Regional Science Ph.D. (Ithaca)

Field of Study

Regional Science

Program Description

The Ph.D. program is designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of regional, interregional, location, and conflict theory in the context of physical and policy spaces and the framework of existing economic, social, and political systems. Students master techniques of analysis of urban-regional systems as they relate to public and private decision making, with heavy emphasis on mathematical models and quantitative methods. Students are fully exposed to the existing and newly developing social science theory that directly relates to the multidisciplinary approach of regional science.

Course offerings focus on the socioeconomic aspects of the physical environment and on the spatial and conflict aspects of socioeconomic systems. Students may ask any member of the Graduate Faculty to serve on their Special Committee. The chairperson must be a member of the Field of Regional Science.

Graduates are positioned for careers as researchers and policy analysts at the highest levels in national and regional governments, academic institutions, corporations, and international organizations. 

Contact Information

Phone: 607 255-4376

235 Sibley Dome
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

Concentrations by Subject

  • environmental studies
  • international spatial problems
  • location theory
  • multiregional economic analysis
  • peace science
  • planning methods
  • urban and regional economics


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Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Fall, Jan. 10; no spring admission

Requirements Summary:

Grades, class standing, GRE general test scores (required of all applicants), and letters of recommendation must collectively indicate superior ability for creative research. Because work for the Ph.D. degree is considered preparatory to making creative contributions to the discipline, competence in basic analytical and research methods is required. Applicants are expected to have substantial preparation prior to entrance, which may be supplemented by work at Cornell.

Learning Outcomes

Cornell’s graduate programs in Regional Science are intended to help students synthesize knowledge from different cognate areas, make plausible inferences about phenomena they study, and exploit course-based knowledge to address problems at the frontiers of the field. Graduate training in Regional Science should prepare students to be professional applied social scientists. Hence, as part of their graduate training, students in Regional Science should become skilled at communicating in writing, orally, and with presentation media at a professionally acceptable level and they should be made aware of ethical issues associated with the responsible conduct of research and service to the field.

In terms of substantive content, students are expected to gain a command of leading theories of micro- and macro-economic behavior, industrial location, the spatial aggregation and fragmentation of activities, trade, transportation, land use, and migration. They are also expected to have mastery of methods for modeling behaviors in space and their impacts and to frame and test theoretical propositions appropriately. Such methods include but are not limited to mathematical economics, operations research, network analysis, econometrics, spatial statistics, geographical informatics, remote sensing, input-output analysis, social accounting, computable general equilibrium analysis, and agent-based modeling techniques. Proficiencies in theoretical and applied knowledge are demonstrated through the presentation and publication of original contributions in suitable venues, active pursuit of an advanced scholarly research agenda, and ethical comportment in giving and receiving feedback on scholarship and in service to the broader community.