Master of Arts in Geography

Apply Now

Request Information

Student Handbook

Our Master of Arts in Geography program is designed to offer specialized academic and professional training in geography so students not only deepen their knowledge of the world, but also prepare for further specialization or immediate employment. Graduates of our program find career opportunities in public and private industries, including education, government agencies and research facilities, as well as continue on to pursue doctoral degrees. Our program is flexible and allows for the pursuit of the individual needs and interests of students, allowing students to create a plan of study that fits their personal and professional goals.

In addition to the innovative coursework of our program, our state-of-the-art research centers, Spatial Analysis Research Center (SPARC) and Urban Climate Research Center (UCRC), offer students the opportunity to work with our exceptional faculty on diverse research projects. Students will have the opportunity to work alongside some of the brightest minds in geography, including four members of the National Academy of Sciences and rising talent in the fields of urban heat island research, GIS and more.

The opportunity for specialization will not only allow you to hone your skills, but to also explore other related topics within the field of geography. That's because we place our focus on location – the heart of geography, urban planning, climatology, and GIS – and from that foundation, we develop cutting-edge techniques and solutions to the complex issues facing society.

2 years to degree
2 in-house research centers
12:1 student to faculty ratio

Degree Overview

The 30-hour program of study includes core courses, approved electives, along with research and oral defense of a master’s thesis. Prospective students should have a passion and interest in geography, have a minimum of a 3.00 cumulative undergraduate GPA and score in the upper quintile of GRE scores. We welcome applicants without geography degrees.

Focus Areas

Students in our Master of Arts in Geography program have the ability to build a path of knowledge that reflects their personal interests within the realms of geography. From spatial analysis to climate science, you will work alongside our esteemed faculty as you focus your research in one of our broad, interdisciplinary themes:

Computational Spatial Science

Research spans a wide array of spatial scales from the application of methods to examine individual spatial behavior to the study of urban sprawl, neighborhood dynamics, regional and international economic growth and convergence patterns.

Place, Identities and Culture

Research themes include urbanism, landscape, mobility, social justice, ethnicity, and representation. Ongoing studies explore the transformation of societies as manifest in the cultural landscape, and the ways places function in the everyday lives of people.

Earth Systems and Climate Science

Earth systems and climate science research is conducted on a variety of spatial and temporal scales, from investigations of modern urban climate systems to the long-term climatic variability driving landscape changes.

Sustainability Science and Studies

Our researchers explore human-environment relationships, landschaft, landscape morphology and natural hazards as they are reconfigured into contemporary themes of sustainability such as political ecology and land change science.

How to apply

The School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning application process is completed online through ASU Graduate Admissions. The application deadline for Fall admission is January 15. Prospective students must submit the admission application and fee along with official transcripts and required supplemental application materials. Detailed instructions

Learn more about our financial support options

An undergraduate degree is just the gateway to understanding in a field of knowledge. A master's degree in a research-focused geography program in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning is the true gateway to a deeper understanding of the world.

Ronald Dorn
Professor of geography


Training in geography follows a mentorship model. Students work closely with a mentor to complete required coursework, research training, and a master’s thesis. The goal of the program is to prepare students to become independent and creative scientists who are prepared for doctoral study or immediate employment.

A minimum of 30 hours is required.

Core courses6
Total hours required30

Courses and electives

Students benefit from a wide variety of course work and research opportunities in four broad interdisciplinary themes that span the expertise of the faculty and allow for the specialization of your own skills and research.

GCU 585Geographic Research Design and Proposal Writing3
GCU 529Contemporary Geographic Thought3

Any graduate level GCU, GIS, GPH, or PUP course may be taken as elective, including Research and Reading & Conference credits. Interdisciplinary courses may be taken, but must be approved by the department.

The master’s thesis is an extensive piece of original research that demonstrates the capability of the student to act as an independent scholar and use experimental methods. Upon approval of the written thesis by the supervisory committee, the student will schedule an oral defense of the completed thesis.

Interested in learning more?

Request Information