Geospatial Sciences in Geography, Geology and Planning

Graduate programs

Master of Science, Geospatial Sciences in Geography, Geology and Planning

Doug Gouzie, Graduate Director

Temple Hall, Room 375; Phone 417-836-5228
DouglasGouzie@missouristate.edu

Program description

The program of study is designed to provide professional training and develop scholarly analytical skills in Geospatial Science with applications in one of three options:  1) Physical Geography; 2) Human Geography and/or Planning; or 3) Environmental Geology.  This program emphasizes the integration of the theoretical frameworks of Geography and Geology and Geospatial Science principles.  By combining these areas, students will be able to address research problems regarding environmental issues and resource management. 

The core curriculum consists of course work in Geographic Information Science (GIS), Remote Sensing, research methods and research presentations, both written and oral.  Students are encouraged to develop, with their advisors, a program that fits their individual talents and goals.  The department recommends that students choose a research concentration in Physical Geography, Human Geography and/or Planning, or Geology.  If a student intends to pursue research outside these concentration areas, he/she should contact the program director (and prospective advisor, if possible) before applying to the program.  Admission is granted to students with demonstrated academic competencies who are interested in a professional career in geography or geology.

Funding for graduate students in Geospatial Sciences is available through application for competitive graduate assistantships which carry both a stipend and fee waiver.  Applications for graduate assistantships should be submitted directly to the Graduate Program Director in the Department of Geography, Geology and Planning.  Additional graduate assistantships may also be available through listings by other departments and offices.

Admission requirements

The Department's Graduate Admissions Committee requests the following materials from each applicant:

  1. An application for admission to the Graduate School;
  2. Official transcripts from all previously attended institutions of higher education;
  3. Graduate Record Examination scores;
  4. Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the candidate's academic abilities and professional potential sent to the MS Program Director.
  5. Separate application to the MS Program Director for a graduate assistantship, if desired.  The application for graduate assistantship is available at the Graduate College website.

Since no specific undergraduate major is required, some students may be admitted on a conditional basis if they lack sufficient academic experience to take the required core courses.  In these cases, specific undergraduate courses may be required before full admission is granted.  Undergraduates interested in this program are encouraged to include courses in cartography, aerial photography interpretation, statistics, chemistry, biology and environmental science.  Calculus and physics may be required for studies in some areas of geology.

Accelerated Master's Degree option

Eligible Missouri State University undergraduate majors in Geography, Geospatial Sciences, Geology, and Planning may apply for preliminary acceptance into the Geospatial Sciences program after admission requirements for the accelerated masters option have been satisfied. If accepted, a maximum of 12 credit hours from approved graduate-level courses may be counted toward both the graduate and undergraduate degrees (Mixed Credit). This option allows students with advanced course work in Geography, Geospatial Sciences, Geology, or Planning to complete a masters degree in three full semesters and one summer semester.   Students can choose from GEO 651, GEO 666, GEO 668, GLG 690, GLG 672, GLG 673, GLG 680.  Contact the Department of Geography, Geology and Planning for further information and guidelines.

Admission Requirements for Accelerated Master's option
  1. Junior standing, majoring in Geography, Geospatial Sciences, Geology or Planning with an overall GPA of 3.25.
  2. Majors in Geology must have completed GLG 333 and have a GPA of 3.25 in all Geology courses.  Majors in Geography and Geospatial Sciences must have completed GEO 561 and have a GPA of 3.25 in all geography and geospatial sciences courses.
  3. Acceptance of applicant by a graduate faculty member who agrees to serve as the student's graduate research advisor.

Advisement

  1. Each student should consult with the department's general graduate advisor before registering for the first semester of classes.
  2. Each student is also encouraged to identify a general thesis topic as soon as possible.  This will permit the selection of an appropriate faculty advisor who, in consultation with the student, will help to identify a second member of the student's advisory committee.  The third member of this committee will be assigned by the department.
  3. Once the membership of the advisory committee has been established, the student should rely upon its members, but especially the chairperson, for assistance in the selection of his/her elective courses, and for advice and direction in the thesis research.
  4. Until such time as the advisory committee has been formed, the student should continue to consult with the department's graduate advisor.

