Geography, MA

Our geography MA program is designed to offer specialized academic and professional training in geography so students may secure a sound graduate background for further specialization or for immediate employment. The program has sufficient flexibility to allow for the individual needs and the interests of students. 

Faculty and graduate students focus their research in one of broad interdisciplinary themes:


Streamlined PhD program

In addition to the MA program, we offer a streamlined PhD program, allowing students with bachelors degrees to apply directly to the PhD geography program. Funding packages are offered only to PhD students.

Outstanding Faculty

The breadth of the school’s faculty exposes graduate students to a marked variety of research interests and methodologies. 

The faculty currently includes two members of the National Academy of Sciences, a National Science Foundation CAREER award winner, a past executive officer of the Association of American Geographers and a Guggenheim scholar, as well as ASU Regent's Professors, a Gilbert White Chair, President's Professor and Foundation Professor, and members of national and international committees and panels such as the National Research Council Geographical Sciences Committee and Intergovernmental Panel on Climatic Change (IPCC).


Application Process:

The Geography MA program admits in the fall only.

To apply to the M.A. in Geography program next fall, complete the Graduate Admissions online application beginning September 1. As a part of the application you must submit:

  • Responses to several questions regarding your background and interests(See questions)
  • A resume
  • An application fee

In addition, you be asked to submit your Official Transcripts, email addresses for Letters of Recommendation, GRE and English proficiency (non-native English speakers)

  • Official transcript(s) documenting successful completion of a Bachelors' Degree and/or a Master's Degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (4.0 scale). ASU accepts both electronic and physical transcripts.  Electronic transcripts are only accepted from E-Scrip, Parchment, and National Student Clearinghouse and must be sent to Hard copy transcripts should be sent to the address below.
  • Letters of Recommendation. You will be asked to provide email addresses for three letters of recommendation. The recommenders should be from academic professionals or professional colleagues capable of evaluating your abilities, accomplishments, and professional potential. We will contact your recommenders at the email address provided. See FAQs for more details.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Scores should be submitted to the ASU Graduate Admissions Office by using the University Number #4007. This scores are not needed at the time of application, but are needed to evaluate you for admission.
  • If English is not your native language, provide scores for one of the following:
    • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) - minimum score of 550 (PBT) or 80 (iBT). TOEFL scores need to be reported electronically by the ETS. 4007 is the institution code for Arizona State University (dept code 99). For more information, visit the TOEFL website,
    • IELTS (International English Language Testing System) - minimum overall band score of 6.5 with no individual band below a 6.0.
    • If you have additional questions related to English proficiency, please see the Office of Graduate College English Proficiency page for more detailed information.


The final application deadline is January 15, 2018. All application materials must be received on or before this date to be considered for fall admission. Please allow sufficient time for submission and processing of relevant test scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation.

For additional questions about admission, please see our geography FAQ page.

Send any documents that may not be uploaded to either of the addresses below:

If sending by FedEx, DHL or UPS: Graduate Admission Services
Arizona State University
1151 S. Forest Avenue, #SSV112
Tempe, AZ 85287-0112
If sending by U.S. mail: Arizona State University
Graduate Admission Services
PO Box 870112
Tempe, AZ 85287-0112



The Master's program includes two required courses (GCU 529 Geographic Thought, GCU 585 Geographic Research Design and Proposal Writing), one seminar (GCU/GPH 591), registration in colloquia for two semesters, and additional coursework or research hours as selected by the student in consultation with a supervisory committee.

Steps Toward the M.A.

Master's students in the Geography program complete the steps toward their M.A. in the following order:

Plan of Study: Master's students file a program of study (iPOS) with the School and the Graduate College. This document sets out coursework toward the M.A. degree and formalizes the composition of the supervisory committee.

Thesis Proposal Review: M.A. students prepare a statement of their specialization in geography prior to scheduling a review meeting with their supervisory committee to present their thesis proposal.

Thesis: Once the full supervisory committee approves the written thesis, the advisor schedules an oral defense before the student's committee and guests. The student should adhere to all Graduate College deadlines for scheduling the defense and submitting the completed thesis. The student must complete the M.A. within six years.

Completion of the M.A.: The culmination of the Master's program is a successful defense and submission of the M.A. thesis.


More information

For more details about program requirements, as well as school policies and resources available to graduate students, see the SGSUP Graduate Programs Handbook.  


Core courses:   All Geography MA students take the following courses:

  • GCU 529 Contemporary Geographic Thought (3 credits, offered each Fall)
  • GCU 585 Geographic Research Design and Proposal Writing (3 credits, offered each Spring)
  • GCU or GPH 591 Seminar (3 credits)
  • GCU or GPH 591 Seminar: Geography Colloquium (two semesters, 1 credit each)
  • GCU or GPH 599 Thesis (6 credits minimum)


 Subject-area courses:  

To see the variety of geography courses offered at ASU, visit the online catalog.  Search for courses with the prefix GCU (Cultural Geography), GIS (Geographic Information Science), or GPH (Physical Geography). 

Since field of geography is highly interdisciplinary, graduate students find relevant courses many other programs as well, including:

  • Computing & Informatics (CPI)
  • Environmental Life Sciences (ELS)
  • Environmental Science (ENV)
  • Geological Sciences (GLG)
  • Sustainability (SOS)
  • Urban and Environmental Planning (PUP) 



Balling has a long history of conducting research on the climate change issue with a special interest in blending in applications involving Geographic Information Systems.

Batty is a distinguished visiting professor with the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. He is director for the Centre of Advanced Spatial Analysis and professor of planning at University College London.


