Graduate Advising Document: M.A.

How to Get Your:

  • M.A. Geography, or 
  • M.A. Geography Concentration in Resource Management & Environmental Planning

 

San Francisco State University
Department of Geography & Environment

 

This document supplements the graduate section in the SFSU Bulletin.  Notices and announcements are also posted regularly on the bulletin board to the left of the Map Library or sent out via email.  In addition, each grad student has a mailbox in the Map Library; check it regularly for flyers, articles, returned papers and other communiqués from faculty or students. 

For specific information and guidance pertaining to your program, please see a Grad Program Advisor at least once a semester:

 

Nancy Wilkinson, Dept Graduate Coordinator, HSS 267, 338-1439 nancyw@sfsu.edu

Andrew Oliphant, HSS 273, 405-2143 andrewo@sfsu.edu

 

Other important contacts:
Theresa Kane, HSS 279, Office Coordinator, 338-2049 theresak@sfsu.edu
Map Library, HSS 289, 338-1145 maplibrary@sfsu.edu  
Aiko Weverka, Geographic Analysis Teaching Lab, 338-3566 aiko@sfsu.edu

 

Summary of Steps for Completing a Masters in Geography

1.  Apply to the University and the Department. 
Send application and official transcripts to the Admissions office.  Send Statement of Purpose, two letters of recommendation, GRE scores and unofficial transcripts to the Department.  The Department requires all application materials to be submitted in one complete packet.  Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

 

2.  Respond to notification of admission (Classified, Conditionally Classified or Unclassified.)
Let us know you’re coming, and please advise us of any changes in your street address, phone number or email address.

 

3.  Complete specified prerequisite courses by the stated deadline.  If you are Conditionally Classified, check your admission papers and/or a Grad Program Advisor for prerequisite requirements.  If you already have coursework in related areas, you may be able to satisfy Geog 101 or 102 by directed readings (Geog 699) with an appropriate professor.  When you've satisfied all conditions for classification, bring an unofficial transcript to a Grad Program Advisor, who will update your file and prepare a Report of Completion of Specified Graduate Requirements, if needed.

 

4.  Satisfy Graduate Literacy Requirement.  If you earned a 4.0 or below on the GRE Analytical Writing exam, you may be required to complete an upper level writing class such as TPW 400 or SCI 560.  The Graduate Literacy Committee will also review written work in Geog 801 and may require individual students to take a writing course that will not count toward their Graduate program.  You’ll receive notification of the committee’s decision to require an additional writing class by the end of the semester in which you take Geog 801.

 

5. Complete your coursework in consultation with a Grad Program Advisor and other Geography faculty.  Specific course requirements for the Master of Arts in Geography and the Master of Arts in Geography: Concentration in Resource Management and Environmental Planning are posted in the University Bulletin at http://www.sfsu.edu/~bulletin/current/programs/geograp.htm#367.

 

  • Projected Graduate Offerings

Refer to cycle of offerings on department web page: /seminar_planning.html.

 

6. File your Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) form when you have about six units of coursework left.  Begin thinking about your program early and consider it each term as you select courses in consultation with a Grad Program Advisor.  Refer to the SFSU Bulletin (hard copy or online) for prerequisite information and other requirements.

The ground rules:

  • More than half of your ATC units must be at the graduate level (700 or 800 series.)
  • All courses except Geog 895/898 must be graded, and you must earn at least a B- in each.
  • Prerequisite coursework, Internships and Geog 897 are never included on the ATC.  
  • Once you file a ATC, any change requires a Petition for Substitution or Exception.
  • Your ATC must be on file before the Grad Division will accept your Proposal for Culminating Experience (a.k.a. Thesis or Research Project Proposal.)

 

7. Build your Culminating Experience (thesis/project) Committee.
Two members of your Committee, including the Committee Chair, must be tenured/tenure-track faculty members in Geography at SFSU.  You may include a third member from Geography or outside, if you or your committee members believe this would be helpful. The third member does not need to be a member of the tenured/tenure-track faculty at SFSU.

 

8. Submit your Proposal for Culminating Experience.
Your ATC specifies whether you’re doing a Thesis (Geog 898) or a Research Paper and comprehensive oral exam (Geog 895).  The Proposal for Culminating Experience establishes your title and a brief description of your topic, methods and resources. Prepare it in consultation with your Culminating Experience Committee.  (If your research involves surveys or interviews, you will need to file a Human Subjects Protocol form.)  The Proposal and Protocol must be on file with the Grad Division the semester before you register for Geog 895/898. 

