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Undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students associated with Clark University’s Graduate School of Geography have multiple opportunities to become involved in the field, network with other researchers in geography from across the world, and receive recognition for their scholarship.

Like their faculty mentors, students may present their independent research projects at the American Association of Geographers’ annual conference. Each year, undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students from Clark’s School of Geography attend the conference with their faculty mentors, allowing students to connect and network with other scholars in the field.

In addition, undergraduate students in geography, global environmental studies, and environmental science/earth system science may join undergraduate societies at Clark. Each year, the Graduate School of Geography recognizes top undergraduate students through the presentation of awards.

Ph.D. students join “CUGS,” or the Clark University Geographical Society.

Societies for Ph.D. Students

Clark University Geographical Society (CUGS)

A central feature of Ph.D. student life is “CUGS,” or the Clark University Geographical Society. As a group, Ph.D. students in the Graduate School of Geography are referred to as CUGS, which also reflects their organizational identity. As members of CUGS, Ph.D. students serve the department in three ways, through:

  • Their participation and involvement in CUGS, which provides mutual support and professional development.
  • CUGS’ active role in assisting with Ph.D. recruiting.
  • Serving as representatives of the larger CUGS body on almost all committees in the Graduate School of Geography. This involvement also serves as a form of professional training, introducing doctoral students to the ways in which departments are managed.

Recent Ph.D. Grants and Awards

Societies for Undergraduate Students

Clark Undergraduate Geography Association (CUGA)

The Clark Undergraduate Geography Association (CUGA) is the voice of geography and global environmental studies majors, with student representation on the undergraduate studies committee and the opportunity to attend departmental meetings. CUGA representatives are able to vote and give their ideas and opinions on various topics that concern undergraduate majors. They also attend field trips and periodically have group gatherings to discuss topics of interest to geography majors, such as research, internships, courses and future jobs.

Alpha Sigma Chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU)

Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU) is an international honor society in geography, owing its origin to the vision of Dr. Robert G. Buzzard. In 1925, while he was earning his Ph.D. at Clark, Dr. Buzzard was inspired by the Clark University Geographical Society (CUGS). He organized a professional fraternity in 1928, under the name of Gamma Theta Upsilon, at the State University in Normal, Illinois. After three years of successful functioning, letters were sent to other geography clubs suggesting that a national fraternity be organized. The national organization was announced with four chapters in 1931. Gamma Theta Upsilon was incorporated as a professional fraternity in geography with 10 chapters in 1936. In 1949, Gamma Theta Upsilon became an international geographical honor society. Its Alpha Sigma Chapter at Clark University was instituted on April 11, 1951.

Levels of membership include:

  • Regular Member: An initiate must have completed a minimum of 3 geography courses, earned a GPA of at least 3.3 overall and in geography, and shall have completed at least 3 semesters (or 5 quarters) of college courses.
  • Honorary Member: Honorary membership may be extended to any person whom it feels has by exploration, research, lecturing, publishing, teaching, or in any other way contributed to a marked advancement in any phase of geography.

The School of Geography accepts applications annually for membership of Clark University’s Alpha Sigma chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon. If you are interested in applying, please contact the Administrator of Degree Programs.

The Purposes of GTU

  • To further professional interest in Geography by affording a common organization for those interested in the field;
  • To strengthen student and professional training through academic experiences in addition to those of the classroom and laboratory;
  • To advance the status of Geography as a cultural and practical discipline for study and investigation;
  • To encourage student research of high quality, and to promote an outlet for publication;
  • To create and administer funds for furthering graduate study and/or research in the field of Geography.

Benefits of GTU Membership

  • Most chapters sponsor speakers, campus-wide programs, field trips and social events and participate in service functions.
  • Members can participate in numerous extra-curricular activities.
  • Membership provides a network where you can become better acquainted with other geography students and can meet and talk with geography faculty informally.
  • Members can improve their expertise in the field of geography by learning things not normally dealt with in the classroom.
  • Members are eligible to apply for GTU scholarships.
  • Membership in an academic honor society is evidence of your dedication and competency in your career field. Some employers give hiring preference to honor society members.

Membership Fees

Membership fees are paid only once. The fee is $40.00 for Regular and Honorary Members.

The Geographical Bulletin

This scholarly journal is published twice a year by GTU. Articles concerning any area of geographical interest are solicited from students and faculty. Initiates receive two free issues after initiation and may subsequently renew their subscription.


Five scholarships, two graduate and three undergraduate, are awarded annually. Recipients must be regular members currently affiliated with an active chapter or the Alumni Chapter, have excellent academic records, and have contributed significantly to their chapters.

International Organization

The society is governed under a constitution and by-laws. Nine elected officers, including two student representatives, form the Executive Committee. The annual business meeting, held at the fall meeting of the National Council for Geographic Education, is open to all GTU members and other interested persons.

For more information about GTU contact:

Administrator of Degree Programs
Graduate School of Geography
Clark University

Dr. Burrell Montz
Executive Secretary, GTU
International Office
Department of Geography, Planning, and Environment
Brewster A-238
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858


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Undergraduate Student Awards

Each year, the School of Geography honors select undergraduate students with these awards:

  • Ellen Churchill Semple Award: Presented to an outstanding graduating senior geography major. The award is based primarily on a student’s academic achievements, although consideration is also given to professional and community achievements, independent research activities, publications and consulting.
  • Clark Labs GIScience Excellence Award: Presented to a senior who has excelled in the field of GIScience (geographic information science).
  • National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) Excellence in Scholarship Award: Given in recognition of outstanding scholastic performance in the field of geography. The National Council presents this award for Geographic Education and the Association of Geographers.
  • Strabo Award: Presented in recognition of intellectual leadership, exploration, and creativity. It is named for the Greek geographer Strabo, whose masterful work, Geography, charted the known world of his time.
  • Marcia V. Szugda-Emani Memorial Environmental Scholarship Award: Given to a graduating senior with a record of high academic achievement. The award is designated for advanced research projects related to geography and the environment with a focus on the environment and its relevance to human well-being.
  • Linda Roth Memorial Activist Scholar Award: Named for Linda Roth, a graduate of Clark University’s doctoral program in geography, who was an accomplished, award-winning forest ecology scientist and a life-long social justice and environmental activist. The award is presented to an outstanding global environmental studies major who embodies the principles of scholarship and activism that Linda Roth demonstrated during her life.
  • Global Environmental Studies Outstanding Student Award: Presented to an outstanding graduating senior who is recognized for academic excellence within the Global Environmental Studies program.

View Undergraduate Award Recipients