Phone: 703-993-1210 or 703-993-1212
Professors: Agouris, Di, Falconer, Haack, Taylor, Singh, Waters (director, GIS Center), Wong
Associate professors: Beach, Boybeyi, Chiu, Curtin, Qu, Stefanidis, R. Yang, S. Yang
Assistant professors: Cervone, Kronenfeld, Leslie, Manca, Rice, Sun, C. Yang, W. Yang, Zolnik
Research or contract professors: Gomez, Pilon, Resmini, Self, Sommers, Wood
Term instructors: Boudinot, Hallden
This department offers all courses designated EOS and GEOG in the Course Descriptions chapter of this catalog.
In addition to university-wide general education requirements and requirements for a BA degree from COS, candidates for a degree in geography must complete 28 credits in geography with a minimum GPA of 2.00. Requirements are as follows:
In addition to the university-wide general education requirements, candidates for a BS degree in geography must complete the following with a minimum GPA of 2.00 for courses that fulfill requirements under the first two bulleted items.
To receive the minor, students must complete 18 credits in geography, 8 credits of which must be unique to the minor, with a minimum GPA of 2.00, distributed as follows:
To receive this minor, students must complete 18 or 19 credits in geography beyond the prerequisite of GEOG 102 or 103, with a minimum GPA of 2.00:
With departmental permission, one course with significant geographic information systems (GIS) content may be substituted for one of the above. Eight credits of course work must be unique to the minor. For policies governing all minors, see the Academic Policies chapter of this catalog.
The university requires all students to complete at least one course designated as “writing intensive” in their majors at the 300 level or above. Students majoring in geography fulfill this requirement by successfully completing GEOG 415.
Students who wish to become teachers should consult the College of Education and Human Development chapter and attend an information session early in their undergraduate career. For more information, call 703-993-2892, e-mail email@example.com, or go to gse.gmu.edu.
This interdisciplinary undergraduate program, one of the first of its kind in the nation, distinguishes itself from other degrees in the natural sciences in that it examines, from local, regional, and global scales the dynamics of Earth’s systems and their interactions: the geosphere, the atmosphere, the ecosphere, and the sociosphere. In addition, it emphasizes the dynamic and changing Earth systems and the use of Earth observing and remote sensing and related geoinformation technologies in detecting changes. It is jointly offered with the Department of Environmental Science and Policy (ESP) (esp.gmu.edu).
Through the course work listed below, Global and Environmental Change majors satisfy university-wide general education requirements in natural science, quantitative reasoning, information technology, global understanding, social science, and synthesis:
In meeting the above requirements, students may choose a focus in environmental or global change.
This interdisciplinary master’s program is offered jointly with the Department of Environmental Science and Policy. The program addresses the growing demand for trained professionals in Earth systems science and applications. The degree emphasizes a research-oriented, global systems approach to studying the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere, including their interrelationships and interactions with the biosphere. Emphasis is on the observation and quantitative analysis of Earth systems. Students completing the program are qualified to pursue careers that require knowledge of the basics of Earth systems science and the requisite tools. Students are encouraged to undertake an optional master’s thesis for more in-depth studies or a research project. In the latter case, students must pass a comprehensive exam.
Applicants should have a BS degree in Earth, environmental, or physical science. Previous course work should include two semesters each of calculus, chemistry, and physics, and one semester of statistics. They should have a minimum GPA of 3.00 in their undergraduate degree. To apply, prospective students should forward a completed Mason graduate application, two copies of official transcripts from each college and graduate institution attended, a current résumé, and an expanded goals statement to the COS Graduate Admissions Processing Center. Applicants should also include three letters of recommendation and an official report of scores obtained on the GRE-GEN. The GRE-SUB is recommended if it is given in the student’s undergraduate major. The GRE requirement will be waived if the student holds a master’s degree from a U.S. institution. TOEFL scores are required of all foreign applicants.
Candidates must successfully complete 30 credits as follows:
The focus of this program is to prepare students for careers in geography, remote sensing, and GIS and its increasing applications in diverse fields, as well as cartography, visualization, and modeling. This expertise is useful to civil and defense federal agencies, state and local government agencies, private corporations, and educational institutions. Courses concentrate on the techniques of compilation, display and analysis of spatial data, and their applications. Students are also encouraged to select internships as part of their program. More than 400 of our alumni from this program have entered employment in the Washington, D.C., area since 1978.
The department’s laboratories house SUN workstations, PCs, and Macs with multiple input and output devices to support ARCGIS, ARCMAP, ARCVIEW, IDRISI, ERDAS, and other cartography, GIS, and image-processing software packages. In addition, the department houses an extensive collection of spatial data in different formats. Enriching the program is a network of alumni, students, guest lecturers, and adjunct faculty who work in geography-related organizations in the greater Washington, D.C., area. Specialized instructional space for geographic information science is housed in Innovation Hall on the Fairfax Campus. The department also is home to the Center of Excellence in GIS.
In addition to meeting all admission requirements for graduate study at Mason, applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in geography, cartography, or equivalent. Applicants without an undergraduate degree in geography may be required to take one course in each of the following: physical geography, human geography, and cartography. All applicants must have a course in statistics. The program also requires GRE aptitude scores, three letters of recommendation, transcripts of all college course work, and a statement of interest in the degree. Credit from courses taken at other departments and other universities may be applied to the program with prior approval.
Students must complete 30 graduate credits to include 3 to 6 credits of thesis or 36 graduate credits without a thesis. If the nonthesis option is selected, students are required to pass a comprehensive exam.
Electives should be selected in consultation with an advisor. With departmental approval, up to 9 credits from closely related disciplines may be applied to the degree.
This graduate certificate prepares students for employment in federal, state, and local government positions that require GIS skills. Graduates have typically been employed in major mapping programs of the Department of the Interior and in the related land management agencies at the federal and state level. The certificate has been found suitable for the needs of business and industry, including those corporations that serve as contractors to governments in the United States and overseas.
Applicants should submit an application for graduate studies and must meet all requirements for graduate study at Mason. All applicants should have a working knowledge of, or prior education or training in, computer technology. Knowledge of GIS, remote sensing technology, and cartography are preferred. Students from any discipline are welcome to apply, but students with a background in one of the physical sciences (atmospheric science, hydrology, or geology), geography, environmental science, or engineering are particularly well-suited to undertake this program.
Students with no knowledge of geospatial technology are required to take GEOG 550 prior to admission to the program.
Students must successfully complete 15 graduate credits, distributed as follows:
This graduate certificate program is for persons employed in geospatial intelligence applications (i.e., federal agency and/or corporate or association personnel) or those interested in entering this field. Our program offers fundamental knowledge on geospatial intelligence and the ability to apply this knowledge to a diverse range of constantly evolving geospatial intelligence situations.
Applicants to this graduate certificate program should hold a BA or BS degree in a discipline related to the certificate’s theme from an accredited university with a minimum GPA of 3.00. Applicants must submit a completed Mason graduate application, along with official transcripts, résumé, Virginia domicile classification form, and TOEFL scores if they are foreign nationals. GRE scores and letters of recommendation are not required but will considerably strengthen an application, if available.
Applicants should have undergraduate backgrounds that include courses in differential and integral calculus, and they should possess working knowledge of a computer programming language. Depending on the background of the individual student, the coordinator may recommend remedial or preparatory courses tailored to the student’s needs. Students may not pursue this certificate concurrent with any other graduate degree programs or certificates offered by COS (because this certificate will charge students a differential tuition rate). However, students enrolled in academic programs outside COS may enroll in this certificate program concurrently. Students may transfer no more than 3 credits into the certificate program with the approval of the academic director.
The Geospatial Intelligence (GI) certificate requires a total of 18 credits, or 6 courses. These comprise five mandatory core courses and one elective. The mandatory core courses reflect the three key science concentration areas (CA) of this program, namely geospatial image analysis, spatial analysis, and information technology, as reflected in the following list:
Mandatory core courses:
The Certificate in Remote Sensing and Earth Image Processing Program focuses on the skills needed to take advantage of the enormous increase in the availability and use of remotely sensed data related to the Earth. The certificate requires students to complete 15 credits of EOS graduate courses. Ideal candidates for this certificate are those who have a background in Earth and environmental sciences and are working in or planning to enter into the field of remote sensing, Earth observing, or image processing.
This professional certificate program charges students at a differential (premium) tuition rate, with an additional $100 per credit added to the standard Mason graduate tuition. This rate applies to all students who enroll in this certificate program, regardless of in-state or out-of-state status. The differential tuition will be used to fund continuing improvements in the departmental computational facilities used to support the certificate program.
Applicants should hold a BA or BS degree in a discipline related to the science and applications of remote sensing from an accredited university, with a minimum GPA of 3.00. Applicants should have some prior education or training in remote sensing or image processing. Students with a background in one of the physical sciences (physics, chemistry, atmospheric science, hydrology, or geology), geography, or environmental science will be particularly well-suited to undertake this program. Applicants should have an undergraduate background that includes courses in differential and integral calculus, and they should possess working knowledge of a computer programming language. To apply, prospective students should forward a completed Mason graduate application, two copies of official transcripts from each college and graduate institution attended, and a current résumé to the COS Graduate Admissions Processing Center. TOEFL scores are required of all international applicants.
