Geography and Geology
Get a graduate degree
Master of Science, Geography and Geology
Gary Michelfelder, Graduate Director
Temple Hall, Room 369; Phone 417-836-3171
The program of study is designed to provide professional training and develop scholarly analytical skills in Geography and Geology with applications in one of four options: 1) Geography; 2) Geology; 3) Geospatial Science; or 4) Planning. 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), Digital Simulation and Visualization techniques, and research methods, both written and oral. Students are encouraged to develop, with their advisors, a program that fits their individual talents and goals. The school recommends that students choose a research concentration in Geography, Geology, Geospatial Science, or Planning. 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 Geography and Geology 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 School of Earth, Environment and Sustainability. Additional graduate assistantships may also be available through listings by other departments and offices.
The School's Graduate Admissions Committee requests the following materials from each applicant:
- Online application for admission;
- Transcripts from all previously attended institutions of higher education;
- Graduate Record Examination scores are welcome but not required for admission;
- Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the candidate's academic abilities and professional potential sent within the online application system (GradCAS), by listing the reference's name and e-address in the system;
- Separate application to the SEES 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. Students applying to the geology track should first contact the Director of Graduate Studies if they do not hold a comprehensive Bachelor of Science in geology undergraduate degree.
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 Geography and Geology 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 School of Earth, Environment and Sustainability for further information and guidelines.
Admission Requirements for Accelerated Master's option
- Junior standing, majoring in Geography, Geospatial Sciences, Geology or Planning with an overall GPA of 3.25.
- 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.
- Acceptance of applicant by a graduate faculty member who agrees to serve as the student's graduate research advisor.
- Each student must consult with the school's general graduate advisor before registering for the first semester of classes. Students who wish to start at some time other than the Fall semester should contact the SEES Graduate Program Director prior to applying to the program.
- Each student is encouraged to identify a thesis advisor and 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 school.
- Once the membership of the advisory committee has been established, the student should rely upon its members for assistance in the selection of his/her elective courses, and for advice and direction in the thesis research.
- Until such time as the advisory committee has been formed, the student should continue to consult with the school's graduate advisor.
A minimum of 33 hrs with thesis; a minimum of 36 hours for the non-thesis option
Required Geospatial Sciences core (18 hours total)
|Course Code||Course Title||Credit Hours|
|GEO 700||Introduction to Graduate Study in Geospatial Sciences||3 hrs|
|GEO 701||Research Methods in Geospatial Sciences||3 hrs|
|GEO 705||SEES Seminar (must repeat 3 of 4 semesters in program)||3 hrs (total)|
|ONE of the following "advanced geospatial methods":||3 hrs|
|GEO 651||Remote Sensing|
|GEO 661||Applied Geographic Information Systems|
|GEO 666||Advanced Geographic Information Science|
|GEO 672||Introduction to Photogrammetry and LiDAR Technology|
|and ONE of the following "Digital Simulation and Visualization" appropriate to the profession classes:||3 hrs|
|GEO 662||Internet Geospatial Science|
|GEO 669||Landscape Analysis|
|GLG 676||Geoscience Computing|
Research requirement (complete one)
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.
At the discretion of the faculty, a non-thesis option may be available to students in the program. Students using 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 school seminar or at a professional meeting and the student’s advisor and the school 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.
Students should choose at least 15 additional hours in one of the following research areas.
Courses to include additional classes listed as 600-level or 700-level GRY courses as approved by the student's Research Committee. Classes not using the GRY prefix may be substituted by recommendation of the Research Committee and approval of the SEES Graduate Program Director.
Courses to include additional classes listed as 600-level or 700-level GLG courses as approved by the student's Research Committee. Classes not using the GLG prefix may be substituted by recommendation of the Research Committee and approval of the SEES Graduate Program Director.
Courses to include additional classes listed as 600-level GEO or GEO 755 or higher as approved by the student's Research Committee. Classes not using the GEO prefix may be substituted by recommendation of the Research Committee and approval of the SEES Graduate Program Director.
Courses to include additional classes listed as 600-level or 700-level PLN courses or 600-level or 700-level GRY courses as approved by the student's Research Committee. Classes not using the PLN or GRY prefix may be substituted by recommendation of the Research Committee and approval of the SEES Graduate Program Director.
A written comprehensive examination should be taken before the end of the second semester of full-time enrollment in the program. Students should ask each committee member to provide reading lists and/or study guides specific to their individual program of study at least 2 weeks in advance of the exam date. 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 SEES Graduate Program Director. The faculty members writing the examination questions shall determine what constitutes a passing mark for their component of the exam.
To pass the comprehensive exam, a student must pass all three components (a component is the question, or questions, from a single faculty member). If a student is deemed to have not passed a section, the faculty member grading that section will discuss with the student what the shortcomings were in the student's answer. A student may repeat any section(s) of the examination, upon recommendation of the SEES Graduate Program Director and approval of the School Director. If a student fails to pass a section on the second attempt, the faculty grader for that section will provide a written report to the Major Advisor, SEES Graduate Program Director, and School Director. Is a student wishes to appeal the failed second attempt, the student must appeal in writing to the SEES Graduate Program Director and copy the School Director. If an appeal is approved, the School Director - in consultation with the Major Advisor and SEES Graduate Program Director - will appoint an objective third party to evaluate the initial two unsuccessful attempts and the third party will recommend either a Pass or Not-Pass finding. Based on the third-party review, a student can consider any further appeals following the Graduate College's policy on appeal of Comprehensive Examinations.
Students who have not passed the comprehensive examination by mid-term of their third academic semester of full-time study will not be permitted to continue in the program. If a student opts to change options after completing the comprehensive examination, the student must take and pass the examination specific to the new selected option before a degree will be awarded.