 

Note: Any significant change in your Culminating Experience title, committee or research requires an Amendment form.

 

9.  Schedule a Research Proposal Presentation.
All students are required to present their culminating experience research proposal to an audience of Geography faculty and students.  Research Proposal Presentation panels are scheduled two or three times a semester; contact Nancy Wilkinson <nancyw@sfsu.edu> for details. Further information about proposal presentations can be found here.  All graduate students should attend proposal presentations.

 

10. Enroll in Geog 895/898 the following semester.
If you fail to register for Geog 895/898 before you stop attending courses, you may need to reapply to the University the semester before you expect to graduate.

 

11. Work on your thesis/research paper in consultation with your committee. 
You have seven years from the month when you began the first course on your ATC to Complete your Culminating Experience.  If you are in danger of exceeding the seven-year limit, contact your Committee Chair and the Department Chair right away to see if you qualify for an extension.  The Grad Division grants only one extension.

 

12. Enroll in your Culminating Experience class (Geog 895/898).  This is your final step toward completing your degree.  Once you enroll in your Culminating Experience course, you are expected to complete your degree within two semesters.  Following the semester you enroll in your Culminating Experience (CE) course, you are not required to enroll in the subsequent “grace” semester while completing your CE.  If you do not complete your CE after the semester of enrollment and the subsequent semester, you are required to enroll in the Culminating Experience Continuous Enrollment course offered through the College of Extended Learning (CEL).  Enrollment in the CEL CE course provides students access to SFSU libraries, discipline-associated laboratories and facilities, and CE advisors.       

DO NOT enroll in Geog 895 Research Project or Geog 898 Thesis more than once You will continue to receive RD (report delayed) until you complete your culminating experience and submit appropriate paperwork.

 

13.  Enroll part-time in the semester you will graduate.
You may be eligible to enroll in Geog 897 through the College of Extended Learning if you have been on leave (not enrolled) for two or more successive semesters.  Please check with the Graduate Division to learn about policies in effect at the time you graduate.

 

14.  File an Application for Graduation by the posted deadline of the term you expect to graduate.  Ask your Culminating Experience Committee for help in judging whether it is time to apply for graduation. 

 

15.  Take a draft of your thesis to Grad Division for a Format Check.
 Do this early; it will save you lots of time and work.

 

16.  Schedule a defense date with your committee; notify the Department Chair and Office Coordinator.  Thesis defenses last two hours, include a presentation, questions and discussion. Research project orals focus on the research project (first hour), then on six books selected from a list maintained by the Department (second hour.) 

 

Note: The Graduate Division posts a calendar of important dates each semester.  Be sure to meet their posted deadlines for filing your ATC, Proposal for Culminating Experience, Application for Graduation, and Thesis.

 

17.  Send pdf of your thesis or research project to your Committee Chair and the Department Chair one week before your defense so it is available for other faculty to review. 

 

18.  Deliver one signed final copy of your Research Project to the Department after your defense.  The Grad Division needs only a copy of your Abstract and the Report of Completion.  
Or
Deliver at least two copies of your thesis to the Graduate Division after your defense (one for the Department, one for the Library, and additional copies for yourself, mentors and loved ones, etc.) as well as a Report of Completion of Specified Graduate Requirements.  Graduate    Division will provide a thesis receipt; then take your thesis to Campus Copy in the Student Services Building to be bound.  Only one original signature page required; others may be copies. 

Additional paperwork may be required; please consult the Grad Division and Department Chair.  In particular, if you registered for Geog 895/898 in a previous semester, you will need to file a Petition for Change of Grade (must be submitted to the Registrar by the Department).   

 

19.  Attend the Department Graduation Party (fall semester) or Department Graduation Celebration (spring semester) near the end of the semester when you graduate or any time you want to reconnect with the Department.

 

20.  Attend Commencement in May after your defense.
Summer graduates may also attend the May graduation prior to their defense.

 

Other Resources:

The department website at http://geog.sfsu.edu.  Includes links to statements of department policy and projected course offerings.

 

The Grad Division website at http://www.sfsu.edu/~gradstdy/.
Posts important deadlines and has links to grad student forms and a great Grad Guide.