The Master of Arts degree in Geography is designed to provide students with a broad range of academic and professional options. Our program prepares students for either professional opportunities in applied geography and planning, Ph.D. work in geography and related fields, or opportunities teaching geography at all educational levels, including college.
Past graduates have found jobs working in fields such as: geographic information science, climate science, planning for climate resilience, environmental analysis and policy development, transportation planning, urban planning, satellite image analysis, cartography, regional planning and sustainable development, economic development and land resource management.
The degree program offers both thesis and non-thesis options for completion. Non-thesis students can choose one of three concentrations:
- The General concentration provides students with a broad and diverse understanding of geography with the opportunity to customize a program of study related to interests and career goals.
- The Geographic Information Science concentration provides students with direct skills and experience in geocomputation, digital image processing, and the latest professional and theoretical developments in GIScience.
- The Planning concentration promotes a multidisciplinary perspective and provides students with direct skills in sustainable development, planning theory and practice, planning methods and techniques, and planning law and ethics.
- The Climate Change concentration provides students with knowledge of the physical science basis of climate change, its societal impacts, and adaptation and mitigation strategies.
There are two additional options for graduate study in Geography for students interested in gaining proficiency without completing a degree:
- Graduate Minor: requires 9-12 credit hours to complete
- Graduate Certificates in Planning (18 hours of coursework), GIS (12 hours of coursework) and Climate Change (12-13 hours of coursework).
Course titles and information can be found in the Graduate Bulletin.
Required Entrance Exam: GRE (score must be no more than 5 years old)
Required number of references to specify in the online form: 3
Supplemental Information: Resume (Required upload for application submission); letter addressing reasons why applicant wishes to enter the program, not to exceed two pages stating reasons why applicant wishes to enter the program (upload on the Additional Information page in the online application)
Basic Conditions for Consideration of Admission: Meeting or exceeding the conditions below does NOT guarantee admission. All applications for a given entry term will be weighed based upon the number of seats available and the quality of the complete application packages. With special permission from the Graduate School, a program may admit a limited number of students with exceptional circumstances who do not meet the graduate school minimums.
Graduate School: 3.0 GPA in the last earned degree and official scores from the appropriate admission test(s), OR 2.5 GPA in the last earned degree and official scores at the 25th percentile level from the appropriate admission test(s).
Admission to Geography: The faculty will give preference to applicants who meet or exceed the following: An undergraduate GPA at or above a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and at least one score on the GRE (V, Q , or A) at or above the 50th percentile.
Doctoral and Terminal Degree Programs
Students have gone on to programs at these and other institutions:
- University of Arizona
- University of Idaho
- University of North Carolina
- University of South Carolina
- Amec Foster Wheeler
- Blue Ridge Conservancy
- Centers for Disease Control
- GBE Fund
- Grand Canyon Trust
- Heifer International
- Highland Mapping Inc.
- National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
- The Trust for Public Land
- Trails Illustrated Maps
- UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC)
- Virginia Tech
- Spring: 11/1
- Summer Session 1: x
- Summer Session 2: x
- Fall on campus: 4/1 (2/15)
Priority: The priority application deadline in parentheses above must be met for early consideration in the review process.
- You will study alongside faculty and fellow students actively engaged in researching: climate change, biome change, GIS applications (viticulture; flood modeling; property valuation; visualization), globalization processes, economic development, community development, transportation and land use, precipitation climatology, mountain environments and natural hazards.
- Appalachian’s geographic setting supports research framed around mountain and/or rural settings.
- Faculty members conduct research across the U.S. and in Latin America, East Africa, and Europe.
- You will gain interdisciplinary education and research experience, which is critical in today’s professional workforce. Established research clusters include AppalAIR, AppAqua and Carbon Emissions Inventories and Energy Policy Research.
- You can apply to the program without having majored in geography. Many graduate students earned their bachelor’s degrees in another physical science (e.g., atmospheric science, biology, environmental science, geology) and/or social science (e.g., history, political science, psychology, economics).
- All graduate programs at Appalachian have small class sizes, providing intimate classroom interaction.
- The School of Graduate Studies offers scholarships, fellowships and assistantships to support eligible, full-time, degree-seeking students.
Method of Delivery
- Atmospheric Scientist
- Director of Land Protection and Stewardship
- Geospatial Data Analyst
- GIS Director
- Health Geographer
- Land Surveyor
- Park Ranger
- Planner – town, city, regional
- Research Scientist
- Snow Scientist
- Sustainable Resource Manager
- Water Resource Specialist
Dr. Derek J. Martin
Graduate Program Director