GW Geography students gathering on a snow-capped rocky mountain slope near the Arctic Circle


Research in the Department of Geography spans a range of topics across our core focus areas. From South Asia to South America to the Middle East, geography faculty are widely published experts in regions across the world. Faculty are also dedicated mentors to students, helping them pursue awards, present at research conferences and gain the skills they need to pursue competitive careers.

Undergraduates engage in independently funded projects under faculty guidance and can travel abroad for short-term research classes around the globe. Graduate students work closely with faculty on grant-funded projects and as research assistants in the topic areas that interest them. Recent student research projects have examined the role of adult soccer leagues in immigrant communities, the impact of wildfires in the West, climate change impacts on the Arctic, reprecincting in Texas and protecting mangrove trees in Costa Rica. On campus, students also take advantage of the department’s state-of-the-art Spatial Analysis Lab and other research centers.

$9 million awarded to faculty in external research funding since 2011.


Graphic: 150+ publications authored by geography faculty


Kean McDermott, MA '17

Kean McDermott

MA '17

"In my time here, the professors' doors have always been open. ... I've always felt that I had the support I need to pursue the research that I'd like to pursue."


Research Expertise Areas

Department of Geography research focuses on four core areas:


Department Initiatives and Centers


Geography Research in Action

Professor of Geography Michael Mann

Humans Ignite Wildfire Forecasts

Assistant Professor of Geography Michael Mann found that people are at least as dangerous as nature when it comes to California’s devastating blazes. He also found that tracking human activity can be a key factor in predicting fires’ locations and preventing their outbreaks. Accounting for both climate change and human behavioral threats, Mann’s model allows experts to more accurately predict how much land is at risk of burning in California through 2050 — about 7 million acres over the next 25 years.


Faculty Research Map

Our faculty are awarded millions of dollars to fund their research projects around the globe. Scroll over the map to see where their research has led, and click a location for more details.