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Graduate Studies Calendar 2011-2012 Program Descriptions Geography GEOG
Geography - GEOG
Contact Information Location: Earth Sciences Building, Room 356
Department number: 403.220.5584
Fax: 403.282.6561
E-mail address:
Web page URL:
1. Degrees and Specializations Offered Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Master of Arts (MA), thesis-based
Master of Science (MSc), thesis-based
Master of Geographic Information Systems (MGIS), course-based with research component
2. Admission Requirements

In addition to Faculties of Graduate Studies and Arts requirements, the Department of Geography requires all MA/MSc and PhD applicants to submit:

a) A proposal describing applicant’s intended research area
b) A current curriculum vitae or résumé
c) Two reference letters

For MGIS applicants the Department requires:

a) A statement of interest outlining the applicant’s goals, motivation for applying to the program, and research area of interest
b) A current curriculum vitae or résumé
c) Two reference letters

For the academic background requirements for the MGIS program, the Department will accept a four-year BA or BSc degree in Geography or in any related field that makes use of spatial data. Examples include, but are not limited to: Anthropology, Archaeology, Biological Sciences, Computer Science, Ecology, Environmental Science, Geology/ Geophysics, Geomatics Engineering, History, Management, Mathematics, Political Science, Psychology, Tourism, Transportation Studies or Engineering, and Urban Studies.

3. Application Deadline Deadlines for submission of complete applications:

For thesis programs
January 15 for September admission
August 15 for January admission

For MGIS applicants
April 30
Files are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Applications are accepted until the deadline, but late applications may be considered if there is capacity in the program.
4. Advanced Credit The applicant must make advanced credit requests as part of the admission process. Credit will not be given for course work taken as part of another completed degree/diploma or for courses taken to bring the grade point average to a required level for admission.
5. Program/Course Requirements

In addition to Faculties of Graduate Studies and Arts requirements, the Department requires the following:

Master of Geographic Information Systems
Ten half courses, eight at the 600 level or higher, must be completed while in the program.  These will include:

a) Three core courses in Geographic Information Sciences in the areas of Remote Sensing, Spatial Analysis and Geographic Information Systems:
Geography 633 Research and Applications in Remote Sensing
Geography 639 Advanced Spatial Analysis and Modeling
Geography 647 Advanced Research and Applications in Geographic Information Systems
Each course assumes that the student has two undergraduate courses in the areas of Remote Sensing, analytical methods in Geography (or inferential statistics) and Geographic Information Systems, respectively.

b) Two research-based courses related to the area of Geographic Information Science:
Geography 681 GIS Project: Theoretical Issues
Geography 683 GIS Project: Application

These courses will be on a topic mutually agreed upon between the student and the supervisor. The first course will be concerned with gathering information and literature on the research topic and will provide a critical assessment of this literature. This will be written up as a course paper that will equate to the literature review chapter of a traditional thesis. The second research course will be concerned with carrying out a program of analysis in the chosen research area using the Geographic Information Science tools discussed in the core courses. The final paper produced for this course will equate to the analysis and discussion chapters of a traditional thesis.

c) Five additional half courses chosen by mutual agreement between the student and the supervisor. These courses will support the student's chosen research project and understanding of the Geographic Information Sciences.

The MGIS program may be completed on a full-time or a part-time basis.

Master of Arts, Master of Science
Requirements for the MA and MSc degrees:

a) Four half-course equivalents in a two-year period, including History and Philosophy of Physical or Human Geography, at least one of the core Geography Graduate Seminars, and at least one Methods course.

b) An approved thesis proposal completed within the first year of the program.
For detailed information on courses and program requirements please refer to:

Full-time status is expected. In some situations thesis programs may be completed on a part-time basis with approval from the Graduate Coordinator.

Doctor of Philosophy
Requirements for the PhD degree:

a) Two half-course equivalents during the first two years in program, including at least one of the core Geography Graduate Seminars.

b) An approved thesis proposal completed within the first 18 months of the program.

c) A candidacy exam completed within the first 24 months of the program.

For detailed information on courses and program requirements please refer to:

Full-time status is expected. In some situations thesis programs may be completed on a part-time basis with approval from the Graduate Coordinator.

6. Additional Requirements For thesis programs: participation in the graduate research seminar series and the annual Department Conference.
For MGIS students:  Participation in the annual graduate student Department conference (oral presentation or development of an academic poster of their project work for presentation/display).
Departures from regular departmental program/ course requirements may be recommended on an individual basis by the interim advisor or supervisor with approval from the Graduate Coordinator.
7. Credit for Undergraduate Courses No more than one half of a regular thesis graduate student’s coursework can be at the undergraduate level. Programs requiring a larger ratio of undergraduate courses must receive approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies at the time of admission. MGIS students are allowed a maximum of one full course credit at the 500-level.
8. Time Limit Expected completion time is two years in MA/MSc programs and four years in the PhD program. Maximum completion time is four years for MA/MSc programs and six years for the PhD program.  For the MGIS Program, minimum completion time is one year and maximum completion time is six years.
9. Supervisory Assignments Each graduate student has a supervisor appointed within the first term in program.  For PhD students, a supervisory committee should be appointed within three months of the appointment of supervisor.
10. Required Examinations MGIS oral comprehensive examinations will be based on project and course work.  MGIS students will be examined on their comprehensive understanding of course material and their integrated professional knowledge/conception of geographic information science.  The examination committee will consist of at least three examiners, including the graduate student advisor, but with no requirement for an external examiner.
PhD candidacy examinations have a written and an oral component.  Questions on the research proposal will not be included in the oral candidacy examination.  Final thesis oral examinations are open.
11. Research Proposal Requirements See Program/Course Requirements.
12. Special Registration Information None.
13. Financial Assistance Department funding is available to highly ranked thesis students. Financial assistance may be available to qualified thesis students. For information on awards, see the Awards and Financial Assistance section of this Calendar or check the Graduate Awards Database:
Unless otherwise stated, awards are made only to full-time students in thesis programs.
14. Other Information None.
15. Faculty Members/Research Interests Faculty members and their research interests can be found at