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M.A./M.S. Degree Requirements

Acceptance to the M.A. or M.S. program will normally presuppose that the student has met the minimum requirements of the departmental A.B. or B.S. degree or equivalent. Students are expected to have an undergraduate background equivalent to each of the following courses:

  • GEOG 1101 Introduction to Human Geography
  • GEOG 1112 Introductory Weather and Climate
  • GEOG 1113 Introduction to Landforms
  • GEOG 3510 Cartography and Graphics
  • STAT 2000 Elementary Statistics

A beginning graduate student, who, during advisement, is judged deficient in the fundamentals of geography, may demonstrate an acceptable level of proficiency by taking the appropriate course for undergraduate credit, or by attaining satisfactory scores on the final examination of the appropriate undergraduate course.  A satisfactory score, in this case, shall be a “B” or better.

  1. Program of Study. Because the M.A. and M.S. degrees are research degrees, Programs of Study are to be structured with the purpose of facilitating the student's ability to conceive and execute substantive, original research in the field of geography.
  2. a. Graduate School policy dictates that:
    1. i. Advisory Committee recommendation form must be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School before the end of the first semester of residence;
    2. ii. Each student must complete a minimum of two semesters, which do not have to be consecutive, of full time resident study;
    3. iii. A minimum of 30 credit hours (three hours of which must be 7300 thesis writing) be included on the Program of Study; and
    4. iv. The Program of Study should consist of 12 or more semester hours of course work open only to graduate students (exclusive of 7000 and 7300). These courses are typically 8000- and 9000-level courses, though 6000- and 7000-level courses open only to graduate students (i.e., not cross listed as a 4000- or 5000-level course) can be used if properly noted.
  1. Departmental policy is that all Programs of Study must include 32 total credit hours of graduate-level coursework:

    Core courses - 5 courses for 11 credit hours:

    • GEOG 8900 and 8901 Proseminars (1 hour each)
    • GEOG 6300 Introductory Spatial Analysis (3 hours) [This course may be waived if the student has previously taken an equivalent research-oriented statistical methods course, subject to approval by the faculty supervisor of statistical training and the Graduate Coordinator. If GEOG 6300 is waived, the student must take 8 instead of 7 elective courses (24 instead of 21 hours)  MA Students can take GEOG6305 or a methods class approved by their committee in place of GEOG6300].
    • GEOG 7000 Master's Research (3 hours only)
    • GEOG 7300 Master's Thesis (3 hours only)
  2. Elective courses - 7 additional graduate-level only courses for 21 hours, or 8 courses for 24 hours if waived from GEOG 6300, subject to the following conditions
  • A minimum of 4 graduate-level courses (12 hours) of the 7 additional courses must be open only to graduate students. These are typically 8000-level courses, though 6000- and 7000-level courses that are not cross-listed with a 4000- or 5000-level equivalent can be used if properly noted on the Program of Study. The following courses do not count as graduate-only courses for the purposes of this requirement: GEOG 7000, GEOG 7005 and GEOG 7300; all Independent Study and Directed Problems courses, regardless of department; GRSC 7770; and all LLED courses.
  • GEOG 7000, 7005, and 7300 may not be counted among the 7 additional elective courses since they are already accounted for in the core. Note that no more than 1 instance (3 hours) of each GEOG 7000 or GEOG 7300 should appear on the Program of Study.
  • GEOG 7005, GRSC 7770 and all LLED courses may not be included on the Program of Study.
  • No more than 3 courses (9 hours) of elective credit may be taken outside of geography.
  • No more than 3 of the 21 elective hours may be from Directed Problems courses from Geography (GEOG 8290, 8390, 8590, 8690) or from any other departments. These courses cannot be used to satisfy the requirement of 12 hours open only to graduate students.
  • Courses taken to fulfill deficiencies may not be included in the 18 elective hours.
  • GEOG 6920 (Special Problems in Area Analysis) and GEOG 6921 (Directed Topics in Independent Research) cannot appear on the Program of Study.
  1. A thesis proposal must be presented at an open meeting organized by the student's Advisory Committee ideally within two semesters (no more than three semesters, exclusive of summer) after inception of residence in the program. The student's Advisory Committee must approve by the end of three semesters in residence a written version of the thesis proposal that incorporates changes recommended at the oral presentation. Where individual circumstances warrant, deadline extensions may be considered by petition to the Graduate Studies Committee.
  2. A graduate student whose first language is not English and who was required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores for admission consideration (see section B above) is required to attend and satisfactorily complete (with a grade of "S") LLED 7769 (which may require LLED 7768 as a prerequisite, depending on the student’s score on the speaking portion of the TOEFL or IELTS) and GRSC 7770, offered by the Graduate School to GTAs and GLAs. Individuals who are not graduate teaching assistants may petition the Graduate Studies Committee for exemption from this requirement. Students whose first language is not English must adhere to policy set by the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), available at engaging in instructional role with students, according to policies of the University of Georgia.
  3. A student who wishes to change major professor any time following completion and approval of the thesis proposal should first consult with the Head of Department or Graduate Coordinator before taking any action.
  4. All requirements of the M.A./M.S. degree must be completed within a period of six years dating from the student's first course registration for the degree.
  5. A thesis must be written in the area of the student's concentration that shows independent judgment in developing and resolving a research problem. The thesis must be publically defended in a final M.A./M.S. oral examination and approved by the Advisory Committee prior to the submission to the Graduate School.
  6.  The final oral M.A./M.S. examination may not be conducted during the summer break (from May 15th - August 15th) except by prior mutual consent of the student and the Advisory Committee.
  7. The minimum residence requirement is one academic year of two semesters of full-time study. The two semesters do not need to be be consecutive.
  8. For the M.S. degree, an emphasis on work in the sciences and/or including geographic techniques is expected. Specific requirements governing which degree will be awarded involve the thesis area and supporting course work. However, a student whose course work includes a minimum of 18 semester hours in physical geography and/or techniques is eligible for the M.S. degree regardless of thesis topic. See the University course catalog for list of specific courses in Human Geography, Physical Geography, and Geographic Techniques.

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