Doctoral Studies

Physical Geography - Field

Brief description of field

The branch physical geography is oriented on integrated and component understanding of processes and phenomena, taking place in the landscape sphere of the Earth, taking into consideration their temporal and spatial aspect and the interaction with the operation of man and his activities. On one hand it is the analysis of the present state of the physico-geographical sphere with understanding the causative connections and mechanisms of operation, on the other hand the study of the temporal development with respect to the forecast of the future development with the aim of formulating alternative scenarios with the evaluation of the impacts on man and from the viewpoint of sustainable development.

The branch physical geography includes the study of processes and phenomena taking place in the individual geospheres (geomorphology, climatology, hydrology, biogeography, pedogeography) as well as at the level of the synthetic connection into landscape ecosystems.

An important part of the branch is applied physical geography, solving not only problems of the impacts of the physico-geographical characteristics on man and his activities, but also in the sense of evaluating of possible impacts, particularly with respect of the process of global warming and its results in the cultural landscape. The branch also includes all techniques and methods of acquisition of physico-geographical data and the methods and technologies of their modern procession (application of geographical information systems, modern statistical methods, geostatistics), field research and investigation linking up with territorial planning and regional development.

Profile of a typical graduate

The student acquires deep theoretical and practical knowledge, skills and competences, which make it possible to him/her to adequately formulate and solve scientific problems concerning the study of processes and phenomena in the landscape sphere of the Earth, both from the point of view of the individual physico-geographical components, and in an integral view of the system of the physico-geographical sphere of the Earth. The student controls a broad spectrum of methods of physico-geographical research, multidimensional statistical methods, GIS and methods of remote sensing, the same as his/her own work in the field.

He/she has a good overview of the state of the topic solved in the Czech Republic and abroad, particularly in the sphere of his/her specialisation given by the topic of the Ph.D. thesis. He/she is capable of communicating with specialists of further branches of science dealing with the landscape sphere of the Earth, where he/she has assumptions of fulfilling the leading role in the formulation, performing and processing of projects thanks to the comprehensive understanding of processes and phenomena taking place in it. The student is prepared for further independent scientific work in the sphere of physical geography as well as of its individual components (relief, climate, waters, biota, soils), the same as landscape ecology, where he/she can assert especially his/her deep theoretical preparation. Besides, he/she is well prepared for solving practical problems in the sphere of applied physical geography.

His/her broad basis and overview of the landscape sphere as a whole makes it possible for him/her to adapt himself/herself in solving research topics to the changing needs of the practice. The graduate of Ph.D. study of physical geography has thus the required assumptions for asserting himself/herself in basic research at the institutes of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, the same as in pedagogical and scientific activities at universities. In solving practical tasks the graduate has good assumptions for the work in resort institutes, research and project firms, and/or in entrepreneur activities.

Requirements for applicants

Formal requirements for the entrance process are stipulated by the Application for the Ph.D. studies. The person interested in the study, who is a graduate of the master study of geography and cartography or a related branch, chooses the topic and supervisor of the studies according to the published offer of topics of dissertation theses, and/or he/she can address directly the supervisor with the suggestion of the topic. The entrance exam takes place before the committee, taking in consideration the following requirements:

  • technical knowledge within the range of the master studies of geography oriented at physical geography
  • a paper written in English about the assumed aims, methods and results of the Ph.D. thesis in the extent of 1–2 pages and oral presentation of those topics in English
  • presentation of the M.Sc. thesis and/or technical publications
  • organising a part or the whole examination in the English language.

Study requirements and completion of studies

Individual study plan

  • Part A: includes obligatory subjects according to the chosen study branch, set by the branch committee, finished as a rule by an examination. 
  • Part B: includes the obligatory-elective subjects, recommended to the student by the supervisor of the study with the objective of extending the necessary knowledge with respect to the Ph.D. thesis. 
  • Part C: includes the active participation of the students at branch geographical seminars (I-IV). 
  • Part D: includes the help of students in the teaching (I-VI) according to the requirements of the Geographical Institute.
  • Part E: elaboration of the tenets of the Ph.D. thesis. The tenets contain above all the overview of the solved set of problems on the basis of the background research of domestic and foreign literature including the methods of procession of the topics of the Ph.D. thesis (linking up to the study of literature I-II). They are submitted to the supervisor in the form of a written report. 
  • Part F: presentation of the results of the Ph.D. thesis. It is a publication of the results (a part of the results) in a technical journal in the English language in a foreign reviewed journal (excepting Slovakia). An alternative is: one publication in a reviewed journal in the Czech Republic, one publication in a reviewed journal in the Slovak Republic and a lecture in a foreign language. The recommended journals are “Geografie – Sborník České geografické společnosti (Prague)” and “Geografický časopis (Bratislava)”. 
  • Part G: preparation of the dissertation thesis (I-VII).

