Graduate Program

GIS Graduate Certificate

GIS Certificate (Graduate-level)

The U of U GIS Graduate Certificate Program is ideal for graduate students seeking expertise in the exciting field of geographic information science. Features include:

  • Strong integration of coursework in geography and computer science, providing students with a solid foundation of geographic theory and problems as well as  computer science skills;
  • Students can obtain the certificate at the graduate level (qualifies for tuition benefit)
  • Degree-seeking students can be in any graduate program at the University of Utah
  • No previous GIS experience or knowledge is required

Courses 

Required

  •  GEOG 6139:  GIS Fundamentals & Applications (4 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6140:  Methods in GIS (4 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6150:  Spatial Databases (4 Hours)
  •  GEOG 5170:  GeoData Field Methods (3 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6180:  Geoprocessing with Python (3 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6161:  Capstone in GIS  or CMP 6280:  Studio Course (3 Hours)

Sub-Total 21

Electives

(select 1)

  •  CMP 6450 / REDEV 6450:  Geographic Information Systems in Planning (3 Hours)
  •  CMP 6455:  Advanced GIS Applications (3 Hours)
  •  CMP 6457:  3D Visualization & Urban Simulation (3 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6160:  Spatial Modeling (3 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6162:  Project Management (3 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6165:  Web GIS (3 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6190:  GIS & Public Health (3 Hours)

Sub-Total: 3

 Certificate Total minimum credits: 24

Ph.D.

Ph.D. Program

Prerequisites

All applicants should have completed an academic Master's degree prior to entering the Ph.D. program.  Advisors may expect basic proficiencies in statistics, GIS, cartography, writing, and mathematics.  Courses taken to gain these skills cannot be used to satisfy graduate degree requirements, and are not included in tuition benefit. Students should consult with their advisor to discuss specific proficiencies needed for their degree.  In addition, a previous writing course in Writing for Publication (WRTG 6000) or Scientific Writing (WRTG 7060) or suitable proficiency in writing is a requirement for the doctoral program.

Funding

A limited number of departmental teaching assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis according to our needs and budget.  Faculty with funded research projects have responsibility for selecting students for Research Assistant positions.  Funded students are required to work 20 hours per week on departmental assignments. Eligible teaching and research assistants qualify for tuition waivers and subsidized health insurance, while graduate assistants are eligible for tuition waivers only.  Master's students are eligible for departmental financial aid and the tuition benefit program for up to 4 semesters.  Graduate students are encouraged to seek our financial support from scholarships, fellowships and grants.

Degree Requirements

All incoming Doctoral students are required to register for GEOG 6961 (Geographic Thought and Inquiry) during the first Fall semester of study.  A grade point average of 3.0 or higher in coursework is required.  No graded work below a "B-" is acceptable toward the degree.

A Ph.D. degree requires a minimum of 32 credit hours, which includes a minimum of 14 credit hours of Dissertation Research (GEOG 7970).  Ph.D. students must complete the required courses listed below.  Two research courses (6400-6599 or 6960) must be taken from different faculty.  In addition, students must select a minimum of 5 credit hours of elective coursework, including one methods course approved by the student's Supervisory Committee.  Elective coursework is selected from courses numbered 6000 or above, although a 5000 course is acceptable if a 6000 course is not available. (See Geography Couse Descriptions for a complete list of 5000 & 6000 level course offerings.)

Students must be enrolled in at least one course during the semesters of the student's qualifying examinations and oral defense.  Students may not register for research hours until their research proposal has been approved.  Candidates for the Ph.D. degree ordinarily must complete no fewer than three full years of approved graduate work; the department allows six years for completion.  Ph.D. students are required to comple two consecutive (9 hour minimum) semesters in residency in the Department of Geography at The University of Utah.  A minimum full load is 9 credit hours per semester and the minimum registration for graduate students is one course per semester.  Ph.D. students may be required to complete additional elective courses based on the student's Supervisory Committee's discretion.  Students must also maintain adequate progress toward a degree to remain active in the program.  For further degree requirement details and information, refer to the Geography Graduate Student Handbook.

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Program of Study Checklist

Course Number / Title

 Credit Hrs. 

 Year Taken 

 Grade 

DEPARTMENT REQUIRED COURSEWORK:      
 *GEOG 6961 - Geographic Thought and Inquiry 3    
 *GEOG 6000 - Advance Multivariate Statistics 4    
  GEOG Research course (6400-6599 or 6960) 3    
  GEOG Research course (6400-6599 or 6960) 3    
  GEOG 7930 - Teaching Practicum (1 to 5 hours) 1    
*ELECTIVE COURSES:  minimum 4 credit hrs. > 6000 (or 5000 if 6000 NA)      
 1.      

 2.

     

 3.

