Skip to the content
Skip to the footer

MA Geography

The Master of Arts degree program in Geography is designed to prepare students for teaching at the secondary and community college levels, employment in government and private industry, and further graduate study in geography.

Admission to the Program


Applicants with baccalaureates in Geography:

A. Must have attained a grade point average of at least 2.75 (A=4.0) in the last 90-quarter units of undergraduate work attempted, or satisfactory completion of probationary units.
B. Must have been in good standing in the last college or university attended.
C. Must give evidence of passing GEOG 395 or its equivalent in another accredited college or university.
D.Must meet all University admission requirements.

Applicants with baccalaureates in majors other than Geography:

A. Must have attained a grade points average of at least 2.75 (A=4.0) in the last 90-quarter units of undergraduate work attempted, or satisfactory completion of probationary units.
B. Must have been in good standing in the last college or university attended.
C. Must complete GEOG 395 or its equivalent in another accredited college or university plus 12-28 units of approved upper-division geography courses with a minimum B (3.0) average.
D. Must meet all University admission requirements.

Requirements for the Degree (45 units)

A total of 45 units is required, with at least 23 in 500-level courses.

Before enrolling in GEOG 599 or taking the comprehensive examination (GEOG 596), students must satisfy one of the following requirements, subject to principal graduate adviser approval:
Computer Skills, Statistics, or Foreign Language Requirement CompleteGEOG 468 with a grade of B or higher, or Complete GEOG 482 with a grade of B or higher, or Pass a reading examination in a language other than English (ML 901) in the Geographic Literature of a Modern Language, as offered by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and in accordance with the practice of that department, or Complete 12 units in a modern language in accordance with the practice of the Department of Modern Languages.

Required Seminar(4 units)
GEOG595 Seminar: Geographic Thought (4)

Electives (12 units)

Select 12 units from following
GEOG510 Seminar Physical Geography (4)
GEOG520 Seminar: Regional Geography (4)
GEOG530 Seminar: Urban Social Systems (4)
GEOG540 Seminar: Human Geography (4)
GEOG560 Seminar: Methods and Techniques in Geography (4)

Select electives with the approval of the principal graduate adviser. Students may repeat GEOG 510, 520, 540, and 560 provided the seminar topic is not repeated in the exact subject matter or region.

Electives in Geography and Related Fields (20–29 units)


Select 400 and 500-level GEOG courses.  Students who elect the comprehensive examination option must include a minimum of 7 units at the 500 level.  With approval of the principal graduate adviser, a maximum of 8 units may be in related fields.

Comprehensive Examination or Thesis (0, 6–9 units)


Students who select the comprehensive examination must include a minimum of 29 units in Electives in Geography and Related Fields above, should expect to take the examination (GEOG 596) the quarter they complete all course work on their program, and must comply with college and departmental requirements.

The examination consists of a section about geographic thought plus sections about two of the following subject matters selected by the student with approval of the principal graduate adviser: Biogeography, Climatology, Cultural Geography, Economic Geography, Environmental Studies, Geographic Information Systems, Geomorphology, Historical Geography, Locational Analysis, Mathematical Modeling, Medical Geography, Population Geography, Qualitative Research Methods, Remote Sensing, Settlement Geography, Spatial Statistics, Transportation Geography, Urban Geography, and Geography of a particular region.

Students who elect to write a thesis will need to enroll in GEOG 599 for a minimum of two quarters and a total of 6–9 units. In addition to the 16 units of required (4 units) and elective (12 units) seminars, these students need to complete a minimum of 20-23 units of electives (400-or 500-level courses) to satisfy the 45-unit requirement for the master's degree.