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General Issues in Geography

Description of the field of study

General Issues in Geography as a programme of doctoral studies constitute an effort to find the touching/intersected topics that link the previous programmes of doctoral studies. In fact, a rapid development of geographic fields in the past half a century brought about their exceptional differentiation, while the common denominator of the individual fields was weakened. The strengthening of mutual links between individual fields of geography constitutes a major task both for further development of geography as a science and the fulfilling of the urgent needs of society. This is associated with the fact that the current landscape, as a focus of geographical study, is undergoing major changes both on the local and regional levels, as well as the state, continental and global levels. However, its research is primarily materialised within specialised disciplines. As a result, an interconnection of differing aspects of crucial questions of the research into the interaction of nature and society and the enhancement of holistic approaches to the solution of problems is becoming urgently needed. The crucial problems should be not only studied, but also represented in the educational process as its integrating parts. It is just geography on elementary and secondary schools (as well as a number of non-geographic programmes of universities) that should play the corresponding integrating role of an umbrella field. The misunderstanding of this integrating potential of geography by the drafters of the curricular reform of the Czech education and the traditional division of sciences/subjects/disciplines into social and natural science spheres can also be ascribed to the long-standing absence of a similar, comprehensively conceived doctoral study programme in the milieu of the Czech higher education. It is an objective of the doctoral study programme to reprieve this state of affairs. Geography is an inter-disciplinary field with a distinctive, though not always used potential of multidisciplinary cooperation.

The studies proceed in three thematic directions integrating the character of geographic research: a) geographic thought; b) landscape development; c) education in geography. There is the assumption that one of them is a major focus of the research effort of a PhD student. The remaining two will allow to a student of the doctoral studies to be firmly anchored in the general, integrating issue of geographic fields.

An offer of lectures, courses and seminars, organisation of study

  1. In the first year of the postgraduate studies, there is the compulsory graduation from a general colloquium from geography. It focuses on the overview and understanding of basic trends in the research into various disciplines of geography in the form of a seminar and discussions with leading representatives of the individual disciplines.

  2. For graduates from other fields or universities, there are lectures of master’s degree studies within some of the geographical master’s degree programmes.

  3. Depending on the theme of a dissertation, the tutor can specify further lectures, such as those at other faculties or universities, in other post-graduate courses, etc.

  4. As a rule, PhD students are provided the opportunity of a foreign study stay and the associated lectures and further activities abroad.

  5. The study itself is based on individual work of the tutor with a student, as a rule with a focus on some of the implemented research projects.

  6. In each semester, the student provides at least once detailed information on the performed work before the scientific board (or expert seminar) and after two years, he sits for one of the partial exams from the chosen subject.

  7. Another two exams are executed depending on the plan submitted by a student and tutor and approved by the scientific board.

Research topics examined at the work centre

  • The development of paradigms and geographic thought in Czechia and abroad. Application in individual fields of geography.

  • Analysis of geographic thought using the example of selected personalities of a field.

  • Individual „schools“ in geography and their influence on the development of the field in question.

  • The state, development and prospects of the interaction “nature-society” in a specific area on differing hierarchical levels (locality, microregion, region, continent).

  • Function of the landscape, its transformation and impact on land-use structure.

  • Application of various concepts (driving forces; driving forces-pressures-states-impact-responses [DPSIR]; environmental trace, etc.) in the landscape research in Czechia and abroad.

  • The current transformation of Czechia’s educational system (problems, factors).

  • Framework educational programme and its critical evaluation.

  • Problems of creation of the school educational programme at the elementary and secondary schools as seen by a geographer.

  • Specification of demands of society for education in the 21st century and its reflection in geography.

  • The issue of transformation of scientific knowledge into education.

  • Education as a life-long process: application in geography.

  • Forms of education and problems of their application, taking into account the age of the participant in the educational process.

The demands of the scientific board for PhD students’ publication activity

1) Compulsory publications before the defense of a dissertation (the duty of every PhD student):

Before a dissertation (irrespective of its form) is defended, a PhD student publishes at least two professional articles in a peer-reviewed journal. At least one article is published in a journal with impact factor and one article may be replaced with a chapter in a peer-reviewed book. Exceptionally (e.g., due to the dissertation’s theme), the scientific board can acknowledge the replacement of an article in a journal with impact factor with two articles in the journals recorded in the WoS/Scopus data base. If the publication has not yet appeared, the PhD student presents a confirmation by the editorial board that it has accepted the publication for print. Only the publications that present the affiliation of a department and the number of the research project are accepted.

2) The number of publications if a dissertation is submitted as a mono-thematic set of publications:

The minimum number includes four professional contributions to a peer-reviewed journal or chapters in professional peer-reviewed books. The publications in question must form a certain logical, comprehensive whole with a single theme. They must be opened with the first and closed with the final chapters. The introduction to a dissertation must have the character of a major treatise describing the essence (core) of a PhD student’s research effort. In the final chapter, the PhD student discusses the crucial conclusions of the research and the alternatives of its further heading (specifying the centre of gravity of further research). The number of the articles presented in the annex of the dissertation is not crucial. What basically matters is their quality and logical arrangement of the set of publications proving the qualities of a PhD student.

If there is a collective work, the PhD student’s authorship share must be specified. The authorship share is specified by the first author, the head of the team or the tutor. At least one of the publications must be published independently by the PhD student (100% authorship) and the PhD student must be named as the first author in at least one of the publications. Only those publications that present the affiliation of the department and the number of the research project are accepted.

Subject-area Board

The subject-area board is available in Czech (Oborová rada). The Chairman is highlighted.

Additional information

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