The first Master's degree in geography was earned in 1936 while the discipline was still a part of the Geology Department. Since that date, Master's degrees have been awarded to 270 students, most of them since 1950. The first Doctoral degree was completed in 1951, and now 135 Ph.D.s have been earned in the department. Between thirty-five and fifty graduate students are usually in residence; students are drawn from all over the United States and several foreign countries (United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Nigeria, People's Republic of China, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and India have been represented in recent years). Fifty undergraduates are now enrolled as geography majors to join the 350 undergraduates who already have majored in geography at Illinois.
Since the inception of its doctoral program, the department has been consistently ranked among the first dozen departments in the United States in the overall quality of its research and instruction. Recently, it was ranked second in the country in improvement. Individual faculty members are recognized leaders in their fields, and their lists of books, articles, and reviews are very impressive.
Source: Department Website July 2010