The Department of physical geography and landscape science founded in 1930 as the “department of physico-geography” is one of the oldest at the Faculty of Geography. Professors N.A. Gvozdetsky, T.V. Zvonkova, N.A. Solnetsev, N.I. Mikhailov formulated the main principles of education. The education of landscape scientists at the Department is based on multifaceted spectrum of academic general and special disciplines combined with field practical exercises conducted by university lecturers and later – in environmentally-oriented work collectives (Dyakonov 2007). Since 1996 the Department provides both Bachelor and Master education programs.
The teaching plan has changed much in the last 15 years resulting in significant development of academic disciplines in landscape ecology, research methods and geoecology. It involves five groups of disciplines, namely: humanitarian and socio-economic sciences, general Earth sciences and mathematics, landscape science (fundamentals, morphology and mapping, landscape geophysics and geochemistry, biogeophysics, landscape evolution etc.), research methods, geoecology and socially-oriented nature management.
Field practices offered after the second and third years of study are of huge importance (Khoroshev and Petrushina 2015). Educational 2d year practice includes work both in plain and mountainous regions with total duration 2 months. The former is commonly organized in the mixed forest zone of European Russia (Tsentralno-Lesnoy natural reserve or Meshchera lowland), the latter – in the Elbrus region of the Caucasus. The practice is aimed at learning methods for field investigation of landscape morphological structure, fine-scale mapping, transect studies, intercomponent relations, identification of hierarchical levels and delimitation of natural geosystems. Various devices for field data collection and processing are used such as GPS, theodolites, georadars, meteorological devices, Bitterlich relaskop, Pressler corer, chemical laboratory, Munsell soil color charts etc. After the 3d study year of Bachelor program as well as after the 1st year of Master program students work in expeditions organized by Faculty of Geography, Academy of Sciences, natural reserves, national parks and in other institutions. Later some of them get jobs in these institutions.
Master program provides opportunities for the job in research and design institutes, administrative authorities, companies specialized in geoecological design, ecological examination and monitoring, landscape and urban planning.
The main present-day challenges for educational process at the Department are improvement in supply of technical devices and better integration with European universities.
Dyakonov K.N. Landscape studies in Moscow Lomonosv State University: development of scientific domains and education. In: K.N.Dyakonov, N.S.Kasimov, A.V.Khoroshev, A.V.Kushlin (Eds.). Landscape Analysis for Sustainable Development. Theory and Applications of Landscape Science in Russia. Alex Publishers, Moscow. 2007. P. 93-103
Khoroshev A., Petrushina M. Landscape science education at the Russia universities: history, current status and future development. In: 15th Internttional Multidisciplinary Scientific Geoconference SGEM 2015. Vol. III. Ecology, Economics, Education and Legislation. Conference proceedings. Albena, Bulgaria, 2015. P. 959-964.