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:
- 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 5000: Statistical Analysis in Geography as part of their degree plan.
- Students must take GES 5770: History and Nature of Geography during their first Fall Semester, then GES 5010: Seminar in Geographic Research during the following Spring Semester.
- Students must enroll in the 5000 level class for any GES courses that are cross listed at both the 4000 and 5000 level. 4000 level cross-listed classes will not be accepted.
- Students may take a maximum of 6 credits at the 4000 level if the relevant courses are taught by UCCS Graduate Faculty. Note that most GES 4000-level courses do not qualify; this primarily applies to courses offered by other departments that do not have 5000-level courses.
- No courses below the 4000 level count towards the degree.
- A total of 6 credits of independent study (GES 9600) may be applied towards the degree.
- A maximum of 3 credits of Professional Experience (GES 4980) may apply towards the MA degree.
- 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 and Student Progress Policy
- 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.
- Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA. A grade of B- in a UCCS class is the lowest grade accepted towards the degree.
- No grade below B- is accepted for credit or transfer.
- Students will be automatically terminated from the program if they do not receive a B- or above in GES 5010: Seminar in Geographic Research.
- 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.
- Student progress will also be monitored through the timely defense of a thesis proposal (completed within 4 semesters of enrollment) and the timely completion of a thesis (completed within 6 semesters of enrollment). If these benchmarks are not met, students will be required to meet with their academic advisor and/or the graduate director to discuss and outline a written strategy for the successful completion of the degree. Students have a maximum of five years to complete their degree. A one-year extension can be given if a student demonstrates that he/she is actively working on their research and has a written strategy to complete the thesis. However, the Graduate School has a six year time limit that cannot be superseded. According to Graduate School rules, a petition for extension must be filed at the end of the fifth year to continue. This petition comes to the GES graduate advisor, but ultimate approval must come from the Dean of the Graduate School.
- Other professional development activities (conference attendance, presentation, and publication) will be strongly encouraged, but are not officially monitored as part of the student progress policy.
Advisors and Committees
- Students must choose their advisor prior to completion of 15 credits of course work and make this choice known to the graduate program director.
- 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 GES, provided that member holds a Ph.D. and is a member of the graduate faculty. Qualified individuals external to UCCS may be appointed as associate graduate faculty.
Program Degree Completion
- Students have five years to complete their degree. A one-year extension can be given if a student demonstrates that he/she is actively working on their research and has a planned schedule to complete the thesis. However, the Graduate School has a six year time limit that cannot be superseded. According to Graduate School rules, a petition for extension must be filed at the end of the sixth year to continue. This petition comes to the GES graduate advisor, but ultimate approval must come from the Dean of the Graduate School.
- After three semesters of no enrollment, students drop to the inactive list. After six semesters of no enrollment, they are dropped from the program.
- 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.
- A student must be registered at the University during the semester in which the thesis defense is held; a semester is assumed to continue until the first day of classes of the next semester. A thesis defense may thus be held during a semester break, and registration for the following semester is not required, although the degree will be awarded in the following semester..
Requirements Specific to the Thesis Option
- Students must defend their thesis proposal to the three-member committee in order to become a candidate for the degree. Working with their advisor, students should submit a short proposal to all committee members and schedule a defense. The purpose is to ensure that the research project is viable and well-conceived, and that all committee members are aware of the student’s research project. The committee will offer advice and suggestions as needed prior to the student investing a great amount of time and effort into their research. The student’s advisor will inform the graduate program director when this has been accepted by submitting the proposal defense form. The thesis proposal should be completed within 4 semesters of enrollment.
- After a student successfully defends the proposal defense, they cannot switch thesis advisors without the explicit consent of both the original faculty member and the proposed new advisor.
- Students should submit a draft of their thesis to their advisor no later than the third week of their final semester.
- Students must defend their thesis no later than four weeks prior to the end of their final semester, as per Graduate School deadlines. All committee members must approve the thesis.
- Submission of the final draft, which includes all revisions, must be approved by the committee chair, and submitted to the library in order to meet the Graduate School deadline for submission of the thesis to the library. The thesis must conform to the UCCS Thesis Style format.
- 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.
Requirements Specific to the Non-Thesis Option
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Students may re-take the comprehensive exam one time in a subsequent semester.
- 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.
- 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.