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Geography (MA) 
Program Description

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Geography is designed as a two-year program of study (minimum of 33 units). Students elect either a thesis option (recommended for those pursuing a Ph.D.) or a non-thesis option (recommended for those pursuing a professional, non-academic career). At the Masters level, the School offers courses in a wide range of fields within Geography, as shown below. Many of our masters students continue on at SGD for a Ph.D., depending on their interests and accomplishments.

As one of the leading geography departments in the United States, University of Arizona is distinguished by the broad spectrum of teaching and research interests among its faculty, providing ample opportunities for graduate students to specialize in many sub-fields. These include:


Analysis of Regional Development Processes

  • Quantitative Research
  • Population Dynamics
  • Transportation Systems
  • Industrial and Economic Geography
  • Economic Development


Critical Human Geography

  • Geographies of Identity and Difference
  • Citizenship and Politics
  • Geographies of Social Protest
  • Interpretative Approaches to Built Environments and Cities
  • Popular Cultures
  • Economic and Cultural Globalizations


Human-Environment Relationships

  • Resource and Community Conservation
  • Environmental Struggles in North America, Latin America, and Africa
  • Critical Studies of Environmental Policy
  • Political Ecology of Resource Use
  • International Development Processes


Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing

  • Wildfire Modeling and Management
  • Geovisualization Techniques


Physical Geography and Environmental Systems

  • Biogeography
  • Climatology
  • Resource Survey and Inventory
  • Land Cover Change


Geographic Methodologies and Techniques Available (also see SGD Facilities)

  • Spatial Statistics
  • GIS
  • Remote Sensing
  • Interpretative Methods
  • Participatory Action Research
  • Visual Methodologies
  • Discourse Analysis/Deconstruction
  • Archival and historical research
  • Physical Geography Field Methods
  • Climatological monitoring and modeling
  • Tree-ring analysis and climate reconstruction in UofA's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research


Department/Academic Unit(s)

School of Geography and Development -

Graduate students in the School of Geography and Development (SGD) benefit from the broad range of faculty expertise and strong links to interdisciplinary research centers across campus. Our work spans the discipline, from physical geography (climate science, dendrochronology, remote sensing, spatial science), to human-environment (political ecology, water policy, climate change) to human geography (development, state theory). Our shared commitment to collaboration and community makes for a lively and engaged department.

SGD offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, two professional master’s degrees, and participates in several graduate certificate programs

College of Social & Behavioral Sciences  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Elizabeth S Cordova
Graduate Program Coordinator
Elizabeth S Cordova
Director of Graduate Studies
Carl J Bauer
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Christina M Inocencio
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements

The deadline for fall admission is January 5 for both domestic and international applicants. Please note that the SGD deadline supersedes Graduate College deadlines and that there are no spring semester admissions to SGD.  A background in geography or related fields in the natural and social sciences is strongly recommended for the M.A. and Ph.D. programs.  Students are selected on the basis of:

1. Academic background and performance (generally a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0).

2. Professional experience.

3. GRE General Test scores (no required minimum but scores should be above average).

4. Personal statement of intent.

5. Letters of recommendation.

6. TOEFL (for international students). Either a score of 550 [PB], 79 [IBT], or IELTS [composite score of 7, no subject area below a 6]. To be considered as a TA, a citizen of a non-English-speaking country must demonstrate proficiency in spoken English via examination. This requires a score of at least 26 on the speaking section of the IBT TOEFL.

NOTE: A master's degree is required for admission to Ph.D. program (applicants without master's degrees who are interested in the Ph.D. need to initially apply for the master's degree).

Standardized Tests

All test scores must be sent from ETS.

The GRE and TOEFL Institution Code for the University of Arizona is 4832.

*There is no minimum GRE score required, but scores should be above average.

**The minimum TOEFL score is 550 [PB], 79 [IBT], or IELTS [composite score of 7, no subject area below 6] 

Financial Aid

Every effort is made to provide some kind of financial support for incoming graduate students.
Teaching and research assistantships and graduate tuition waivers, available on a competitive basis, are used to waive nonresident tuition, registration fees, and/or health insurance premiums. Teaching and research assistantships offer a half-time academic year stipend that is competitive with other geography programs around the country. Incoming students may also apply or be nominated for one of several available fellowships (e.g., see the Carson Scholars Program).

Admissions Deadlines

Domestic Applicants:

  • Fall: January 5
  • Spring: There is NO spring admission

International Applicants:

  • Fall: January 5
  • Spring: There is NO spring admission
International Conditional Admission
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements

Minimum Credit Hours


Core Courses

GEOG689, History of Geographic Thought
GEOG500, Research Design
1 Advanced Methods Courses

Language Requirement(s)

A master's student who proposes to undertake research in or on a non-English speaking area is required to demonstrate the necessary language skills. A language test will normally be arranged by the student's mentor, and be approved by the student's advisory committee.

Minor Requirements
The Academic Unit has not provided this information. 
Student Handbook  
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Last revised 14 Dec 2016