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Geography Graduate Program

For more information about any of our graduate programs, please contact one of these graduate advisors: Dr. James Leonard or Dr. Anita Walz.

Master's Degree | Graduate Minors

NEW! One year MA program. The Master of Arts in Geography requires 30 credit hours. Our Accelerated Master's Program (sometimes called 4+1 program) lets Marshall seniors skip some electives and take graduate courses while a senior. Apply now! (click Admissions). See more information about the Masters degrees in Geography below.


Our mission is to get you ready for professional employment or a Ph.D. program by mentoring you as you learn to:

  • communicate effectively,
  • use GIS to create, display, and interpret map data,
  • calculate and apply quantitative solutions to geographical problems,
  • conceptualize and design a geographical research project,
  • compare, analyze, and evaluate geographical research methodology, and either
  • (Non-thesis students) describe, analyze, and evaluate geographical topics and research, or
  • (Thesis students) conduct, assess, and defend a completed independent research project.

Graduate Handbook (beginning fall 2011)

Master's Degree in Geography

  • Supportive, accomplished faculty
  • Master of Arts or Master of Science degree options
  • Thesis and non-thesis options
  • Plenty of jobs in Geography

The Geography Department offers a supportive atmosphere featuring responsive, accomplished faculty and state-of-the-art facilities. The faculty maintains a flexible curriculum, involves students in research, keeps offerings updated with changes in the field and the job market, and helps students obtain internships. As a result, many of our students secure employment as professional geographers before graduation. Master’s degree students are trained in the traditions and methods of geography including the latest geo-spatial technologies such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS).

Career options for geographers are as varied as the landscape itself. Our graduates have taken their degrees into the workplace around the world, but many have been successful in finding employment in the local region as well. Some of the fields that our graduates are employed in include: Cartography, Disaster Response, Economic Development, Environmental Conservation, Flood Prevention, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Professions, Higher Education, Historic Preservation, Homeland Security, International Business, Military Intelligence, Natural Resources Management, Public Health Planning, Public Education, Real Estate, Regional and Urban Planning, Transportation Planning, Tourism Planning and Marketing, Water/Waste Infrastructure Management.

Students wishing to earn a master’s degree in geography have the option of selecting either a Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Science (M.S.) degree. Both the M.S. and M.A. degree options prepare the graduate for professional employment or advanced work at the doctoral level. Because M.S. students are required to complete a thesis, the M.S. option is the best choice for students wishing to engage in geographical research projects or in preparation for entrance into a doctoral program.

Admission

M.A. applicants should follow the admissions process described in the Graduate Catalog, or at the Graduate Admissions Web site: www.marshall.edu/graduate/admissionsrequirements.asp.

M.S. applicants should follow the admissions process described in the Graduate Catalog, or at the Graduate Admissions Web site: www.marshall.edu/graduate/admissionsrequirements.asp. In addition, M.S. applicants must:

  1. Submit GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores with the graduate application;
  2. Have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.9 or minimum GRE scores (for those taking the GRE prior to August 2011 the scores must be: Verbal plus Quantitative greater than or equal to 900 and Writing greater than or equal to 3.5; for those taking the GRE after that date, the scores must be Verbal plus Quantitative greater than or equal to 290 and Writing greater than or equal to 3.5).

Research or teaching assistantships are available: Graduate Assistant Application. For more information about graduate assistantships or other financial support at Marshall University, please see the Graduate College website (click Costs and Aid).

Degree Requirements

Candidates for the master’s degree must meet the general requirements for the Graduate College and either complete a thesis with a minimum of 33 total credits (M.S.) or comprehensive exams with a minimum of 30 total credits (M.A.).

Required Courses (M.A.)

  • GEO615 Geographic Thought and Methods – 3 credit hours
  • GEO616 Geographical Research – 3 credit hours
  • Must have completed an undergraduate statistics course with a grade of B or better or choose one course from this list: PSC604, SOC606, MGT500, EDF517
  • GEO526 Principles of GIS – 4 credit hours; requirement waived if taken at the undergraduate level
  • GEO679 Applied Projects – 3 credit hours

Of the 30 credit hours required for the M.A., at least 15 must be at the 600-level. Of the 30 credit hours, at least 24 must be GEO courses. Some electives from other departments may be taken to complement GEO courses, with permission of the graduate advisor.

Required Courses (M.S.)

  • GEO615 Geographic Thought and Methods – 3 credit hours
  • GEO616 Geographical Research – 3 credit hours
  • Must have completed an undergraduate statistics course with a grade of B or better or choose one course from this list: PSC604, SOC606, MGT500, EDF517
  • GEO526 Principles of GIS – 4 credit hours; requirement waived if taken at the undergraduate level
  • GEO681 Thesis – 6 credit hours

Of the 33 credit hours required for the M.S., at least 17 must be at the 600-level. Of the 33 credit hours, at least 27 must be GEO courses. Some electives from other departments may be taken to complement GEO courses, with permission of the graduate advisor.

What courses should you take and when during your Geography Master's Degree? How will you write your thesis? What are the comprehensive exams like? We hope our

will answer these questions.

Geography Electives

Systematic Courses:
Historical Geography 501
Political Geography 505
Population Geography 506
Urban Geography 510
Medical Geography 511
Principles and Methods of Planning 514
Urban Land Use Planning 515
Environmental Issues in Planning 516
Geography of Gender 519
Economic Geography 607
Seminars 617-619
Regional Courses:
Geography of Appalachia 502
Geography of Asia 503
Geography of Europe 504
Geography of Sub-Saharan Africa 507
Geography of South and Middle America 508
Geography of North Africa and the Middle East 509
Geography of Russia 512
Regional Seminars 610-614
Regions of North America 623
Techniques Course:
Principles of GIS 526
GIS Vector Analysis 529
GIS Raster Analysis 530
Principles of Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry 531
Enterprise GIS 532
GPS and Mobile Geospatial Technologies 533
Applied GIS Projects 631
Physical Courses:
Environmental Geography 522
Climatology 525
GIS Raster Analysis 530
Conservation 620

Graduate Minors in Geography

Students who minor in graduate Geography should choose a minimum of six hours of appropriate courses from one of the specialties below in consultation with their major faculty advisor and a Geography faculty advisor.

  • Regional Geography: Required: GEO623, then choose from GEO 502, 503, 504, 507, 508, 509, 512, 520 (regional topic), 610-614, 617-619
  • Physical Geography: Choose from GEO 520 (physical topic), 522, 525, 530, 531, 617-619, 620
  • Human Geography: Choose from GEO 501, 505, 506, 510, 511, 518, 519, 520 (human topic), 607, 617- 619
  • Planning: Choose from GEO 514, 515, 516, 520 (planning topic), 617-619
  • Geographic Information Systems/Remote Sensing: Choose from GEO 526, 529, 530, 531, 617-619, 631
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