Geography

Graduate Programs

Description

Geography studies the relationships and interactions between people and our environment, and it uses cutting-edge geospatial technologies to solve real-world problems. Geospatial technologies provide students with skills in high demand in the workforce including: GIS – Geographic Information Systems, GPS - Global Positioning Systems, Satellite Remote Sensing, and Computer Cartography. To understand both environment and people, geography offers in-depth study in both. Environmental and physical geography studies weather, climate, soils, rivers, landforms, and natural resources. Cultural geography explores our society, including: development, economy, energy, migration, population, policy, and religion. Programs offered by the department provide background and training that enable students to enter careers in the public and private sectors, and prepare students for doctoral study. 

Majors

Program Locations Major / Total Credits
Geographic Information Science MS MS - Master of Science
  • Mankato
32 / 32
Geographic Information Science PSM PSM - Professional Science Master's
  • Edina
30 / 30
Geography MS MS - Master of Science
  • Mankato
34 / 34

Certificates

Program Locations Major / Total Credits
Geographic Information Science GC
  • Mankato
18 / 18

Policies & Faculty

Policies

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.

Financial Assistance: Some graduate assistantships are available through the Department of Geography. Most are funded directly from the College of Graduate Studies and Research and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Typically assistantships carry an obligation of ten to twenty hours per week. Further information about the availability of assistantships and about the status of applications for assistantships should be sought from the department chair.

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. 

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Geographic Information Science (GISc) MS

Admission Requirements

A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution or an equivalent degree from a foreign institution, with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale is required. If the GPA is less than 3.0, the student’s Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores may be used while considering the application for admission. Applicants having grade point averages below the minimum who present convincing evidence of potential for success may be considered for provisional admission. Applicants must submit: a professional goal statement essay in which the applicant documents their experience with and passion for the field, official transcripts from all universities previously attended, three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant's undergraduate academic performance and/or professional background and experience, and a professional résumé. Applicants must document previous proficiency with Geographical Information Science (GISc): successful completion of at least two courses in GISc with ‘B’ or better grade is an acceptable standard. If English is not the students first language, proof of English language proficiency and a minimum TOEFL score of minimum 75 (within a minimum score of 15 in each section of the internet-based TOEFL test) or an IELTS score of at least 6.0 (total score), with a minimum of 5.0 in each category is required.

Graduation Requirements and Policies

 

The students must complete a minimum of 50% of all graduate credits at the 600-level, excluding thesis or APP, and must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or above in all coursework.  Combined BS, BA/MS GISc Program Option: current undergraduate students who have completed their sophomore year may apply to the MS GISc program and 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. 

Contact Information

206 Morris Hall
Department of Geography
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences 

Main Office (507) 389-2617
http://sbs.mnsu.edu/geography/

Faculty

500 Level

Credits: 1-4

The instructor will develop a specific course on a geographic topic, such as soils, landforms, water resources, energy, housing, population geography, or some other topic for the class.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

A qualitative regional climatology of the world, including the Pleistocene Ice Ages and urban impacts upon climate. Emphasis is on the characteristics of particular climates and understanding the factors that control their spatial distribution.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 4

This course examines the dynamic nature of soils including the processes that control formation and degradation, anthropogenic impacts, spatial distribution across landscapes, and links among soils and other components of the earth system. A combination of lectures and hands-on exercises in field and laboratory settings are utilized to explore the complex interactions between soils and landscapes.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 4

Meteorological principles and theory are applied to the analysis and interpretation of weather data in order to better understand the structure and evolution of synoptic-scale weather systems. Basic knowledge of mathematics will be assumed.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 4

This course examines basic concepts and components of soils, factors that influence formation and degradation, soil as a natural resource for ecosystems and societies, and the importance of soil conservation to restore functions that reduce erosion, improve water quality and quantity, mitigate climate change, enhance biodiversity, and increase agricultural productivity to feed an expanding population. Students will gain hands-on experience in field and laboratory settings to assess soil quality and quantity, investigate site-specific and landscape-scale impacts to soils, and develop management strategies to protect and improve soils in urban and agricultural systems.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

