Geography Graduate Degree Programs

Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy
Master of Arts/Science in Geography
Coordinated MA/MLS Program in Geography and Library Science
Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems

Graduate training offers advanced instruction, introduction to research methods, and guidance, stimulation and encouragement for independent inquiry. Graduate training differs significantly from undergraduate instruction in that it demands of the student a higher degree of responsibility, initiative and independence, the capacity for critical evaluation, and originality of thought.

Entrance to the Geography Graduate Program

A Bachelor's degree is required for admission to the Masters program; a Masters degree is generally required for admission to the Doctoral program, although direct admission of exceptional students with a Bachelor's degree is possible. If previous training was not in geography, students may be required to complete courses to eliminate deficiencies. Applicants must have a minimum grade point average in all academic subjects of 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale) and acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Entrance Exam (G.R.E.). Three current letters of recommendation, preferably from academic referees, must be sent directly to the Geography Department. Departmental policy is to admit students into degree programs starting in the Fall semester only, because of the inherent disadvantages to students entering the program at other times.

Although students are admitted based on their interest in a specific graduate program, admissions is handled by the Graduate School You may wish to consult the Graduate School web site for further information on the admissions process. The graduate school application can be obtained online.

Students' Advisory Committees

The Chairperson of the Graduate Student Administrative Committee is normally the initial advisor for all new graduate students. Within a semester the student should elect an advisor in the field of his/her research interest, who serves as major professor and chair of the students' Advisory Committee.

Other members of the Advisory Committee (two for Masters, four for Ph. D.) are selected by the student and the major professor of the Advisory Committee. The major professor must be chosen from the Departmental faculty for Masters students, but can also be from other departments for Doctoral students. The other members of the Advisory Committee can be chosen from the Department faculty. If appropriate, Committee members may be selected from other departments at UWM, and/or with Graduate School permission, one member of the committee may be from outside UWM. The majority of Committee members must be Geography Department faculty. Additional members may be added as dictated by the student's special interests. As the student pursues his/her studies, it is possible that research interests will change. As a consequence, Advisory Committee membership may also change, subject to approval by the current Committee members and the Graduate Student Administrative Committee.

Primary responsibility for evaluating the student's progress lies with the student's major professor and the Advisory Committee, who base their judgments on course and seminar work, consultation with other faculty members, personal conversations and consultations about theses and dissertations, and general intellectual progress of the student.

For a Masters student the Advisory Committee, consisting of the major professor and two other faculty members, guides the individual program and thesis work, judges the quality of the thesis (or paper/internship for non-thesis students), and administers and evaluates the final Masters examination. In addition, the major professor presents the topic of the thesis to the Graduate Faculty of the Department for approval, and makes the recommendation to the Graduate School to grant the degree.

For a doctoral student the Advisory Committee, consisting of the major professor and four other faculty members, guides the individual program and dissertation work, arranges the preliminary examination, recommends that the student be advanced to candidacy, conducts the final dissertation defense examination and makes recommendation to the Graduate School to grant the degree. The major professor presents the dissertation topic to the Graduate Faculty of the Department for approval.

Colloquia and Thesis Presentation

Graduate students in residence must present their research in a Departmental Colloquium before taking the final examination, and preferably much earlier. All graduate students in residence must attend all Colloquia.

Academic Appeal Procedure

The formal academic appeal procedure is as indicated in the current edition of the UWM Graduate Bulletin.

If the first appeal (step one) is to an individual Geography Department faculty member, any subsequent appeal (step two) should be made to the Geography Department's Graduate Administrative Committee. If the first appeal (step one) is to the Geography Department's Graduate Administrative Committee, any subsequent appeal (step two) should be directed to the Geography Department Chairperson, who will appoint an ad hoc committee to hear the subsequent appeal. Members of the Geography Department's Graduate Administrative Committee will not serve on the ad hoc committee appointed by the Chairperson.

For further information and detail, please consult the Graduate Bulletin or contact Professor Rina Ghose (rghose@uwm.edu), Graduate Program Chair.