Program Description

The Master of Arts in Geography provides the student with a high degree of flexibility in the selection of courses used to meet the program requirements. Courses may be selected from any of the graduate offerings in geomorphology, climatology, biogeography, economic geography, cultural geography, urban geography, regional geography, cartography and geographic information science. This degree prepares students for advanced Ph.D. study, community college teaching and professional careers in business, government or industry.

Program Requirements

A. Requirements for Admission

  1. One of the following:
    1. A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better. Applicants with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.5 to 2.99, please contact the graduate coordinator.
    2. A graduate degree in another field from CSUN or other accredited institution.
  2. At least a 2.75 GPA in the last 60 units attempted.
  3. Two letters of recommendation.
  4. Demonstration of research and writing skills. Applicants must submit to the graduate committee a sample research paper, written in English and, preferably, one that was completed as part of the baccalaureate degree requirements, such as a senior thesis or other research paper done in an upper division undergraduate course. Because of the importance of research and writing to the graduate program, the committee needs to be assured of applicants’ abilities and promise in these areas.
  5. A well-written statement of purpose (approximately 1,000 words, double-spaced, 12-point font).

B. Classified and Conditionally Classified Status

Requirements for Classified Status

  1. Admission to the program requires an undergraduate degree (or its equivalent for international students).
  2. A minimum GPA of 2.5 is required.
  3. General University requirements also must be met. Carefully consult other sections of this Catalog for details.

Conditionally Classified Status

No more than 12 units of work taken prior to attaining classified status may be applied to the master’s degree program.

C. Program Requirements

Completion of the following courses (a total of 30 units, with a GPA of 3.0 or better):

1. Introductory Seminar (3 units)

GEOG 600 Geographic Thought, Analysis and Research (3)

2. Additional Seminars (15 units)

Select five courses from the following:

GEOG 610A-E Geomorphology (3)
GEOG 620A-G Climatology (3)
GEOG 630A-E Environmental Studies (3)
GEOG 640A-D Economic Geography (3)
GEOG 650A-D Urban Geography (3)
GEOG 660A-C Cultural Geography (3)
GEOG 670A-G Global Studies (3)
GEOG 680A-N Regional Geography (3)
GEOG 690A-J Geographic Information Science (3)
GEOG 695A-C Methods in Geographical Analysis (3)

3. Electives (6 units)

Select any two additional 600-level Geography courses.

Students may also select from the following 400-level Geography courses: GEOG 402/LGEOG 404A-ZGEOG 406/LGEOG 407/LGEOG 408A/LGEOG 408B/LGEOG 408C/LGEOG 408D/LGEOG 408E/LGEOG 408F/L, GEOG 408G/L, GEOG 408H/LGEOG 409/LGEOG 414, GEOG 416, GEOG 417GEOG 444, GEOG 459, GEOG 460/LGEOG 465/L (2/1), GEOG 466/L, GEOG 467/L, GEOG 468/L, GEOG 470, GEOG 472, GEOG 473, GEOG 474, GEOG 476GEOG 482GEOG 486, GEOG 486SOC, GEOG 487, GEOG 496A-ZGEOG 497A-F

Students may also take a 400-, 500- or 600-level course in an allied discipline outside of Geography, with prior department approval.

4. Thesis Preparation (3 units)

GEOG 696 Directed Geographic Research (3)

5. Culminating Experience (3 units)

Submission of a thesis or graduate project approved by a departmental faculty committee.

GEOG 698 Thesis (3)
or GEOG 698D Graduate Project (3)

6. Competence in a relevant foreign language, statistics or an advanced geographic technique.

Total Units Required for the M.A. Degree: 30


Department of Geography and Environmental Studies
Chair: Regan Maas
Sierra Hall (SH) 150
(818) 677-3532

Graduate Coordinator: Luke Drake
(818) 677-3508

Program Learning Outcomes

Students receiving a Master of Arts in Geography will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of philosophical foundations in geography and environmental studies.
  2. Develop and write a professional quality thesis or technical project proposal involving techniques and concepts in geography and environmental studies.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to synthesize and critique peer-reviewed literature related to and informing the proposed thesis or project.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to collect data, apply appropriate methodologies, and interpret the results and the implications of the proposed thesis or project.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to communicate the knowledge, results, and interpretations developed from their thesis or project, including a final presentation to the department and/or thesis committee.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to create a well-organized, properly illustrated, and professionally written final thesis document or project technical report.
  7. Practice sound ethical approaches in the application of research in geography and environmental studies.
  8. Demonstrate a deep understanding of the significance of geography and environmental studies in society.