This course involves the global distribution of plants and animals, with emphasis on natural and human induced causes of this distribution. The role of human in the endangerment and extinction of species and conservation of vital habitats are also discussed.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 4

This course examines the natural processes that operate on our planet and shape the landscape presently. This will be done through a focus on applied exercises, measurements and direct/indirect observations. Through applied projects students will have an understanding of how these processes interact within a variety of Earth Systems.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 4

An in-depth investigation into fluvial systems including sediment transport, sediment budget analysis, channel geometry/morphology, drainage basin analysis, geomorphic evolution of fluvial landscapes, hydrology (i.e., runoff generation and channel formation, storm hydrograph and flood analysis, discharge measurements) of fluvial systems, and effects of anthropogenic modification and use of fluvial systems.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 4

An interdisciplinary investigation into Quaternary environmental/climatic change and the impact of change on the behavior and evolution of humans. This course has three segments: 1) An examination of natural systems responsible for climatic change, the impact climatic fluctuations have on Earth systems, timing of Quaternary changes, evidence of climatic/environmental change from spatially distant, climatically distinct environments; 2) Investigation into worldwide evidence of human evolution, global dispersion, and adaptation to environmental systems; 3) Introduction into various methodological approaches in Quaternary archeologic, geomorphic, and climatic studies. Focus is on proxy records used for climate/environmental reconstruction, archeologic/geomorphic field methods, geochronologic dating methods.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

Survey of natural resources emphasizing energy, metallic, fisheries, and water resources. Also addresses timber, wetlands, and wildlife on public and private lands.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

Examines national and international economic geographical order and trade activities. Topics include economic development, competition, and impacts on the environment and people.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

This course will introduce students to the multidimensional causes of human migration including immigrant and refugee populations, and their consequences for societies around the world. Students will gain knowledge on the trends and patterns of global migration across diverse geographic, socio-economic, and cultural regions. Additionally, the course will address contemporary issues like migrant and refugee categories; globalization and migrant labor in the economy; role of the state in migration processes; migration policies; migrant identities (race, class, gender, age, citizenship); and migrant rights as they relate to issues of equity and inclusion.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

Hypotheses and generalization related to urban functions, structure, land use, distribution, growth, and decline. Emphasis will be mostly on the United States' urban places.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

Introduction to theoretical frameworks for analyzing processes of economic, environmental, and social change in rural regions. Includes basic and advanced geographical principles and techniques for studying non-urban areas. Designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary for carving out research projects on rural environments.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

Spatial problems and structure of governments, focusing on countries of the world. Covers such topics as boundary problems, strategic locations, and geopolitical explanations of international relations and conflict.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

Concepts and theories concerning global and national social problems and the significance of geographic analytic methods for social research. Study of factors related to variations in regional standards of living.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 4

Four major sets of ideas will be covered: (1) Introduction to Spatial Organization, (2) Network Analysis, (3) Allocation Methods, and (4) Urban Transportation. The emphasis is on these approaches to understanding the geography of transport by description, explanation, and normative or optimal methods.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 1-4

Various excursions to study physical and cultural landscapes inside and outside Minnesota.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

Regional geography covering the ecological and human environment of Central and South America and the Caribbean. Students can pick specific topics to study in detail. The geographic relations between the USA and Latin America are also covered.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

Students will develop a knowledge of the environmental, cultural, historical, and economic geographies of Canada. Readings of best-selling fiction and scholarly works written by Canadians will provide a Canadian perspective on the nation's past, present, and future.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

Cultural, environmental, and economic background of Europe west of the former USSR Following a general geographic survey, the course will cover major regions and countries.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

Examines the physical and human enviornments of eastern Asia, mainly China, Korea, and Japan. The class will be assisted by visual soursces and hands-on use of primary documents.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 4

An applied course tailored to meet practical needs of a teacher, related to curriculum development and earth science lab equipment and supplies.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 4

This course will cover basic strategies for conducting field surveys and gathering from the real world data appropriate to mapping the earth's surface. Emphasis will be upon simple but reliable techniques, ranging from compass-and-pacing to global positioning systems (GPS).

