Graduate FAQ

Continuing students

Q. What are major milestones in the doctoral program?

A. There are five major milestones in the doctoral program:

  • Coursework: 54 credits beyond a bachelor’s degree (up to 27 credits from a master’s degree may be accepted)
  • Committee setup: typically, shortly before taking the preliminary exam
  • Preliminary exam: students are expected to take the prelim by the end of the second year
  • Proposal hearing: in conjunction with the preliminary exam
  • Dissertation defense: students are expected to defend the dissertation by the end of the 5th year

Students should make detailed plans for them in consultation with the advisor

Q. How many doctoral committee members are required?

A. Three members are required for the preliminary exam and four for the final defense. See the Catalogue for details.

Q. Where do I start for the preliminary exam?

A. Go to the online Doctoral Milestone System of the Graduate School and complete the electronic application.

Q. What are major milestones in the MA/MS program?

A. There are three major milestones in the MA/MS program:

  • Coursework: 26 regular course credits over the first three semesters
  • Capstone project: 4 credits for thesis research or non-thesis work, typically for the third or fourth semester
  • Thesis defense/oral exam: by the end of the fourth semester

Students should make detailed plans for them in consultation with the advisor

Q. When can I apply for Clinton Edwards and MJR travel awards?

A. Calls for MJR travel awards are made annually by the Department Chair, typically early in spring semesters. If you need support before the call, please contact the Department Chair. For Clinton Edwards, contact the Department Chair when a need arises.

Q. What factors are considered for MJR Fellowship selection?

A. Three factors are considered for evaluation: progress commensurate with time in the program, assistantship evaluation, and other meritorious achievement (e.g., publication, recognition in the field, etc.)

Q. What do I have to do when I cannot meet a specific requirement?

A. If it is about departmental requirements (e.g., substitution of a course with another), then file a petition to the Graduate Committee Chair. It will be voted on by the Geography faculty during a faculty meeting. If it concerns Graduate School requirements (e.g., registration), submit a Request for Exception form downloadable from the Graduate School Web site.

Prospective students

Q. Are there minimum GRE scores?

A. No. There is no official cutoff. GRE scores are waived until further notice.

Q. Am I disqualified for funding if I applied after 1 December?

A. No. However, your application will be in lower priority for funding.

Q. Is it possible to start in the spring semester?

A. No.

Q. Are courses offered on-line or during the summer?

A. Currently graduate-level online offerings are very limited and few required courses are offered online. Online offerings will continue to expand over the coming years. Summer courses are limited to capstone, internship, and independent work courses.

Q. Does the department have a social media presence?

A. Yes. The department has a Facebook page and an Instagram page .