Degree requirements

A minimum of 33 hrs with thesis; a minimum of 36 hours for the non-thesis option

  1. Required Geospatial Sciences Core (Total 15 hours)

    Course CodeCourse TitleCredit Hours
    GEO 700 Introduction to Graduate Study in Geospatial Sciences 3 hrs
    GEO 701 Research Methods in Geospatial Sciences 3 hrs
    GEO 651 Remote Sensing  3 hrs
    GEO 661 Intermediate Geographic Information Science 3 hrs
      One of the following:  3 hrs
    GEO 662 Internet Geospatial Science  
    GEO 666 Advanced Geographic Information Science  
    GEO 668 Thematic Cartography  
    GEO 672 Introduction to Photogrammetry and LiDAR Technology  
    GEO 673   Geographic Information Science Programming  
    GEO 675 GPS Surveying and Mapping  
    GEO 678 Remote Sensing Digital Image Processing  
    GEO 755 Applications of Digital Cartography, Analytical Photogrammetry, and Remote Sensing  

    Students who do not have adequate background in statistical analysis from their undergraduate course work are strongly encouraged to take at least one of the following (3 hours):
    • MTH 645 Applied Statistics
    • MTH 646 Analysis of Variance and Design of Experiments
    • MTH 647 Applied Regression Analysis
    • MTH 648 Applied Time Series Analysis
  1. Research Requirement (complete one).
    1. Thesis Option.  A student can take up to 3 hours of GRY 779 or GLG 779 plus up to 6 hours of GRY 799 or GLG 799.  Successful completion of a thesis and thesis defense is required. 
    2. Non-Thesis Option.  Students choosing the non-thesis option must complete 3 hours of GRY 779 or GLG 779 plus 3 hours of GEO 780.  Successful completion of a research project and scholarly report is required.  The results of the research project must be presented orally at a departmental seminar or at a professional meeting and the student’s advisor and the departmental Graduate Program Director must approve the written report on the research project.  Students in the non-thesis option are not allowed to count thesis hours toward the 36 hour degree requirement.
  1. Additional Course Requirements.   Students in the thesis option must complete an additional 18 hours of graduate course work beyond the required 15-hour core. Students choosing to complete a thesis may count up to 3 credit hours of GRY 779 or GLG 779 and up to 6 credit hours of GRY 799 or GLG 799 toward this 18 hour requirement. Students in the non-thesis option must complete an additional 21 hours of graduate course work beyond the required 15 hour core. Students choosing the non-thesis option may count 3 credit hours of GRY 779 or GLG 779 and 3 credit hours of GEO 780 toward this 21 hour requirement. Students in the thesis option must complete at least 17 credit hours of course work at the 700 level; students in the non-thesis option must complete at least 18 credit hours of course work at the 700 level. Students must complete a program of study worksheet by the end of their first academic semester. Before enrolling in the 12th hour of graduate credit, the student, an academic advisor, and the Graduate Program Director must agree upon and sign an Advisor Approved Program of Study.

    Students whose undergraduate background does not include the prerequisite material for GEO 651 and/or GEO 661 are required to take Introduction to Geographic Information Science for GRY 697 credit.  This credit does not count toward the additional 18 hours of graduate course work required for the thesis option or toward the additional 21 hours of graduate course work required for the non-thesis option.
  2. Comprehensive Examination.  A written comprehensive examination must be taken before the end of the third semester of full-time enrollment in the program.  Students will be provided reading lists and/or study guides specific to their individual program of study.  For students in the thesis option, the examination questions will be provided by the student's advisor and at least two other members of the student's thesis committee; for students in the non-thesis option, the examination questions will be provided by the student's advisor and two other members of the faculty selected by the departmental Graduate Director.  A student may repeat the examination, or section of the examination, upon recommendation of the Graduate Program Director and approval of the Department Head.  Students who have not passed the comprehensive examination upon completion of three academic semesters of full-time study will not be permitted to continue in the program.  If a student opts to change tracks after completing the comprehensive examination, the student must take and pass the examination specific to the new selected track before a degree will be awarded.

    The faculty members writing the examination questions shall determine what constitutes a passing mark for the exam.
  3. Research Concentrations.  The Department of Geography, Geology and Planning has identified three areas of research concentration for prospective students.  Students are strongly encouraged to select a research topic in one of these concentration areas.

Physical Geography Option

Students interested in physical geography can select a research topic in fluvial geomorphology, water quality and watershed management, or climatology. Students should integrate geospatial science with physical geography when doing a graduate research project. Students selecting this concentration would normally take at least two of the following courses:

Human Geography and/or Planning Option

Students interested in human geography and/or planning can select a research topic in land use assessment, urban design, community and regional planning, neighborhood planning, transportation planning, or tourism planning and development. Students should integrate geospatial science with human geography and/or planning when doing a graduate research project. Students selecting this concentration would normally take at least two of the following courses:

Environmental Geology Option

Students interested in geology can select a research topic in environmental geochemistry, geohydrology, karst systems, stratigraphy, or geophysics. Students should integrate geospatial science with geology when doing a graduate research project. Students selecting this concentration would normally take at least two of the following courses.

Students interested in research topics outside of these three concentrations should consult with the Graduate Program Director and a possible advisor before beginning the program.