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Geography, MA

At a Glance: program details

Come discover geographical sciences at ASU. This program offers a unique learning environment that places your focus on location --- the heart of geography, urban planning, climatology and geographic information science. With that foundation, you can tackle some of the most pressing environmental and societal challenges facing our world today.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: MA Geography

The MA program in geography is designed to offer specialized academic and professional training in geography so students may secure a sound graduate background for further specialization or for immediate employment. The program has sufficient flexibility to allow for individual needs and interests, allowing students to create a plan of study that fits their personal and professional goals.

In addition to innovative coursework, the state-of-the-art research centers, Spatial Analysis Research Center and Urban Climate Research Center, offer students the opportunity to work with exceptional faculty on diverse research projects. Students 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.

Students earning the Master of Arts in geography have the ability to build a path of knowledge that reflects their personal interests within the realms of geography. Students benefit from a wide variety of coursework and research opportunities in four broad interdisciplinary themes that span the expertise of the faculty within the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning:

  • computational spatial science
  • earth systems and climate science
  • place, identities and culture
  • sustainability science and studies

Additional Details

Degree Requirements

Curriculum Plan Options

  • 30 credit hours including the required capstone course (GPH 597)
  • 30 credit hours and a thesis

Required Core (3 credit hours)
GCU 585 Geographic Research Design and Proposal Writing (3) or
GCU 596 Geographic Research Methods (3)

Other Requirement (8 credit hours)
GCU 528 Geographic Problems and Context (3) or GCU 529 Contemporary Geographic Thought (3)
GCU 591 or GPH 591 Seminar: Geography Colloquium (1)
GCU 591 or GPH 591 Seminar: Geography Colloquium (1)
methods and statistics course (3)

Electives (13 or 16 credit hours)

Culminating Experience (3 or 6 credit hours)
GCU 599 Thesis (6) or GPH 599 Thesis (6)
GPH 597 Geography Capstone (3)

Additional Curriculum Information
Coursework and research hours are selected by the student in consultation with an advisory committee. The program recognizes that other graduate-level courses are offered at ASU. Advanced topics are often taught in omnibus courses, which have rotating content that is not reflected in their titles. Students may include these courses in their curriculum with approval of the program directors.

The other requirement course, Seminar: Geography Colloquium, is taken twice, once in each of the first two semesters of the program, for one credit hour each time. Other courses may be used with approval of academic unit. For the methods and statistics course requirement, students should consult with the academic unit for eligible courses.

Students take 13 credit hours of electives for the thesis culminating experience option and take 16 credit hours of electives for the non-thesis option.

Up to six credit hours of 400-level coursework may be applied toward the plan of study.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree, in any field, from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. personal statement
  4. resume
  5. three letters of recommendation
  6. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.

The personal statement must address three items:*

  1. What specialty in geography does the applicant wish to pursue, and why?
  2. What aspects of the applicant's education (a description is needed) will enable the student to pursue this specialty?
  3. What additional training does the applicant believe can be obtained at Arizona State University to realize the applicant's educational and career goals?

*Applicants also should provide any other information they feel should be considered in their application for admission, e.g., research experience or information which might be drawn from the applicant's resume.

Letters of recommendation must be from three faculty members who can attest to the applicant's academic achievements.

Flexible Degree Options

Accelerated program options

This program allows students to obtain both a bachelor's and master's degree in as little as five years.
It is offered as an accelerated bachelor's and master's degree with:

BS - Geography (Meteorology-Climatology)

Do you know, from a technical perspective, why storms, monsoons and haboobs build on the horizon? When you better understand climate change, you gain skills for an impactful career as a meteorologist or climatologist.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

BS - Geography

Develop your understanding of climate, landforms and biogeography. Learn about the world around you, from the sky to the bottom of the ocean, and how humans impact landscapes across various geographic regions.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

BA - Geography

Dive into the phenomena, features and inhabitants of planet Earth. Learn about humanistic and cultural traditions while absorbing the physical aspects of the world, especially climate and landscape dynamics.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. During their junior year, eligible students will be advised by their academic departments to apply.

Next Steps to attend ASU

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Application Deadlines



Session A/C
In Person
January 15th
Session A/C
July 25th
Session B
September 18th



Session A/C
December 16th
Session B
February 17th



Session A/C
April 18th
Session B
June 3rd

Career Opportunities

Professionals with expertise in geographical sciences research, theory and practice are in high demand across sectors and industries, including consulting firms, government agencies, community organizations and public and private research facilities. Skills in geographical data analysis, mapping and climate science are valuable to businesses and institutions relying on research-based approaches to solve complex real-world problems.

Some graduates of the program continue on to pursue doctoral degrees.

Career examples include:

  • environmental scientist or specialist
  • geographic information systems technician
  • geological materials technician
  • geophysical data technician
  • geoscientist
  • geospatial information scientist or technologist

Attend Online

ASU offers this program in an online format with multiple enrollment sessions throughout the year. Applicants may view the program description and request more information here.

Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly. For questions regarding faculty or courses, please use the contact information below.