The Master of Arts in Geography

Course Requirements for the Master's Degree: 30 units

Continuous enrollment is required. A maximum of 6 semester units of transfer and/or CSU, Chico Open University course work may be applied toward the degree.

Graduate Time Limit:

All requirements for the degree are to be completed within five years of the end of the semester of enrollment in the oldest course applied toward the degree. See "Graduate Education" in the University Catalog for complete details on general degree requirements.

Geography master's degree students are required to maintain "normal progress" toward the degree. "Normal progress" is defined as advancing to classified status by the end of the first year in the program (unless qualifying courses must be completed) and advancing to candidacy by the end of the second year in the program. The department requires that all students finish their degree program by the end of the fifth year in the program. Extensions of this five-year period will be granted only under exceptional circumstances. At the end of each academic year, the department's Graduate Studies Committee will evaluate student progress and assign normal status, probationary status, or dismiss the student from the program.

Prerequisites for Admission to Conditionally Classified Status

1. Satisfactory grade point average as specified in "Admission to Master's Degree Programs" in the University Catalog. Students with less than a 3.0 GPA are normally not admitted.

2. Approval by the department and the Office of Graduate Studies.

3. An acceptable baccalaureate from an accredited institution, or an equivalent approved by the Office of Graduate Studies. Appropriate academic preparation for the Option in Geography is a major or minor in geography; appropriate academic preparation for the Option in Environmental Policy and Planning is a major or minor in planning. All students who have not completed the transfer equivalent of GEOG 315, Spatial Analysis, must take this course in addition to the 30 units required for the degree.

Students not holding acceptable degrees are required to complete the 9 units of qualifying course work described below. Students holding acceptable degrees but lacking specific courses are required to complete qualifying course work. Qualifying course work shall not be counted as units toward the master's degree.

4. Two letters of recommendation.

5. A Statement of Purpose that designates an area of specialization and indicates which faculty members' interests best match the student's interests. Consult the Graduate Coordinator for specifics.

6. Samples of the applicant's written work.

7. Completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Applicants with a GRE Aptitude Test score (combined verbal and quantitative) of less than 1000 are normally not admitted.

8. For the Option in Geography only:

Students without an undergraduate major or minor in geography must complete the following 9 units of qualifying course work with a minimum grade of B in each course. All qualifying courses must be completed before a student will be considered for candidate status. None of these qualifying units will be counted toward the master's degree. The preparatory courses include:

3 units of Physical Geography at the 300/400-level;

3 units of Human Geography at the 300/400-level;

3 units of Techniques in Geography at the 300/400-level.

The Graduate Coordinator will determine the equivalency of undergraduate courses.

9. For Option in Environmental Policy and Planning only:

Students without an undergraduate major or minor in planning must complete the following 9 units of qualifying course work with a minimum grade of B in each course. All qualifying courses must be completed before a student will be considered for candidate status. None of these qualifying units will be counted toward the master's degree. The preparatory courses include:

GEOG 320, Community and Rural Planning;

3 units of Physical Geography at the 300/400-level;

3 units of Human Geography at the 300/400-level.

The Graduate Coordinator will determine the equivalency of undergraduate courses.

Prerequisites for Admission to Classified Status:

In addition to any requirements listed above:

1. Development of an approved program in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator and a faculty advisor of the student's choice. Students must complete the development of an approved program and request advancement to classified status by the end of the second semester of the program. No more than 6 units combined of GEOG 689, GEOG 697, and GEOG 699P or 699T may be included in the program plan.

2. At least nine units of 600-level coursework, including GEOG 600 and 601, are required for advancement to classified status and must be completed by the end of the first year in the program. Failure to complete these 9 units in the first year will result in dismissal from the program.

3. Students who are required to complete qualifying courses must complete them by the end of their second year in the program. Additionally, at least 9 units of 600-level coursework, including GEOG 600 and GEOG 601 are required for advancement to classified status and must be completed by the end of the second year in the program. Failure to complete these 9 units and all qualifying course work by the end of the second year will result in dismissal from the program.

Advancement to Candidacy:

In addition to any requirements listed above:

1. Classified graduate standing and satisfactory completion of at least 18 units of the approved program.

2. Formation of the graduate advisory committee in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator and committee chair. This committee shall consist of at least three members and shall be in accord with the policies and requirements of the Office of Graduate Studies.

