Physical Geography Dissertation Ideas

By Russell Gray
Many components of nature and the impacts that befall nature are studied in physical geography.
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Physical geography is a science that encompasses many aspects of the Earth and its component parts. Research is conducted in the field regarding the spatial characteristics of natural occurrences associated with the layer of gases surrounding the Earth, the global sum of all ecosystems, the liquid water component of the Earth and the area associated with the planet's crust and upper mantle of the planet. Choosing the proper topic for your physical geography dissertation is an important task, with several options.

Climatology and Meteorolgy

Two components in the study of the Earth's atmosphere are climatology and meteorology, or weather. Weather is a short-term description of the physical conditions existing at a location at any one time period. Temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity, moisture type and quantity are parts of weather. The climate is a long-term description of the same conditions at the same location. Dissertation ideas concerning climatology and meteorology include: A study relating increased hurricane strength and its effect on global warming. Increasing ground temperatures and their association with increasing atmospheric temperatures.

Hydrology and Hydrography

The study of the quality, movement and distribution of water on the planet is called hydrology, while charting the various water features is called hydrography. Both are sub-components of studying the Earth's hydrosphere. Students can propose dissertations within the hydrosphere area such as: The 1996 floods and their effect on the path of the Mississippi River. The effect of meat packing plants in St. Louis on the quality of water in Cairo, Illinois.


Pedology is the component of physical geography that studies the formation, morphology and classification of soils. Many aspects of soil study contribute to other studies within physical geography. Examples of dissertation ideas in sub-classification of pedology include: Changes in soil chemistry after the ash-fall from the 1980 Mount St. Helen's eruption Increases in plant growth occur after the increase of the potassium component of the soil.

Environmental Management

Environmental management concerns the uses of natural resources, protection of natural habitats and control of hazards within a community. Ideas are studied by which human activities do not impede on nature in a catastrophic manner, but are beneficial. Dissertation ideas include: Effects of the release of water from the Glen Canyon Dam on farmers in Baja California, Mexico. The impact on food production with increased population of humans in the Midwestern states.

About the Author

Russell Gray is a professor of education with various universities. He specializes in training for the best practices of teaching, educational technology and multicultural education. Gray holds a Ph.D. and has been teaching for more than 30 years.