Master's Program


The Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science awards the Master of Arts or Master of Science degree to those who successfully complete the Department’s general MA/MS requirements and the requirements of one of our concentrations:

  • Cities & Metropolitan Areas
  • Geographic Information Science
  • Society, Space and Environments
  • Physical Geography
In exceptional cases a student may obtain a degree outside a normal program through separate agreement with an individual faculty member and approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.

The purpose of the Master's program is to provide a framework by which the candidate may obtain competence in at least one of the systematic branches of geography and support this with mastery of at least one primary research technique and a basic understanding of geographic information systems (GIS). Master’s degree work incorporates formal class work, seminars and direct research experience.

Admission to a Master’s degree program is restricted to those applicants who have demonstrated high academic ability (a ‘B’ average is a generally accepted minimum requirement). A complete application requires: a completed online application; three letters of reference, official transcripts from each academic institution attended. Applicants are advised that the admitting committee studies the student’s statement of intent very carefully.

Effective for the Fall 2020 admission cycle, our Admissions committee will no longer consider Graduate Records Exam (GRE) scores when evaluating applicants to our graduate degree programs.

Students whose native language is not English are required to meet the Graduate College's English Proficiency Requirements. The policy for international teaching assistants can also be found on the Graduate College web site at English Proficiency Requirement for International Teaching Assistants.


Students enter the Master's program intending to work with a particular faculty member, and the faculty member serves as the student's advisor. The advisor, who must be a member of the Geography and Geographic Information Science Graduate Faculty, will aid the student in formulating a tentative degree program comprising the most appropriate courses according to the student’s background, interests, and career objectives. The advisor and student should meet regularly to discuss progress and future plans. Effective communications between student and advisor are critical for Master's success. Either the student or the faculty advisor is free at any time to request a change in advising assignment.

Requirements of the Master's Program

The Graduate College requires that at least 32 hours of course work be completed for a Master’s degree. 12 of the 32 hours must be in 500 level courses, and at least eight of these twelve must be in Geography. An overlapping requirement is that a total of at least 16 400/500 level hours must be accumulated in Geography. The University has specific and stringent requirements concerning the transfer of credit. Please see the Graduate College website for Transfer of Credit requirements.

Quick Info

Summary of Master's Requirements
(Please note this is only a summary. Full details of the master's degree requirements may be found in the GGIS Graduate Handbook.)

Master's (MA/MS) Timeline