3. Completion of a thesis proposal or a project proposal. The proposal will be publicly presented and accepted by the student's graduate advisory committee by the end of the second year of study. Students failing to complete a proposal or to form a graduate advisory committee by the end of the second year of study will be assigned a one-semester probationary status. Failure to complete a proposal during this probationary period will result in dismissal from the program. Students required to complete qualifying work must complete a proposal by the end of their third year in the program.

3. A student who has elected the thesis or project option will not be allowed to change the option.

Requirements for the MA in Geography with an Option in Geography:

Completion of all requirements as established by the departmental graduate committee and the Office of Graduate Studies, to include:

1. Completion of an approved program consisting of 30 units of 400/500/600-level course work as follows:

(a) At least 24 units in geography.

(b) At least 18 of the units required for the degree in 600-level courses.

(c) Successful completion of the following courses:

4 courses required:

GEOG 600 Introduction to Graduate Research 3.0 FA
Prerequisites: Faculty permission.
GEOG 601 Research Models in Geography and Planning 3.0 SP
Prerequisites: GEOG 600.
GEOG 603 Seminar in Human Geography 3.0 FA
Prerequisites: Faculty permission.
GEOG 605 Seminar in Applied Geography and Planning 3.0 F2
Prerequisites: Faculty permission.

1 course selected from:

GEOG 602 Seminar in Physical Geography 3.0 FA
Prerequisites: Faculty permission.
GEOG 660 Landscape Ecology 3.0 FA
Prerequisites: BIOL 350 or GEOG 444; MATH 314 or MATH 350 or GEOG 315.

This course is also offered as BIOL 660.

(d) Not more than 6 semester units of transfer and/or Open University credit (correspondence courses and extension course work are not acceptable).

(e) At least 1 unit, but no more than 6 units, of GEOG 699P or GEOG 699T, Master's Project or Master's Thesis. No more than 6 units combined of GEOG 689, GEOG 697, and GEOG 699P/GEOG 699T may be included in the program.

2. Completion and approval of a thesis or project of adequate scope and depth, and a public defense of the work. Approval of the work by members of the Graduate Advisory Committee and the Graduate Coordinator.

(a) Thesis Plan (Geography): A thesis must show substantial analysis and discussion of an original topic in geography. The thesis must include a review of the pertinent literature, a discussion of the methodology used, a presentation of the data and results of the work, and a discussion of the conclusions and importance of the work.

(b) Project Plan (Geography): A project investigates a substantial problem of physical geography, human geography, or geographic techniques. The project may include cartographic or GIS work, field study of an environmental problem or variable, computer modeling, or field-based analysis of a problem of human geography. The project will include an academic discussion of the pertinent literature, the methodological approach, and of the application of its importance.

3. Approval by the Graduate Coordinator or Department Chair and the Graduate Coordinators Committee on behalf of the faculty of the University.

Requirements for the MA in Geography with an Option in Environmental Policy and Planning

Completion of all requirements as established by the departmental graduate committee and the Office of Graduate Studies, to include:

1. Completion of an approved program of 30 units of 400/500/600-level course work as follows:

(A) Successful completion of the following courses:

4 courses required:

GEOG 600 Introduction to Graduate Research 3.0 FA
Prerequisites: Faculty permission.
GEOG 601 Research Models in Geography and Planning 3.0 SP
Prerequisites: GEOG 600.
GEOG 604 Planning Practice and Theory 3.0 F1
POLS 653 Environmental Policy and the Law 3.0 Inq

1 courses selected from:

GEOG 602 Seminar in Physical Geography 3.0 FA
Prerequisites: Faculty permission.
GEOG 603 Seminar in Human Geography 3.0 FA
Prerequisites: Faculty permission.
GEOG 605 Seminar in Applied Geography and Planning 3.0 F2
Prerequisites: Faculty permission.
GEOG 660 Landscape Ecology 3.0 FA
Prerequisites: BIOL 350 or GEOG 444; MATH 314 or MATH 350 or GEOG 315.

This course is also offered as BIOL 660.

