Jan 26, 2022  
Graduate Catalog 2015-2016 
Graduate Catalog 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geography - MA

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The Department of Geography offers a Master of Arts in Geography with a range of courses in human geography, physical geography, regional geography, and geographic techniques and methods. There are four broad concentration areas: environmental studies, geographic information science, places and cultures, and urban geography studies. The program accommodates students with a variety of professional backgrounds, and with academic training in social sciences, computer science, environmental science / engineering as well as traditional geography.

The program emphasizes geographic and social theory and analytical methodologies in human, physical, and environmental geography, as well as geographic information science. A limited number of research, teaching, and college assistantships are available. The MA degree can be completed through either a thesis or exam. Full-time students may be able to complete the MA within three semesters, but the average time for degree completion is three years. Many courses are offered in the evening to accommodate part-time and working students.

An MA in Geography from Hunter can lead to employment with local and national governments, international agencies, non-government organizations, corporations, consultants and information technology companies. The New York area is home to diverse urban communities, dynamic economies and cultures, government structures of all levels (from local to international), and corporate headquarters. Located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Hunter College is close to these activities and is highly accessible from all parts of New York City and surrounding areas. Students who wish to continue graduate work at the PhD level will find themselves well prepared and equipped with the research and technical skills necessary for advanced research.


Admissions Requirements

Admissions procedures are as established by the Hunter College Office of Graduate Admissions. See Graduate Admissions: General  . Candidates must have a BA or BS or equivalent, an undergraduate GPA of at least a B minus, with a B average in the major, and (normally) the completion of at least 18 credit hours in geography. A lack of a background in geography will not impede admission, but the student is expected to gain basic knowledge of geography prior to graduation in consultation with the student’s adviser. It is recommended that students enter the program with knowledge of basic statistics. All students are required to take the Graduate Record Examination. Foreign students whose first language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Two letters of recommendation are required.

If you have any questions about the information in this catalog, please contact the Geography MA adviser (Prof. Hongmian Gong, gong@hunter.cuny.edu).

Application Deadlines

For fall semester: April 30 (February 1 for international students) For spring semester: November 30 (September 1 for international students)

We encourage graduate application submissions by early deadlines of September 1 and February 1. This will help with allocation of scholarships and funding if these are available.

Requirements for the Degree

The Master of Arts consists of 31 or 36 graduate credits, depending on the program option chosen, selected from three types of courses: GEOG, PGEOG and GTECH. GEOG classes cover human geography, nature/society, and regional geography, while PGEOG classes cover physical geography and environmental science. GTECH courses cover geographic methods and techniques, and are divided into geographic information science, quantitative and qualitative research methods, remote sensing, and cartography. Classes vary in their structure from laboratory classes to lecture/discussions and seminars. Graduate courses outside of the GEOG, GTECH and PGEOG prefixes may be applied to the degree within the parameters listed below.

Students must complete a minimum of credits in one of the following options:

A. Thesis Option:

A minimum of 31 credits consisting of:

1. A minimum of 30 credits of course work consisting of

(exclusive of GEOG 799)

A minimum of 11 additional credits

A minimum of 11 additional credits selected from  GEOG, GTECH and PGEOG courses.*

A maximum of 12 credits

A maximum of 12 credits selected from other than GEOG, GTECH or PGEOG courses as approved by the graduate adviser. **

2. One credit of the following leading to a thesis approved by the student’s graduate advisers

3. Formal approval of a study proposed for thesis research.***

4. A completed thesis.

5. A formal presentation of the student’s thesis research.

B. Examination Option:

A minimum of 36 credits consisting of:

A minimum of 17 additional credits

  A minimum of 17 additional credits selected from GEOG, GTECH, and PGEOG courses.*

3. A maximum of 12 credits

 A maximum of 12 credits selected from other than GEOG, GTECH, and PGEOG courses as approved by the graduate  adviser.**

4. A passing grade on the comprehensive examination

 A passing grade on the comprehensive examination conducted by the student’s graduate committee.

5. A research paper of publishable quality

 A research paper of publishable quality prepared in the format of The Professional Geographer or its equivalent.

6. A formal presentation of the student’s research paper.

Additional Information

Students who are accepted into the program, who have already earned credits with a grade of B or higher as nonmatriculated students, may transfer only two (2) courses or eight (8) credits, whichever is greater, from nonmatriculated status to matriculated status. In exceptional situations, up to 12 credits earned as a nonmatriculated student may be transferred to matriculated status.

Although both options may prepare students for additional graduate work, the thesis option is recommended for those who might wish to pursue the PhD in geography or an allied field. The examination option is recommended for students seeking a terminal MA. 

Students who are accepted into the Geography MA program and register for courses may transfer up to a maximum of 9 credits of relevant graduate coursework from regionally accredited institutions, including courses taken at Hunter College while enrolled in another degree program, whether a master’s degree was awarded or not. Transfer of credits is subject to review and approval by the Graduate Adviser. Applicants to this program should be aware that there is no promise of automatic transfer of credit on the graduate level. With the approval of the Graduate Adviser, students may include up to 9 credits of graduate-level courses taken outside the Department of Geography at Hunter College toward completion of their degree, including transferred courses and courses taken in other CUNY graduate programs. (Exception: students who have received their B.A. in Geography or Environmental Studies from Hunter College may, with the approval of the Graduate Adviser, include up to twelve credits taken outside the department.)

Language Requirement

A foreign language is not required for the MA in geography. However, students interested in regional studies or further graduate work are strongly encouraged to master a foreign language. Students emphasizing technical skills are strongly encouraged to master one or more computer programming languages.

Completion Time

The School of Arts and Sciences allows four years to complete a MA degree. A petition to the Dean is required to exceed the limit. Most full-time students are able to complete the MA requirements in 4 semesters or fewer. To accommodate all students, many courses are offered during the evening.


A limited number of teaching and research assistantships are available from the department. Students seeking assistantships should state so in their statement of purpose included with the application. They should also indicate what skills and qualifications they have for research or teaching assistance.


* Graduate students entering the program without a geography background will be required to take 6 credits in geography outside their principal area of concentration (GEOG, PGEOG or GTECH).

** Graduate students entering the program without a geography background will be limited to 6 credits taken outside the program. Students who were undergraduate majors in geography can appeal to the Graduate Committee to take more than 12 credits outside the program.

*** Students must submit to their committee the proposal for thesis research no later than the end of the semester in which they finish their 20th credit in the program.

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