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Geography - 2010-2011

Admission | Courses | Program | Requirements | Profile

Department Chairperson:  Samuel K. Thompson
Graduate Committee Chairperson: Samuel K. Thompson
Department Office:  Tillman Hall 312
Department Telephone: (309) 298-1648 Fax: (309) 298-3003
Department E-mail: geography@wiu.edu
Website:  wiu.edu/geography
Location of Program Offering: Macomb

Graduate Faculty
Professors

  • Christopher D. Merrett, Ph.D., University of Iowa
  • Siyoung Park, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
  • Christopher J. Sutton, Ph.D., University of Denver

Associate Professors

  • Jongnam Choi, Ph.D., The University of Georgia
  • Yongxin Deng, Ph.D., University of Southern California
  • Raymond Greene, Ph.D., The University of Georgia
  • Redina Herman, Ph.D., University of Illinois
  • Samuel K. Thompson, Ph.D., University of Akron
  • Thomas B. Williams, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Assistant Professor

  • Susan Peitzmeier Romano, Ph.D., Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

Associate Graduate Faculty
Associate Professors

  • Sunita George, Ph.D., The University of Georgia
  • Fuyuan Liang, Ph.D., The University of Georgia

Assistant Professors

  • John Blauvelt, M.A., University of Colorado
  • Marcus Buker, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Ranbir Kang, Ph.D., Oklahoma State University

Program Description 

The Department of Geography offers a Master of Arts in Geography and post-baccalaureate certificate programs in Community Development and Environmental GIS.

The Department of Geography offers work leading to the Master of Arts degree. The requirements are highly flexible, allowing a student to arrange a program of study which serves as a basis for further graduate study or to prepare students for positions in industry, business, or government.

Admission Requirements 

Students shall have completed a minimum of 24 semester hours in geography. Exceptions may be made if the student has a strong background in cognate areas or if undergraduate deficiencies are removed by taking courses as required by the Departmental Graduate Committee. Students who lack preparation in basic cartographic techniques and/or basic quantitative analysis techniques are required to complete these undergraduate deficiencies:  GEOG 208 and/or GEOG 301.  Students must complete deficiency coursework prior to starting the M.A. program or during the first semester of coursework.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 32 semester hours of credit is required for the Master of Arts degree; up to nine hours may be transfer credit. It is possible for students, through internship experiences and/or specific course combinations, to enhance their career opportunities in areas such as regional and rural planning, environmental assessment, geographic information systems, remote sensing, and climatology.

The Master of Arts degree in geography may be earned by one of three plans of study.

I. Core Courses: 9 s.h.

GEOG 504 Philosophy and Literature (3)
GEOG 505 Methods of Research (3)
One graduate seminar (GEOG 610, 630, 650, or 680) (3)

II. Select one of the following exit options: 23 s.h.

A. Thesis*

GEOG 698 Thesis (3)
Directed Electives (20)

B.  Applied Project*

Internship (GEOG 596 or 597**) (3–6)
GEOG 697 Applied Project (3)
Directed Electives (14–17)

C. Two Paper Option*

GEOG 699 Geography Papers (0)
Directed Electives (23)

TOTAL PROGRAM: 32 s.h.

*Theses, applied projects, and the two papers must be defended before a committee of three faculty members selected by the student and approved by the chair of the Departmental Graduate Committee.  Theses and Applied Projects must be proposed by the student and approved by his or her committee before enrolling in GEOG 697 or 698.

**Internship requirement may be waived with the approval of the chair of the Departmental Graduate Committee.

Students may take a maximum of six semester hours in GEOG 598, Directed Study—Research.  Students may enroll in GEOG 598 only if one of the following conditions has been met: (1) the student has an approved thesis or project proposal; (2) the student is conducting work with a member of the department’s graduate committee and the department chairperson has been informed of the nature of the work.

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program

The department offers post-baccalaureate certificates in Community Development and Environmental GIS.  For program details, go to the post-baccalaureate certificates page.

Course Descriptions 

Theory and Methodology

401G Air Photo Interpretation. (3) Introduction to the techniques of interpreting features of the physical and cultural environment from air photos, with emphasis upon practical applications. Laboratory. Prerequisite: GEOG 120 or 100, or permission of the instructor.

403G Remote Sensing. (3) Principles of remote sensing with particular reference to interpretative applications in the earth sciences, agronomy, conservation, forestry, archaeology, and anthropology. Analysis of radar, infrared, near infrared, and visible light imagery. Laboratory. Prerequisites: GEOG 120 and 121; or GEOL 110 and 112; or a lab sequence in biology or physics; or permission of the instructor.

408G Environmental Geographic Information Science. (3) Emphasis upon raster and 3D modeling based upon continuous data.  Integration of vector data and concepts when appropriate for the solution of cell-based problems.  Laboratory.  Prerequisites: GEOG 302 and GEOG 308.

409G Thematic Geographic Information Science. (3) Emphasis upon GIS modeling based upon coordinate-based spatial data.  Integration of raster-based GIS data and concepts when appropriate for the solutions of vector-based problems.  Laboratory.  Prerequisites: GEOG 308 or GEOG 402; and GEOG 201 or STAT 171 or equivalent.

459G (cross-listed with BIOL 459G) Biogeography. (3) Study of the geographical distributions of organisms, the evolutionary and ecological processes underlying the patterns of distribution, and the role of biogeography in biological conservation. Prerequisites: BIOL 102 and 103, or permission of the instructor.

