Graduate - Navigating the Program

Before you start

  • Know how to get to the PSU campus, the locations of major campus buildings, and the Geography Office (Cramer Hall Rm. 424).
  • Meet with your Advisor to plan your courses. Before the term starts, check the postings outside the Geography office, the Geography courses webpage, or registration for course offerings.
  • Register for classes for Fall Term, including GEOG 521: Geographic Thought. Contact Geography Office Manager to register for GEOG 521.
  • Notify the Geography Office Manager if you have a Graduate Assistantship and are admitted with departmental conditional status. The Office of Graduate Studies must approve undergraduate classes taken for graduate credit.   
  • Get an Access Card in the Neuberger Hall lobby. (*Note: this is different from your PSU OneCard.) This badge has a 7-digit number on it (not your PSU ID#), and we need the badge number in order to issue access to the computer lab. Tip: avoid long lines by getting your badge before the term begins any time after you are registered.
  • Activate your ODIN (computer) account at the OIT Helpdesk, located in the basement of Smith Memorial Student Union (18 SMSU). This account allows you to log in to any PSU computer on campus, including those in the geography department labs. Give your ODIN ID to Office Coordinator.
  • Learn to use campus lab computers, wireless networklibrary resources, etc.
  • Check out geography student organizations, e.g., ASPRS.

During the Program

  • Meet regularly with your Advisor. Familiarize yourself with the Office of Graduate Studies’ deadlines and plan accordingly.  (e.g. deadlines and forms for forming your committee, defending your thesis, applying to graduate, submitting your thesis, etc.)
  • Notify the Geography Office Coordinator if any of the following apply:
    • You took graduate credits at PSU before you were admitted to the Master's program, such as GIS Certificate courses, that you wish to use toward your Master's degree . (The Geography Office Coordinator must send DARS Exception Request to the Office of Graduate Studies.)
    • You have met the requirements of your Conditional status (DARS Exception Request)
    • You have a grad assistantship but are registered for a required undergrad class
    • You have a grad assistantship and your tuition remission hasn’t shown up in your student account by the second week of classes
    • Schedule your thesis proposal  
  • Talk to your Advisor if you have transfer credits from another institution (submit a GO-21M Proposed Transfer Credit (Master's Level) Form, with your Advisor's signature, to the Office of Graduate Studies).
  • Take all required and elective courses for a letter grade, and achieve a cumulative PSU graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Note that satisfactory completion of a graduate course is defined as a letter grade of B- or higher.
  • Network! Talk to other departments! Pursue internships! Join FOG or ASPRS student groups!

Before you finish

  • Meet with your Advisor and work out timeline for completion.  
  • Schedule your defense or research paper presentation
  • Run Grad DARS (Degree Audit Report) any time to check your progress in the program.
  • Apply to Graduate by the end of the first week of the term you plan to graduate.
  • Work with Geography office staff to schedule room for your thesis defense or research presentation, and provide a presentation flier no later than two weeks prior to your presentation.
  • Work with the Office of Graduate Studies for all final rules & regulations about graduation and electronic submission of your thesis