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Division of Natural Sciences & MathematicsDepartment of Geography & the Environment

Degree Programs

Geography & the Environment

Approval of Project (Committee)

Incoming students without a background in geography must take or audit 4 units of NATS 1201 (E-Systems) and 4 units of SOCS 1410 (People, Places and Landscapes)


Students will be required to produce a final project of professional quality demonstrating the student's ability to apply geographic information science to their chosen area of specialization.

The project is done for and with a company, agency, Non Governmental Organization, or faculty member who is referred to as the client. The project must be actually used by the client and may be predominantly technical in nature or may include a research component.

The project must demonstrate mastery of one or more of the several geo-technologies and requires the student to engage in all facets of a project from design to implementation. The client should guide the student with respect to defining the scope, function, and purpose of the project in addition to providing data and other resources needed to accomplish the defined objectives.

The client must also serve on the student's committee for the purpose of proposal and final presentations. The completed project must include the following:

  1. A written report
  2. Digital and/or copies of data, maps, and software produced
  3. A user guide(s) if appropriate

The project must be approved by client and committee.

Project proposal presentation

Each student is required to prepare and present a project proposal and have it formally approved by the student's faculty committee. Project students in the MSGIS program are encouraged to have proposals presented and approved by the time that a student would be finished with his/her substantive course work, which is equivalent to having completed 34 quarter-hours toward the Masters' degree. If a Masters project student does not have an approved proposal by the end of the quarter in which the student has completed 34 quarter-hours, the student is placed on academic probation, and is given one additional quarter to have a proposal approved by the student's committee. If the proposal has not been approved by the end of the quarter following the student's completion of 34 quarter-hours of Masters Degree coursework, the student's program will be terminated due to insufficient progress toward the degree. The student may, however, file a petition before the eighth week of that quarter requesting an extension of probationary status for one additional quarter. If this petition is granted, the student must have a proposal approved by the eighth week of the next quarter to continue in the program. If not, the program is automatically terminated. If a student has encountered severe extenuating circumstances beyond the student's control, a petition may be filed to extend probationary status subject to approval by the Department Chair and Departmental Director of Graduate Studies.

Final Project Presentation

Upon completion of required course work, proposal approval, and the project, each student will make a final project presentation. A final project presentation may not be scheduled until at least the second quarter following the quarter in which the project proposal was approved (the summer may count as a quarter; though, no examinations should be scheduled during summer). The final project presentation is to be conducted at least two weeks before the end of the quarter in which the degree is to be awarded (prior to eighth week of the quarter). In all cases, the presentation will address the requirements of the project/research. The examining committee is composed of the advisor, at least one other Geography faculty member, and a representative of the client organization.