Master of Science (M.S.) in Environmental and Urban Geosciences

The Department of Geosciences offers a Master of Science in Environmental and Urban Geosciences, the only such program in North America. This unique program prepares students, depending on their emphasis area, for advanced study of different facets of the environment, including environmental issues and impacts assessment; geospatial methods (GIS and Remote Sensing); natural hazards; environmental remediation; waste management; air and water pollution; resource evaluation and management, climate variability and impacts; geoarchaeology; historical geography; and urban land use and planning. Students are required to complete a core curriculum, a thesis and additional course work in one of the following emphasis areas:

  1. Environmental Geography and Geographic Information Science
  2. Environmental Geology
  3. Urban and Cultural Geography

Admissions Requirements

For full admission to the graduate degree program in environmental and urban geosciences (Code 6, degree-seeking status), the following requirements must be met:

  1. Completion of an undergraduate degree with a major in a geosciences field (such as environmental studies, geography or geology) and a grade-point average of at least
    3.0 (A = 4.0) overall, as well as in the major.
  2. Submission of scores on the Graduate Record Examination is not required but highly recommended, although GRE scores may be used to award assistantships.
  3. Two letters of recommendation from academic and/or professional referees.

With department approval, students with non-geoscience undergraduate degrees may be admitted on a non-regular degree-seeking basis (Code 6-V). After successfully completing recommended courses for the appropriate undergraduate geoscience degree, including prerequisites, these students may be granted degree-seeking status. Domestic students interested in applying to our Master of Science in Environmental and Urban Geosciences program can apply online by following this link:

International students must fulfill additional requirements and submit their application through the International Students Affairs Office (ISAO). Application instructions can be obtained by following this link:

Graduate Assistantships

Teaching and research assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis to incoming graduate students. Assistantship applications and all supporting materials should be submitted by March 15 for fall enrollment.

Requirements for Retention

  1. For newly admitted graduate students, elimination of all undergraduate deficiencies (if any) in the undergraduate major and its supporting prerequisites is required upon or before the completion of the first 12 hours of coursework for graduate credit. No graduate credit can be given for undergraduate courses taken to remove deficiencies.
  2. All students are required to pass a qualifying examination administered by the department during their first year.
  3. A 3.0 (B) average or better must be maintained in all graduate coursework. In addition, a 3.0 (B) average and a satisfactory balance of grades must be maintained in the approved program of study, or the student will be subject to either probationary status or dismissal from the program. To obtain a copy of the course curriculum including a list of required core and elective courses, please contact the department principal graduate advisor (Dr. James Murowchick at

Requirements for Graduation

  1. Formal acceptance of a planned program of study and research is required by the department and the graduate officer of the College. Such a program must comprise at least 30 graduate credit hours (approved by the supervisory committee), including 3 to 6 hours of thesis credit, and completion of the core curriculum and emphasis area requirements. No more than 40 percent of the program may be 300- to 400-level courses, and at least 18 credit hours must be at the 5000 level or above.
  2. A formal written thesis is required of all students, and its format must be in accordance with guidelines of School of Graduate Studies.
  3. A final examination is required, including oral examination of thesis research and related coursework.
  4. Satisfactory compliance with all applicable requirements of the School of Graduate Studies is required, including continuous enrollment and residency.


Principal Graduate Advisor and Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Coordinator: Dr. James Murowchick
Graduate Geography Advisor: Dr. Wei Ji