M.S. Degree

Required Coursework or “Core” for all M.S. degrees

(both thesis and non-thesis options)

  • GEOG 591, History & Philosophy of Geography
  • GEOG 507, Spatial Analysis and Modeling
  • GEOG 596 Geography Dept Seminar (1 cr)
  • One 3-credit geography seminar at the 500 level (to be determined with your committee)

Additional Requirements – M.S. with Thesis Option

  • Pursuant to Graduate College guidelines, all graduate students are encouraged to assemble a graduate committee and file a graduate Study Plan (a list of coursework agreed upon by the committee) within their first year in the program. Full-time students supported by departmental Teaching Assistantships are required to do so by mid-term of their second semester in order to remain eligible for this departmental support. A student’s graduate committee must be comprised of two faculty from the Department of Geography and one external member of the UI graduate faculty.
  • The M.S. with thesis degree requires a total of 30 credits hours, of which a minimum of 18 credits must be at the 500-level; 300-level courses may occasionally be permitted outside the major. Up to 8 credit hours in GEOG 500 (Thesis Research) may be applied toward the required total of 30 credits.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to put together a thesis proposal by the end of their first year in the program. Students supported by department Teaching Assistantships are required to do so. Graduation is contingent on successful completion of the M.S. thesis, as determined by the student’s committee.

Additional Requirements - M.S. Non-Thesis Option

  • Like the M.S. thesis option, the non-thesis option requires a minimum of 30 credits hours, of which a minimum of 18 must be at the 500-level. One 300-level course outside the major may occasionally be permitted to count toward the 18 credit hours, as approved by the committee. However, for the non-thesis option, only up to 2 credit hours in GEOG 599 (Non-thesis Research) may be applied toward the requirement of 30 total credit hours. Note: Credit in GEOG 500 (Research and Thesis) cannot be counted toward the minimum of 30 credits for a non-thesis master’s degree.
  • The non-thesis option requires the completion of a major project. Guidelines for written and oral presentation of projects are provided in the department student handbook.
  • Students are required to put together a graduate committee comprised of two faculty members from the department, with one faculty member serving as primary advisor and one as secondary. The study plan and project must be approved by the graduate committee. Students are encouraged to put together their study plan and project proposal by the end of their first year. Full-time students supported by department Teaching Assistantships are required to do so by mid-term of the second semester of their first year in order to remain eligible for this support. Graduation is contingent on successful completion of both the planned coursework and the major graduate project, as determined by the student’s committee.
  • Students are encouraged to choose specialty areas (or tracks) for coursework leading to the non-thesis option M.S degrees.

*** Approved by Geography Faculty, August 2014****

Entrance Requirements

Applicants must satisfy these minimum requirements:

  • Bachelors degree and prior cumulative GPA of 2.8 or better 
  • Acceptable GRE scores (most of our students have a combined verbal/quantitative score of at least 1150)
  • All applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the TOEFL and score better than 550 (paper-based) or 79 (computer-based).
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • Statement of career objectives

Additionally, admission into the program is dependent on the availability of a geography faculty member to serve as major advisor in the topic area of the student’s research emphasis. Students are encouraged to contact directly those faculty members whose research interests overlap with their own.

Deficiencies

A committee will evaluate incoming undergraduate background to determine if any additional fundamental courses in either physical or human geography should be taken. This is done on a case-by-case basis to provide breadth in Geography. Students with a B.A. or B.S. degree in Geography as may others with a degree in Geography may already satisfy this requirement.

The plan for deficiencies should be approved by the student’s committee and the department chair. Any coursework required to remove the deficiencies should be taken as early in the student’s program as possible.