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    Jun 24, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geography, MS

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The Master of Science degree with a major in geography has a minimum requirement of 36 hours of academic credit, which includes either (a) a 6-hour thesis or (b) a 3-hour research problems in lieu of thesis report (GEOG 5920 ) and an additional 3 semester credit hours from elsewhere in the curriculum.

Research thesis option, 9 hours

Professional non-thesis option, 6 hours

Six hours taken within the first three semesters.

Additional requirements

Students should complete any required preparatory work for GEOG 5190  during their first semester.

Generally, students define their degree plan and committee at the beginning of their second semester, in consultation with their major professor.

All non-thesis students are required to take comprehensive exams. See for details.

No grade below a B will count toward the degree. Any grade below a B must be replaced by retaking the course the next time it is offered and earning at least a B. Students may retake no more than two such courses.

Thesis students must present (and defend) the results of their thesis. The oral presentation and defense is administered after the major professor and the thesis committee members have approved the written version of the thesis or research report. At the completion of 30 semester credit hours, students will not be allowed to change their initial decision to choose either the thesis or non-thesis option.

Students who have not graduated 1.5 years after completion of course work must formally apply for an extension to remain in the program (see for details). If a student does not demonstrate satisfactory progress toward completing the thesis within 1.5 years of defending the proposal, a grade of “no progress” will be assigned to the thesis.

As an option, students may elect to follow one of the specific degree tracks currently offered: applied geomorphology, environmental archeology, urban environmental management, water resources management, applied geographic information systems, business geography, health and medical geography, or globalization, development and cities.

Applied geomorphology

This track prepares geography students for careers or further education in a wide variety of areas concerned with processes that shape the surface of the earth. Applied geomorphology emphasizes geomorphological processes that are of societal significance, including hazards such as flooding, expansive soils, landslides and coastal erosion. This track under the Master of Science with a major in geography enables students to structure their degree plans around conceptual and technical aspects of geomorphology. The track meets all existing requirements for the degree including required courses in research design, quantitative techniques and a cognate field. Students completing this track may find employment with government research and regulatory agencies, municipalities, planning organizations, water supply districts or environmental consulting firms.

Environmental archeology

Archeology faculty in the geography department, in cooperation with the graduate program in anthropology, direct graduate students in pursuit of the MS in geography. The focus of this program is to give students a strong foundation in selected areas of research expertise that will prepare them for entry into research positions or doctoral programs in archeology. Two principal areas of training are geoarchaeology and zooarchaeology, which derive strength from the faculty and fine collections and resources in the Environmental Archeology Lab. In addition to core requirements in geoarchaeology or zooarchaeology, students complete two areas of specialization selected from the following areas: GIS and remote sensing, spatial and quantitative analysis, or zoology and ecology.

Urban environmental management

This degree track prepares students to assume a vital role within the structure of a city government, coordinating the activities of various city departments related to environmental legislation. In addition to the normal requirements, students select courses from content areas including urban environments, environmental science, city government structure, and environmental law and policy. This track has been developed in response to the increasing need for persons to coordinate different programs in city government, to liaison with governmental agencies, to interact with contracted environmental engineers and to bring a philosophy of sustainable environments to the planning process.

Water resources management

This track prepares geography students to assume active roles in addressing the critical issues of water supplies and water quality. Students follow a curriculum balanced among technical, scientific and political aspects of water resources management. Courses are selected from the following topical areas: techniques, geography/geology, environmental science and environmental policy. Students completing this degree track gain positions with local and regional governments, federal and state regulatory agencies, engineering firms and regional water districts.

Applied geographic information systems

This track prepares students to meet the growing demand for GIS professionals. But rather than a strictly technical preparation, students acquire the foundation in geography that qualifies them to play vital roles in planning, policy and implementation in chosen areas such as urban geography, economic/business development, environmental science and medical geography. Courses for this track are selected from a chosen subset of the following groups: GIS technology, GIS applications, topics/cognate fields, real estate/marketing, public health administration, environmental science and applied economics.

Business geography

The objective of this track is to educate students to integrate geographic analysis, reasoning, and technology in support of improved business decisions. The focus on improving the decisions made by business differentiates business geography from the traditional descriptive or explanatory objective of urban/economic geography. Participation in a business internship is a good idea. If appropriate, the results of the internship can form the basis for the student’s MS thesis or problems in lieu of thesis.

Health and medical geography

This track focuses on theory and techniques that are needed to understand the spatial patterns of health outcomes, environmental risks and exposures and disease spread, as well as the distribution of health care services and lack thereof. Students specializing in this track will learn about the relationships between human activities, place, and health outcomes and how to evaluate those relationships using GIS methods, spatial and statistical analysis, and computational models. In cooperation with the Health Science Center in Fort Worth, the department also offers a dual degree in public health and geography.

Globalization, development and cities

The objective of this track is to educate students to understand the complexities of our global society, our cities, and our unequal geographies of life and livelihood. Our global society is more interconnected and interdependent than ever before. Globalization of trade and commerce has increased national wealth and our appetite to consume commodities, technologies, art and culture from around the world. We continue to create spectacular cities to represent our cultural, technological and architectural achievements. But even as we continue to generate extraordinary wealth, we live in a world that is riddled with social and environmental unsustainability, poverty, inequality, discrimination, prejudices, marginalization, terror and conflicts. Upon graduating, students will find themselves well trained to pursue doctoral degrees, or careers in government, think tanks, non-governmental organization, teaching, diplomacy and many others.

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