Physical Geography

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The objective of the study programme is to equip students with a deep theoretical knowledge and educate them to be outspoken scientists who are able to work in the areas of theoretical and applied scientific research. The students are encouraged to formulate scientific problems independently, obtain relevant data, perform their qualitative and quantitative evaluation, select suitable methodology, and evaluate results obtained using both analytical and synthetic methods regarding the creation of the alternative scenarios of the development of the geographical phenomena and processes in space and time. The doctoral degree programme of Geography builds up on the knowledge students acquired in the Master's degree programme of Geography and Cartography. It aims at deepening and broadening of knowledge, abilities, and skills in the specialized branches of geographical and cartographic research with the emphasis on the study of causative relations and connections in a broad complex of the studied phenomena and processes. The active mastering of new knowledge, mainly obtained from foreign literature and participation in specialized lectures both in their own institute as well as in other institutions plays the decisive role. The students are encouraged to use modern methods and technologies of processing and evaluation of geographical data and employ the existing possibilities of computer data processing and methods of remote sensing.


After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:

  • adequately formulate and solve scientific problems related to the study of processes and phenomena in a landscape of the Earth, from the point of view of individual physico-geographical components as well as in the global view of the physico-geographical
  • master a broad spectrum of methods of physico-geographical research, multi-scale statistical methods, GIS and methods of remote sensing, as well as do their own field work
  • understand the current situation of the research problem solution in the Czech Republic and abroad, particularly in the area of their own specialization defined by the topic of the doctoral thesis
  • communicate with specialists from other scientific disciplines dealing with the landscape of the Earth, where they may take a leading role in the formulation, realization, and elaboration of the projects due to the complex understanding of proce
  • be prepared for further independent scientific work in the branch of physical geography and its components (relief, climate, waters, biota, and soils), as well as landscape ecology, where they may employ a thorough theoretical preparation
  • be prepared for solving practical problems in the area of applied physical geography

The graduates of the doctoral degree programme of Physical Geography have the required knowledge and skills for successful work in basic research in the institutes of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, as well as for teaching and research activities at universities.


The standard duration of studies is eight semesters. To be admitted to the doctoral state examination students must earn a minimum of 240 ECTS credits in the requested structure (in case of four-year studies). The studies follow the individual study plan prepared by students in cooperation with their supervisors, and it is subject to the board for doctoral studies approval. The structure of the study programme comprises the following areas of disciplines:

a) required courses (Global Climate and Applied Hydrology, Selected Chapters from Biogeography and Soil Geography, Anthropogenic Transformation of the Relief) - 16 credits;

b)selected courses (3 courses extending the scientific basis) - 12 credits;

c) required specialized seminars - 8 credits;

d) assistance in instruction in the extent of 6 semesters - 18 credits;

e) courses connected to the work on the doctoral thesis (study of literature, topic formulation of the doctoral thesis, preparation of the doctoral thesis) - 176 credits; and

f) other courses (presentation at the international conference and publications in reviewed journals) - 10 credits.

The main emphasis is put on the independent creative work of students connected with the elaboration of the doctoral thesis and publication of obtained results.


The studies are completed with the doctoral state examination consisting of the doctoral thesis defence and oral examination. In the doctoral state examination students demonstrate that they mastered the area of physical geography, including corresponding techniques and skills. The aim is to check the knowledge and ability to solve problems actively, including their complex understanding and application of corresponding methods of analysis and synthesis. The oral examination includes examinations in three areas: General Physical Geography (components, processes, phenomena, and complex understanding of the physico-geographical sphere), Methods of Physico-Geographical Research (obtaining and evaluation of data, methods of their elaboration), and the branch in which a doctoral thesis was elaborated (methodology, knowledge, regional aspects, perspectives, scenarios, and impacts). In the doctoral thesis the students show results of their own creative activity from the selected topic of physical geography which they obtained during their studies in the given programme. The doctoral state examination (i.e. the defence of the doctoral thesis and oral examination) follows the Study and Examination Regulations of Masaryk University. More information about graduation requirements can be found on the web pages of the Department of Geography and Cartography:


Field of study specifications

Field of Study: Physical Geography
Abbreviation: FYGR
Code: 1301V003
Type: doctoral degree programme
Degree: Ph.D.
Accreditation: to 31/12/2024
Programme: P1314 D-GR4 Geography (4-years)
Faculty of Science
Field of study guaranteed by:
Faculty of Science

Further detailed information related to the studies in this programme can be found in the Course Catalogue for a given matriculation year or on the web pages of the Department of Geography: