All graduate students are initially assigned to the Graduate Coordinator and Graduate Studies Committee for advising and can remain with the Committee for no more than two semesters. As soon as the student has determined what aspect of Geography he/she wishes to investigate for his/her dissertation, he/she is directed to the professor(s) whose interests are most closely related to that branch of geography. Provided the professor is willing to accept the student, he/she becomes the student's major professor. For Ph.D. degree prospects, the Major Professor must be a member of the Graduate Faculty; if it is desirable to have co-major professors, both must be members of the Graduate Faculty.

For the prospective Ph.D. Candidate, an Advisory Committee is appointed, consisting of the Major Professor as Chair, and at least three additional faculty members. The major professor and at least two of the other members must be appointed members of the Graduate Faculty. At least three members of the committee must be from the Department of Geography. An external member outside of the University of Georgia can be appointed to the advisory committee at the recommendation of the major professor with the approval of the Graduate Coordinator.  This external member will at least read and vote on the adequacy of the dissertation. The Advisory Committee is appointed by the Graduate School Dean upon the recommendation of the Graduate Coordinator. Recommendation forms are available from the Geography Degree Program Assistant.

The Advisory Committee (Ph.D.), in consultation with the student, develops a Program of Study in conformance with the interests of the student and the requirements of the degree. Normally, the Preliminary Program of Study is developed during the student's first semester after selection of the Major Professor and advisory committee and must be filed by the end of the student’s second semester in the Ph.D. program. The Program, and any change subsequent to initial approval, must meet with signature approval of all advisory committee members. The Program of Study must constitute a logical whole and be approved by the Advisory Committee, Graduate Coordinator, and the Graduate School Dean. Only graduate level courses (6000 and above) can be listed in the Program of Study. No course with a grade below "C" can be used in the Program of Study. Forms for approval are available from the Geography Degree Program Assistant.