     

 4.

     

 RESEARCH HOURS:  (minimum 14 credit hours)

     

 1. GEOG 7970 - Dissertation Research

     

 2.

     

 3.

     

 4

     

 (NOTE: GEOG 7981 Faculty Consultation does not count toward degree requirements)

     

 *Not required if taken as a Master's student at the U of U, but elective courses must be substituted to replace the credit hours.
Electives are selected by the student with the assistance of the Supervisory Committee and in accordance with the Graduate School requirements.  Coursework is selected from courses numbered 6000 or above, although a 5000 course is acceptable if a 6000 course is not available. (See Geography Couse Descriptions for a complete list of 5000 & 6000 level course offerings.)

 

Important Dates

Important Dates for Graduate Students

Action
FALL
SPRING
SUMMER
Student health insurance coverage from previous year ends 15-Aug NA NA
Student health insurance begins for current academic year 16-Aug NA NA
Funding begins for semester (first paycheck) 16-Aug (9/7) 1-Jan (1/22) 16-May (6/7)
Department TA Workshop / Funded student orientation Friday before classes begin NA NA
Colloquium for research proposal presentations 1st or 2nd Friday of semester 1st & last Friday of semester NA
Permission code needed to add a class online 2nd wk of semester 2nd wk of semester 2nd wk of semester
Last day to add class online / Tuition due 10th day of semester 10th day of semester 10th day of semester
Last day to add class with late add card (signature needed) 15th day of semester 15th day of semester 15th day of semester
Premium for subsidized insurance due late Sept., check deadline date mid Feb., check deadline date NA
Geography Week / GIS Day 3rd wk in Nov/Wed NA NA
Last day to apply for LOA last day of CLASS-4:30pm last day of CLASS-4:30pm last day of CLASS-4:30pm
Funding ends for semester (last paycheck) 31-Dec (1/7) 15-May (5/22) 15-Aug (8/22)

Deadlines for Graduating During Semester

Deadlines with an (*) asterisk are approximate dates.  Exact dates will vary by a few days from semester to semester.  Consult with your advisor to determine more precise dealines.
Action
FALL
SPRING
SUMMER
Graduation Applications due at Graduation Office for degree awarded during semester 1-Jun 1-Nov 1-Feb
Program of Study due 1-Jun 1-Nov 1-Feb
Must be defended to graduate during this semester 30-Sep 15-Feb 31-May
Revised & approved draft given to department Chair for final approval* 25-Oct 10-Mar 10-Jun
Deadline to submit defended manuscript to Thesis Editor to start formatting approval process* 1-Nov 15-Mar 15-Jun
Upload final thesis dissertation * 5-Dec 20-Apr 20-Jul

Deadlines for Defending During Semester

Deadlines with an (*) asterisk are approximate dates.  Exact dates will vary by a few days from semester to semester. Consult with your advisor to determine more precise deadlines.
Action
FALL
SPRING
SUMMER
Completed draft submitted to advisor to begin finalizing for defense 15-Oct 5-Mar 30-Jun
Advisor approved draft sent out to committee (2 wks) - Thesis Editor can begin preview* 25-Nov 10-Apr 31-Jul
Poll committee to see if thesis/dissertation defensible* 10-Dec 25-Apr 15-Aug
Traditional defense period 10-Dec to 14-Dec 25-Apr to 29- Apr 15-Aug to 19-Aug
Last day to defend during semester to avoid enrolling next semester Friday before Spring begins Friday before Summer begins Friday before Fall begins

MS / MA

MS / MA Program

Prerequisites

Advisors may expect basic proficiencies in statistics, GIS, cartography, writing, and mathematics.  Courses taken to gain these skills cannot be used to satisfy graduate degree requirements, and are not included in tuition benefit. Students should consult with their advisor to discuss specific proficiencies needed for their degree.

Funding

A limited number of departmental teaching assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis according to our needs and budget.  Faculty with funded research projects have responsibility for selecting students for Research Assistant positions.  Funded students are required to work 20 hours per week on departmental assignments. Eligible teaching and research assistants qualify for tuition waivers and subsidized health insurance, while graduate assistants are eligible for tuition waivers only.  Master's students are eligible for departmental financial aid and the tuition benefit program for up to 4 semesters.  Graduate students are encouraged to seek our financial support from scholarships, fellowships and grants. 

Degree Requirements

All incoming Master's students are required to register for GEOG 6961 (Geographic Thought and Inquiry) during their first semester of study.  A grade point average of 3.0 or higher in course work is required.  No graded work below a "B-" is acceptable toward the degree.

