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. 

Catalog Year



Master of Science

Major Credits


Total Credits




Career Cluster

Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources

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


Admission: Applicants for admission to graduate programs in geography must have maintained a grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for a four-year degree. 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. Applicants having grade point averages below the minimum who present convincing evidence of potential for success may be considered for provisional admission.

Combined BS, BA/MS GISc Program: Current undergraduate students interested in pursuing Master of Science in Geographic Information Science (MS GISc) degree may be granted permission to double count up to 12 credits of GISc classes from the "Restricted Electives" list of MS GISc program toward both the undergraduate and the MS GISc program. To apply for this option, students must have completed their sophomore year, have and maintain a GPA of at least 3.0, and declare their intent to complete the graduate program following the completion of the baccalaureate degree. If accepted, students must obtain special permission to register for double counted courses and will receive graduate student credit when the undergraduate degree has been conferred and they have been fully admitted to the MS GISc program. Please contact the department for detailed information.