculty member working in the student’s content area of interest.

Research funding comes primarily from federal and Indiana state agencies, as well as private industry. The College of Graduate and Professional Studies at Indiana State University also provides monetary support for graduate research and for meeting presentations. The department has well-equipped research facilities, and faculty members work with scientists from other departments at the University and with colleagues from nearby universities and government agencies.

The department offers a graduate degree in earth science that has temporarily been suspended. Graduate courses required for completion of the earth science degree also support graduate degrees in other disciplines including science education. Contact the department chairperson for updated information.

Anthropology does not offer a graduate degree program, but does offer graduate-level courses that strongly support other disciplines. Specifically, the master of science degree in earth and quaternary sciences may be tailored to geoarcheological research interests. Graduate-level courses in anthropology help students achieve a broader perspective on humans as biological and social organisms and on the diverse means humankind has employed to adapt to the environment.


The main objectives of the graduate programs in geography and earth and quaternary sciences are to: provide research experience in the geospatial sciences, provide a strong educational foundation in the core areas of geography/geology, and prepare students for academic and professional careers in geography and geology.


A student must have a baccalaureate degree with the equivalent of a minor in geography or geology before being admitted to the Master of Arts (geography) or the Master of Science (Earth and quaternary sciences) majors.


All candidates for the master’s degree in geography are required to submit a thesis or its equivalent in research reports as one of the requirements for the degree. A list of courses making up the core program of 18 credit hours for each departmental degree will be provided by the advisor. A minor outside the department of not more than ten credits may be counted toward the degree.

Candidates for the master’s degree in Earth quaternary sciences are required to submit a thesis or complete the non-thesis option as described in this Catalog. A course of study or program established in the first semester of participation as a graduate student will be followed.

Students should expect to take two years to complete the master’s program in geography or Earth quaternary sciences unless they enter the program with advanced standing.


Students seeking admission to the Doctor of Philosophy Program must meet the criteria for admission to the College of Graduate and Professional Studies. All requests for admission to the program will be screened by the Graduate Committee and the Chairperson of the Department of Geography, Geology, and Anthropology. Meeting the minimal standards listed below does not guarantee admission. The chairperson will make recommendations to the dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies as to the approval or denial of each applicant to the program. Official notice of admission will be sent to the student by the College of Graduate and Professional Studies. Applicants must:

  1. Attain a minimum score of 500 on each of the sections of the General Tests of the Graduate Record Examination. (See GRE or GMAT section of chapter concerning admissions.)
  2. Possess an undergraduate average of at least 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale, or if an international student, be in compliance with the requirements of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies. Students entering with advanced standing or with the master’s degree from another institution must possess a graduate average of 3.25; and
  3. If entering with a master’s degree, students must have written a thesis or be able to provide evidence of the ability to write original material.


The Department of Geography, Geology, and Anthropology offers a graduate curriculum leading to a doctor of philosophy degree in geography with a specialization in either economic or physical geography. The program prepares individuals for a career as a professional geographer in the academy or as an applied researcher in the public and private sectors. Each student’s program draws on prior preparation in geography or a closely allied field and requires that the core courses, a preliminary examination, and dissertation be completed.

Diagnostic Examinations

In the first semester of residence toward the doctoral degree, the applicant will be asked to submit to an oral diagnostic examination, the results of which will be used in planning the student’s program. The examination is prepared by the department.

Admission to Candidacy

Admission to candidacy is based upon successful completion of minimum residence requirements (a normal load for two consecutive semesters), research tool proficiencies, written preliminary examinations in five substantive areas within the major field, and a general oral examination in the major and minor fields.

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