A Master's Degree requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of courses numbered 6000 or above, although a 5000 level course is acceptable if a 6000 course is not available.  (See Geography Couse Descriptions for a complete list of 5000 & 6000 level course offerings.)  Master's students must complete the required courses listed below.  Two research courses (6400-6599 or 6960) must be taken from different faculty.  Elective courses must total 8 credit hours.  Students may be required to complete additional elective courses based on the student's Supervisory Committee's discretion. 

Master's students are required to take at least 6 credit hours of GEOG 6970 (Thesis Research) OR GEOG 6974 (Technical Report Research) and must be enrolled in at least one course during the semester of the student's oral defense.  Students may not register for research hours until the proposal has been presented.  Master's students are required to complete 24 credit hours in residency in the Department of Geography at the University of Utah.  A minimum full load is 9 credit hours per semester and the minimum registration for graduate students is one course per semester.  The program usually requires at least two years of work, however all work must be completed within four consecutive calendar years.  Student's must maintain adequate progress toward a degree to remain active in the program.  For further degree requirement details and information, refer to the Geography Graduate Student Handbook.

Print pdf

Program of Study Checklist

Course Number / Title

 Credit Hrs. 

 Year Taken 

 Grade 

DEPARTMENT REQUIRED COURSEWORK:      
 GEOG 6961 - Geographic Thought and Inquiry 3    
 GEOG 6000 - Advanced Geographical Data Analysis 4    
 GEOG Research course (6400-6599 or 6960) 3    
 GEOG Research course (6400-6599 or 6960) 3    

 WRTG 6000 - Writing for Publication
      - OR -
 WRTG 7060 - Scientific Writing

 
3

   

 *ELECTIVE COURSES:  minimum 8 credit hrs. at >6000 (or >5000 if 6000 NA)

     

 1.

     

 2.

     

 3.

     

 4.

     

 5.

     

 6.

     

RESEARCH HOURS:  (minimum 6 credit hours)

     

 1. GEOG 6970 Thesis Research -OR- GEOG 6974 Technical Report Research

     

 2.

     

 3.

     

 (NOTE: GEOG 6981 Faculty Consultation does not count toward degree requirements)

     

 *Elective courses are selected by the student with assistance of the student's Supervisory Committee.  Elective coursework is selected from courses numbered 6000 or above, although a 5000 course is acceptable if a 6000 course is not available. (See Geography Couse Descriptions for a complete list of 5000 & 6000 level course offerings.)

 

MSGIS Program

Program Description

Geographic Information Science (GIScience) is the integration of the theoretical representation of geographic space, absolute and relative positions and their relationships with physical and human attributes on the earth’s surface. Geographic information science is composed of various geographical scientific and technological areas of study, including geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, global positioning systems (GPS), cartography and visualization, and geospatial analysis and statistics. The Master of Science in Geographic Information Science (MSGIS) is designed for both employed professionals and full-time students who want to deepen their understanding and expertise in the application of geographic information to social and environmental problems. The MSGIS is a two-year, full-time post-baccalaureate degree that is comprised of 7 core courses (24 credit hours), 2 technical courses (6-7 credit hours), and 2 application-oriented courses (6-7 credit hours) for a total of 36 semester hours (minimum). This program requires students to submit a portfolio of projects completed during coursework which demonstrates mastery of identified skills for success in a GIS career.  Students will defend the portfolio in an oral presentation conducted by the supervisory committee at the conclusion of the program.

WRGP enrollment approved for MSGIS Program

The MSGIS Program participates in the WRGP in-state tuition program. Students who are residents in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai'i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are eligible for in-state tuition when enrolling in the MSGIS program. Applicants must meet all admissions requirements and apply within deadlines. Identify yourserlf as a "WICHE WRGP" applicant to be considered for the discounted tuition rate. There are a limited number of WRGP reduced tuition seats each year, so apply early.

Admission Requirements

The minimum admission requirements used by the University of Utah Graduate School include a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university and at least a 3.00 undergraduate weighted mean GPA. Admission to the MSGIS program is competitive and meeting these requirements does not guarantee admission. Undergraduate transcripts, three letters of recommendation, CV, and a statement of purpose will be reviewed when assessing each applicant’s qualifications for the program. The TOEFL or IELTS is required of students for whom English is a second language. Due to the rigorous analytic component of the MSGIS, applicants should have a strong quantitative background. Acceptable applicants will be required to have proficiency in undergraduate mathematics, statistics, computing, programming, mapping, introductory GIS, and GIS methods as prerequisites to the program. See the MSGIS FAQs for specific expectations for prior coursework. An additional fee of $100 is required each fall or spring semester in which any courses are taken.  For detailed application information, click here.

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MSGIS Coursework

A total of 36 credit hours are required to graduate. Required and elective courses are listed below. Program requirements may change depending on available course offerings.

