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Degree Requirements

Ph.D. Requirements (44 credits minimum)

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Core Courses (7 credits):

  • GES 601 Intro to Geography and Environmental Systems (3)
  • GES 602 Research Methods in Geography and Environmental Systems (3)
  • GES 689 Department Seminar (1 credit, to be taken in Fall of the first semester)

Required Courses (7 credits):

  • GES 686 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (4) or equivalent
  • Graduate Level Statistics Course (3)

(STAT and GIS requirements can be waived if a student has already taken equivalent courses at the graduate level; this will require faculty evaluation of course syllabi.)

Electives (12 credits)

Electives will be chosen in consultation with the faculty advisor and committee. One of these electives will be selected from among the following areas: Social Science Methods, Remote Sensing, Computational Methods and Modeling, and Environmental Science Field and Laboratory Methods. Additional electives will be chosen based on the specific subject areas needed to prepare for success in conducting doctoral research. Courses offered by Geography and Environmental Systems or by other departments can be used as electives where they meet a particular need.

Dissertation (18 Credits):

  • GES 899 – Dissertation Research

M.S. Requirements (30 credits minimum)

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We offer both a Thesis and a non-Thesis option for the Master’s degree; either option will require at least 30 credits. A Thesis Option Masters requires six hours of research credit (GES 799) leading to successful completion and defense of the M.S. thesis. A Non-Thesis Option Masters requires a minimum of 18 credits taken in courses numbered 600 or higher. The graduation requirement for the Non-Thesis M.S. option includes two research papers, either or both of which may be expanded from course-related project work.

Core courses (7 credits):

  • GES 601 Introduction to Geography and Environmental Systems (3)
  • GES 602 Research Methods in Geography and Environmental Systems (3)
  • GES 689 Department Seminar (1 credit, to be taken in Fall of the first year; students expected to attend in subsequent semesters but not for credit)

Required courses (7 credits):

  • Graduate Level Statistics Course (3)
  • GES 686 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (4)

Electives: 10 credits (Thesis option), 16 credits (non-Thesis option)

Electives will be chosen in consultation with the faculty advisor and committee. One of these electives will be selected from among the following areas: Social Science Methods, Remote Sensing, Computational Methods and Modeling, and Environmental Science Field and Laboratory Methods. Eligible courses available each year will be determined by the faculty and the list will be disseminated to faculty advisors and graduate students.

Research credits

  • GES 799 – 6 credits (Thesis option)

5-year Pathway

GES BS+MS Five-Year Pathway Undergraduate students interested in this program should consult with their GES faculty advisor as early in their academic career as possible. The advisor will verify that the student’s academic progress is sufficiently advanced to allow successful completion of the requisite graduate-level courses while also completing the requirements for the Bachelor’s degree in their senior year. Given advisor consent and approval by the GES graduate program director, students in their Junior year secure permission to join the pathway, allowing them to take up to 9 credits of graduate-level courses, including GES 601/602, during their senior year. This permission requires a form filled out by the student and signed by the GPD that the student files with the UMBC Graduate School. (http://www.umbc.edu/gradschool/essentials/forms.html). In their Senior year, students then take the GRE and apply for admission to the GES MS program following the regular graduate admissions process.