MA/MS in Geography

Course of Study

The Department offers two track options for MA/MS students: A standard track and a GIS Professional track. The GIS Professional track is intended for students who plan to seek professional employment in the field of GIS and are not interested graduation education beyond the master’s degree. The standard track is for all other students. The standard track offers both MA and MS degrees, and the GIS Professional track offers only MS degrees.

The MA normally is awarded to those who concentrate in human geography, whereas the MS is awarded to those who concentrate in physical geography or choose the GIS Professional track. Students must choose the track option (standard or GIS) and the degree (MA or MS) option during their first semester in the program.

Graduate Student Orientation

All new students are expected to participate in the department orientation program. The orientation is generally offered during the week prior to the start of fall classes. New students will be paired with an experienced student mentor during their first year. Instructional opportunities sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) will be offered to all teaching assistants.

Major Professor and Advisory Committee

The student must have a major professor to advise and supervise the student’s studies as specified in Graduate School regulations. The Chair of the Graduate Student Administrative Committee is a temporary advisor; within the first semester the student selects an advisor in the student’s specialization. The major professor must be chosen from the Departmental faculty.
The Advisory Committee of an MA/MS student consists of the major professor and two other faculty members. The other members of the Advisory Committee can be chosen from the Department faculty. If appropriate, Committee members may be selected from other departments at UWM, and/or with Graduate School permission, one member of the committee may be from outside UWM. The majority of the Advisory Committee members must be Geography Department faculty. Additional members may be added as dictated by the student’s special interests.
The committee guides the individual program and thesis work, judges the quality of the thesis or capstone work, and administers and evaluates the final Master’s examination. In addition, the major professor presents the topic of the thesis to the Graduate Faculty of the Department for approval, and makes the recommendation to the Graduate School to grant the degree.

Credits and Courses

Minimum degree requirement is 30 graduate credits with an average GPA of 3.0. Detailed requirements can be found at http://uwm.edu/graduateschool/geography/

Standard Track

The student also must attend Geography colloquia regularly while in residence and must present her/his thesis research at a departmental colloquium.

  • Geog 726 – Geographic Information Science, 4 credits
  • Geog 747 – Spatial Analysis, 4 credits
  • Geog 810 – Introduction to Techniques of Research and Presentation, 3 credits
  • Geog 870 – Contemporary Geographic Approaches, 3 credits
  • 12 credits in courses approved by the student’s advisor (at least 3 of these credits must be in one Geography graduate seminar course)
  • The remaining 4 credits will be earned in the student’s capstone project (Thesis and Non-Thesis options).

The student also must attend Geography colloquia regularly while in residence and must present her/his thesis research at a departmental colloquium.

GIS Professional Track

The student, in consultation with the advisor, plans a program of studies to include:

  • Geog 704 – Remote Sensing, 4 credits
  • Geog 705 – Cartography, 4 credits
  • Geog 726 – Geographic Information Science, 4 credits
  • Geog 747 – Spatial Analysis, 4 credits
  • Geog 826 – Intermediate GIS, 4 credits
  • 6 credits in elective courses

The remaining 4 credits will be earned in the student’s capstone project.

Comprehensive Examination

In combination with the thesis defense (or after completion of the capstone work), the student must pass a final oral examination over the field of geography, administered by the student’s Advisory Committee. Scheduling this examination during the summer is not permitted except under unusual academic circumstances and with the approval of the department faculty.

Time Limit

This program is designed to be completed in two years of full-time attendance. The Graduate School requires that all degree requirements be completed within five years of initial enrollment.

Graduate Grievance Procedures

Federal law and UWM policy require programs and departments to have procedures for graduate students to appeal academic decisions such as grades or scholastic standing. These procedures ensure the protection of students’ rights. These pages serve as a reference on procedures for graduate student academic appeals.