Required Core Courses

  •  GEOG 6000: Adv Geographical Data Analysis (4 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6150: Spatial Database Design for GIS(4 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6160: Spatial Modeling with GIS(4 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6161: Capstone in GIS (3 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6162: Project Management (3 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6165: Web GIS (3 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6180: Geoprocessing with Python (3 Hours)

 Sub-Total 24 Hours


Technical Electives

(Choose two from list below)

  • GEOG 5170: GeoData Field Methods (3 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6010: Geocomputation (4 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6020: Advanced Spatial Analysis (3 Hours)
  • GEOG 6110: Remote Sensing Analysis (3 Hours)
  • GEOG 6120: Environmental Optics (3 Hours)
  • GEOG 6130: Advanced Remote Sensing (3 Hours)
  • GEOG 6190 GIS: Environmental & Public Health (3 Hours)

Sub-Total 6-7 Hours


Application Electives

(Choose two from list below)

  • GEOG 5210: Global Climate Change (3 Hours)
  •  GEOG 5270: Global Patterns of Life (4 Hours)
  •  GEOG 5320: Geography of Terrorism (3 Hours)
  •  GEOG 5340: Disasters & Emergency Management (3 Hours)
  •  GEOG 5440: Global Economic Geography 3
  •  GEOG 6530: Time Geography (3 Hours)

Sub-Total 6-7 Hours

Total Number of Credits 36-38


Learning Outcomes

  1. The student demonstrates geographic information science knowledge and technical skills in the appropriate classes with 2.75 or higher GPA.
  2. The student demonstrates geographic information science specific computer programming skills as measured using course and project work.
  3. The student is effective with analytical and critical thinking as measured using assignments and projects in program course work.
  4. The student is effective with management and team work as measured using group projects in program course work.
  5. The student is effective with written and oral communication measured using assignments, written reports, and project presentations.

 

Portfolio

All MSGIS students are required to assemble a portfolio as courses are completed which includes examples of work demonstrating mastery of the selected skills. Students will present this portfolio project and answer questions from the Supervisory Committee during the final oral exam at the end of the program.

MSGIS Skills List

GIS Analysis

Perform core vector and raster GIS analyses including overlay, interpolation, map algebra, terrain modeling, network analysis, and multi-criteria analysis.

Spatial Data and Algorithms

Understand methods for acquiring, evaluating, creating, manipulating, editing, and converting data and metadata in preparation for spatial analysis. Be familiar with how operations are carried out and when they are applicable.

GIS Workflow

Understand the importance of workflow in GIS and how to develop a workflow to perform GIS operations and spatial analysis.

Model Building

Be able to interpret existing geoprocessing models, create new models, add tools and data to a model, and string tools together to form an analysis workflow. Be able to choose appropriate models for modeling static and dynamic geographic processes. Be able to document a model so that others can understand its purpose and how it works.

Cartography and Graphic Design

Be able to design maps for different purposes, mediums, and audiences, and demonstrate cartographic design principles including color and symbology theory.

Spatial Analysis

Design, implement, and report on the analysis of spatial data. Describe and test hypotheses regarding distributions of spatial datasets.

Data Models and Structures

Be able to explore the data models within a database, and understand its structure.

Database Design

Given specific requirements for data, be able to design appropriate data models. Be familiar with database design tools.

Structured Query Language (SQL)

Be familiar with SQL and be able to write queries involving spatial objects and relationships.

Project Design

Be familiar with how to develop a project plan, which includes defining and confirming the project goals and objectives, identifying tasks and how goals will be achieved, quantifying the necessary resources (e.g. staff, software, hardware), preparing reports, and determining budgets and timelines for completion.

Project Management

Demonstrate your ability to work individually and collaboratively. Successfully deliver a solution within the required time frame.

Communication Skills

Be able to effectively communicate technical aspects of your work to both technical and layperson audiences.

Basic Programming or Scripting

Be familiar with a programming or scripting language, and be able to build workflows or custom solutions for solving spatial analysis problems.

Portions of this skills list were adapted from “The essential skills to succeed in a GIS career” by Michalis Avraam,
http://michalisavraam.org/2009/11/the-essential-skills-to-succeed-in-a-gis-career/

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

 FAQs - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

MS & PhD

When will I find out about admission and funding decisions?

Applicants will be notified regarding admission decisions after February 15th. Funding may be awarded along with admission, but additional fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships often become available in late spring and early summer.

HOW DO I apply for continued study in a higher degree?

If you want to apply to the Department's PhD program after completing the Master's degree program in our Department, it is an internal process requiring a classification change.  See the Graduate Secretary.  You will need to complete a departmental PhD application, write an updated Personal Statement, apply for financial aid (optional), and supply three letters of recommendation following the published deadlines.

What is the difference between the Geography Master's and MSGIS programs?

