man surveying land

Master’s Degree Programs

Our Master's degree programs has long been characterized by a close, collegial working relationship between students and faculty. A flexible curriculum, complemented by careful advising, permits the department to design a program tailored to the educational goals of each master’s candidate. 

The Geography Masters program offers both Master's of Arts (M.A.) and Master’s of Science (M.S.) degrees. Students wishing to specialize in Watershed Science or Geographic Information Science register for the M.S. degree. Students interested in Human and Environmental Geography may choose the M.A. degree.

The Master’s degree programs are designed to provide advanced training for students who plan to terminate their graduate studies at the Master’s level and for those who anticipate additional work leading to the doctoral degree in geography or related fields.

All Master’s students are required to complete and present a thesis that fulfills the requirements of the Graduate School, described in the Graduate Bulletin. Students work closely with a Thesis Committee Chair to develop an original project for the thesis, which is evaluated and approved by a committee chosen by the student and his/her advisor. Students work independently during all aspects of the thesis, including design, data collection, analysis, and write-up, but consult regularly with their advisor and committee members.

While many students are working on research problems in the San Diego region and other locations in the U.S., the Department has provided opportunities for students to conduct research abroad including Mexico, India, South Africa, Ghana, China and Ecuador.


Dr. Hilary McMillan
Office: Storm Hall 308B
Email: [email protected]

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Career Paths

Geography careers offer opportunities to develop solutions to many of the most pressing challenges to our environment and society, including climate change, natural disasters, biodiversity loss, wildlife habitat degradation and species extinction, overpopulation, urban expansion, multicultural integration and social justice.

Examples of jobs that recent Geography Master’s students have obtained following their graduation are:

  • Research Scientist in Conservation Biology
  • Data Scientist
  • Staff Scientist for Stormwater Monitoring, Wood Consultants
  • Environmental Planner, Helix Environmental
  • GIS Specialist, Padre Dam Water District
  • Computer Scientist, US Army Material Command
  • Geographer, US Geological Survey
  • Environmental Scientist, California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Research Analyst, California Department of Food and Agriculture
  • Stormwater Grants Program Manager

For more information about what geographers do, where geographers work, list of jobs in geography, geography career tips, and career multimedia resources, some exemplar geographer profiles, and the like, visit the Association of American Geographers career page.

Student Resources

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