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 4

Comprehensive examination of GIS for manipulation and analysis of spatially-referenced data, including data structure and organization, input and output problems, data management, and strategies for analytical work.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 4

This is an introductory course on theories and techniques of remote sensing. Focus will be placed on providing students with a general overview of the application of remote sensing to practical problems, and hands-on experiencee for image processing and analysis.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 4

This course will introduce students to the fundamental knowledge and techniques of open-source GIS and geospatial data analysis. Students will learn the basic and advanced GIS functions in QGIS, a popular open-source GIS with advanced capabilities. The major topics that will be covered include open-source GIS data standards; working with projections and available GIS data; making maps in QGIS; spatial and attribute data query, editing, and manipulation; multi-criteria overlay analysis; raster image styling and analysis; 3D and terrain analysis; spatial pattern analysis; spatial interpolation; automating map creation and complex workflows using processing models; customize and extend QGIS.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

Descriptive statistics, probability, hypothesis testing, introduction to non-parametric statistics, correlation, introduction to regression analysis, spatial statistics and principles of data representation in graphs, tables and statistical results.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 1-3

This offering will include a variety of selected technical topics in geography, including (but not limited to) manual cartographic drafting and negative scribing, photomechanical techniques in production cartography, aerial photo interpretation, and advanced coverage of digital analysis of satellite-derived remote sensor data and global positioning systems.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

Survey of theoretical frameworks for spatial analysis and geographic quantitative methods. Includes basic and advanced spatial analysis principles and methods for studying and examining spatial patterns. Designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary for carrying our research projects that demand spatial point pattern analysis and analysis of areal units.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 1-4

This offering will include supervised project work in raster-based and/or vector-based GIS, using problems and data drawn from local or regional agencies or other professional-level organizations with whom the Geography Department maintains a relationship. Students must have completed one of the prerequisite courses, or professional-level experience.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 1-4

Topics vary in physical, cultural, economic, political, and historical geography, as well as environmental conservation and geographic techniques.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

This course teaches students to reconstruct past landscapes and identify environmental hazards related to historical land use using GIS and remote sensing software. Applications include the identification of hazardous waste sites, wetland drainage, bluff erosion and other environmental hazards relevant to local history research, environmental consulting, archaeology, resource management, real estate, planning and civil engineering. Students will learn to use and interpret historical air photos and maps, digital imagery and LiDAR in problem-solving contexts and to report research findings in effective written, graphic and verbal presentation formats used by government agencies and private consulting firms.

Prerequisites: GEOG 373 and GEOG 673

Credits: 4

This course provides students as well as natural resource professionals the opportunity to develop knowledge of natural resources management based on GIS science. Detailed examples and discussions of GIS operations and analyses associated with managing natural resources are provided. Weekly labs and the final project will focus on various GIS applications in this field. For example, integrating GIS and remote sensing techniques for sustainable land development, conservation biology, forest, water, wetland, wildlife, and agriculture management. Students will also learn how to combine GIS concepts with GIS software skills and apply them to real-world natural resources management tasks.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 4

In this course, instruction is provided on foundational knowledge related to cloud mapping and visualization of geographical data. In addition, primarily through ArcGIS Online cloud platform, students will be introduced to the concepts of Hosted Layers, Web Maps, Predominance Maps, Web Apps, Story Maps, Web AppBuilder, Widgets, Geodata Visualization, ArcGIS Arcade Expressions, Custom Pop-ups, 3D Mapping and Visualization, ArcGIS Scene Viewer, Visualize Temporal Change, Real-time Mapping, Mapping Internet of Things, Landsat Explorer, and Business Analyst. Cloud mapping and visualization theories and techniques are introduced through a combination of lectures, hands-on exercises, reading materials, and individual or team projects.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 4

Foundational knowledge related to mapping and analysis of geospatial data using both open source and enterprise level Web Mapping and Web GIS platforms. Students will learn how to use HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Google Maps API, ArcGIS Online, and ArcGIS API for JavaScript to store, retrieve, manage, analyze, and display geographical information. Students will be introduced to the concepts of mobile GIS technologies and Web based 3D mapping.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 4

This is an introductory course of GIS programming. It consists of lecture and laboratory components covering fundamentals of GIS programming concepts and techniques, as well as hands-on practice with Model builder and Python supported by ESRI'S ArcGIS platforms.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 1-10

An applied work and learning experience. The student will provide a written internship report on professional practicum and the work supervisor will be consulted on how much the student has accomplished.