501 Quantitative Methods. (3) Quantitative and statistical techniques in current geographic problems; the literate and methods of applying techniques to old and new problems; handling and analyzing data. Prerequisite: GEOG 301, or MATH 171, or equivalent, or permission of the instructor.

504 Philosophy and Literature. (3) The purpose is to acquaint the student with the various types and sources of geographic literature, its nature, content and value, and the history and philosophy of the discipline.

505 Methods of Research. (3) Research techniques employed in graduate work. Methods used in solving geographic problems and in evaluating geographic research projects.

508 GIS and Cartographic Design. (3) An introduction to basic cartographic principles and the application of geographic information system (GIS) tools. Students will learn theory and techniques that will be applied to project(s) associated to their discipline.

509 Fundamentals of GIS Analysis. (3) An introduction to geographic information system (GIS) analysis tools. Students will learn theory and techniques that will be applied to project(s) associated to their discipline. Prerequisite: GEOG 508.

610 Seminars in Theory and Methodology. (1–3, repeatable to 9) Seminars are available under the following titles: cartography, field methods, quantitative methods, and remote sensing.

Systematic—Physical

421G Physiography. (3) Characteristics and distribution of landforms of the United States. Prerequisites: GEOG 120 and 121; or GEOL 110 and 112; or permission of the instructor.

425G Satellite and Radar Meteorology. (3) The theoretical principles and application of satellites and radar in synoptic meteorology and climatology.  Applications of satellite and radar imageries include clouds, wind, atmospheric water vapor precipitation and storm prediction.  The course includes operational procedures fundamental to weather radar.  Prerequisite: GEOG 422 or permission of the instructor.

426G (cross-listed with BIOL 426G) Conservation and Management of Natural Resources. (3) Problems in the conservation and management of natural resources, including soil, water, rangeland, forest, wildlife, air, and energy resources. Special attention to resource problems of the United States. Prerequisites: Two courses in geography or permission of the instructor.

428G Geography of Soils. (3) Distribution of soils, and their regional aspects. The relationship of different kinds of soils to other environmental conditions, both natural and human. Prerequisite: Earth science or a geology lab sequence, or permission of the instructor.

630 Seminars in Physical Geography. (1–3, repeatable to 9) Seminars are available under the following titles: climatology, conservation, geography of soils, paleography, physiography, water resources planning, environmental assessment.

Systematic—Cultural

445G Urban Geography. (3) An analysis of the nature, distribution, and principal functions of urban settlements and supporting areas.  Prerequisites: Two courses in geography or permission of the instructor.

448G Introduction to Urban and Regional Planning. (3) An examination of the contemporary planning process. Emphasis is placed upon utopian planning antecedents, the framework for planning and the mechanisms for carrying out the planning process, and comprehensive planning and its implementation. Prerequisite: GEOG 445 or POLS 370, or their equivalents, or permission of the instructor.

549 Nonmetropolitan Planning. (3) An advanced course on the process of nonmetropolitan planning. Particular emphasis is placed upon planning for smaller communities, and the restrictions that geographic space places on the planning process, especially in the delivery of public services.

557 Planning Implementation. (3) An examination and application of the various instruments that may be used to implement comprehensive or development plans. Topics included are land use regulations, ownership, taxation, and public investment. Particular emphasis is placed upon the preparation of an implementation program for a unit of government within the western Illinois region. Prerequisite: GEOG 448 or its equivalent, or GEOG 549, or permission of the instructor.

650 Seminars in Cultural Geography. (1–3, repeatable to 9) Seminars are available under the following titles: agricultural geography, economic geography, historical geography, land use policy, manufacturing geography, political geography, population and resources, regional planning, rural development, settlement geography, transportation geography.

Regional

466G World Regions. (3, repeatable to 9 with different regional subtitles) Analysis of the physical and cultural geography of a major world region chosen from the following: Latin America, U.S.S.R., Monsoon Asia, Europe, Africa (cross-listed with AAS 466G), Middle America, South America, and Asia. Prerequisites: Two courses in geography or permission of the instructor.

Individual Study and Research

596 Internship in Applied Geography. (1–6, repeatable to 6) Assignment as an assistant in public, private, or university agencies engaged in meteorology, cartography, etc. Repeatable, but no more than three semester hours of credit may be applied to the minimum credit hour requirement of the program. Graded S/U. Prerequisite: Permission of the Department Chairperson.

597 Internship in Planning. (1–6) Assignment as a student assistant in governmental and other public agencies that are engaged in urban, rural, or regional planning and development. Repeatable, but no more than three semester hours of credit may be applied to the minimum credit hour requirement of the program. Prerequisite: Permission of the Department Chairperson.

598 Directed Study—Research. (3–6) A research course designed to allow students to investigate geographic phenomena not covered in their previous graduate‑level courses. Repeatable, but no more than six semester hours of credit may be applied to the minimum credit hour requirement of the program. Prerequisite: Permission of the Department Chairperson.

697 Applied Project. (3) Prerequisite: Approved project proposal and permission of the Department Chairperson.  

698 Thesis. (3) Prerequisite: Approved thesis proposal and permission of the Department Chairperson.

699 Geography Papers. (0) Students in the two-paper degree option will write and defend two papers on topics approved by a committee of three faculty members selected by the student and approved by the chair of the Departmental Graduate Committee.  Graded S/U. Prerequisite: Permission of the Department Chairperson.