1 courses selected from:

ECON 462 Urban-Regional Economics 3.0 FS
Prerequisites: ECON 301 or faculty permission.
ECON 466 Environmental and Natural Resource Economics 3.0 FS
Prerequisites: ECON 365.
POLS 660A Seminar in Public Management 3.0 FA
Prerequisites: POLS 602; POLS 662 is recommended.
POLS 667 Seminar in Administration and Planning 3.0 FA

1-2 courses selected from:

GEOG 425 Planning for Sustainable Communities and Regions 3.0 FA
GEOG 427 Environmental Impact Analysis 3.0 SP
Prerequisites: GEOG 320 or equivalent or faculty permission.
GEOG 428 Site Planning 3.0 S2
Prerequisites: GEOG 219, GEOG 320, or equivalent.
GEOG 436 Transportation Planning 3.0 SP
Prerequisites: GEOG 301, GEOG 320, or faculty permission.

1-2 courses selected from:

GEOG 426 Water Resource Policy and Planning 3.0 SP
Prerequisites: GEOG 304 or equivalent.
GEOG 429 Environmental and Conservation Planning 3.0 S1
Prerequisites: GEOG 219, GEOG 320. Recommended: GEOG 101, GEOS 130, or NSCI 101.
GEOG 445 Pyrogeography 3.0 S1
Prerequisites: At least one of the following: AGRI 331, BIOL 414, BIOL 450, GEOG 343, GEOG 405, GEOG 444, GEOG 450, PSSC 330, PSSC 331, PSSC 334, PSSC 433, PSSC 436, PSSC 438, or faculty permission.

(b) At least 18 units required for the degree in 600-level courses.

(c) At least 24 units in geography.

(d) Not more than 6 semester units of transfer and/or Open University credit (correspondence courses and extension course work are not acceptable).

(e) At least 1 unit, but no more than 6 units of GEOG 699P, Master's Project, if completing a Project or GEOG 699T, Master's Thesis, if completing a thesis. No more than 6 units combined of GEOG 689, GEOG 697, and GEOG 699P/GEOG 699T may be included in the program.

2. Completion and approval of a thesis or project. The thesis or project must be of adequate scope and depth, as determined by the faculty advisor and Graduate Advisory Committee in consultation with the student; a public defense of the work is required.

(a) Thesis Plan (Planning): A thesis contains the research and analysis of a historical or philosophical aspect of planning thoery or practice. A planning thesis must rest on a thorough review of pertinent literature and on the analysis and presentation of data from primary and/or secondary sources. It must include a description of the study's results and a discussion of the major conclusions and importance of the work to the field and practice of planning.

(b) Project Plan (Planning): A planning project analyzes some substantial practical problem of an environmental, land use, political, economic, or social planning issue. It must include a workable application of planning practice, such as in the elaboration of an environmental impact report, a specific or general plan, a general plan element, or development feasibility study. The project will include a discussion of academic literature, methodological approach, and of the application of its importance.

3. Approval by the Graduate Coordinator and the Graduate Coordinators Committee on behalf of the faculty of the University.

Graduate Requirement in Writing Proficiency:

Writing proficiency is a graduation requirement.

Geography master's degree students will demonstrate their writing competence by successfully completing GEOG 600. In addition, no thesis or project will be accepted that does not demonstrate a high level of writing proficiency. Errors in structure, grammar, syntax, and spelling are not acceptable and will result in the rejection of the work.

Geography master's degree students will further demonstrate writing proficiency by successfully completing a specified writing assignment in each graduate seminar. A copy of this work will be placed in the student's department file.

Graduate Grading Requirements:

All courses in the approved program plan (with the exceptions of GEOG 689, GEOG 697, and GEOG 699P or GEOG 699T) must be taken for a letter grade. A minimum grade of B is required for any course used as part of the approved program. In addition, students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average in both of the following categories: all course work taken at any accredited institution subsequent to admission to the master's program and all course work taken at CSU, Chico subsequent to admission to the program.

While grading standards are determined by individual programs and instructors, it is also the policy of the University that unsatisfactory grades may be given when work fails to reflect achievement of the high standards, including high writing standards, expected of students pursuing graduate study.

Graduate Advising Requirement:

Advising is mandatory each semester for all graduate students. Conditionally classified and classified students must consult with the Graduate Coordinator; Candidates must consult with the Graduate Coordinator and their graduate advisory committee chair.