Graduate Program

The Department of Geography offers two options within its Master of Arts degree program:

Option 1  Standard Program provides the student with a high degree of flexibility in the selection of courses used to meet the program requirements. Courses may be selected from any of the graduate offerings in geomorphology, climatology, plant geography, economic geography, cultural geography, urban geography, regional geography, cartography, and geographic information science. This option prepares students for advanced Ph.D. study, community college teaching, and professional careers in business, government, or industry.

Option 2 Geographical Information Science Offers a highly structured specialization in Geographic Information Science, where most of the requirements are met with graduate courses dealing with various aspects of GIS. This option is designed for students wishing to pursue a career in this highly technological subfield of geography.

The University operates under a semester system, and this M. A. program is designed to be completed in four semesters or two years. Part-time students may take longer to complete the requirements (up to the university-imposed maximum of seven years). - Financial Assistance - A number of financial aid programs, including grants, scholarships, and loans are available through the University's Financial Aid Office to assist graduate students whose resources are inadequate to cover total educational costs. Applications for fall semester aid should be submitted before May 1. Information can be acquired by calling (818) 677-3532.

In addition, the Department of Geography offers a limited number of part-time Teaching Associate jobs that entail the teaching of laboratory sections of a few lower division and upper division courses. Other part-time employment within the Department is also sometimes available. A few small financial prizes are also awarded to outstanding students every year.


Admission Requirements

To be admitted to CSUN as a graduate student in a master's program, applicants must meet ONE of the three requirements shown below:

  • Have an acceptable earned baccalaureate degree and a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 in all units attempted as an undergraduate, independent of when the degree was granted.
  • Have an acceptable earned baccalaureate degree and a minimum grade point average of 2.5 in the last 60 semester/90 quarter units attempted from all post-secondary institutions attended.  The entire semester or quarter in which the 60/90 units began will be used in the calculation.
  • Hold an acceptable post-baccalaureate degree earned at a regionally accredited institution and 2.50 GPA in either the undergraduate cumulative GPA or the last 60 units.

The applications of students who meet University requirements for admission and who desire admission to a master's program will be reviewed in the appropriate department. The department will then determine whether or not the student meets requirements for admission to its program. SOME DEPARTMENTS MAY REQUIRE A SEPARATE DEPARTMENTAL APPLICATION.

Students who meet both departmental and University requirements will be admitted as either CONDITIONALLY CLASSIFIED or CLASSIFIED graduate students.

Graduate Status Descriptions

Conditionally Classified

Students who do not meet all requirements may be accepted subject to meeting various University and departmental requirements for Classified status. It is important to achieve full Classified standing prior to completing 12 units of graduate work.


Students who meet all University and departmental requirements as outlined in the current catalog.

Admission Process

Applicants for graduate study must submit a graduate application along with all necessary official documents. Go to CSUMentor Graduate Online Application.

You application will be processed in two steps:

  1. University eligibility
  2. Department eligibility (inquire with department for deadlines).

If minimum university requirements are met, your application will be forwarded to the department and the Graduate Coordinator will determine eligibility for the Master's program. Students fulfilling undergraduate degree requirements at CSUN or elsewhere and intending to pursue graduate work should submit a new application to the University during their final semester of undergraduate work. Please check the current application booklet for application, document, and other deadlines.

A. Requirements for Admission to the Department

  1. One of the following:
    1.  Cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better;
    2. A score at or above the 50th percentile on 2 of the 3 portions of the aptitude test of the Graduate Record Exam; or
    3. A Graduate Degree in another field from CSUN or other accredited institution.
  2. At least a 2.75 GPA in the last 60 units attempted.
  3. Two letters of recommendation.
  4. Demonstration of research and writing skills. Applicants must submit to the Graduate Committee a sample research paper, written in English, and preferably one that was completed as part Baccalaureate Degree requirements, such as a senior thesis or other research paper done in an Upper Division undergraduate course. Because of the importance of research and writing to the graduate program, the Committee needs to be assured of applicants’ abilities and promise in these areas.

    Sent Directly to the Graduate Advisor: Dr. Soheil Boroushaki
    Sierra Hall, Room 130-B
    Phone: (818) 677-4715

B. Classified and Conditionally Classified Status

Requirements for Classified Status, one of the following:

  1. An undergraduate major in Geography;
  2. Demonstrated competence in human geography, physical geography and cartography or map interpretation, as determined by the Departmental Graduate Committee; or
  3. A passing score (8 or higher) on the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam (UDWPE).

Conditionally Classified Status

  1. If the requirements for Classified status are not met at the time of application, the student will be admitted as Conditionally Classified, pending completion of the requirements, which include the completion of prerequisite courses in the areas of identified deficiencies and/or the UDWPE.
  2. No more than 12 units of work taken prior to attaining Classified status may be applied to the Master’s Degree Program.

Option 1: MA in Geography - Standard Program

Apply Online

Program Requirements

1. Completion of the following courses (a total of 30 units, with a GPA of 3.0 or better)

i) Introductory Seminar

GEOG 600 Geographic Thought, Analysis and Research (3)

Additional Seminars (five 600-level courses): (15 units)

Electives: (400- to 600-level courses, with approval) (6 units)

ii) Thesis Preparation:

GEOG 696 Directed Geographic Research (3) and
GEOG 697 Directed Comprehensive Studies (3) or GEOG 698 Thesis (3)

2. Competence in a relevant foreign language, statistics or an advanced geographic technique.

3. Submission of a Thesis or Comprehensive Exam approved by a Departmental Faculty Committee.

Total Units Required for the M.A. Degree: 30

Option 2: MA in Geography - Geographic Information Science Program