The Geography Master's is an academic degree program. A large component of the program is original research, which is published in a thesis.  Geography Master's students work closely with an advisor in a specific field of study, and are eligible for funding. The MSGIS is a professional degree program, and cannot be used to go on for a Ph.D. The MSGIS program is focused on coursework, which is used to create a portfolio.  The MSGIS program does not require GRE scores for the application or a thesis for the degree. MSGIS students are not eligible for Department funding.

What is the admissions rate for graduate applications?

The Department of Geography admits an average of 56% of graduate applicants to our programs.

What percentage of graduate students are funded?

Approximately two-thirds of our Geography Master's and Ph.D. graduate students are funded on a teaching assistantship, a research assistantship, or through various fellowship programs.

What are the minimum GRE scores accepted by the Department?

We do not have a minimum GRE score requirement, but scores are one component used to competitively assess applications.

Should I take the prerequisite courses before applying to the Geography Master's or Ph.D. programs?

The Department expects that you will have taken these courses or have equivalent competence.  Knowledge of course content is expected, but use of these background skills will vary depending on your area of research.  If in doubt about the prerequisites, consult with your prospective advisor to find out if these skills are needed for your intended area of research.

 

MSGIS

What is the deadline for applying to the program?

Students entering Fall semester should apply by April 1. However, with the payment of a $30 late fee, applications will be taken until June 1. Students who will begin the program Spring semester 2013 should apply by October 1, 2012.

Is the GRE required for admission?

No.

Is student funding available for this program?

Unfortunately, we cannot support students in the professional program with assistantships. We do have assistantships available for students in our traditional Master’s in Geography program.

Is there a special fee?

The program has a fee of $100 per student, each fall and spring semester (no fee charged during summer), for an MSGIS student enrolling in three (3) or more credits of coursework.  The fee applies to both classroom and on-line classes.

How long does the program take?

The program can be completed in as little as 2 years, depending on the number of credit hours taken per semester.

What are the prerequisites for the program?

GEOG 1180 Introduction to Geo-Programming or equivalent

GEOG 3140 Introduction to GIS or equivalent

GEOG 5140 Methods in GIS or equivalent

GEOG 3020 Geographical Analysis or an upper division basic statistics course

Should I take the prerequisite courses before applying to the MSGIS program?

The Department requires that you have taken these courses or have equivalent competence.

What courses should I register for and when?

The following is a model program of study illustrating one sequence of courses:

 Year 1 Fall Semester

  • GEOG 6150:  Spatial Data Design in GIS 4 (Hours)
  •  GEOG 6000:  Advanced Geographical Data Analysis 4 (Hours)
  •  GEOG 5440:  Global Economic Geography or other elective (3 Hours)

Year 1 Spring Semester

  •  GEOG 6010:  Geocomputation 4 (Hours)
  •  GEOG 6160:  Spatial Modeling with GIS 4 (Hours)
  •  GEOG 5320:  Geography of Terrorism or other elective (3 Hours)

Year II Fall Semester

  •  GEOG 6120:  Environmental Optics or other elective (3 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6165:  Web GIS or other elective (3 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6180:  GeoProcessing with Python (3 Hours)

Year II Spring Semester

  •  GEOG 6161:  Capstone in GIS (3 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6162:  Project Management (3 Hours)


Are these courses available online?

Not at this time.  However, the prerequisite courses GEOG 1180 Intro to Geo-Programming, GEOG 3140 Introduction to GIS and GEOG 5140 Methods in GIS are available online during selected semesters.

Do I have to write a thesis?

No.

I already have the GIS Certificate and have taken many of the classes listed above. Can I use those credits for the MSGIS?

If credits are used for a previous degree at the University of Utah, they cannot be reused for the MSGIS. Otherwise, a maximum of 6 undergraduate credits or 9 hours non-matriculated credit from the classes listed above, taken no more than three years prior to approval, may be transferred into the program.

Can I transfer credits into the program from a different institution?

Credits transferred from another institution may be used for only one degree. Up to six semester hours of transfer credit may be applied toward fulfillment of graduate degree requirements if they are of high letter grade (B or higher; 'credit only' grades are unacceptable), are found acceptable by the graduate committee, and were taken within three years of semester of admission to the University of Utah.

