Degree Requirements

Master of Arts

To obtain a master’s degree in geography, students must complete either thirty semester hours of coursework, including eighteen hours of geography, six hours in a minor subject, and six hours in the thesis course; or thirty-six semester hours of coursework, including twenty-seven hours of geography, six hours in a minor subject, and three hours in the report course. A student who wishes to substitute courses in another field for geography courses must demonstrate that these substitutions are appropriate to his or her program of study and must have the consent of the graduate adviser and the supervising professor for the courses substituted. First-year master’s degree students must complete Geography 390K in the fall semester and Geography 390L in the spring semester, with a grade of at least B- in each course. All students must also demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language or in a quantitative or qualitative method. The student’s supervising committee and the graduate adviser oversee fulfillment of this requirement.

Each student must also enroll in at least one organized course in geography during both the first and the second semester in the graduate program. These courses must be taught by different full-time faculty members within the department, as approved by the graduate adviser. Geography 390K, 390L, 397, and 398T may not be counted toward this requirement. Geography 397, Conference Course in Geography, may be counted only once toward the degree. By the middle of the second semester, the student should have chosen a supervising committee.

When all course requirements and the language or methods requirement have been fulfilled, the student completes the degree by presenting independent research in the form of a thesis or report.

Doctor of Philosophy

All students entering the doctoral program must hold a Master of Arts degree or the equivalent.

To qualify for advancement to candidacy, a student must do the following:

  1. Complete, with a grade of at least B-, two required seminars, Geography 390K and 390L, in the first year of study. All doctoral students must also take two courses taught by different full-time faculty members within the department, as approved by the graduate adviser. Geography 390K, 390L, 397, and 398T may not be counted toward this requirement. Doctoral students may repeat Geography 397, Conference Course in Geography, but this course may be counted only twice toward the degree.
  2. Fulfill the language requirement by demonstrating proficiency in one language other than English. Non-native English speakers may fulfill the requirement by demonstrating proficiency in English. Proficiency must be approved by the student’s dissertation supervisor and the graduate adviser. In exceptional cases, the requirement may be waived with the approval of the graduate adviser.
  3. Fulfill the methods requirement by demonstrating proficiency in either a quantitative or a qualitative method, as approved by the student’s dissertation supervisor and the graduate adviser.
  4. Select a faculty supervisor and dissertation committee by the end of the second semester; the student may later change supervisors and alter the committee if appropriate.
  5. Present a Program of Work that meets the approval of the dissertation supervisor.
  6. Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge in two areas of specialization in geography.
  7. Pass a qualifying examination.

After admission to candidacy, a student has completed the formal program of coursework and engages in the research and writing of the dissertation, culminating in an oral defense of the dissertation.

Dual Degree Program

The Department of Geography and the Environment offers the following dual degree program in cooperation with another division of the University. More information is available from the graduate adviser in each program.

Field(s) of Study Degree(s)
Community and regional planningMaster of Science