Department of Geography Department of Geography

Graduate Programs

Geography & Geography with Specialization in Global Sustainability

Central Connecticut State University has the oldest and largest graduate program in Geography in the state of Connecticut. The graduate program was initiated in 1962 with a Master of Science in Social Science, and in 1976 CCSU began to offer a Master of Science in Geography. Most students use their MS in Geography to further their professional career aspirations. However, students also receive their MS in Geography as preparation for pursuing a Ph.D. degree program at major universities.

The Geography Department is committed to student learning and personal development through innovative teaching, high quality field application, and use of geotechnology. The graduate program is designed to be flexible in order to meet the varied needs of a wide range of students with varied academic backgrounds. Our goals are to ensure that students:

  • Have an environment in which they learn about the breadth, depth, and complexity of the human experience through the study of Geography.
  • Develop mastery of theoretical knowledge and provide experience with practical applications.
  • Obtain the training and experience they need to increase their competitiveness in the job markets.
  • Graduate with a greater chance of fulfilling their professional development goals.
  • Graduate with an informed appreciation and understanding of geographical thought, its philosophical background and debates, and the interpretation of geographical literature.
  • Graduate with an informed appreciation and understanding of the research methods in geography and the social sciences in general by completing a research thesis or project under academic supervision and guidance.
  • Are prepared for professional careers or further academic studies and research in Geography

Learning Outcomes

Students are expected to achieve the following learning outcomes to a satisfactory level as judged by the appropriate performance indicators established for use in the assessment of the Graduate program in Geography.

  • Demonstrate the ability to develop a research proposal and carry out an independent research on a chosen topic
  • Develop a substantive claim of the literature in Geography in general and in at least one subfield of the subject.
  • Present and defend research work in oral and written literature using accepted social science research methods.
  • Demonstrate competent skills in the collection, analysis and mapping of geographic data.
  • Apply geographic knowledge and skills to solve a range of problems faced by businesses, industry, government etc.
  • Write effectively and persuasively about key theories, principles and issues in geography, and make appropriate citation of principal sources when making critical written arguments.
  • Know the major theories and important figures in the development of geography;
  • Be able to use geography outside the classroom; and
  • Be able to conduct and communicate the results of geographic research.

Admission Standards For All Geography Graduate Programs

The M.S. degree programs are available to all individuals who meet the admissions requirements of the School of Graduate Studies. The Graduate Record Examination is not an admission requirement. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education. An undergraduate major or minor in Geography is desirable but not required of applicants. However, if a student is deemed deficient in their geographic knowledge, academic preparation may be asked to complete up to three courses of remedial work at the undergraduate level. Applicants must also have an undergraduate GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 point scale (where ‘A’ is 4.00) or its equivalent, with the understanding that a student may be considered for conditional admission with an undergraduate GPA of 2.40 to 2.99. Applicants must also be in good standing (3.00 GPA) in all post-baccalaureate course work.

Students applying for admittance to the graduate program must submit their application and supporting materials to the CCSU School of Graduate Studies.  As part of the admission approval process, applicants must also submit an Academic Autobiography/Statement of Purpose, of approximately 500 words, describing the student’s interest in graduate study of Geography at CCSU, and the role the degree will play in his/her current and future career. The Autobiography/Statement of Purpose  is expected to demonstrate skills adequate for coursework at the graduate level. This essay must be submitted directly to the Geography Department Graduate Advisor.

Graduate Degree Programs

The Geography Department offers two graduate degree options:

Majors and Tracks/Specializations in Geography

Major in Geography-Environmental Track
Major in Geography-Geographic Information Science Track
Major in Geography-Tourism Track
Major in Geography-General/Regional Track
Major in Geography Planning Specialization
Major in Geography-Subject matter concentration for certification in Elementary Education
Major in Social Science with a Minor in Geography-Secondary Education Certification in Social Studies
Major in Hospitality/Tourism

Master of Science in Geography

Program Rationale

The M.S. in Geography has been used as a springboard by those interested in further graduate study. Several graduates have gone on to Ph.D. programs at major universities. However, most graduate students are interested in using the M.S. in Geography as a terminal degree that will prepare them for careers in several technical areas.

Course and Capstone Requirements

Students enrolled in the graduate program must comply with all requirements in the current graduate catalog.

Students select Plan A, B, or C.

Plan A, 30 credits, includes a thesis (GEOG 599); 12 credits of core courses, including GEOG 500, 514 or 516 or 518, 530 or 542, 598; 9-12 credits of geography electives selected in consultation with an advisor; and 3-6 credits of electives selected from other disciplines in consultation with an advisor. Thesis guidelines are available from the appropriate School of Graduate Studies office.

Plan C, 30 credits, includes a special project (GEOG 595) instead of a thesis; 12 credits of core courses, including GEOG 500, 514 or 516 or 518, 530 or 542, 598; 9-12 credits of geography electives selected in consultation with an advisor; and 3-6 credits of electives selected from other disciplines in consultation with an advisor. Thesis guidelines are available from the School of Graduate Studies office.

Plan B, 30 credits, includes a comprehensive exam instead of a thesis or special project; GEOG 597 is completed instead of a thesis or special project. The courses required are the same as in Plan A (thesis) and Plan C (special project) except that GEOG 597, as well as the comprehensive examination, substitutes for GEOG 599 and GEOG 595.

For Plans A, B, and C, up to 9 credit hours total may be 400-level courses that are listed in the graduate catalog.

Program Emphases:

Students enrolled in the M.S. in Geography program may emphasize any of the following areas:

  • urban and regional planning
  • environmental studies
  • travel and tourism
  • cultural and world regional geography
  • computer mapping or geographic information systems
Master of Science in Geography with Global Sustainability Specialization

Program Rationale

The M.S. in Geography: Global Sustainability Specialization is 30 credit graduate degree program designed to enable students to examine global environmental, social, and economic challenges facing society and to explore possible sustainable solutions to these challenges.

Additional Learning Outcomes for Sustainability Specialization

In addition to the learning outcomes stated above, graduate students will also be expected to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to explain sustainability in the global context.
  • Demonstrate an empirical grasp of the human-environment relationship.
  • Be able to apply geographic theories and methods to research and communicate sustainability issues.

Course Requirements:

Core Geography Courses (9 credits):

  • GEOG 500 Graduate Studies in Geography
  • GEOG 530 Graduate Internship in Geography
  • GEOG 598 Research in Geography

Core Sustainability Courses (9 credits):

Electives (9 credits):

  • Up to 9 credit hours total may be at the 400-level courses that are listed in the graduate catalog.

Capstone Requirements

Students choose between:

Plan C, GEOG 595 - Special Project in Geography or
Plan A, GEOG 599 Thesis; 
Note: Plan B not available 

Additional Information

Graduate Assistantships - The Department of Geography normally has one or two graduate assistantships available for qualified graduate students. Graduate Assistants are required to work 20 hours per week when classes are in session. The work may range from assisting a faculty member with a research project to teaching a section of an introductory course, depending on the student's qualifications. For details, contact the Geography Department Chairperson.

Teacher Certification - Graduate study in geography does not provide teacher certification.

For further information, contact the Geography Department Graduate Advisor.