Geography (MS)

The Geography MS provides students an applied learning environment with emphasis on high-impact research and learning experiences. Geography students gain expertise in natural and/or human systems that can be applied to solving real-world problems; quantitative and qualitative field and laboratory methods; geospatial technologies (GIS, GPS, GNSS, Remote Sensing); conducting scientific inquiry; and communicating scientific results/data to the public. Students are trained to be successful in public and private sectors, or continue to a Ph.D. program.

Two options are available: 1) a 30-credit coursework and research thesis option; or 2) a 34-credit coursework and Alternate Plan Paper (APP) option. Students who complete the Geography MS are competitive for an applied professional career or admission to nationally recognized doctoral degree programs. 

Current Catalog Year
Master of Science
Major / Total Credits
34 / 34

Graduate Program Handbook

Program Cheat Sheet

Application for Graduate Programs

Applicants for admission to graduate programs in Geography should have maintained a grade point average of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale for a four-year degree. Applicants having grade point averages below the minimum who present convincing evidence of potential for success may be considered for provisional admission.

Applicants should submit a letter of intent, official transcripts from all universities previously attended, and letters of recommendation from three individuals familiar with the applicant's undergraduate academic performance in order to be considered for the program. These materials should be submitted to both the Admissions Office (or emailed to and to the Geography Department's administrative assistant. 

It is HIGHLY recommended that applicants to the program inquire with potential advisors in our Department, if interested in enrolling in this program. It is also HIGHLY recommended that potential applicants detail in their letter of intent who their potential advisor(s) might be and describe their research interests and how that aligns with the potential advisor(s). This will help the Department of Geography align prospective students with the appropriate faculty members if they are accepted and help us assess if the applicant and our program is an appropriate fit. Again, we highly encourage and recommend that you to reach out to faculty members in the department and discuss your ideas with them before applying!

International applicants must submit a TOEFL score of at least 75, within a minimum score of 15 in each section of the TOEFL or an IELTS score of at least 6.0 (total score), with a minimum of 5.0 in each category.

It is strongly encouraged that all application materials be submitted to the Geography Department by March 1 of the academic year prior to the fall in which a prospective student wishes to enroll. Applications submitted after this deadline have a decreased chance of being granted financial assistance and/or being accepted to the program. 

To apply online, go to Graduate Studies Applications page.

Program Requirements

Common Core

The history and development of geographic thought from ancient times to the late 20th century.

Prerequisites: none

Research/Methods Course(s)

Required of MS professional degree candidates. To acquaint students with the geographer's perspective and methods of inquiry; to examine types of geographic research; to develop student's ability in producing research papers; to give students experience in writing research papers and to provide students experience in professional oral presentation.

Prerequisites: none

Restricted Electives

Choose any 500/600 level elective courses in consultation with an advisor. 15 credits must by taken in Geography.

Capstone Course

Select either Thesis or Alternate Plan Paper (APP)

Student culminating experience in lieu of a thesis.

Prerequisites: none

A culminating project related to basic or applied research

Prerequisites: none