Department of Geography Department of Geography
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Graduate Programs


 

Departmental Graduate Program Policies

Nothing in these graduate policies shall be construed as conflicting with the policies and procedures of the CCSU School of Graduate Studies.

The Geography Department shall elect a representative to the Graduate Studies Committee and that person shall report to the Departmental meeting as required.


 

Admission Standards For All Graduate Geography 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.


 

Capstone Requirements

In order to graduate student will need to successfully complete, in accordance with CCSU Graduate School policies and procedures:

Plan A. A Written Thesis OR
Plan B. A Comprehensive Exam OR
Plan C. A Special Project

It is seen by the Department that all of these options contain similar rigor and acceptable outcomes. For the option the student chooses, the student must address certain requirements:

Plan A, Thesis (GEOG 599)

A thesis is seen as comparable to a special project except that it is geographical enquiry of an academic nature that addresses a theoretical or philosophical geographic topic, area, region, problem or issue.

As such it will be a bound volume of research reflecting the goals and objectives in this piece of geographic enquiry. It will take the form of an inductive or deductive piece of original research but contain significant reference to the existing body of knowledge in that geographical area.

For the thesis, a student will be designated an advisor and a second reader whose primary duty is to read the special project in detail and comment.

Once completed to the satisfaction of the advisor, the student will defend the Thesis before the Geography department faculty, invited faculty, and the public. This defense includes a presentation of 20-30 minutes and then a time for questions from those in attendance, not to exceed a 60 minute period.

Faculty will immediately convene to discuss the work and the defense presentation. As a group, they may determine whether the special project needs major revisions, minor revisions, or no revisions.

Once the decision is made, the student is informed and will integrate revisions as required.

Once the student hands in the final version of the thesis, the student’s primary and secondary advisor will determine whether the work passes or fails departmental requirements and rigor.

The thesis approval form is then signed off on by the student’s committee members and forwarded to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

If approved by the Dean, then the student has successfully completed then his or her graduate degree. If the Dean requires revisions or clarifications, then the student must complete those in order to graduate.

The forms and additional information for completing the Thesis can be found here.

Plan B, Comprehensive Exam (GEOG 597)

It is expected that these examinations will take place over a three hour time period, maximum and may be given over a period of seven days at times satisfactory to both student and faculty.

A student who wishes to take the comprehensive exam must register for GEOG 597, a course used as an independent study to prepare for the exam in conjunction with student’s committee members. The student may register for the course during the same semester as taking the exam or one semester beforehand. Registering for the comprehensive exam requires a special form, found at the URL at the end of this section.

The comprehensive exam will consist of three separate questions generally administered as one question per day over the course of one week. The student will have a given number of hours (4 hours if handwriting, 2 hours if typing), which will be agreed upon by advisor and student before the exam is administered.

One question will be on general geographical history, concepts and contemporary issues.

One question will be directly related to the student’s area of geographical interest

One question will be on any area of geography, other than the area in (ii) above.

The comprehensive exam is graded by the student’s graduate advisor and a second reader. The judgment will be either PASS or FAIL.

In some cases, the comprehensive exam committee may request that answers be explained in an oral defense. After the oral defense, the student may pass or fail. If the student passes, the comprehensive portion of the graduate degree will be concluded. If the student fails, then he or she will file a petition with graduate studies to take the exam again. If approved, the format of the exam will be the same, but the questions will be different. If a student fails the exam a second time, then the student must either successfully complete a thesis or special project in order to graduate.

The graduate studies handbook on capstone exam is found here.

Plan C, Special Project (GEOG 595)

A special project is seen as comparable to a thesis except that it is a work of applied geography that addresses a special topic, area, region, problem or issue.

As such it will be a bound volume of research reflecting the goals and objectives in this piece of applied work. It will take the form of an inductive or deductive piece of original research.

For the special project the student will be designated an advisor and a second reader whose primary duty is to read the special project in detail and comment.

Once completed to the satisfaction of the advisor, the student will defend the Special Project before the Geography department faculty, invited faculty, and the public. This defense includes a presentation of 20-30 minutes and then a time for questions from those in attendance, not to exceed a 60 minute period.

Faculty will immediately convene to discuss the work and the defense presentation. As a group, they may determine whether the special project needs major revisions, minor revisions, or no revisions.

Once the decision is made, the student is informed and will integrate revisions as required.

Once the student hands in the final version of the special project, the student’s primary and secondary advisor will determine whether the work passes or fails departmental requirements and rigor.

The special project approval form is then signed off on by the student’s committee members and forwarded to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

If approved by the Dean, then the student has successfully completed his or her graduate degree. If the Dean requires revisions or clarifications, then the student must complete those in order to graduate.

The forms and additional information for completing the Special Project can be found here.


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