Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Logo
Apply to SIUE
College of Arts & Sciences
College of Arts & Sciences
Institutional Header

Graduate Program in Geographical Studies

Graduate Student Handbook

SIUE Graduate School

Financial Aid

Contact the Director

The Department of Geography offers a program of study leading to a Master of Science in Geographical Studies. Our program offers two professional options. The non-thesis option (36 hours of course work culminating in comprehensive exams) is designed for the professional geographer seeking a terminal degree for a career in the private or public sectors, or as a geography teacher in public schools and community colleges. The thesis option (30 hours of coursework including thesis hours) is designed to meet the same goals as the non-thesis option but also to provide experience in research and scientific inquiry for students who may intend to pursue a doctoral program at other institutions.

The goal of the graduate curriculum in Geographical Studies at SIUE is to produce graduates with the following knowledge and skills:

(a) a functional understanding of the field of geography and an in-depth knowledge in one or more specialty areas offered by the department

(b) the geographic skills and expertise needed to address contemporary geographical problems

(c) proficiency in geographic research methods

(d) strength in critical thinking and communication, especially in writing.

The graduate program is organized around areas that reflect the interests and competencies of the graduate faculty including Cartography/GIS/Remote Sensing, Climatology, Biogeography, Historical-Cultural Geography, Geographic Education, Geomorphology, Hydrology, Political and Medical Geography, and Urban Economic Planning/Economic Development. With the assistance of the Graduate Program Director Dr. Grossman, students are encouraged to structure their programs around one of these areas and to work closely with graduate faculty having similar interests.

APPLICATION

Students applying to the Master's degree program in the Department of Geography must follow the application procedures of both the Graduate School and the Geography Department.

Procedures for submitting an application to the Graduate School can be found at http://www.siue.edu/graduate.

Departmental application materials (listed below) should be submitted to the Graduate School along with their required materials by the deadlines specified on the Graduate School website although earlier is always better.

Graduate Admissions, Box 1047, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL 62026-1047

Applicants who are requesting a graduate assistantship on their Departmental Application Form should complete their applications by the end of March to ensure consideration for the Fall semester.

Materials required by the Department of Geography

  1. The Departmental Application Form which is on the forms page. (Please fill out online and print.)
  2. Transcripts from all academic institutions attended (if you have not submitted them as part of the Graduate School application)
  3. A one to two page statement of purpose describing why you have chosen our program, what your interests are, what you hope to gain from the program, and how it will help you achieve your long-range objectives in geography
  4. A complete Curriculum Vitae
  5. Two letters of reference from individuals familiar with your academic background, training or work. A third letter is optional and may be submitted to help support your application. Please use the department reference forms which can be found on the forms page.

Application decisions at the Graduate School and Departmental levels will not be made until all application materials have been received. Applications are evaluated on an ongoing basis and your application will be evaluated soon after it is complete.

ADMISSION

Admission is open to geography and non-geography majors with baccalaureate degrees satisfying the general requirements of the Graduate School. Non-geography majors and, in some cases, geography majors may be required to take prerequisites before beginning the graduate program. Courses taken to remedy any deficiencies do not count as part of the regular program. The graduate program in geography requires applicants to have at least an over-all grade point average of 2.8 (A=4.0). Applicants who do not meet the required grade point average will be considered based on acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Examination or on grades in recommended/required prerequisite courses.

Students in the graduate program are required to maintain a minimum over-all grade point average of 3.0. If a student earns a grade of "C" or below in any graduate level course, he or she will be placed on academic probation. Any student earning two grades of "C" or below in the program will be dropped from the Geographical Studies graduate program, regardless of GPA.

PROGRAM OF STUDY

All graduate students, regardless of option selected, must declare a subject area they wish to emphasize. Those in the thesis option must take at least one course (3 credit hours) in their emphasis area as part of the elective package, while those in the non-thesis option must take at least two courses (6 credit hours). During the second semester in the program, all students must select a subject area advisor and fill out the subject area advisor form (which can be found on the forms page) to obtain approval from their advisor and the Graduate Program Director.

Thesis Option:

A minimum of 30 credit hours is required for the Master of Science. Of the 30 hours, 21 hours must be geography department graduate-level courses and at least one half (15) of the required 30 hours must be earned at the 500 level.

Required courses (12 hours) include:

Geog 520 - Research Methods in Geography (Spring of first year)

Geog 521 - Contemporary Philosophy and Explanations in Geography (Fall of first year)

Geog 522 - Techniques in Geography (Fall of second year)

One seminar in Geography (either Geog 500, 510, 525, 526, 530)

GEOG 599 (3 to 6 credit hours) - Candidates must complete a thesis while enrolled in this course.

Electives (12 to 15 hours) are additional courses that should be related to the student's needs and interests.

Non-Thesis Option:

A minimum of 36 credit hours is required for the Master of Science. Of the 36 hours, 24 hours must be geography department graduate-level courses and at least one half (18) of the required 36 hours must be earned at the 500 level.

Required courses (15 hours) include:

Geog 520 - Research Methods in Geography (Spring of first year)

Geog 521 - Contemporary Philosophy and Explanations in Geography (Fall of first year)

Geog 522 - Techniques in Geography (Fall of second year)

Geog 597 - Preparatory Reading for the Comprehensive Exams (Please make sure to fill out the Examination Panel form that can be found on the forms page)

One seminar in Geography (Either Geog 500, 510, 525, 526 or 530)

Electives (21 hours) are additional courses that should be related to the student's needs and interests.

EXIT REQUIREMENTS

Thesis Option:

The final oral examination will be conducted by the candidate's thesis committee. This examination will cover the content of the thesis as well as the fundamental concepts of the discipline as stated in the program's objectives. Please refer to the Graduate School's web page for deadlines relevant to steps in this process.

Non-Thesis Option:

Candidates must register for GEOG 597 Preparatory Reading (Please make sure to fill out the required Examination Panel form that can be found on the forms page) and take a final written comprehensive examination that includes a directed research problem. This examination will consist of a segment that covers the content of the graduate level core courses taken, as well as fundamental concepts of the discipline as stated in the program's objectives and a segment covering her/his declared specialty area. The directed research problem is determined by the student and his/her committee.

CAREER OUTLOOK

Former students of the Masters program in Geographical Studies at SIUE have usually found employment related to their area of interest. Some examples include: The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), U.S.G.S., EPA, Soil Conservation Service, H.U.D., Illinois and Missouri Departments of Conservation, Parsons Corporation, U.S. Park Service, Union Electric, Peabody Coal, U.S. Army Corp, Illinois Department of Transportation. Some students have gone on to successfully complete Ph.D. programs at other universities.

Email the Department's Graduate Program Director Dr. Grossman.