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Requirements for the Master’s Degree

There is no real distinction in subject matter between an MS or an MA. For an MA, students are required to obtain a second-year proficiency in a foreign language. Competency in either a foreign language or a computer language may be used to meet the departmental language requirement for the Master of Science degree in geography.

Students must complete a minimum of 45 credit hours to earn a master’s degree, nine (9) of which must be thesis-writing credits (GEOG 503).

Core Course Requirements

You must take the following courses during your first year in residence at the University of Oregon. This sequence of courses is designed to introduce students to the department, allowing them to meet the faculty members and discuss their research interests, and to the discipline of geography. GEOG 620 and 621 will be used to examine how the discipline of geography has evolved and provide ways for students to have a complete proposal by the end of their first year.

  • Fall: GEOG 609: Practicum [Introduction to Graduate School and the Program]
  • Win: GEOG 620: Theory and Practice of Geography
  • Spr: GEOG 621: Current Trends in Geography

Research Workshop Requirement

In the Fall and Spring quarters students must register for GEOG 608. This is a one-hour workshop meeting where students discuss their research and receive feedback from other students and invited faculty.

Breadth Course Requirements

Master’s students are required to complete the equivalent of the following courses, unless they have previously taken their equivalent:

  • Two upper-division courses in physical geography in different subfields
  • Two upper-division courses in human geography in different subfields
  • One upper-division course in Geographic Information Sciences (GEOG 516 or equivalent)
  • One upper-division course in quantitative methods (GEOG 517 or equivalent) OR qualitative methods (GEOG 515 or equivalent)

Graduate Seminar Requirement

Two graduate seminars (GEOG 607)

Progress Meetings

Master’s students should select an advisor and a second committee member to serve on their thesis committee. This committee will meet with the student in the Spring of their first year and in the Winter term of their second to evaluate course progress and research issues.

Thesis Proposal Requirement

Master’s students must receive the approval of a short proposal by the thesis committee and the Graduate Program Director. More details on the proposal are found in the Graduate Students Handbook.

The master’s program is designed to be two years of full-time study and the PhD program is designed to be a minimum of three years, though generally students take longer depending on topic, field work and other factors. For both programs, all work must be completed within seven years. To be considered full-time, students must register for at least nine credits per term, though a typical course load in twelve (three four-credit classes). The Graduate School requires students to be enrolled each term (except summer) unless you have an approved leave of absence.