banner USF Home College of Arts & Sciences OASIS myUSF USF A-Z Index

USF Home > College of Arts and Sciences > School of Geosciences

Geography Graduate Program


Additional information for the MS and PhD programs can be found in the USF Tampa Graduate Catalog

Please contact the Graduate Program Director or the Academic Services Administrator (see below) with any questions regarding the MA in Geography Program.

Graduate Program Director:

Dr. Ruiliang Pu
Office: NES 213
Email: rpu@usf.edu

Academic Services Administrator:

Mandy K. Stuck
Office: NES 207
Email: mkstuck@usf.edu

MA DEGREE IN GEOGRAPHY

The Master of Arts Program in Geography at the University of South Florida provides the theoretical foundation and methodological expertise necessary to conduct publishable-quality geographic research, as well as hands-on experience for real-world professional opportunities. Course offerings emphasize human geography, environmental geography, and geographic information science (GISc) and spatial analysis. The School of Geosciences offers a Masters of Arts (MA) in Geography with a thesis and non-thesis option. Students must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate level course work for the thesis option and 36 hours for the non-thesis option. Students in the thesis option must complete the core course requirements outlined below before they are eligible to enroll in thesis hours.

Degree Requirements

Credit Hours:
Students must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate level course work for the thesis option and 36 hours for the non-thesis option. Students in the thesis option must complete the core course requirements outlined below before they are eligible to enroll in thesis hours.

Required Core Courses (9 Hours)

  • GEO 6058 Geographic Literature and History (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6116 Perspectives in Environmental Thought (3 credit hours)
    Based upon the student’s area of interest, he/she must take one course from the following list of Quantitative or Qualitative course offerings:
  • GEO 6166 Multivariate Statistical Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6119 Geographical Techniques & Methodology: Qualitative Research Methods (3 credit hours)

Regional:
Students are strongly encouraged to complete at least one of the following regional courses:

  • GEA 6195 Seminar in Advanced Regional Geography (3 credit hours)
  • GEA 6215 Seminar in North American Geography (3 credit hours).
  • GEA 6745 Asian Geography Seminar (3 credit hours)
  • GEA 6252 Seminar in the Geography of the American South (3 credit hours)
  • GEA 6406 Seminar in Latin American and Caribbean Geography (3 credit hours)
  • GEA 6504 Seminar in European Geography (3 credit hours)

Concentrations:
Students specialize in one of the three areas of concentration (tracks) offered and must select a minimum of three courses (9 credits) from the selected track. The three tracks include:

Human Geography studies the construction of space, place, and power. It encompasses the study of economic geographies (e.g., globalization and development), political geographies (e.g., geopolitical struggles and new social movements), and social and cultural geographies (e.g., identities and exclusions). Human geography is key to providing insights into contemporary spatial arrangements, including the role of cities within the global economy, locating urban-rural intersections in the production of uneven development, and how class, gender, and race shape struggles for social justice.

Environmental Geography links the study of nature and society and considers the ways in which conventional divisions between human and non-human (natural) worlds are bridged through the production of socio-natures. This understanding is crucial to explaining and ameliorating contemporary environmental problems, including the privatization of natural resources, inequalities in access to food and water, injustices associated with environmental hazards and undesirable land uses, and the role of human activities in spurring large-scale environmental change.

GIScience and Spatial Analysis concentrates on the use of advanced geospatial technologies, and the development and use of spatial analysis methodologies, to applied research problems in human and environmental geography. A thorough understanding of such geospatial technologies as Remote Sensing, GIS, and GPS, as well as modern methods of spatial statistical analysis, and emerging spatial analytical techniques such as agent-based modeling, is a critical aspect of developing appropriate approaches to the analysis of geographic data.

