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Graduate Programs

Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degrees
The M.S. and Ph.D. programs in geography encourage students to specialize in one of three broad areas including nature-society dynamics, cultural-historical geography and geospatial technologies including GIS, UAS and remote sensing. These degree programs are designed for students to master the theoretical knowledge and skills necessary to design, implement and present original geographic research through oral and written form.

Our Programs

Master's in Geography (M.S.)

The Department of Geography offers a program of study leading to the Master of Science (MS) degree. Course work is oriented toward problem-solving skills and techniques. Considerable leeway is granted with respect to the selection of course offerings. Plans of Study can be developed to accommodate numerous specialties in one of the department's three broad areas of emphasis: Geographic Information Science, including unmanned aerial systems, nature-society dynamics and cultural-historical geography.

Doctorate in Geography (Ph.D.)

The Geography doctoral program is an innovative and vibrant program that provides an integrated systems approach to the study of human and environmental resources. The Department of Geography has long-standing emphases in Geographic Information Science, including unmanned aerial systems, nature-society dynamics, and cultural-historical geography. Doctoral students will select one of these three areas of specialization. Considerable flexibility exists within these tracks, allowing the student to choose from a broad spectrum of coursework in both Geography and related disciplines. Students must have earned a master’s degree to gain admission to the PhD program; a minimum of 60 credit hours beyond the master’s degree and a successfully defended dissertation are required to receive the doctoral degree.

Program Specializations

Geographic Information Science including UAS

This track is designed for students who are interested in geospatial sciences: Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis. This track prepares students for careers with geospatial units within government, the oil industry and geospatial technology businesses.

Nature-Society Dynamics

This track is for students who are interested in studying the relationship between humans and the environment. Humans intimately influence, shape and are shaped by the environment and vice versa. This track explores both natural and built (e.g. urban) environments through the lens of society. Through diverse coursework, students are prepared for careers in sustainability, urban planning and natural resource management (inside and outside of governmental organizations).

Cultural and Historical Geography

This track is designed for students who are interested in how the cultural landscape has evolved over time, using broadly interpretive and analytical approaches to the landscape, place, space and the environment. This track prepares students for careers in historic preservation, working for the State Department and in academia.

Other Resources

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Application Procedures

Click the link below to review the materials needed to complete your application to Geography.

Application Procedures
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Assistantships and Financial Support

The department offers graduate teaching (GTA) and research (GRA) assistantship positions.

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International Student Information

Additional information is necessary for international students applying to study in the U.S.

International Students

Graduate Student Expectations

Review the learning and professional goals of the graduate program in Geography.

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Requirements (Handbooks)

Go here to find the handbook for each of the last 10 academic years to see program requirements.

Program Requirements
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Graduate Forms and Information

Departmental and Graduate College Forms and information about PhD student comprehensive exams.

Forms and Information
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Gamma Theta Upsilon (ΓΘΥ)

ΓΘΥ is the international geography honor society for outstanding students.

Summer trip 2018 students with OSU flag

Forum of Geography Graduates (FoGG)

FoGG provides opportunities for student involvement and leadership with the department.



Thomas LaVanchy, Ph.D. Coordinator of Graduate Studies Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Geography367
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