Department of Geography
An independent and full-fledged Department of Geography was created in 1946 with Late Prof. H.L.Chhibber as its Head. During Prof.Chhibber's regime (1946-55) Dr.R.L.Singh, Dr.P.K.Dutt, Dr.P.Dayal, Sri N.Leiter, Dr.S.L.Kayastha, Dr.A.S.Jauhari and Dr.U.Singh joined the University Department, while Smt. Bibha Mukherjee and Dr.N.K.P.Sinha joined the Department in Mahila Maha Vidyalaya and Central Hindu College, Kamachcha respectively.
In 1955, Dr. R.L. Singh took over the charge of the Department as Professor and Head, after the untimely demise of Professor Chhibber. Prof.R.L.Singh has been largely responsible for providing new dimensions to the teaching of geography, by introducing manifold modifications in the Post graduate and Undergraduate courses. Due to Professor Singh’s great interest and devotion, this department achieved an eminent position in India. In the early phase of research activities more attention was paid towards Settlement Geography especially urban aspects and in the year 1968 when the IGU Congress was held in India, this Department hosted a pre-congress International Symposium on Urban Geography in Developing Countries. Later researches dealt with diverse fields ranging from Applied Geography, Resource and Regional Planning, Applied Geomorphology and Hydrology, Medical Geography, Agricultural Geography, Transport Geography, Cultural Geography to Area Development and Environmental Studies. The University Grants Commission supported this Department under the Department Research Support (DRS) programme during 1981-86 and under the Special Assistance Programme (SAP) during 1986-92. The Department of Science and Technology (DST), New Delhi helped it under its FIST Programme to set up a state of the art image processing and GIS Lab. The teaching staffs have worked on and are working on several research projects sponsored by the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
The Department was first to install an imported Photostat unit in early sixties which catered to research requirements even of other centers in the country. Presently the Department is equipped with Cartographic, Soil, Environmental and Remote Sensing & GIS laboratories besides a Computer lab for PG and Research Students. The Department is also linked with the University Computer Networking system having 24 hour internet facility. The number of teaching and non-teaching positions in the Department has increased from the initial 5 and 6 to 27 and 25 respectively. Besides, there is a Geography section with 5 teaching and 2 non-teaching staff in Mahila Maha Vidyalaya (Women’s College, B.H.U.) imparting teaching in Geography to female students at under-graduate level.
By virtue of its reputation and facilities, the Department has been attracting students from all over the country and also from abroad, viz. Japan, Iraq, Nepal, Thailand, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Kenya, West Indies, Bhutan etc. During the last 50 plus years of its glorious existence the Department has attained National and International recognition through its contributions on geographical studies covering India. One of the International Seminars sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), Italy and the B.P. Koirala India-Nepal Foundation in 1995 is a rare feather in its cap. The faculty members of the Department have been publishing on average one to two books and ten to fifteen research papers every year. Also at least one or two staff members visit abroad yearly to attend International Conferences/Exchange Programmes.
The Department of Geography is at present offering (i) three year Graduate Honours (B.A/B.Sc. (Hons.) Course, (ii) two year 4-semester Post Graduate (M.A./M.Sc.) Course iii) a one-year 2-semester PG Diploma in Remote Sensing & GIS in the main campus and in BHU’s Rajiv Gandhi South Campus at Barkachcha.
The course structure is such that the students acquiring the PG Diploma in Remote Sensing & GIS can easily absorb in any of the reputed national and international organizations such as Rolta, ESRI, Geometica, IL & FS, PAN India, RMSI, InfoTech, State Remote Sensing Centers, Regional Remote Sensing Centers etc.
The Department has its own library (besides the University Central Library) with a collection of about 6000 books covering various branches of Geography.