Global environmental change, human-environmental interaction, historical geography, economic geography, migration studies, rural communities, community and environmental planning, water resources, cartography and GIS are some of the particular strengths possessed by the Department of Geography. While "High Asia" and mountainous regions elsewhere are of particular interest, the department possesses regional expertise in Central and South Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the North American West. Students may concentrate their studies in any area of strength possessed by members of the faculty. The program provides a strong foundation in the philosophy of geography, its methodologies, and research techniques.
Geography (Cartography and GIS Option)
Geography (Community and Environmental Planning Option)
Requirements: A minimum of 30 credits of course work plus a thesis.
Also offered are options in: Cartography and GIS
Community and Environmental Planning
M.S. General - A minimum of 30 credits of course work plus a thesis.
M.S. with Option in Cartography and GIS - A minimum of 34 credits of coursework plus a thesis or professional paper (thesis and professional paper tracks); a minimum of 40 hours of coursework plus a portfolio and comprehensive exam (non-thesis track).
M.S. with Option in Community and Environmental Planning - A minimum of 33 credits of coursework plus a thesis or professional paper (thesis and professional paper tracks); a minimum of 39 hours of coursework plus a significant professional work and a comprehensive exam (non-thesis track).
The M.S. in geography can be taken either with or without an option (General Geography).
General Geography (Without Option; either M.A or M.S.): The degree without an option prepares candidates for a variety of professional positions or for doctoral studies in geography and related disciplines. A broad range of environmental and societal issues have geographical dimensions, and geographical training and methodologies are basic to the solution of many real-world problems. As a result, geography opens the door to literally hundreds of employment opportunities in education, government, business, industry and non-profit organizations.
Cartography and GIS Option (M.S. only): This option has been designed for students who wish to become professional cartographers or GIS specialists or to continue their studies in doctoral programs in geography or related disciplines (thesis track). In addition to core courses required for the master's degree in geography, students may choose from an extensive array of courses available in geography, forestry, computer science and mathematics that concern the elements, principles, and practices of creating and working with maps and geographical databases. Geography alone offers over thirty semester credits in courses relating directly to cartography and GIS. http://www.cfc.umt.edu/GISCertificate/
Students who are pursuing, or have already completed, an undergraduate degree and wish to acquire a background in GIS without obtaining a master's degree may consider the interdisciplinary Certificate in GIS Sciences and Technologies.
Community and Environmental Planning Option (M.S. only): This option provides students with training in planning (urban, rural, transportation, environmental, and natural resources) and prepares them for employment in local, state, and federal agencies as well as the nonprofit and private sectors. Additionally, this option prepares students for doctoral studies in related fields (thesis track). In addition to courses in geography, student may select courses in sociology, environmental studies, forestry, political science and other relevant disciplines.
The following requirements must be met by all Master of Arts and Master of Sciences students in geography. Additional requirements exist for students who pursue the option in cartography and GIS or the option in community and environmental planning. A brochure that describes the degree requirements for these options is available from the Department of Geography, the Department's website, and from this link (Brochure).
1.) All M.A. and general M.S. students must complete a minimum of 30 graduate semester credits (the M.S. options and tracks require more credits).
2.) All students must produce and successfully defend, depending on the degree and option chosen, either a thesis, a professional paper, or a portfolio plus pass a comprehensive written and oral examination (see Brochure)
3.) All students must complete the following required core of courses
Gphy 500-Geography Graduate Colloquium
Gphy 520-Seminar in Geographical Thought
4.) All students completing a thesis or professional paper:
Gphy 504-Introduction to Geography Research
Gphy 505-Research Design
Methods course based on student's research interest
5.) The following is required unless previously taken. Credits cannot be counted toward the graduate degree:
Gphy 381/382-Principles of Digital Cartography with Laboratory
One or two approved courses of
foreign language instruction (2nd year) (M.A. only),
or quantitative methods (400 or 500-level),
or computer programming.
One to three courses of upper-division systematic geography. Please note that approved courses vary with the option chosen. (For details, see departmental Brochure).
6.) All other University of Montana requirements for a Master of Arts or Master of Science degree must be satisfied.
The M.A. in Geography is designed as a two-year program.
1. Application Materials and Deadline
Fall - Priority will be given to complete application packets postmarked by Januuary 15. Complete application packets received after this date will be considered on a space available basis. Fall admissions are preferred.
If you wish to be considered for a Teaching Assistantship, check the box on the application asking if you wish to be considered for a Teaching Assistantship. Provide a statement of interest and qualifications for teaching in your packet.
In addition to the application materials required by the Graduate School, the Department of Geography specifically requests:
A brief letter stating the applicant's objectives in graduate studies and why the applicant wishes to pursue those studies in Geography at The University of Montana.
Three letters of recommendation (We prefer electronic submission through the Admission Application. If the electronic method is used there is no need to send paper copies of the letters to the department.)
In deciding whether to admit an applicant, all components of the application are taken into consideration, with special attention paid to the letter of objectives and how applicants' stated interest align with faculty expertise.
2. Program Requirements for Admission
Applications are welcome from prospective students whose prior education was not in geography, cartography, or planning, but such students must make up undergraduate deficiencies.
A grade-point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) is required for full admission to the degree program. Applicants with GPAs slightly lower than 3.0 may be admitted provisionally if there is clear evidence of academic potential.
The Geography Department accepts GRE scores with a test date that is within the past five years.
3. Assistantship Application and Deadline
The application deadline for assistantships is January 15. Those desiring to apply for an assistantship should indicate so on the application form. A statement indicating the applicant's interest in an assistantship and relevant background or experience is recommended.
4. International Students
The TOEFL, IELTS or MELAB examination can substitute for the GRE.
For additional information regarding financial assistance, see the Financial Information section on this web site.
The department offers graduate teaching assistantships to qualified entering and continuing graduate students. In addition to their salaries, teaching assistants receive a waiver of the tuition fee (in-state or out-of-state) and a waiver of the registration fee. Other fees charged by the University are not included in the TA fee waiver package. Teaching assistants are required to register for a minimum of 9 credits each semester.
To assist with faculty research, research assistantships may be available to qualified entering and continuing graduate students. Compensation for RAs varies by funding source.