University of Montana Catalog 2023-2024

Geography M.S. - Community & Environmental Planning

Master of Science - Geography; Community & Environmental Planning Concentration

Degree Specific Credits: 33 credits plus a thesis are required for the thesis and professional paper tracks; 39 credits are required for the non-thesis (portfolio) track.

Required Cumulative GPA: 3.0

  • The M.S. in Geography with a concentration in Community and Environmental Planning is appropriate for those interested in working in community planning, hazard mitigation, and land-use planning.  Beyond the core requirements specified for the General MS (10 credits), an additional 23 credits are required. 
  • Choices in the core and of remaining 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 the Graduate School, 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 33 or 39 credits may be taken as thesis (GPHY 599).
Degree 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.
  • There is no minimum number of thesis credits that must be taken for any of the tracks.


Graduate Research Seminar - Complete all of the following courses:2
Graduate Seminar (1 cr. per semester)
Graduate Seminar in Wildlife Biology
Graduate Research Design - Complete one of the following courses:3
Research Design in the Geographical Sciences I
and Research Design in Geographical Sciences II
Conservation and Social Science Methods
Fundamentals of Academic Research
Research Design
and Research Design Lab
Graduate Research Methods - Complete one of the following courses:3
Quantitative methods
Environmental Analytics
Ecological Statistics
Social Data Analysis
Statistical Methods I
Statistical Methods II
Qualitative methods
Qualitative Methods
Historical or survey methods
Advanced GIS or computer methods
3 Additional Credits of Graduate Seminar3
Advanced Physical Geography
Seminar in Planning
Seminar GIS & Cartography
Concentration Requirements - Complete all of the following courses:
GPHY 465Planning Principles & Processes3
GPHY 468Community & Regional Analysis3
GPHY 469Planning & Analysis Laboratory1
GPHY 466Environmental Planning3
GPHY 560Seminar in Planning3
GPHY 561Land Use Planning Law3
GPHY 564Planning Design3
Concentration Electives - Complete 4 credits of the following courses:4
Community Resilience
Land Use Planning Clinic
Total Hours34-39