Graduate Degrees in Geography

Geography Graduate Students

Students pursuing a graduate 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 students for professional employment or advanced work at the doctoral level. We offer thesis and non-thesis options. Thesis students can expect to conduct, assess and defend an independent research project, while non-thesis students will describe, analyze and evaluate geographical topics and research. For up-to-date requirements and electives, consult the Graduate Catalog.

Master of Arts in Geography

The Master of Arts in Geography (M.A.) requires 34 credit hours. Our Accelerated Geography Master’s Degree (sometimes called 4+1 program) allows Marshall seniors to skip some electives and instead take graduate courses while a senior. That means the program can be completed in one year!


Master of Science in Geography

The Master of Science in Geography (M.S.) requires 34 credit hours. 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.


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M.A. applicants should follow the admissions process described at www.marshall.edu/graduate. In addition, M.A. applicants must:

  • Submit a curriculum vitae (CV) and/or résumé with the graduate application;
  • Submit a letter of recommendation (either from an employer or faculty member) with the graduate application.

M.S. applicants should follow the admissions process described at www.marshall.edu/graduate. Potential M.S. applicants must contact the department to ensure that their thesis research interests are compatible with at least one faculty member. In addition, M.S. applicants must:

  • Submit a statement of purpose/research interest with the graduate application;
  • Submit a curriculum vitae (CV) and/or résumé with the graduate application;
  • Submit two letters of recommendation (from employers or faculty members) with the graduate application;
  • Submit GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores with the graduate application;
  • Have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.5  OR  minimum GRE scores of Verbal greater than or equal to 150 and Quantitative greater than or equal to 150 and Writing greater than or equal to 4.5.

Want to learn more?


Contact Dr. James Leonard about a graduate degree in Geography.


“God and my Master’s degree from Marshall landed me the position (GIS Analyst/Manager near Portland, OR).” ~ Mike, 2018

Geography Core Courses


Students must complete the following courses in Geography:

  • Any GEO GIScience course, typically GEO526 Principles of GIS
  • GEO540 Spatial Statistics and GIS
  • GEO 601 Colloquium in Geography
  • GEO615 Geographic Thought
  • GEO616 Geographical Research Methods
  • GEO679 Applied Projects
  • GEO681 Thesis (M.S. only)

Geography Electives


Systematic Courses:

  • 501 Historical Geography
  • 505 Political Geography
  • 506 Population Geography
  • 510 Urban Geography
  • 607 Economic Geography
  • 617-619 Seminars

Regional Courses:

  • 502 Geography of Appalachia
  • 504 Geography of Europe
  • 508 Geography of South and Middle America
  • 610-614 Regional Seminars
  • 623 Regions of North America

Techniques Courses:

  • 523 Cartography and GIS
  • 526 Principles of GIS
  • 529 GIS Vector Analysis
  • 530 GIS Raster Analysis
  • 531 Principles of Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry
  • 532 Enterprise GIS
  • 533 GPS and Mobile Geospatial Technologies
  • 554  Drones Remote Sensing and GIS
  • 631 Applied GIS Projects
  • 634 GIS Databases & Programming
  • Internship 690

Physical Courses:

  • 522 Environmental Geography
  • 525 Climatology
  • 530 GIS Raster Analysis
  • 620 Conservation

Graduate Minors in Geography

Graduate students pursuing degrees in other disciplines can choose from five different Graduate Minors in Geography.

  • Regional Geography
  • Physical Geography
  • Human Geography
  • Geographic Information Systems/Remote Sensing