We offer the following research-based graduate degree programs in geography:
- Master of Arts
- Master of Science
- Doctor of Philosophy
- We also offer a non-thesis Professional Science Master's (PSM) degree with Geographic Information Science (GIS) concentration, in coordination with the Illinois Professional Science Master's Program.
Our vibrant and diverse department is organized around three major core areas of specialization, each of which features leading experts in their fields:
- Cities, Space, and Society: This concentration examines the problems and possibilities of current cities as humanly created landscapes for the human condition. Emphasis is placed on the economic, political, and social foundations of cities as outgrowth of desires for cities to be optimal functional places for advancing human lives. We focus on cities in both the global north and south as simultaneously unique and generalizable landscapes.
- Geographic Information Science: This concentration focuses on developing and utilizing geospatial data, methods and technologies to understand a wide range of social and environmental issues. Areas of emphasis include: CyberGIS, spatio-temporal GIS, satellite remote sensing, spatial analysis, qualitative GIS, and GIS and society.
- River, Watershed, and Landscape Dynamics: Using state-of-the-art field and laboratory equipment, researchers in this concentration tie together geomorphological, hydrological, and ecological processes and phenomena to advance understanding of rivers, watershed, and the landscapes affected by them.
Applications & Financial Assistance
In order to be considered for our graduate program, you must submit a complete application through the Graduate College application portal. Complete applications include a personal statement, three letters of reference, official transcripts from each undergraduate and/or graduate school attended, and English language proficiency scores for non-native speakers. As of the Fall 2020 admission cycle, we no longer consider Graduate Records Exam (GRE) scores when evaluating applicants to our graduate degree programs.
Submitting an application by our stated deadline automatically places you in the candidate pool for consideration for departmental teaching/research assistantships and fellowships. In addition, highly qualified applicants may be nominated for departmental and Graduate College fellowships. We are committed to encouraging a diverse and supportive environment for every student who pursues a degree in geography.
The Geography & GIS Admissions Committee evaluates applicants' academic accomplishments and promise, as well as the match between their professional goals and the expertise of our core faculty. PhD and research-based Master's applicants are encouraged to contact GGIS faculty members directly with research questions and to ask whether they would be willing to serve as a primary research advisor. All successful applicants offered admission to our graduate program are ultimately referred to the Graduate College for a final check of credentials and academic/financial eligibility.