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The Department of Geography and GeoInformation Sciences houses the premier Master of Science Program in Geographic and Cartographic Sciences (GECA) in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area, and one of the top programs in the nation. The MS-GECA program at Mason focuses on techniques of compilation, display, and analysis of spatial data. The program’s objective is to produce geographers with a solid understanding of the techniques of spatial data analysis and the ability to apply those techniques to a variety of issues. Program graduates are qualified to pursue careers in government and industry, or to proceed with doctoral-level studies.
The MS-GECA program is ideal both for recent graduates, and for early and mid-career professionals who wish to specialize in Geographic Information Analysis. While academic experience in Geography is preferred, we welcome applicants from a wide range of academic backgrounds. The current MS-GECA student body is marked by diversity, with students from military backgrounds, students with environmental science interests, members of the intelligence community, and many current employees of a wide range of federal, state and local government agencies. Many of the private companies that support federal agencies have found our program to be a valuable training and development center for their employees. Our faculty maintains a strong research focus, and we endeavor to involve students in the research process. We have active participation from adjunct faculty with a great deal of experience with real-world geographic information application.
In addition to meeting all admission requirements for graduate study at George Mason University, applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in geography, cartography, or a closely related field. Applicants without an undergraduate degree in geography may be required to take one course in each of the following: physical geography, human geography, and cartography. All applicants must have a course in statistics. The program also requires GRE test scores, three letters of recommendation, transcripts of all college coursework, and a statement of interest in the degree. The GRE requirement will be waived if the student holds a master’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. TOEFL scores are required for all foreign applicants. Credit from courses taken at other departments and other universities may be applied to the program with prior approval.
To apply, prospective students should complete a Mason graduate application on-line at http://admissions.gmu.edu/grad/. Official transcripts from each college and graduate institution attended, a current resume and a goals statement will be required.
Applicants will also need three letters of recommendation and an official report of scores obtained on the GRE-GEN. The GRE requirement may be waived if the student holds a master’s degree from an accredited US institution. TOEFL scores are required of all international applicants.
Students must complete either 30 graduate credits (with a thesis) or 37 graduate credits (without a thesis). If the non-thesis option is selected, students are required to pass a comprehensive exam.
Core Courses (12 credits)
- GGS 553 – Geographic Information System Credits: 3
- GGS 560 – Quantitative Methods Credits: 3
- GGS 579 – Remote Sensing Credits: 3
- GGS 689 – Seminar in Geographic Thought and Methodology Credits: 3
Students are strongly encouraged to take these courses as early as possible during their graduate program to prepare for other classes and to avoid delaying graduation while waiting for a required course. Please refer to the graduate catalog for course prerequisites.
Thesis or Non-thesis Options (18 or 25 credits)
Thesis Option (18 credits)
Students selecting the thesis option must complete:
- 3 credits of GGS 799 – Thesis Credits: 1-6
- 15 credits of electives in 500 to 799-level GGS courses
Non-thesis Option (25 credits)
Students selecting the non-thesis option must complete:
- 1 credit of GGS 700 – Comprehensive Exam Credits: 1
- 24 credits of electives in 500 to 799-level GGS courses
Electives should be selected in consultation with an advisor. With departmental approval, up to 9 credits from closely related disciplines may be applied to the degree.
For more information please see the M.S. in Geographic and Cartographic Sciences Graduate Guidelines for information on requirements, options, advising, financial support, and other topics, the George Mason University Catalog Description including Admissions and Degree Requirements, the College of Science Blurb on the Program and the Graduate Admissions Page for the GECA Program
Also see the University Thesis, Dissertation, or Project Guide for format and content suggestions.