The Department of Geography was established in October 1959. Professor V.K.R.V. Rao, an eminent economist and the then Vice-Chancellor of the University of Delhi, founded the Department of Human Geography as a constituent of the Delhi School of Economics. Professor George Kurian, a well-known geographer of India at that time, was the first to be appointed in the Department. In 1966, Professor V.L.S. Prakasa Rao took over from him and guided the Department until 1973. The stability and continuity in the teaching and research programmes were maintained by the dedicated efforts of Professor V.L.S. Prakasa Rao. During this period, the Department acquired a name and a distinctive identity in India and abroad. Professor R. Ramachandran succeeded Professor V.L.S. Prakasa Rao and during his tenure the Department reached new heights. After that other eminent geographers followed as Head viz. Professors S.G. Burman, S.K. Pal, R.P. Mishra, B. Thakur, C.P Singh, Noor Mohammad, S.K. Aggarwal, H. Ramachandran, B. Khan, A. Kapur and R.B. Singh. All of them worked together to steer the Department to greater heights. Thus, charting new and different paths under different headships, the Department has been growing and working to elevate the status of Geography as a discipline. The Department has expanded considerably since 1973. The name of the Department was changed from that of the Department of Human Geography to the Department of Geography in 1976 to indicate the widening scope of teaching and research activity in physical and human aspects of Geography. The Department has evolved many new courses, which have been widely acclaimed as frontiers in Geography.
Faculty members have published several research papers in reputed journals and books with national/international publishers and regularly attend national and international conferences. Faculty members also undertake research projects from various agencies including University Grants Commission, Indian Council of Social Science Research, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Indo-Canadian Shastri Institute and Ministries of Govt. of India, which include Indian Space Research Organization, Department of Science and Technology and Planning Commission. Presently, the Department is under UGC SAP-DRS-III program. Faculty members of the Department serve in several national and international committees. The important national committees where faculty members have served are IUGG-IGU National Committee of INSA, National Association of Geographers India (NAGI), and Deccan Geographical Society of India. The important International committee where the faculty members served is IGU( executive and Steering Committee). The Department has signed MOUs with Lund University, Sweden under the Erasmus Mundus and Linneaus Palme programme. Faculty members are also associated with the Population Research Centre, Faculty of Spatial Sciences and University of Groningen. A faculty member of the Department was awarded fellowship under the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), at Bonn, Germany in 2014.
The Department draws students from different parts of India as well as from abroad. It offers a two years Master of Arts (M.A.) programme in Geography, for which a maximum of seventy six students are admitted. The Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) programme in Geography is a one and half year programme, which offers training for research through course work and dissertation. The course work emphasises the role of methodology in research with particular emphasis on the candidate's area of specialisation. The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programme emphasises original research with focus on primary data collection and analysis of data using advanced methodology and computer aided skills. Through teaching and research, the Department tries to reflect the vital role of Geography in a changing world.
The distinguished alumni of the Department have been placed in prestigious organizations and administrative services of the Government of India and State Governments.
The Department is equipped with state-of-art GIS laboratory, geomorphology-cum-remote sensing laboratory with facilities for photogrammetry, aerial photo interpretation, digital image processing and soil analysis. The GIS laboratory is fully equipped with 30 computers, 3 work stations, server, scanners, plotter, printers, latest GIS, remote sensing and statistical software like Arc View/Info GIS, ILWIS, MapInfo, IDRISI Andes, ERDAS Imagine, WMS, SPSS etc. The Department has also initiated a Media Lab and Automated Weather Station. Teachers, research scholars and post-graduate students have access to computer facilities for their research and other academic pursuits.
UGC- Special Assistance Programme
The Department has been selected by the University Grants Commission Assistance under Special Assistance Programme (SAP) for continuation from DRS-I to DRS-III for five years. Natural Resource Management and Environmental Implications, and Urban and Regional Planning are its thrust areas. UGC has sanctioned staff and grant to develop GIS and geomorphology-cum-remote sensing laboratories As a result, the Department has been able to offer more advanced level courses in remote sensing, geographical information systems, physical geography and computer aided cartography. Under the Programme the Department has acquired data bases like that of the Census of India. The Department has also added a reading-cum-documentation room for students and faculty to make use of the reference books acquired under SAP which also houses the Department's Ph.D. and M.Phil dissertations. Books donated by the faculty and acquired from other sources are also maintained in the reading room.