The geography department, founded in 1921, includes such historic geography greats as Ellen Churchill Semple and Paul Siple

Geography at Clark

Innovation and collaboration

The oldest sustained program of geography in the United States, Clark Geography fosters a culture of innovation that has made it a key site for the development of new topical fields and geographic technologies. Our faculty and students pioneered fields as diverse as human-environment, risk-hazards, critical geography, animal geographies and feminist geography. This history of innovation is further reflected in our standing as the only program of geography to have five of its members elected to the National Academy of Sciences and four to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The School has awarded more Ph.D.s in geography than any other program in the United States.

The program's culture of innovation is sustained by the strong spirit of collaboration that exists among faculty and students. Clark faculty, with backgrounds in both the physical and social sciences, are known for groundbreaking collaborative work that results in unique research projects. Both graduate and undergraduate students have the opportunity to work with faculty and each other on substantive research projects, publications, and public presentations.

Economic Geography cover

Economic Geography

The School of Geography is one of the only geography programs in North American to publish an internationally peer-reviewed journal, Economic Geography. The journal is committed to publishing the best theoretically-based empirical articles that deepen the understanding of significant economic geography issues around the world. Economic Geography ranked 1st in the Social Science Prestige Factor index (2001) and 3rd among geography journals in the 2009 ISI Social Sciences Citation Index with an impact factor of 3.452.



The School of Geography is one of the only degree-granting programs (shared with Clark's Marsh Institute/Clark Labs) to have its own commercially distributed geographic information system—the IDRISI GIS and Image Processing System, the most widely distributed raster-based GIS software in the world with over 100,000 licensed users. Clark Labs, under the direction of Dr. Ron Eastman, is known for its pioneering advancements in areas such as decision support, uncertainty management, classifier development, change and time series analysis, and dynamic modeling.

Professor Ellen Churchill Semple

Women in geography

Clark has a long tradition of producing women geographers as detailed by Janice Monk in her AAG Special Issue of Economic Geography (1998). Ellen Churchill Semple (left), professor of anthropogeography at Clark from 1921-32, was the first female faculty member hired by the university. Susan Hanson (now Distinguished University Professor Emerita) was the first female geographer elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences