Which is right for me, the Geography MS or the MSGIS?

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 research and teaching assistantships. 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 departmental funding.


What are the minimum requirements for your graduate programs?

Students must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university, and at least a 3.00 or higher undergraduate weighted mean GPA. PhD applicants must also have a Master’s degree. Admission to our graduate programs is competitive, and meeting these minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.


What are the prerequisites for your graduate programs?

Program prerequisites are described in the Graduate Handbook and MSGIS Handbook. For the Geography MS and PhD, we strongly recommend contacting your prospective advisor to determine their expectations, since the department does not have specific course prerequisites for these degrees.  


Is there a minimum GRE score requirement?

The MSGIS does not require GRE scores for admission. We do not have a minimum GRE score requirement for the Geography MS and PhD, but scores are one component used to competitively assess applications.


What are the deadlines for graduate applications?

See the Application Instructions page for application deadlines.


Do you offer a combined MS/PhD program or direct-to-PhD program?

We do not offer combined or direct-to-PhD programs at this time. After completing the Geography MS, students can petition to transition to the Geography PhD program.


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 MS and PhD graduate students are funded on a teaching assistantship, a research assistantship, or through various fellowship programs.


When will I find out about admission and funding decisions?

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


Are night courses or online courses available?

At this time, the courses required to complete our graduate degrees are not offered at night or online.


How long do your graduate programs take?

The Geography MS and MSGIS can be completed in two years. The Geography PhD can be completed in three years.


Can I transfer credits into a graduate program?

Up to six semester hours of transfer credit or nine hours of non-matriculated 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. Credits used towards another degree cannot be used to fulfill graduate degree requirements.


Who can I contact for more information on your graduate programs?

For inquiries, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..