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Programs : Master's : Guide to Completing the Degree

This document outlines the steps necessary for earning a Master’s degree in the department of Geography. Refer to this guideline sheet whenever you have any questions about the program. Additional information is set forth in the Graduate Division Bulletin. If you have any questions about requirements, procedures, etc., consult with your faculty advisor or the master’s advisor.

The Degree Requirements

Courses » Proposal » Thesis

Minimum Course Units

Degree Total Units Geography Units Units from 600 or 700 level Required Classes Other Requirements
Master of Arts 30 24 18 701; 700; 799A/B
Master of Science, Watershed Science 30 21 701; 700; 511; 799A/B Six units from: 581-585; 587-589; 683-688L; 780
Master of Science, GIScience 30 24 15 701; 700; 799A/B 15 units from: 581-585; 587-589; 683-688L; 780


  1. GEOG 701 in Fall and GEOG 700 in Spring.
  2. GEOG 797 and 798: There is a 6 unit cap on these courses (combined).
  3. GEOG 595 Internship. Generally does not count.
  4. Official program:
    1. Submission deadline is November 15 in Year One.
    2. An Academic Adjustment form must be filed immediately if the program plan changes.
    3. Failure to submit:
      1. GA appointments will not be renewed.
      2. Registration for 600 & 700 level courses will be blocked.
    4. Process:
      1. Meet with thesis Advisor.
      2. Complete the form (maximum 32 units in the official program).
      3. Advisor initials completed form.
      4. Forward to Masters Program Coordinator.

Research Proposal

  1. Start developing the research idea(s) with your Advisor immediately! This needs to be a primary focus from day one.
  2. GEOG 700 will provide formal preparation to write a proposal and conduct research and is taken in the spring semester of Year One.
  3. Ground rules will be provided in GEOG 700.
  4. Proposal defense: Once the Chair of your committee is satisfied with your proposal, it is sent to the committee and a date is set for a proposal defense (generally at least 2 weeks after the committee gets your proposal).
  5. After the committee approves the final proposal, a PDF or MS WORD file is sent to the faculty.

The Thesis

  1. GEOG 799A (or B): You must be enrolled in one of these during the semester or summer you file your thesis. A schedule number is available from the Office of Graduate Affairs.
  2. Format guidelines
  3. Thesis presentation:
    1. Scheduled once your committee has agreed that the draft thesis is acceptable for defense. Presentation can be in the summer only if all the committee agree.
    2. Thirty (30) minute maximum presentation followed by questions.
  4. Thesis defense: Held immediately after your presentation. You will meet with your thesis committee.
  5. Thesis copies:
    1. Electronic copies to be sent to the University and Department.
    2. A copy to be sent to your advisor (electronic or hard depending on the preference of your advisor).
    3. An electronic copy to be sent to other committee members.

Other Rules

  1. Seven year rule: Maximum time permitted to complete the degree.
  2. Continuous registration: You can take a one semester leave but need to file for a formal leave of absence if it is longer than one semester. If you have not obtained approval for an extended leave, you will need to reapply to the program the following fall.
  3. Access to University and Departmental facilities (e.g., computer labs) is denied if you are not registered.

revised 7/20/2010

The statements found on this page/site are for informational purposes only. While every effort is made to ensure that this information is up to date and accurate, official information can be found in the university publications.