Since its inception in the late 1920s, the LSU Department of Geography and Anthropology has been one of the world's premier centers for teaching and research in select subfields of geography and anthropology. It is housed in the Howe-Russell Geoscience Complex in the heart of LSU's more than 2,000-acre campus.
Located at the gateway between the Mississippi Valley and Latin America, the department offers a wide array of field and regional expertise in each of these regions. Current faculty and students conduct field research in the Mississippi Valley and American South, Central America, the Caribbean, and Ecuador, as well as China, Japan, Korea, and Europe.
Geography at LSU explores the ecological and locational relations of nature and culture through field, archival, and quantitative research, while anthropology studies people and their cultures - both past and present.
As a bidisciplinary department of geography and anthropology, the LSU Department of Geography and Anthropology offers eight degree programs. In fact, it is the only joint department in the United States to offer graduate programs in geography and anthropology.
Bachelor's programs provide the full range of instruction appropriate to a liberal education and master's programs accent breadth of professional geographical and anthropological training. The doctoral program in geography emphasizes specialized research and scholarship in four concentrations - physical geography, human geography, mapping sciences, and anthropogeography.
The department was founded in 1928 and the graduate program began in 1933. The original members of the department, sometimes known as the "founders," consisted of Professors Fred Kniffen and Richard J. Russell. Both received their doctorates from the Department of Geography at the University of California at Berkeley where they were influenced by geographers Carl Sauer, Alfred Kroeber, and others. Their ideas remain a lively source of intellectual influence at LSU. The first anthropologist, William G. Haag, was added to the staff in 1952. The Founders' Room, the department's major seminar and meeting room, commemorates their contributions.
The first master's degree in geography was granted in 1935 and in anthropology in 1941. The first doctorate in geography was awarded in 1938. Between the founding and 2003, the department has awarded more than 150 doctorates and more than 350 master's degrees in geography and anthropology combined.
Quality of the Faculty and the Program
The department has consistently been ranked as a top doctoral geography department in the country. Faculty have made distinguished contributions at all levels of academic life. Eleven faculty members have held titled professorships including four Boyd Professors—LSU's most prestigious designation—and two Alumni Professors. Five distinguished professorships are currently occupied by faculty members, and several department faculty have served in numerous positions of leadership within the disciplines of geography and anthropology, including the presidency of the Association of American Geographers and the editorship of the Annals of the Association of American Geographers.
Department of Geography
& Anthropology Mission Statement