 

Application Instructions

Application Instructions

**The Department of Geography evaluates fit of applicant interests with those of prospective faculty advisors. Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with department faculty during the application process**

Application Deadlines

Program

Fall

Spring

Master's of Science in GIS (MSGIS) April 1st (May 1st with a $30 late fee) October 1st (no late applications accepted)
Master's (Applying for financial aid) January 10th Admitted Fall only
Master's (No financial aid requested) January 10th Admitted Fall only
Ph.D. (Applying for financial aid) January 10th (No funding)
Ph.D. (No financial aid requested) April 1st October 1st

Notes:

  • The MSGIS program has no funding available.  WICHE WRGP students may apply for discounted tuition.
  • MS / MA students are only accepted for Fall Semester
  • The PhD program requires an academic Master's degree prior to admission
  • The departmental application AND financial aid deadline for the Master's program is January 10th for the following academic year.
  • Ph.D. applications are accepted for Fall semester (due by April 1) and Spring semester (due by October 1). However, for Ph.D. applicants the financial aid deadline is January 10th for the following academic year.
  • TIP: Submit your online application and pay the fee 30 days prior to the department deadline to allow time for referees to write and submit their recommendations.

REQUIRED SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS

Transcripts

Please upload your student copy of your transcripts to the online application for the admissions evaluation.  Transcripts must reflect grades.  If admitted, arrange to have official transcripts and degree certificates sent directly to the address below. The University of Utah accepts electronic transcripts as official from the following agencies only: Docufide by Parchment, National Student Clearinghouse, AVOW and Scrip-Safe. Please send electronic transcripts to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Admissions Office – Graduate Division
The University of Utah
201 S. 1460 E. Room 250 S SSB
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

GRE

Graduate Record Examination - Required of all applicants to the academic degree programs. Arrange for ETS to send your most recent scores to the University of Utah, school code 4853 / department code 2203.

NOTE: Applicants to the professional Master's program (MSGIS) are not required to take the GRE.

TOEFL or IELTS

(International Applicants Only)

Test of English as a Foreign Language - Arrange for ETS to send your most recent scores to the University of Utah, school code 4853 / department code 70. The TOEFL score expires after two years.

NOTE: Scores must be a minimum of 80 (iBT) or 550 (pBT) for the TOEFL or a minimum band score of 6.5 for the IELTS

Statement of Purpose

The Geography Department requires a Statement of Purpose from each applicant. Please write a statement which includes concise and clear statements on the following topics:

  1. Describe your professional goals following graduation, and why you feel that a Master's or Ph.D. will help you attain those goals;
  2. Describe your specific area(s) of research interest, along with how these interests align with Department and faculty specialties;
  3. Describe how you think the Department of Geography and the University of Utah can fit your needs for a Master's or Ph.D. program.

Writing Sample

Ph.D. applicants only: Upload an abstract of your Master's thesis (if completed) or a description of your thesis research in progress. Master's applicants: A writing sample is optional.

Letters of Recommendation

Recommendations for Department of Geography applications will ONLY be accepted electronically via the application system. Paper recommendations will not be accepted.  Three (3) recommendations from persons who are familiar with your academic abilities are required for each applicant. We encourage you to "waive the right" to see your letters since most evaluators consider confidential letters more valuable.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Most recent CV or resume

GENERAL Instructions

For additional information, see:

IMPORTANT:

  • Separate applications must be submitted in order to apply to more than one degree program
  • Application fees are subject to change and ARE NOT WAIVED
  • We will evaluate your file only after we receive all required fees and documents, including transcripts
  • International Students only: Proof of financial responsibility is NOT needed to evaluate an applicant's file, nor is it needed to accept a student.  AFTER being admitted, this information IS NEEDED prior to issuing the I-20 Certificate of Eligibility so students may obtain a student visa. (Students being funded by the Department do not need to submit an additional Financial Statement.)  Current estimated expenses for graduate students are detailed here 
  • GRE scores and grades:  We do not admit or deny applicants on the basis of GRE or GPA; rather, we aim to consider the applicant as a whole.  For guidance, if your GRE scores are below the 50th percentile, we urge you to consider re-taking the exam to obtain a better score.  Minimum GPA accepted by the Graduate School is 3.0
  • The MS degree program has no language requirement.  The MA requires standard proficiency in a department-approved foreign language.  The PhD program requires an academic Master's degree prior to admission.
  • Please review the requirement sheets for each degree program for the pre-requisite coursework and proficiencies needed

Admission Standards:

The minimum academic requirements for Graduate admission are:

  • A bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited college/university,
  • At least a 3.00 or higher undergraduate weighted mean GPA,
  • Meeting the Department's admission standards, and receiving a recommendation for admission to the program.

TO APPLY

Apply
Yourself

Step 1) CREATE A NEW ACCOUNT AND BEGIN APPLICATION

  • To begin your application click on the button above, use the following link or copy and paste this link into a web browser: https://app.applyyourself.com//?id=utahgrad
  • Read the information on the page, then create a new account by clicking the "Create Account" button
  • Should you experience any problems during the application process, please click on the "Technical Support" button for assistance. Questions about the requirements may be directed to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Step 2) Complete the Online application

  • NOTE: All sections within the application can be accessed at any time using the links at the left side of the page. However, it is recommended that on your first pass through the application that you start with the Personal Data section and use the "Save and Continue" button at the bottom of each section to advance through the application.
  • If you do not complete all questions in the residency sections of the application, you will be classified as a non-resident for tuition purposes.
  • MS/MA/PhD applicants: Please choose up to three professors from the drop-down lists with whom you are interested in working.  It is strongly recommended that you consult with these professors during the application process.
  • MSGIS applicants: Be sure to mark the question relating to full-time or part-time student status under the Applicant Survey section.  Also, supply the relevant work experience and pre-requisite information.  