Professor Bob Bolin blends hazards geography, political ecology and critical theory to study environmental justice and human vulnerability to environmental and technological hazards.

Dean & Professor

Boone's research contributes to ongoing debates in sustainable urbanization, environmental justice, vulnerability, and global environmental change.

President's Professor

Cerveny, professor of geographical sciences, also serves as Rapporteur on Extreme Records for the United Nations/World Meteorological Organization with the responsibility for researching and verifying global weather records.


Dorn, professor of geography, is also co-coordinator of the Arizona Geographic Alliance, a K-12 outreach program to promote geographic education in Arizona.

Assoc Professor

Hallie Eakin's research interests include household vulnerability and sustainability of adaptations to global change, governance, globalization, rural development, sustainable food systems, and agricultural change.


Fotheringham is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and Academia Europaea whose work focuses on the analysis of spatial data in relation to a variety of areas including health data, crime patterns, and migration.


Frazier's research focuses on the use of remotely sensed data and spatial analysis to generate information about the disturbance and recovery of forests.

Assoc Professor

Georgescu's interests are on human-environment interactions, with research aimed to improve understanding of phenomena related to urbanization-induced landscape change. He is a member of the Urban Climate Research Center.

Research Professor

Gober is the founding co-Director of the National Science Foundation's Decision Center for a Desert City and previously served on the National Research Council's Committee on Geographical Sciences.

Asst Professor

Hondula, assistant professor and member of the Urban Climate Research Center, researches the societal impacts of weather and climate, including efforts to learn how individuals experience and cope with extreme heat.


Dr. Michael Kuby specializes in transportation, energy, optimal facility location and network design models, and alternative fuels, stations, and vehicles. His research has been funded by NSF, US Dept of Energy, and NASA.

Assoc Professor

Francisco Lara-Valencia's major areas of inquiry include socio-environmental vulnerability, urban health, regional development, binational planning, and the role of community networks on sustainable development.

Lecturer Sr

Larson's work primary focuses on human and regional geography, including work studying refugee populations in Central America.

Assoc Professor

Kelli Larson, a professor of geography and sustainability, focuses her work on human-environment interactions and the implications for water governance and urban sustainability.


Li, a senior Fulbright Scholar to India, focuses her research on ethnic geography, highly-skilled international migration and transnational connections. She is the author over 90 journal articles and book chapters.

Assoc Professor

Li's work in geographic information science aims to develop integrated and smart cyber-infrastructure to revolutionize knowledge discovery. Li is a 2015 recipient of the National Science Foundation's CAREER award.

Assoc Professor

Kevin McHugh is a cultural geographer with research interests in geographical thought & theory, geohumanities, post-phenomenology, and more-than-human geographies in the Anthropocene.

Asst Professor

Meerow combines the disciplines of geography and urban planning as she researches how to make cities more resilient in the face of climate change as well as other social and environmental hazards.


Myint, an expert in remote sensing and GIS, uses these skills to investigate urban land use land cover, urban climate, drought, desertification and deforestation, among other issues.

School Dir & Professor

Nelson's work currently focuses on using spatial and spatial-temporal analyses to track wildlife movement and active transportation. She is also the founder of, a crowdsourcing app for bike safety and ridership.


O hUallachain's research interests include economic, industrial location, urban and regional economic development.


Pasqualetti is an energy geographer specializing in the societal aspects of energy, especially renewable energy.


Pijawka's research focuses on sustainable planning and design, disaster management and recovery, environmental justice, and Native American community planning.


Sailor's work focuses on the intersection of climate with the built environment. He currently serves on the American Meteorological Society's Board on the Urban Environment and International Association for Urban Climate.

Asst Professor

Salon researches travel behavior and the built environment, climate policy for transport, and government and transit agency institutions with the goal to inform policies that reduce global automobile dependence.

Assoc Professor

Schmeeckle's interest is in landscape mechanics with a primary focus on fluvial geomorphology, sediment transport, and surface water processes.

Principal Lecturer MY

Shaeffer, a principal lecturer of geography, teaches the introductory World Geography course and numerous specialized regional geography courses.

Assoc Professor

Tong's research primarily focuses on the use of spatial analytics including spatial optimization, geographic information system, and spatial statistics to support urban and regional studies concerning location.

Regent's Professor

Turner studies human-environment relationships from the ancient Maya to contemporary sustainability science. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, among other honors.


Walker is a geomorphologist and surficial geologist well known for his expertise in sediment transport and erosion, aeolian geomorphology, coastal geomorphology, environmental fluid dynamics, and sand dune ecosystems.


Webster's current interests are in comparative city building and urban dynamics, urban competitiveness and resilience, and peri-urbanization with a primary geographic focus on East Asia.

Dean & Professor

Her research interests include: shape and pattern analysis, geographic information science, applications of GIS to urban environment, urban remote sensing and water resource management.

Asst Research Professor (FSC)

Werth's work engages in the monitoring, modeling and forecasting the Earth's water mass budget variations using remote sensing data.

Degree Offered

Geography, MA
Liberal Arts & Sciences, College of


Plan of Study

The Plan of Study is the required curriculum to complete the program.

View Plan of Study

Application Deadline

The final application deadline is January 15, 2018. All application materials must be received on or before this date to be considered for fall admission. Please allow sufficient time for submission and processing of relevant test scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation.


Interested in learning more?

For questions about the MA in Geography, send a note to, or complete the form below.

I'm Interested In...
About me...

USA Format: xxx-xxx-xxxx

Format: mm/dd/yyyy

Please also send me information to the following address