Oregon State University

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

Geography Graduate Major

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Geography is the study of human use and interaction with the Earth and the identification of spatial and temporal variation in natural and human processes. Geography uses principles of mathematics, social science, and natural science to analyze and interpret change in the environment. Geographers study globalization and cultural diversity, develop and apply geospatial technologies, and help evaluate and manage resources, climate change, and environmental hazards.

Geography at OSU has three areas of excellence:

Geospatial technologies and analysis. Many careers in geography involve geospatial technologies and analysis applied to research, teaching, government and industry. Geography at OSU helps graduate students to obtain an integrated training in GIS, cartography, remote sensing, geovisualization, geospatial intelligence, spatial statistics and modeling, and web mapping. Students may select geographic information science as a graduate area of concentration as part of the MA, MS, or PhD in Geography. Graduate students also can obtain a GIScience certificate. Faculty engaged in research, instruction, and advising in this area include

Water, climate, and society. Access to water resources is essential for human health and societies, yet water resources are unevenly distributed in space and time, while climate variability and change may intensify conflicts over water. Geography at OSU helps graduate students to obtain an integrated training in surface processes, climatology, biogeography, water policy, and water management. Students may select physical geography or resource geography as a graduate area of concentration as part of the MA, MS, or PhD in Geography. Graduate students also can obtain an online certificate in water conflict. Faculty engaged in research, instruction, and advising in this area include

  • Michael Campana - water resources management; water resources in developing regions
  • Hannah Gosnell - climate change adaptation
  • Julia Jones - Land use, climate change and disturbance effects on hydrology, geomorphology, water quality
  • Anne Nolin - Snow processes in mountain environments, hydroclimatology, cryosphere-climate interactions
  • Mary Santelmann - wetlands ecology, biogeography
  • Aaron Wolf - transboundary water conflicts and conflict resolution
  • Todd Jarvis - Engineering geology, geography of groundwater, online dispute resolution
  • Lynette de Silva - Water conflict management, integrated watershed management

Resources, planning, and hazards. Natural resources, planning, and hazards are ideal topics for geographic study because they link physical processes governing natural hazards with factors such as social vulnerability, planning, and resource management. Many aspects of these issues have a strong regional focus. Geography at OSU helps graduate students to obtain an integrated training in the geography of resources, land use, and rural and regional resource evaluation. Students may select physical geography or resource geography as a graduate area of concentration as part of the MA, MS, or PhD in Geography. Faculty engaged in research, instruction, and advising in this area include

  • Larry Becker - rural livelihoods, food security, and agricultural policy in the global South, with a focus on Africa
  • Hannah Gosnell - rural geography, natural resource management, water resource management, the U.S. West
  • Jenna Tilt - land use, rural and regional resource evaluation
  • Michael Harte - marine geography, natural resource management and planning
  • Demian Hommel - human dimensions of global change; environmental security and resource conflicts
  • Shireen Hyrapiet - resource access, rights, and livelihoods in the global south
  • Robert Kennedy - pattern and processes of landscape change
  • Jamon Van Den Hoek - conflict ecology, land use/land cover change
  • James Watson - marine geography (arriving fall 2017)
  • David Wrathall - climate hazards, social vulnerability, migration, and political ecology

For more information see:

Theses, Dissertations and Student Research Papers at ScholarsArchive@OSU:

Majors in geography develop a background in regional geography, resource geography, geographic information science, and physical geography and in statistics and disciplines related to geography like geology, forestry, and anthropology. Course offerings combined with excellent facilities and supportive electives allow students to develop particular interests such as resource management, environmental analysis, land use planning and cartography/geographic information systems/remote sensing. The Geography Program offers graduate work leading to Master of Arts, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Graduate areas of concentration are:

  • Geographic information science
  • Physical geography
  • Resource geography

The program has an applied orientation, placing emphasis on the application of geographic information science to environmental and resource utilization and problem solution. Master's degree candidates may elect a thesis or nonthesis option. Geography participates as one of the minors in Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies degree programs. No foreign language is required for the MS degree. One foreign language is required for the MA and PhD degrees.

For more information please contact Julia Jones (Director) or Lori Hartline (Student Services).

For guidelines on how to apply, see Geography Graduate Program Application Instructions.