Step 3) UPLOAD REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Curriculum Vitae-Resume
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Writing Sample-Essay-Publication

Step 4) RECOMMENDATIONS

Be sure to select "Yes" to the question "Will this provider be submitting the letter of recommendation online?"  Log in to your application regularly to check the status of your recommendations. Contact each recommender to verify receipt of the email notification. Resend notifications to recommenders who have not submitted in a timely manner.

NOTE: Inform your recommenders that notification emails will indicate "University of Utah – Graduate" as the sender, but the email will come from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . If they use a spam-blocking tool, please ask them to add this email address to their list of known/safe addresses.

Step 5) CHECK YOUR APPLICATION

Using the links at the left side of the page, go back through each section of the application and review it for completeness. Once you are satisfied with your application, click the "Check Your Application" link (last link on left side of page). Any incomplete answers found will need to be completed before submitting your application.

Step 6) SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION

After you have carefully reviewed your application, click the "Submit" button at the top of the page.

NOTE: Changes cannot be made to your application after submission.   Additional documents may be uploaded, however, it is recommended that you notify the Department by email when adding documents after submission.

Step 7) PAY THE APPLICATION FEE

After you submit your application, you will be asked if you want to pay the fee at the time of submission (online with a credit card) or at a later date. We highly recommend paying the application fee at the time of submission with a credit card. Applications will not be processed until the application fee has been paid. The University of Utah and the Department of Geography have different application deadlines. You must submit your application by the Department of Geography deadlines (refer to the table at the top of this page) to be considered for admission.

Step 8) CHECK YOUR EMAIL REGULARLY

For the academic Master's and Phd programs, the application review process will not begin until after the submission deadline (January 10). It may take several weeks to complete the process before applicants will be contacted. In most cases, applicants are notified soon AFTER February 15th.

For the professional Master's of Science in GIS, the applications are open until May 1st.  You should receive notification by June 1st.

NOTE: All correspondence regarding your application will be sent via email to the email address on your application. If this email address is not your primary address, please check it regularly or forward it to an email account you check daily.

tracking your application status

If you are admitted, you will receive an official Letter of Acceptance from the Office of Admissions in the mail.  If you have not received your acceptance letter, then check your progress in the ApplyYourself application.  If you received your Letter of Acceptance in the mail, then you may still need to send us final documentation. Check your status now.

Thank You

Thank you for your interest in the graduate program at the University of Utah Department of Geography.  If you have additional questions about the application process, contact  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Decisions will be communicated to applicants by email AFTER February 15.

Interviews

The department has a small amount of funding for domestic graduate applicants who are interested in visiting the University of Utah before making their decision. Please inquire with the Director of Graduate Studies.

Other Offices to Contact for Additional Information

International Student Services

Housing

International Center Office of Residential Living
410 University Union S114D Van Cott Hall
Salt Lake City, UT 84112 Salt Lake City, UT 84112
801-581-8876 801-587-2002

http://internationalcenter.utah.edu/     

http://www.orl.utah.edu/

   

Loans & Scholarships

University Student Apartments

Financial Aid & Scholarships Office 1945 E. Sunnyside Ave.
201 S. 1460 E., Rm. 105 Salt Lake City, UT 84108-1397
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9055 801-581-8667
801-581-6211

http://www.apartments.utah.edu/

http://www.sa.utah.edu/finance

 
   

Off-Campus Housing Listing

List of Apartments & Housing Websites

Overview

Graduate Program

The Department of Geography offers several graduate degree options: 

  • Geography Master's of Science and Geography Master's of Arts are academic degrees that allow close collaboration with an advisor on research, resulting in a thesis.
  • Master's of Science in GIS (MSGIS) is a professional degree that focuses on coursework and building a portfolio that showcases GIS skills.
  • The Geography Ph.D. emphasizes original research under the guidance of an advisor, and contributions to a field of study through a dissertation. An academic Master’s degree is required for admission to the Ph.D. program.

Why Study at the U

Application Instructions

 

 

 

Why Study at the U

Why Graduate Study at the University of Utah?

A focused faculty!

The U of U geography department specializes in scientific geography within three areas: urban-economic systems, earth system science and geographic information science. We also encourage research at the overlaps among these areas. For more information, see the Department of Geography's Strategic Plan.

