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Prospective Students

Information for prospective Master's students

Group of graduate students on camping tripDegree Programs

Master of Arts

Students in our Master of Arts program focus on a range of topics within human, environmental, and physical geography. There are two required courses in the M.A. program: one in geographic research design (Geog. 700) and the other in geographic theory (Geog. 701). Beyond this, with the help of a faculty advisor, M.A. students develop a program of study designed to support a thesis research topic. Diverse faculty interests make possible a wide variety of specializations in human, environmental and physical geography.

Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree

  • A minimum of 30 units of courses numbered 500 or above as approved by the geography department master’s advising committee. At least 24 of these units must be from the geography department.
  • A minimum of 18 of the 30 units of coursework must be 600- or 700-level courses.
  • Geography 700 and 701, normally taken during the first two semesters.
  • Completion of Geography 799A (Thesis).

Master of Science: Watershed Science

Watershed science is the study of how ecosystems, landforms and soils, climate, water, and human activities interact within a spatial context. Although the movement of water defines the boundaries of watersheds, watershed science involves the study of a wide range of human and natural processes, their interactions, and the implications of this complex interplay for environmental assessment and management. Students in this program will develop expertise in integrating environmental science (geology, biology, hydrology, physics, physical geography, chemistry) within a spatial context to address environmental issues. Students will take graduate courses in core sciences, spatial techniques and environmental management and develop a thesis directed at a particular application on watershed science.

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree Watershed Science Emphasis

  • A minimum of 30 units with no more than nine units from disciplines other than geography and at least 15 units from 600- and 700-numbered courses
  • Geography 700 and 701
  • A thesis in the area of watershed science (Geography 799A)
  • Geography 511 and six units of methods courses selected from Geography 581 through 585, 589, 591-592 (formally 587-588) 683 through 688L, 780
  • Advanced coursework (12 units) in watershed science to be determined in consultation with the student’s adviser.

Master of Science: GIScience

Students in this program will acquire and apply valuable skills in techniques such as geographic information systems (GIS), specialized applications of GIS in big data analytics and business location decisions, computer programming for GIS and spatial data bases, spatial database management, computer cartography, and/or remote sensing. Completing a thesis in GIScience provides the student with an opportunity to gain experience in real world applications or to further investigate more theoretical concepts.

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree GIScience Emphasis

  • A minimum of 30 units of which not more than six may be in disciplines other than geography and at least 15 units from 600- and 700-numbered courses in geography
  • Geography 700 and 701
  • A thesis in the area of geographic information science (Geography 799A)
  • Fifteen units from the following list of geographic information science courses: Geography 581 through 585, 589, 591 through 593, 683 through 688L, 780
  • Additional 500-, 600-, and 700-level coursework determined in consultation with the student’s thesis adviser.

Admission to the Program

Except under special circumstances, applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher for all work leading to the bachelor's degree and subsequent post-baccalaureate coursework. The minimum combined quantitative and verbal GRE score is generally 300 (1000 on the old test). The minimum TOEFL score for international students is 79 (Internet-Based Test iBT), 213 (Computer Based Test CBT), or 550 (Paper Based Test PBT). In addition, all qualified applications will be distributed to members of the department to determine if any faculty member is willing to serve as advisors for the applicant. Applicants must have a faculty sponsor in order to be admitted to the department, and are encouraged to contact potential sponsors prior to the application deadline.

Deficiencies and Prerequisites

Students who have limited background in Geography may be required to complete specified courses in addition to the minimum 30 units required for the master's degrees. The thesis advisor will determine deficiencies and additional courses.

For general information or application questions, please contact:


Department of Geography
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-4493
USA
Phone: 619 594-5437
FAX: 619 594-4938

For specific questions about the program, please contact:

, Master's Program Advisor
Department of Geography
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-4493
USA
Phone: 619 594-0902
FAX: 619 594-4938

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.

©Department of Geography, San Diego State University