Required Core Courses:
Elective Courses (one of the following or another course approved by coordinator):
The innovative PhD in Earth Systems and Geoinformation Sciences (ESGS) Program is based on the integration of the scientific disciplines in geosystems, geosciences, and geography, with the two slightly more technology-oriented scientific disciplines in geoinformation sciences, remote sensing, and geographic information systems (GIS). Graduates from the ESGS doctoral program will be qualified to serve as lead scientists in a wide range of activities involving geosciences, geography, GIS, and remote sensing.
The continual expansion of the NASA Earth observation satellite constellation, the development and expansion of the geospatial data infrastructure at federal agencies, and the need to analyze these Earth-oriented data to achieve environmental and economic objectives ensure a constant need in the foreseeable future for qualified scientists in these fields. Students receive broad-based training in the geosciences and geography, as well as concentrated courses in computation and geoinformation sciences.
The ESGS doctoral program represents a gateway to an academic career for some students; for others, it facilitates career advancement in the public sector or private industry. Graduates are equipped to participate in interdisciplinary research, which is the norm in today’s research arena. In addition, students also receive training in teaching, qualifying them to join academic units in more traditional disciplinary and instruction-oriented settings or in multidisciplinary programs.
This program is intended for graduates who hold a BS or BA degree in atmospheric science, climatology, meteorology, Earth science, geology, environmental science, remote sensing and Earth observing, hydrology, oceanography, geography, or a related field with a minimum GPA of 3.00. Applicants should have knowledge of calculus and a working proficiency with a computer programming language.
Knowledge of mathematics through ordinary differential equations is preferred. Interested applicants should contact the academic coordinator or the ESGS chair for more specific advice. To apply, prospective students should forward a completed Mason graduate application, two copies of official transcripts from each college and graduate institution attended, a current résumé, and an expanded goals statement to the COS Fairfax Campus Graduate Admissions Processing Center.
Applicants should also include three letters of recommendation and an official report of scores obtained on the GRE-GEN. The GRE-SUB is recommended if it is given in the student’s undergraduate major. The GRE requirement for admission to the doctoral programs will be waived if the student holds a master’s degree from a U.S. institution. TOEFL scores are required of all international applicants.
The curriculum consists of 72 credits: 48 credits of course work and 24 credits of dissertation research. The 48-credit requirement may be reduced by up to 30 credits for a qualified student holding a previous master’s degree. Up to 24 credits of previous, relevant graduate course work may be transferred into the program as long as those credits have not been applied toward a previous degree. The curriculum is organized into the four areas of emphasis listed below:
Students may select one of the four areas listed above, or they may opt to develop a curriculum that combines elements from two or more areas, subject to the program director’s approval. All students are required to select courses from a set of three core areas: computational-quantitative, geosciences-geography, and geoinformation. Additional requirements include courses in the area of emphasis, a single credit of colloquium taken three times, and electives relevant to the student’s focus.
In recognition of the diverse interests in this scientific area, students are given considerable flexibility to construct their curriculum under the guidance of a faculty advisor. To provide the desired level of flexibility and encourage interdisciplinary education and research, the following seven program elements are required:
All students will be assigned a temporary academic advisor when they first enroll in the program. No later than the end of the second year, each student should identify a dissertation advisor and form a doctoral committee. After completing all required courses, each student must take a candidacy exam administered by the dissertation committee.
The exam will have written and oral components. Its purpose is to determine whether the student has acquired adequate general knowledge in the selected subject area, as well as much more detailed knowledge of the specific research topic planned for the dissertation. After students have completed all required courses and passed the candidacy exam, they should prepare an acceptable dissertation proposal. After the dissertation proposal is approved, the student is formally advanced to doctoral candidacy. The degree will be awarded on completion of the required course work and approval of a PhD thesis that makes an original and significant contribution to the field.
The department participates in other programs that provide opportunities for geographical research. A popular example is the Environmental Science and Public Policy PhD Program where faculty members serve as both dissertation committee members and chairs. Geographic studies fit well with many issues related to public policy, planning, conservation, and sustainable development. Program description and degree regulations are listed under the Department of Environmental Science and Policy.
The department also participates in the Public Policy PhD Program, along with some of the university’s leading geographers who are members of the School of Public Policy. In addition, geography faculty members provide joint supervision and serve as committee members to support those pursuing research primarily geographic in nature. Program description and degree regulations can be found under the School of Public Policy listing. Several departments participate in supervisory committees providing a rich opportunity for students to expand their interdisciplinary interests with these departments.