Master's Program

Students may pursue either the Master of Arts (M.A.) or the Master of Science (M.S.) to prepare for careers in the private or public sector, as a step to a Ph.D. program, or for personal enrichment. The program requirements are few and flexible, and students work closely with their advisors to design a course of study tailored to their interests. Many incoming graduate students enter the program with a degree in a field other than geography; we welcome applications from students regardless of major. 

Faculty research and teaching interests encompass a wide range of subjects, approaches, and regions. Our students are similarly diverse in the research they choose as the basis for their master’s degrees. We teach and conduct research across a broad range of subjects, with particular strengths in the study of water, climate, the urban-rural interface, mountains, society-environment studies, and Geographic Information Science. Prospective students are encouraged to contact individual faculty to discuss their interests and research opportunities in the process of identifying a prospective advisor.

Please explore the information on this web site and contact us with your questions and for more information:
Geography Graduate Studies Admin or 503-725-3157

Program Requirements

The student will plan a program of study with an adviser and other members of the supervisory committee during the first term of residence (the first term after admission to the program). The program of study must include a minimum of 45 graduate credits for thesis students and 54 graduate credits for non-thesis students. Of these, a minimum of 36 graduate credits must be in geography for the thesis option, to include 6 credits of Geog 503 (Thesis); a minimum of 40 graduate credits must be in geography for the non-thesis option, including 3 credits of Geog 501 Research. Both thesis and non-thesis programs must include the following: Geog 521, Geog 522, and Geog 523.

For a full description of graduate program requirements, see the PSU Bulletin.

Admission Requirements

Minimum Requirements: GPA of 3.0 or higher in undergraduate degree work; GRE optional.

Master's Degrees -- How to Apply

Students are only admitted to the Graduate Program for Fall term. The priority deadline for financial consideration is given to applications submitted by January 15. Students may be required to complete up to three specified undergraduate-level geography courses if they do not have an undergraduate degree in geography. Applicants whose first language is not English must meet the English language proficiency requirement prior to enrolling in academic classes.

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to contact the faculty member(s) whose interests match the student's academic and professional interests before completing their application. Final acceptance into the program requires the consent of a faculty member to advise them during the graduate program. The faculty page of our web site include descriptions of each faculty member's research and teaching interests. Please address specific questions to Geography Graduate Studies Admin, or 503-725-3157.

The Office of Graduate Studies and Admissions uses a single online graduate application: Visit this site to learn more and apply:

Supplemental materials you will be expected to have for the online application:

• Essay: In 2-3 pages please tell us why you are interested in graduate work in the PSU Geography Department, what you understand the field to be and where your greatest interests within geography lie, who among the faculty you would like to work with, and whether you have communicated with them. You will be asked to upload your essay in one of the following supported file types: PDF, DOC, DOCX, RTF, or TXT.

• Transcripts: Provide an official transcript from the institution where your bachelor’s degree was awarded. You can submit an unofficial transcript if it is from Portland State University. You will be asked to upload the transcript in one of the following supported file types: PDF, JPG, PNG, GIF, or TIF

• Three recommendations from individuals who can comment on your academic performance or attest to your skills as they pertain to your selected program of study. You will need to enter the name and email address for the individual before selecting the “Submit Recommendation Request” button. Once selected, the recommender will be sent instructions for submitting a recommendation. You can see the status of the referral by going to the online application system and selecting the link titled “Review Your Activity”.

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