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Graduate Students

Graduate Catalog 2015-16


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Contact: Graduate Program Director

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Application Deadlines:
For domestic classified status, the deadline is approximately a month before the start of classes (Definite dates are on the application itself). International students, please see the FAQs #16 for your deadline.


The Department of Geography offers a program of study leading to the Master of Science degree in geographical studies. Our program offers two professional tracks. Our non-thesis option (36 hours of course work culminating in comprehensive exams) is designed for the professional geographer seeking a terminal degree and a career in industry requiring spatial skills, or for geography teachers in public schools and community colleges. Our thesis option with its intensive course structure is designed to further stimulate scientific inquiry for those persons who may intend to pursue a doctoral program at other institutions.

The objective of the graduate curriculum in geography at SIUE is to produce graduates with: (a) a functional understanding of the field of geography and an in-depth knowledge in one or more areas of departmental competence; (b) the pertinent geographic skills and knowledge which are applied in resolving contemporary spatial problems; and (c) proficiency in geographic research methods and skills in critical thinking and writing.

The graduate program is organized around eight areas that reflect the interests and competencies of the graduate faculty. These are Cartography-GIS/Remote Sensing, Climatology, Biogeography, Historical-Cultural Geography, K-12 / Geographic Education, Landforms-Hydrology/Environmental Geography, Political Geography/Human Migration, and Urban Economic Planning and Development. With the assistance of the graduate adviser, students are encouraged to structure their programs around one of these areas and to work closely with graduate faculty having similar interests.


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 will not count as part of the regular program. In addition, 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 if acceptable scores are demonstrated on the Graduate Record Examination.

Students 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 a 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 geography graduate program, regardless of GPA. To facilitate the process of student advising and guidance, all applicants must submit a one-page written statement of their graduate education and study plan along with their graduate admissions forms.


Thesis Option: A minimum of 30 hours is required for the Master of Science, of which 21 semester hours must be geography graduate-level courses. In addition, at least one half of the required 30 credit hours must be earned at the 500 level. Required courses (12 hours) include: GEOG 520, 521, 522; plus one seminar in Geography. Electives (12 to 15 hours) are additional courses that should be related to the student's needs and interests, and faculty expertise. Candidates must complete a thesis while enrolled in GEOG 599 (3 to 6 credit hours).

Non-Thesis Option: A minimum of 36 hours is required for the Master of Science, of which 24 hours must be geography graduate-level courses. In addition, at least one half of the 36 required credits must be earned at the 500 level. Required courses (15 hours) include GEOG 520, 521, 522, 597, plus one seminar in Geography. Electives (21 hours) are additional courses that should be related to the student's needs and interests, and faculty expertise.

In addition, each graduate student, regardless of option selected, must declare a subject area s/he wishes 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). Before enrolling in the second year of study, each student must have selected a subject area adviser and obtained approval from him/her as well as the Graduate Adviser.


Thesis Option: in addition to the thesis itself, a final oral examination will be conducted by the candidate's 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.

Non-Thesis Option: The candidate must register for GEOG 597 (Preparatory Reading) and take a final written examination. 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, a segment covering her/his specialty area, and a directed research problem.



The Professional Development Sequences (PDS) in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) were originally developed by the Department of Geography with the support of the Schools of Business and Engineering. Three separate sequences were developed to accommodate the growing demand for practitioners in this new, specialized field which combines geographic information and graphics technology. In addition, since their origination, these sequences have been regularly updated to remain current with advances in technology and the changing needs of many user groups including the social, natural, physical, and applied sciences.

The PDS in GIS is, therefore, valuable to graduate students and professionals from many diverse fields such as economic development, real estate, environmental assessment, resource management, urban and regional planning, public administration, and health services. These course sequences provide the requisite education and training needed to understand GIS methodology and technology, and how to apply it to one's particular field. This methodology is particularly valuable for applications requiring area definition coupled with demographic, environmental, and market research and analysis.


Graduate students who are officially admitted to and in good standing with the Graduate School may enroll in a GIS PDS provided they have the approval of the Geography graduate adviser and PDS coordinator. As long as the student is enrolled in the PDS, the student will have unclassified graduate status. Students desiring to acquire this specialized GIS training through a degree program (geography, business administration, or civil engineering), must follow the procedures necessary for admission to that degree program. A student completing the first PDS may apply up to three courses (nine semester hours) toward the elective hour requirement for a graduate degree in geography, provided the stipulations for transfer credit are met.


The first PDS (Principles and Concepts of Geographic Information Systems) includes: GEOG 418 (Geographic Information Systems), GEOG 422 (Remote Sensing and Digital Image Processing), GEOG 423 (Computer Mapping), and GEOG 520 (Research Methods in Geography). The second PDS (Applied Geographic Information Systems) is comprised of: GEOG 424 (Vector Based GIS), GEOG 425 (Raster Based GIS), and GEOG 450 (Topics in Geography) or GEOG 427 (Internship). The third PDS (Advanced Geographic Information Systems) requires GEOG 522 (Techniques in Geography), GEOG 525 (Seminar in GIS), and GEOG 590 (Independent Study). Depending on the level of GIS education and training desired, a student may take only the first PDS, the first and second PDS, or all three. Completion of each sequence is a prerequisite for enrollment in the next.

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