Graduate Programs


The graduate curriculum emphasizes broad geographic training while encouraging in-depth commitment to specialized concentrations. Students also are encouraged to take course work outside the department that complements their degree programs. Credit-hour requirements below are considered minimums for degree programs. Programs are tailored by the student and advisor to conform to the student’s interests and needs, as well as to fulfill the general degree requirements.

The central thrust of the department and the chief capabilities and interests of the faculty fall within these research-teaching areas:

  1. Human geography including cultural geography, regional development, and environmental policy;
  2. Geoinformatics including cartography, geographic information systems, and remote sensing;
  3. Physical geography including geomorphology, soils, and biogeography;
  4. Regional geography including Africa, East Asia, Russia, Latin America, and the United States; and
  5. Atmospheric science and climatology.

Admission to Graduate Studies

An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Graduate Admission

Entering students are expected to have a B.S. degree in geography or in related physical science, earth science, mathematics, or engineering disciplines.  Applicants should have a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.  Applicants with a GPA of less than 3.0 may be considered for admission on a probationary or provisional status.  Entering students will be expected to have studied quantitative methods. Graduate Record Examination scores (verbal, quantitative and analytical) are required of all applicants. 

Applicants without prior training in geography are welcome but are required to improve their basic knowledge of the broad divisions of geography: systematic, methodological, and regional. Courses taken to remedy deficiencies may not count toward graduate degrees. 

Submit your graduate application online. Send all other requested application materials to the geography and atmospheric science department:

The University of Kansas
Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science
Lindley Hall
1475 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 213
Lawrence, KS 66045-7575

The M.S. in Geography is of interest to students with a variety of different backgrounds because geography integrates concepts from various disciplines.  There is also a nationwide interest in climate change, earth system science, and GIScience.  Graduate study in physical geography and GIScience is quantitative in nature, and forms the core of many observational studies related to these fields of study.

The program requires a 30 credit hour minimum. Students must pass an oral examination and write a thesis. In addition, students are required to take the 2-day (non-credit) field trip before classes begin in the fall semester and GEOG 980 (Colloquium) for 1 credit hour during each of the first 2 semesters in residence at KU.

Core Courses
GEOG 805Perspectives in Geography2
GEOG 716Advanced Geostatistics3
Two-day required (non-credit) field trip before classes begin in the fall semester
GEOG 980Seminar in Geography: _____ (Colloquium for 1 credit hour during each of the first 2 semesters of residence at KU)2
1 course, 500 level or above, in each of the 3 areas in geography
Physical Geography/Atmospheric Sciences
Regional/Human Geography
3 courses, 500 level or above, in an approved area of concentration9-10
Physical Geography
GIScience, computer programming course must be one of the 3 electives for this concentration
GEOG 899Master's Thesis6
Total Hours31-33