Chairperson: Samuel K. Thompson
Graduate Committee Chairperson: Sunita George
Office: Tillman Hall 312
Telephone: (309) 298-1648 Fax: (309) 298-3003
Location of Program Offering: Macomb
- Jongnam Choi, Ph.D., The University of Georgia
- Christopher D. Merrett, Ph.D., University of Iowa
- Christopher J. Sutton, Ph.D., University of Denver
- Samuel K. Thompson, Ph.D., University of Akron
- Yongxin Deng, Ph.D., University of Southern California
- Sunita George, Ph.D., The University of Georgia
- Raymond Greene, Ph.D., The University of Georgia
- Redina Herman, Ph.D., University of Illinois
- Fuyuan Liang, Ph.D., The University of Georgia
- Susan Peitzmeier Romano, Ph.D., Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
- Marcus Buker, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Ranbir Kang, Ph.D., Oklahoma State University
Associate Graduate Faculty
- Julie Lawless, Ph.D., University of Kansas
The Department of Geography offers a Master of Arts in Geography and post-baccalaureate certificate programs in Community Development and Planning and GIS Analysis.
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.
Integrated Baccalaureate and Master’s Degree Program
Go to wiu.edu/graduate_studies/catalog/integrated_programs/index.php for details and program offerings.
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 GEOG 508 as a deficiency. Students must complete deficiency coursework prior to starting the M.A. program or during the first semester of coursework. The Graduate Record Examination is highly recommended but not required.
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 505 Research Methods I (3)
GEOG 605 Research Methods II (3)
Choose one graduate seminar from the following courses:
GEOG 610 Seminars in Theory and Methodology (3)
GEOG 630 Seminars in Physical Geography (3)
GEOG 650 Seminars in Cultural Geography (3)
II. Select one of the following exit options: 23-26 s.h.
GEOG 698 Thesis (3)
Directed Electives (20)
B. Applied Project*
GEOG 697 Applied Project (3)
Directed Electives (20)
Internship (GEOG 596 or 597) (3)
Directed Electives (23)
TOTAL PROGRAM: 32-35 s.h.
*Theses and applied projects 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.
Students may take a minimum 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 Planning, GIS Analysis: Ecological GIS, and GIS Analysis: GIS Applications. For program details, go to the post-baccalaureate certificates page.
Theory and Methodology
401G Air Photo Interpretation. (3) Introduction to the techniques of interpreting features of the Earth’s surface and to the use of digital photogrammetric techniques to extract digital terrain information from aerial photographs. Laboratory. Prerequisite: GEOG 303, or permission of the instructor.
403G Advanced Remote Sensing. (3) Digital image processing techniques for thematic information extraction from remotely-sensed data for environmental applications. Laboratory. Prerequisites: GEOG 303, or permission of the instructor.
406G Spatial Statistics in GIS. (3) Introduction to statistical approaches in GIS to measure geographic distributions, identify geographic patterns and spatial clusters, and analyze geographic relationships. Prerequisites: GEOG 301 and 308; 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: BOT 200 (C grade or better) and ZOOL 200 (C grade or better), 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 Research Methods I. (3) Introduction to geographical research methods, emphasizing the scope and applications of geographical literature in research and the construction of geographical problems appropriate for writing a thesis or applied project.
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.
510 Environmental Impact Analysis. (3) An examination and application of methodologies and techniques in assessing physical, economic, and social effects of development.Prerequisite: GEOG 405 or permission of the instructor.
605 Research Methods II. (3) Development of graduate thesis proposal emphasizing multiple approaches to geographic research in a guided setting, with an end goal of developing a research design and method(s) to underpin students’ research questions. Prerequisite: GEOG 505.
609 GIS Research and Application Methods. (3) How to use GIS concepts, tools, and methods correctly in research activities of various disciplinary and application backgrounds. Examine existing GIS applications in your own field and conduct “hands-on” exercises by designing and completing a GIS project individually. 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.
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.
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.
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.
548 Urban Planning. (3) The spatial aspects of the contemporary urban unit, its structural evolution over time, and the challenge it presents to a rational procedure of planned development. Particular emphasis is placed upon the social, political, and economic forces which are shaping the land use arrangements of the American city; and the way in which planning can utilize these forces to develop an urban system that both recognizes and benefits all segments of its present and future citizenry. Prerequisite: GEOG 445 or its equivalent, 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.
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.
680 Seminars in Regional Geography. (1-3, repeatable to 9)
Individual Study and Research
580 Skills in Community Development. (3) This course emphasizes the practical skills required to be an effective community developer, including conflict resolution, leadership, communication, and community capacity-building. The focus is on skill-building, as students are provided opportunities to practice new techniques. Topics will be modified as new technologies and other external factors impact the practice of community development. Graded S/U. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
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.