The following elective courses are available in each track:
Concentration A: Human Geography

  • GEO 6058 Geographic Literature and History (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6428 Seminar in Advanced Human Geography (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6605 Contemporary Urban Issues (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6475 Political Geography Seminar (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6345 Technological Hazards and Environmental Justice (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6545 Economic Geography Seminar (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6627 Site Feasibility Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6704 Transportation Geography 3 cr. hrs.
  • GEO 6119 Geographical Techniques & Methodology: Qualitative Research Methods 3 cr. hrs.
  • GEO 6166 Multivariate Statistical Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 7606 Seminar in Urban Environments (3 credit hours)
  • GIS 6307 Socioeconomic Applications of GIS (3 credit hours)

A regional geography course (from the list above) can be substituted for a course in the Human Geography concentration.

Concentration B: Environmental Geography

  • GEO 6116 Perspectives in Environmental Thought (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6345 Technological Hazards and Environmental Justice (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6209C Physical Geography Seminar (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6215 Geomorphology Seminar (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6217 Karst Geomorphology (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6255 Weather, Climate, and Society (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6263 Soils Seminar (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6286 Advances in Water Resources (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6288 Hydrological Systems (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6347 Natural Hazards (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6166 Multivariate Statistical Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • GIS 6038C Advanced Remote Sensing (3 credit hours)
  • GIS 6039 Readings in Remote Sensing (3 credit hours)
  • GIS 6306 Environmental Applications of GIS 3 cr. hrs.
  • GIS 6355 Water Resources Applications of GIS (3 credit hours)

Concentration C: Geographic Information Science and Spatial Analysis

  • GIS 5075 Global Positioning Systems (3 credit hours)
  • GIS 6038C Advanced Remote Sensing (3 credit hours)
  • GIS 6039 Readings in Remote Sensing (3 credit hours)
  • GIS 6100 Geographic Information Systems (3 credit hours)
  • GIS 6103 Programming for GIS (3 credit hours)
  • GIS 6112 Spatial Database Development (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6115 Field Techniques (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6119 Geographical Techniques & Methodology: Applied Spatial Analysis and GIS (3 credit hours)
  • GIS 6146 GIS Seminar (3 credit hours)
  • GEO 6166 Multivariate Statistical Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • GIS 6306 Environmental Applications of GIS (3 credit hours)
  • GIS 6307 Socioeconomic Applications of GIS (3 credit hours)
  • GIS 6355 Water Resources Applications of GIS (3 credit hours)

The same course cannot be used to satisfy both the required core and concentration course requirements.

Core Course Substitutions
Course substitutions for required core courses are strongly discouraged in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Planning. However, under certain extenuating circumstances, substitutions are allowed. Students needing a substitution for one of the required core classes should produce a written petition and complete the department substitution form. Only comparable graduate level courses at the same level covering similar material can serve as a replacement. The student will need to provide a syllabus of that course to the Director of Geography, his/her advisor, and the Geography Graduate Program Coordinator who can then approve or deny the request. Major professors alone do not have the authority to approve the substitution of any required core courses.

Thesis Option
Students take six credit hours of electives at a level of 5000 or higher, keeping in mind that a minimum of ten hours is required at the 6000-level. At least one of the electives must be taken outside of the student’s track excluding GEO 6908, 6918 and 6944. Electives may also be selected from courses offered outside of the Department, with the consent of the student’s advisor and the Graduate Program Coordinator. A maximum of six approved hours taken outside the department can be used in the student’s degree program. The remaining 6 credit hours are taken as Thesis (GEO 6971). A student in the thesis option can only apply three credit hours of Internship (GEO 6944), and three credit hours of Directed Research (GEO 6918) and/or Independent Research (GEO 6908) toward his/her degree program.

Students are expected to present a thesis research proposal to their thesis committee shortly before or after the completion of 18 credit hours (which is to include the three core courses). The thesis committee will be given at least one week to review the written proposal, after which the committee will meet with the student to discuss the proposal and make recommendations. This meeting will take place at least one semester before the semester in which the student plans to graduate.

