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Program Requirements

Students may complete either a thesis option or a non-thesis option for the MA in Applied Geography.  The department strongly encourages students to fulfill the thesis option. The thesis option consists of 24 credits of coursework and 6 credits of thesis.  The non-thesis option consists of 30 credits of coursework plus a research paper and comprehensive exam. 

Policy requirements for both options are listed below, followed by those specific to the thesis and non-thesis options:

Course Requirements

1. One semester (at least 3 credits) of upper-level statistics is required. Students must submit documentation to the graduate program director verifying that they have completed an appropriate class, or they must enroll in GES 500: Statistical Analysis in Geography as part of their degree plan.

2. Students must take GES 577: History and Nature of Geography during their first Fall Semester, then GES 501: Seminar in Geographic Research during the following Spring Semester.

3. Students must enroll in the 500 level class for any GES courses that are cross listed at both the 400 and 500 level.  400 level cross-listed classes will not be accepted.

4. Students may take a maximum of 6 credits at the 400 level. Students who exceed this limit may petition for an exception.

5. No courses below the 400 level count towards the degree.

6. A total of 6 credits of independent study (GES 960) may be applied towards the degree.

7. A maximum of 3 credits of Professional Experience (GES 498) may apply towards the MA degree.

8. A total of 9 graduate credits are transferable. Courses applied to a graduate degree elsewhere (or within the CU system) cannot be transferred for MA credit.

Grade/Performance Requirements

1. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA. A grade of C in a UCCS class is the lowest grade accepted towards the degree.

2. No grade below B- is accepted for transfer.

3. Students whose GPA falls below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation and will not qualify to graduate. Students placed on academic probation have 2 semesters to meet the requirements necessary to be removed from probation (bring GPA up to 3.0) or else suspension proceedings begin.

4. Occasionally students lacking one of the admittance requirements may be accepted provisionally. Provisionally accepted students must meet requirements to move to regular status within one year and demonstrate that deficiencies have been met to the MA director.

Advisors and Committees

1. Students must choose their advisor prior to completion of 15 credits of course work and make this choice known to the graduate program director. 

2. Students must choose their other two committee members prior to the semester in which they intend to graduate. Students may choose one committee member from outside of the GES Department, provided that member holds a Ph.D. and is a member of the graduate faculty. Qualified people external to UCCS may be appointed as associate graduate faculty.

3. Students must submit a degree plan, approved by the student’s advisor, to the graduate program director upon completion of 18 credits of course work.

Program Degree Completion

1. Students have five years to complete their degree. Coursework over six years old must be validated in order for it to apply. See the Graduate Director for the forms and process to validate these courses.

2. After three semesters of no enrollment, students drop to the inactive list. After six semesters of no enrollment, they are dropped from the program.

3. At least 12 weeks prior to the expected date of graduation, the student must have submitted an Application for Admission to Candidacy for an Advanced Degree form with signatures from the student=s advisor and departmental head, who verify that all course work requirements will be met by the time of graduation.

4. Students must be enrolled in the semester in which they graduate.

Requirements Specific to the Thesis Option

1. Students must submit a research proposal to their advisor upon (or before) completion of 24 hours of course work.  The student’s advisor will inform the graduate program director when this has been accepted.

2. Students should submit a draft of their thesis to their advisor no later than the third week of their final semester.

3. Students must defend their thesis no later than four weeks prior to the end of their final semester.  All committee members must approve the thesis.

4. Submission of at least two copies of the final draft, which includes all revisions, must be no later than the last week of their final semester.  The thesis must conform to the GES Thesis Style format.

5. After the thesis is accepted, committee members must sign the student's Examination Report Form. One copy is kept by the student, one copy goes on file in the GES department.

6. Students must submit three copies of their thesis to the Library for binding by the end of their final semester. One bound copy goes to the department.

Requirements Specific to the Non-Thesis Option

1. Students must submit a list of areas of expertise to their committee no later than the third week of their final semester.  The list will identify one primary specialty field in geography, plus at least one other secondary specialty area.

2. Students must complete a written comprehensive exam of questions compiled by their committee members that address the specialty fields identified by the student no later than six weeks prior to the end of their final semester. Students will have 4 hours to complete their comprehensive exam.

3. Students must orally defend their comprehensive exam no later than four weeks prior to the end of their final semester. All committee members must approve the written and oral comprehensive exams and submit an approval form to the graduate program director.

4. Students may re-take the comprehensive exam one time in a subsequent semester.

5. Students must submit a publishable quality research paper to all committee members no later than three weeks prior to the end of their final semester. The paper is less rigorous than a thesis but should demonstrate competency and knowledge of a research topic and/or a specialty field in geography.

6. After the research paper is accepted, committee members must sign the student=s Examination Report Form. One copy is kept by the student, one copy goes on file in the GES department.

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Dept. of Geography and Environmental Studies,
Columbine Hall, COH2
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs 80918
Phone: 719.262.3016
Fax: 719.262.4066


BA in Geography
Dr. Robert Larkin

MA in Applied Geography
Dr. John Harner