Master of Science in Geography

The objective of the MSc program is to refine critical, scholarly, scientific and professional skills. Students are prepared for careers in the environmental sciences and in science-oriented fields of geomatics. Graduates will gain competence in conducting research and preparing scholarly publications. These objectives will be achieved by requiring study of scientific knowledge, skills and perspectives, primarily in geography, through a combination of formal course work, research and teaching assistant positions, field and laboratory experimentation, and independent research leading to the completion of a thesis.

Additional Information
Admission Requirements

Applicants for the MSc program must normally hold an Honours BSc degree. Applicants with an Honours BES or BA degree in Physical Geography, Environmental or Earth Science, Geomatics, or the equivalent, may also be considered. Applicants must demonstrate that they have the necessary science background to pursue graduate work in their field of specialization.

Program Requirements

The MSc program is offered only via a thesis option. There are two fields for this degree: environmental science and geomatics. Students would normally focus on one, but can take courses in both fields. Normally, the formal requirements of the MSc program are to be completed in two years.

Students must:

  1. complete a program-wide seminar course;
  2. complete 3 one-term (.5 credit) courses;
  3. complete an approved thesis proposal; and
  4. write and defend a masters thesis.

The MSc degree is distinguished from the MES and MA degrees by the concentration of the course requirements in science-oriented courses. These science-oriented courses are typically based in natural science and quantitative methods and usually have a major lab or field component.

The MSc requires successful completion of eight units of credit, (1 unit = .5 credit course), as follows:

  • GG700 - Professional Skills Development for Masters Students (1 unit)
  • Research seminar (1 unit); selected from either GG600 - Foundations in Spatial Data Handling or GG640 - Foundations in Environmental Science
  • One elective (1 unit) from either environmental science or geomatics courses depending on whether GG640 - Foundations in Environmental Science or GG600 - Foundations in Spatial Data Handling is taken
  • One elective (1 unit) selected from among environmental science, geomatics, or other science courses relevant to the program of study
  • GG699 - Master's Thesis (4 units)

Note: A maximum of one GG675 - A-Z Independent/Directed Studies in Geography can be taken for credit in the thesis program.

The program director approves a thesis advisory committee for each candidate, consisting of a supervisor and one additional member. The candidate must prepare a thesis proposal to be approved in writing by the thesis advisory committee no later than the end of the second term of registration. The thesis must be defended successfully before a thesis examination committee composed of a non-voting chairperson, the thesis advisory committee, and one reader who may be from outside the discipline, outside WLU or UW or both, and who are knowledgeable in the area of the thesis topic. At least two members of the thesis examination committee must be members of the Waterloo-Laurier Graduate Program in Geography. The decisions available to the examining committee are the same as those for the PhD dissertation defense.