Students must present the completed written thesis to their advisor for approval before sending the thesis to the thesis committee. The thesis committee should be given at least one week to review the thesis; any major problems should be raised at this stage by the committee. If corrections are necessary, they should be made at this time. The student must then complete a public thesis defense during the semester in which they plan to graduate. An evaluation is made of the student’s work and further changes to the thesis may be required.

Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 2 semester hours of thesis credit during the semester in which a thesis is submitted to the Graduate School.

Non-thesis Option
Students complete a total of 36 hours, with 27 hours of electives completed at a level of 5000 or higher, keeping in mind that a minimum degree requirement is 16 hours at the 6000 level. Students can also take up to 9 hours outside the department with the consent of their advisors and the Graduate Program Coordinator. Students can apply 3 credit hours of Internship (GEO 6944), 3 credit hours of Directed Research (GEO 6918) and/or Independent Research (GEO 6908) toward their degree program. Students must pass a comprehensive written examination that is administered during the semester in which they plan to graduate.

Policy for Taking Graduate Courses outside USF and the Tampa campus
Graduate courses offered at other universities or other USF campuses can have a different focus than those offered on the USF Tampa campus. Students must get approval from their advisors and the Geography Graduate Program Coordinator prior to taking any outside courses to verify that these courses will count toward their degrees. Additionally, only faculty on the USF Tampa campus can serve as the major professor/advisor for graduate students enrolled on the Tampa campus.

Please consult the Master of Arts in Geography Program Handbook if you require a PDF version of this information.

PhD DEGREE TRACK IN GEOGRAPHY

The Geography track of the PhD degree is designed to draw on the interdisciplinary strengths of the Geography faculty and to educate our students to respond to rapid changes in knowledge production and application. To that end, emphasis is placed on providing theoretical rigor and methodological skills that will enable students to make significant and original research and policy contributions. Course offerings emphasize three research themes: (a) human geography, (b) environmental geography, and (c) geographic information science (GIScience) and spatial analysis. Through a commitment to quality interdisciplinary teaching, combined with research and hands-on learning opportunities, the Geography track is dedicated to ensuring that students are well prepared for careers in academia, and the private and public sectors.

Program Areas of Emphasis

Many organizations, including the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, have recognized the need for expanding the capacity of faculty to develop and communicate disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge in order to respond to real-world issues and problems. The Geography track of the Doctoral Program distinctly focuses on developing state-of-the-art researchers who are able to navigate today’s complex world. We expect that our graduates will address many important local, regional, national, and global issues that require a cross-disciplinary perspective. To that end, the Geography track of the Ph.D. program is designed to expand opportunities for students interested in complex social and environmental problems. The track currently comprises three research themes that reflect the strengths of the faculty. However, the faculty is also open to new areas of research that reflect student needs and interests. The three current research themes are:

  1. Human Geography
  2. Environmental Geography
  3. GIScience and Spatial Analysis

Human Geography studies the construction of space, place, and power. It includes economic geographies (e.g., globalization and development), political geographies (e.g., geopolitical struggles and new social movements), and social and cultural geographies (e.g., territories and identities). Human geography is central to explaining contemporary spatial processes, including 2the role of cities within the global economy, locating urban-rural intersections in the production of uneven development, and how class, gender, and race shape struggles for social justice.

Environmental Geography links the study of nature and society by considering the ways conventional divisions between human (social) and non-human (natural) worlds are bridged through the production of socio-natures. This understanding is crucial to explaining contemporary environmental problems, including the privatization of natural resources, inequalities in access to food and water, injustices associated with environmental hazards and undesirable land uses, and the role of human activities in spurring large-scale environmental change.

GIScience and Spatial Analysis concentrates on the use of advanced geospatial technologies, and the development and use of geospatial data and methods, to applied research problems in human and environmental geography. A rigorous understanding of such geospatial technologies as Remote Sensing, GIS, and GPS, as well as modern methods of spatial statistical analysis, and spatial analytical techniques such as agent-based modeling, is critical to developing appropriate analytical approaches to geographic problems.

Please consult the Doctoral Program Handbook if you require a PDF version of this information.