Geography - Master of Science (M.S.)
Master of Science (M.S.) - Geography
W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation Graduate Programs
Degree Specific Credits:
30 credits are required for the thesis and professional paper tracks.
36 credits are required for the non-thesis (portfolio) track.
Required Cumulative GPA: 3.0
Catalog Year: 2022-23
For the M.S. Geography degree, students may select among a general option or an option in Cartography & GIS or in Community and Environmental Planning.
The M.S. degree in Geography (with no option) offers the most flexibility and is appropriate for students who are focused on human or physical geography as well as those who have interests in human-environment interactions, climate change, land-use and environmental planning, community resilience, cartography, GIS, and geospatial analysis. In the General Geography M.S., students may tailor their program to their individual interests once they complete the core requirements.
Choices in the core and elective credits will be selected in consultation with the graduate committee to support the research program and student's professional goals. Coursework must be approved by the committee no later than the second semester in residence, but earlier if possible. Per Graduate School policy, at least 20 of the total credits must be taken within the major discipline; at least 20 of the total credits must be in coursework and at least half of the coursework credits (minimum 10 credits) must be at the 500 level or above; courses below the 400 level do not count towards the M.S. course requirements; and up to 10 of the 30 credits may be taken as thesis (GPHY 599).
We just modified this description to make it more precise and relevant to students.
For the M.S. degree, with or without option, students are required to complete one of the following tracks:
Thesis track: Successfully complete and defend a thesis or one or more papers (i.e., articles) of publishable quality before an examining committee.
Professional Paper track: Successfully complete and defend a professional paper or one or more papers (i.e., articles) of publishable quality before an examining committee. The difference between a thesis and a professional paper is that while the thesis is directed toward advances in the discipline, the professional paper may be directed toward advances in the profession. A professional paper may also consist of one or more papers of publishable quality intended for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
Non-thesis (Portfolio) track: Requires the successful completion of a portfolio and written and oral comprehensive examinations described in the addendum of the "PDF of Graduate Degree Requirements" downloadable through the link above.
There is no minimum number of thesis credits that must be taken for any of the tracks.
Required Core Courses
Required Research Design Course
Required Methods Course
Required Core Course
Complete all of the following courses:
2 (1 cr. per semester)
*GPHY 525, or GPHY 560, or GPHY 580
Advanced Physical Geography, or Seminar in Planning, or Seminar GIS & Cartography
*Or approved alternative
Complete one of the following research design courses:
GPHY 504 and GPHY 505
Research Design I and Research Design II
Conservation and Social Science Methods
Fundamentals of Academic Research
WILD 540 and WILD 541
Research Design and Research Design Lab
Complete one methods course
**Historical or survey methods
**Advanced GIS or computer methods
**See the Geography Advising Guide for a list of suggested courses
Minimum Required Grade: C