Prerequisites: none

600 Level

Credits: 1-3

The instructor will develop a specific course on a geographic topic (land forms, soils, waters, natural resources, cities, agriculture, or any other topic of a geographic nature.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 1-4

Discussion and analysis of contemporary issues in the field of physical geography. Designed to allow in-depth focus on current problems/issues that geographers will encounter in their professional practice. Topics vary according to instructor.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 1-4

Discussion and analysis of contemporary issues in the field of cultural geography. Designed to allow in-depth focus on current problems/issues that geographers will encounter in their professional practice. Topics vary according to instructor.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 1-4

Discussion and analysis of contemporary issues in the field of regional geography. Designed to allow in-depth focus on current problems/issues that geographers will encounter in their professional practice. Topics vary according to instructor.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

Discussion and analysis of contemporary issues in the field of Geographic Techniques. Designed to allow in-depth focus on current problems/issues that geographers will encounter in their professional practice. Topics vary according to instructor.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

This course is designed to give students an overview of geodatabase. The course includes both lecture and lab components covering the fundamentals of geodatabase architecture/design and techniques, as well as hands-on practice with computer-based software package and GIS program.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

This application-oriented course aims to provide foundational knowledge on concepts, theories, techniques, and tools in the context of modeling and simulation of geographical data. Emphasis will be on popular vector and raster based models, Land Change Modeler (LCM), Artificial Neural Network (ANN), Geosimulation, Agent Based Modeling (ABM), Segregation models, Markov models, Cellular Automata (CA), Game of Life, etc. Furthermore, as part of the class project, students will have opportunities to design and implement geographical data driven spatio-temporal models. The primary software programs that will be used for the hands-on activities are ArcGIS, IDRISI TerrSet 2020, and NetLogo.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

This course is designed to give students a deeper understanding of GIScience. The course includes both lecture and lab components covering advanced applications in spatial analysis/modeling, routing/logistics, programming, as well as hands-on practice with computer-based software package and GIS program.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

This course allows graduate students to develop advanced remote sensing knowledge and technology that are needed to conduct in-depth analysis and solve challenging problems. The major topics to be covered include advanced remote sensing data compositing, enhancement, data correction, data fusion, scientific analysis, and spatial modeling techniques; surface reflectance and land surface temperature calculations; land and water mapping and assessment; remote sensing indices and applications; high spatial-resolution and hyperspectral as well as RADAR, LiDAR, and UAV data processing and analysis techniques; canopy biochemical characteristics; and vegetation cover, biomass, and canopy structure assessment.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 1-4

A study assignment for a student to meet specific objectives for the student's needs. It could be a term paper, readings, reports, field report, or mapping project.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

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

Credits: 3

GIS Practicum course is specifically designed to fulfil the capstone requirement of MS GISc coursework-only option. The course builds upon concepts, theories, and tools presented in other MS GISc classes. This course focuses on project management, data models, advanced geo-processing tools, GIS modeling and simulation, and scenario-based GIS solutions. In this course, students will plan, design, and implement an applied GIS project in collaboration with professional organizations. At the end of the semester, students would prepare a poster, present their work to the class, and write a report.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

The history and development of geographic thought from ancient times to the late 20th century.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

This course surveys various environmental issues within the United States with an emphasis on state and federal legislation and policies. The forces prompting environmental legislation, its subsequent implementation and modification by the courts, and various perspectives about the problems, their possible solutions, and the assessment of current efforts are discussed.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 1-4

The focus of this/these course(s) will be on Meteorology/Climatology. This course may be repeated up to three times.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 1-2

Student culminating experience in lieu of a thesis.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 1-6

An applied work and learning practicum. The student will provide a written report on their own learning. The work supervisor will be consulted regarding students' accomplishments.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 1-6

A culminating project related to basic or applied research

Prerequisites: none