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Maxwell School
Maxwell / Department of Geography

Funding and Degree Requirements 

Maintaining Satisfactory Performance to Receive Funding

M.A. students in good standing are eligible for two years of funding and Ph.D. students in good standing are eligible for three years, post-M.A.  Any M.A. or Ph.D. student in good standing must:

  1. have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better,
  2. not have two or more Incompletes over two semesters,
  3. have performed adequately in their Teaching Assistant or other Graduate Assistant assignments,  
  4. not have earned any grade C in degree coursework, and
  5. by the beginning of their 2nd year, must have a principal advisor.

If no faculty member is willing to serve as a principal advisor, then the student must take a leave of absence until such time as there is agreement to advise. If a principal advisor is not secured within 2 years of the beginning of the leave of absence, then the student is required to withdraw from the program. Failure to meet any of these criteria shall constitute grounds for denial of funding. Such decisions are made on a case by case basis, and consideration is given to extenuating circumstances (e.g., illness or other personal problems).

Students whose funding has been discontinued for reasons of performance may request reconsideration.

A Master’s degree must be completed within a period of seven years from the semester during which the student registers for the first course to be used in her or his advanced degree program. The maximum time for completion of a doctoral degree is five years from the end of the semester in which the student was admitted to candidacy.

Degree Requirements

Master's Program

The requirements for the M.A. Geography program include a graduate course in research design, a graduate course in geographic thought, and either two advanced seminars (taught by different Geography faculty) and a spatial methods/techniques course or one advanced geography seminar and two spatial methods/techniques courses. In total, M.A. students must complete 30 hours of graduate credit, with at least 15 of those hours in advanced seminars (i.e., above 600 level). Six of those 30 hours can be thesis credit.

Doctoral Program

The Ph.D. degree in Geography requires a minimum of 72 credit hours of approved graduate work in geography and related fields: a minimum of 60 hours of approved course work and a minimum of 12 dissertation hours. Those 72 hours may include up to 30 credits accepted from the Master’s degree. Students with an approved Master’s degree from another university must take at least 30 hours of course work in residence at Syracuse (not including the dissertation), including at least 20 hours of work at the 600 level or above.

It is expected that students who enter the Ph.D. program with a Master’s degree from another university will have, or will acquire, qualifications equivalent to those normally achieved by a Syracuse M.A. in geography.

In addition to 12 hours of dissertation credit, course requirements for the Ph.D. degree in Geography include a seminar in research design, a seminar in geographic thought, and either two advanced seminars (taught by different Geography faculty) and a spatial methods/techniques course or one advanced geography seminar and two spatial methods/techniques courses. The remaining 15 credits of coursework can be taken in graduate courses of students’ choosing and in consultation with their advisors.

Complete degree requirements are outlined in the Course Catalog for the master's program and the PhD program.

Download the Guide to the Graduate Program in Geography for full program details, including department procedures, financial aid awards, and degree requirements.