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Department of Geography and Geographic Information Sciences

Senior Assignment

Course Purpose:

All students enrolled at SIUE complete a senior assignment project as a culminating experience of their undergraduate careers. In Geography, the senior assignment is a research project that includes data collection, data processing and analysis, and presentation of the results in the form of an illustrated poster (examples in Poster Gallery) or a research paper (15-20 pages of text).

Course Objectives:

Successful completion of GEOG 499 requires you to do the following:

  1. Demonstrate your understanding of geographic knowledge and geographic concepts and processes
  2. Communicate geographic ideas in a clear, logical, and effective manner
  3. Think critically and analytically about geographic problems
  4. Generalize complex issues and problems
  5. Apply geographic knowledge and principles to solve problems
  6. Synthesize geographic knowledge, integrate knowledge from a variety of fields, and think holistically


Students should register for GEOG 499 in their second-to-last semester after completing GEOG 321 with a minimum grade of D (note that to graduate, Geography majors must earn a C or better for all major requirements). Please note:

  • GEOG 499 is a two-semester, 3 credit hour course
  • You register for GEOG 499 only once during the first of the two semesters
  • After the first semester, you will receive a “deferred grade” (DE on your transcript). The deferred grade will be changed upon completion of all senior assignment requirements

Senior Assignment Supervisor:

You will identify your senior assignment supervisor by Week 3 of Semester I. Your supervisor will help you develop, implement, and complete your project. Consequently, you must seek their input throughout all stages of your project, including the work that you complete for Semester I. For help identifying a supervisor, students are encouraged to meet with Geography faculty to discuss possible topics. In addition, please see the list of completed Senior Assignment projects listed by faculty member and title under “Resources” below.

Semester I:

During the first semester of senior assignment, you will attend a face-to-face class (see CougarNet for semester schedules). Semester I work includes the development of a research proposal and preparation for graduation. Your grade in the Semester 1 class is worth 50% of your final senior assignment grade.

Failure to Complete Semester I: You must complete Semester I before progressing to Semester II and completing your Senior Assignment. If you fail to complete Semester I, you will be required to repeat it in a future semester.

Semester II:

During the second semester of senior assignment, you will work with your senior assignment supervisor to complete your project, either in the form of a paper or a poster. You will establish a work plan to complete your senior assignment no later than Week 3 of your second semester. Plan to submit multiple drafts of your paper/poster prior to finalizing it. Your supervisor will tell you when your senior assignment is complete and ready for grading. Once ready, your senior assignment will be graded by your supervisor and another faculty member (the second reader) using the same grading rubric. The final grade you receive on your paper or poster is worth 50 percent of your final GEOG 499 grade.


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