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Geography and the Environment

Master of Arts in Geography

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Core Requirements

Requirements for the M.A. in geography includes 30 graduate credits, at least half of which must be at the 600 level or above.

Students may write a master's thesis or two master's papers. Both options may count as 6 thesis credits toward the required total. Your advisor and committee approve the topic and supervise the research and writing of the master's thesis or two-paper option, the final drafts of which must be defended in a formal defense involving the student’s committee.

Please see the Course Catalog for a complete list of requirements.


As a master's student, you will actively participate in research of your own design or assist ongoing faculty research. Critical areas of research include:

  • Community Geography
  • Environment and Society
  • Physical Geography, Environmental Science and Landscape Processes
  • GIS and Geospatial Technology
  • Historical Geography and GeoHumanitites
  • Political Economy
  • Political Geography, Citizenship and Development
  • Urban Space, Justice and Culture

Sample Coursework

The M.A. in geography offers flexible options for choosing your coursework. You will work with faculty mentors to help select courses most interesting to you and your fields of interest. A small sample of available courses are listed below, and a full list of course offerings can be found here.

The Urban Condition (GEO 563)

Coursework focuses on contemporary cities, including their economic growth and decline and social polarization. You will also learn about the construction of the built environment, and review case studies from around the world.

The Geography of Capital (GEO 573)

Students will conduct in-depth reading of Karl Marx’s "Capital" to understand: (a) the relationship between political economy and the geographical landscape; (b) the formative role of capital and capitalism in contemporary geographic theory.

Water: Environment, Society, and Politics (GEO 622)

Conduct critical geographical analyses of the role of water in environment, society, politics and the economy, globally. Investigate various water-society relationships, water governance, policies, crises, struggles, controversies, conflicts, and justice, in theory and practice.

Geographic Information and Society (GEO 688)

Examine the effects of geographic information technologies on governments, communities and individuals; mapping as an information industry, political process, surveillance technology and communications medium; and related issues of copyright, access, hazard management, defense, public participation and privacy.

Development and Sustainability (GEO 606)

Conduct critical analysis of international development and sustainability. This course focuses on the complex political, economic, cultural and ecological processes involved in development discourse and practice, with readings and case studies drawn from Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Political Economy of Nature (GEO 730)

Explore the complex relationships between capitalism and the natural environment. This course covers both classical and contemporary debates within political economy and geography.

Career Resources

In addition to close faculty mentorship, Maxwell graduate students who choose to enter the workforce have access to many career tools and resources, including Syracuse University’s exclusive online job and internship portal, alumni directories, networking treks and skill-building resources. As you start thinking about your post-graduation goals, career advisors are available—in person, via drop-in virtual appointment and via text – to help translate your academic work into professional opportunities.

Maxwell students in the career office
Geography and the Environment Department
144 Eggers Hall