A dynamic research environment!

Department of Geography faculty are involved in cutting-edge research in many domains.

Active research entities within the department include the DIGIT Laboratory, the Center for Natural and Technology Hazards, the Records of Environment and Disturbance (RED) Lab, the Power Paleoecology Lab, and the Utah Remote Sensing Applications (URSA) Lab.

Department of Geography researchers are also involved in the Southwest Center for Environmental Research and Policy and the Global Palaeofire Working Group.

Unique education programs!

The Department of Geography administers a unique Certificate Program in Geographic Information Science that integrates coursework in geography and computer science, providing the knowledge and skills for a first-rate career in geographic information systems (GIS). Students can obtain this certificate independent of a degree by applying as a non-matriculated student.  We also offer a professional Masters of Science degree in GIS for graduate study.

A world-class research university!

The University of Utah is a world-class public university with research activity in many academics fields across the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities and arts. For more information, see the University of Utah's research homepage. Also see the University of Utah Graduate School's Why Utah? website or read the About the U and Ways to Visit pages.

A great place to study, play and live!

The University of Utah is located in the northeast corner of Salt Lake City, a medium-sized city with a dynamic, high-tech economy and a sunny, dry four-season climate. Salt Lake City has unparalleled access to world-class skiing and the finest outdoor recreation opportunities in North America (perhaps the world)! And, contrary to popular belief, you can get beer, coffee and other civilized beverages in Utah. For more information about Utah see:

City Weekly -One of Salt Lake's alternative newspapers
Utah CitySearch
Ski Utah! -You'll never ski or board back east again.
Great Outdoor Recreation Pages - Utah

Forms

This page provides links to commonly used forms, along with a short description for each form. Consult the Graduate Handbook for more details on program requirements.

General Forms

  • Independent Study
    • DUE: At time of registration for independent study class, usually the beginning of the semester
    • This form is required for all individual project, directed reading, and teaching practicum courses. Student and mentor agree on requirements for the course and sign form. After turning in the form, staff will provide a registration number for the course.

    • Leave of Absence Request
      • DUE: By last day of classes in a semester
      • With approval of advisor and Director of Graduate Studies, student may take a one semester leave from program. The leave of absence can be renewed for a second semester, but cannot last more than 1 year.

  • Graduate Student Progress Assessment
    • DUE: Friday of the 1stweek of Spring semester
    • Student (in consultation with advisor) completes form and submits to advisor

  • Graduate Student Travel Award Application
    • DUE: Prior to traveling (first come/first served until funds exhausted)
    • Apply for matching travel funds up to $400 for students presenting research at a professional meeting. Matching support must be from University sources and only one award will be made to student per year.

  • Coursework Petition
    • DUE: Before filing Program of Study
    • Student petitions Advisor, Director, and Chair to have a requirement substituted or waived.

  • Petition for Exception to Policy
    • DUE: As needed
    • Retroactively withdraw from a course for a non-academic reason or remove a "W" from transcript due to institutional error.

  • Undergraduate Petition for Graduate Credit
    • DUE: Before University of Utah bachelor degree awarded, or retroactively in graduate program
    • A maximum of six credit hours (two courses) not used to meet the requirements of another degree may be transferred to a graduate program of study. See the Graduate Handbook for limitations.

  • Graduate Transfer Credit Authorization
    • DUE: When filing a Program of Study, a supervisory committee may accept up to 6 credit hours
    • Hours may only be used toward only one degree, must be a "B" or higher grade (CR not acceptable), and taken within 4 years (MS) or 7 years (PhD) of semester of admission

  • Last Semester Notification
    • DUE: Before the 15th day of the next semester after defending
    • International students must submit this form to the International Center the next semester after defending when working with the Thesis Editor and not registered for hours.

  • Request for Statement of Degree Completion
    • DUE: After thesis released but before diploma issued
    • Only available during the term in which you applied to graduate through the last day of finals for that term. Only one issued.

Master's Forms

Ph.D. Forms

What Is Geography?

Geography is the study of natural Earth systems, human societies and the interaction between them. Geography bridges the physical and social sciences.  Geographers work with powerful technologies such as geographic information systems (GIS), digital Earth imagery (remote sensing) and spatial modeling. And geographers are not afraid to get their boots muddy! Geography has a long-standing field tradition, often involving travel to spectacular locations - some of them in our own backyard.

Geographers use a collaborative and integrated approach to help understand complex 21st century challenges such as climate change, globalization, sustainability, urbanization, and living with hazards. Rewarding careers exist in the private and public sectors, and education.

Geography is a STEM subject in Geographic Information Science (GIS) and Cartography, Geospatial Intelligence, and basic earth science.