Content and extent of the state doctor examination, required knowledge

At the state examination the student proves the fact that he/she has mastered into the depth the problems of physical geography, including the corresponding techniques and skills. The objective is to verify both the level of the knowledge and the abilities of active solution of the problem, including their comprehensive understanding and the application of the corresponding methods of analysis and synthesis.

The oral examination proper includes questions of three branches:

  1. General physical geography (components, processes, phenomena, integrated understanding of the physico-geographical sphere)
  2. Methods of physico-geographical research (acquisition and evaluation of data, methods of their processing)
  3. The subject of which the Ph.D. thesis is submitted (methodology, knowledge, regional aspects, prospects, scenarios, impacts)

Requirements for the Ph.D. thesis

The Ph.D. thesis is to solve the recent topic of the sphere of physical geography, which should bring new original scientific knowledge. By submitting the thesis the student demonstrates the capability of independent creative scientific work, particularly the following:

  • to formulate the substance of the problem solved and partial and overall aims leading to the solution
  • to obtain the necessary data, evaluate them and process them in accordance of present methods
  • to analyse the obtained results in the context of the hitherto research, relations and connections
  • to formulate the conclusions with respects to their impacts and further development of the given branch of science

Examples of topics of Ph.D. theses:

  1. Meteorological and climatic extremes in the Czech Republic and their impacts
  2. Ecosystems of the mead forest and its importance for the ecological stability of the landscape
  3. Morphostructural problems of the eastern margin of the Bohemian Massif on the example of a model region 
  4. Climatic information system of a selected territory
  5. Strategic evaluation of the living environment of a selected territory
  6. Anthropogenic transformation of the relief in the region of Ostrava
  7. Geomorphology of slope movements of a selected territory in the flysh relief of Moravia
  8. Permanently sustainable development of a selected territory 
  9. Biogeographic evaluation of a selected region
  10. Selected problems of polar climatology on the example of Antarctic 
  11. The climate and the crisis in the Czech Lands in the last millennium

A list of recent topics of Ph.D. theses for the given academic year is given on the page .

Individual study plan

The first year:

Autumn term:
Type Name Finishing Credits
P Selected chapters of pedogeography and biogeography 4/0 Zk 6
PV Subject I (on the recommendation of the supervisor) Zk 4
P Branch seminar I Z 2
P Assistance in teaching I Z 3
P Preparation of the Ph.D. thesis I Z 13
P Study of literature I Z 2
Spring term:
Type Name Finishing Credits
P Global climate and applied hydrology 4/0 Zk 6
PV Subject II (on the recommendation of the supervisor) Zk 4
P Branch seminar II Z 2
P Assistance in teaching II Z 3
P Preparation of the Ph.D. thesis II Z 13
P Study of literature II Z 2

The second year

Autumn term:
Type Name Finishing Credit
P Anthropogenic geomorphology 2/0 Zk 4
PV Subject III (on the recommendation of the supervisor) Zk 4
P Branch seminar III Z 2
P Assistance in teaching III Z 3
P Thesis of the Ph.D. work Z 17
Spring term:
Type Name Finishing Credit
P Branch seminar IV Z 2
P Assistance in teaching IV Z 3
P Preparation of the Ph.D. thesis III Z 25

The third year

Autumn term:
Type Name Finishing Credits
P Assistance in teaching V Z 3
P Preparation of the Ph.D. thesis IV Z 27 Spring term:
Type Name Finishing Credits
P Assistance in teaching VI Z 3
P Preparation of the Ph.D. thesis V Z 17
P Publication in the technical journal in English Z 10
Alternative to Publication in the technical journal in English:
  • Publication in a reviewed journal in the Czech Republic 3 credits
  • Publication in a reviewed journal in the Slovak Republic 4 credits
  • Lecture in the foreign language 3 credits

The fourth year

Autumn term:
Type Name Finishing Credits
P Preparation of the Ph.D. thesis VI Z 30
Spring term:
Type Name Finishing Credits
P Preparation of the Ph.D. thesis VII Z 30
P – obligatory, PV – obligatory-elective, Zk – examination, Z - credit

List of members of doctoral committee

List of supervisors

Commission for state doctoral exams and defenses

List of current doctoral topics

Department pages


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