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Geography (2002-2003)

Admission | Certificate | Courses | Program | Requirements

Department Chairperson: Lawrence T. Lewis
Graduate Committee Chairperson: Christopher Sutton
Department Office: Tillman Hall 313
Department Telephone: 309/298-1648
WWW Address:
Location of Program Offering: Macomb only

Graduate Faculty

  • Professors
    • Fred E. Kohler, Ph.D., Ohio State University
    • Lawrence T. Lewis, Ph.D., Clark University
    • Siyoung Park, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
    • Richard L. Rieck, Ph.D., Michigan State University
    • James W. Vining, M.A., University of Oklahoma
    • Daniel L. Wise, Ph.D., Ohio State University
    • Burton O. Witthuhn, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University
  • Associate Professor
    • Christopher D. Merrett, Ph.D., University of Iowa
    • Thomas B. Williams, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
  • Assistant Professor
    • Raymond Greene, Ph.D., The University of Georgia
    • Christopher J. Sutton, Ph.D., University of Denver
    • Samuel K. Thompson, Ph.D., University of Akron

Program Description

The Department of Geography offers both a Master of Arts in Geography and a post baccalaureate certificate program in Community Development.

Master of Arts Program

The Department of Geography offers work leading to the Master of Arts degree. The requirements are highly flexible, allowing a student to arrange programs of study which serve as a basis for further graduate study, meet the immediate and changing needs of teachers and other educators, or prepare students for positions in industry, business, or government.

Admission Requirements

Students shall have completed a minimum of 24 semester hours in geography. Exceptions may be made if the student has a strong background in cognate areas or if undergraduate deficiencies are removed by taking courses as required by the Departmental Graduate Committee. Students who lack preparation in basic cartographic techniques and/or basic quantitative analysis techniques are required to complete GEOG 302 and/or GEOG 301 as deficiencies.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 32 semester hours of credit is required for the Master of Arts degree; up to nine hours may be transfer credit. It is possible for students, through internship experiences and/or specific course combinations, to enhance their career opportunities in areas such as regional and rural planning, environmental assessment, geographic information systems, remote sensing, and climatology.

Requirements for the program are as follows:

  1. Specific course requirements:
    1. GEOG 504 Philosophy and Literature
      GEOG 505 Methods of Research
      One 600-level seminar
    2. Two additional courses from the Theory and Methodology program group.
    3. One course or seminar from each of the following program groups: physical, cultural, and regional.
  2. Completion requirements (Students must select one of the following tracks)
    1. GEOG 698 Thesis
      Students pursuing a career in planning may elect to do either a thesis or GEOG 597, Internship in Planning, and complete a development plan/project report related to the internship.
    2. Complete GEOG 596 Internship in Applied Geography and an applied project. An applied project is intended for students whose career aspirations are best served by gaining practical experience in the design and solution of a geographical problem and presentation of the results.
    3. Complete comprehensive examinations. Students following this plan must take one additional 600-level seminar. Upon completion of 32 hours of graduate work, these students must take written and oral examinations in each of the following:
      1. A geographic region other than the United States and Canada or Illinois.
      2. One field from the physical and one from the cultural course groups.
      3. Methods of Research and one additional technique selected with the approval of the Graduate Committee from the theory and methodology course group.

Elective courses taken by all students to satisfy minimum hour requirements must be approved by the Graduate Committee. These courses may include ones chosen from cognate fields in other departments.

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program

The department offers a post-baccalaureate certificate in Community Development. For program details, please go to

Course Descriptions

Theory and Methodology

400G Field Methods. (3) A problem-oriented introduction to geographic field work in which various techniques and instruments are used to learn in the field. Emphasis is on observation, interviewing, and recording of data, especially on maps and air photos. Prerequisite: Twenty-four hours of geography, or permission of the instructor.

401G Air Photo Interpretation. (3) Introduction to the techniques of interpreting features of the physical and cultural environment from air photos, with emphasis upon practical applications. Laboratory. Prerequisite: GEOG 120 or 100, or permission of the instructor.

403G Remote Sensing. (3) Principles of remote sensing with particular reference to interpretative applications in the earth sciences, agronomy, conservation, forestry, archaeology, and anthropology. Analysis of radar, infrared, near infrared, and visible light imagery. Laboratory. Prerequisites: GEOG 120 and 121; or GEOL 110 and 112; or a lab sequence in biology or physics.

408G Geographic Information Systems Modeling I. (3) Emphasis upon raster and 3D modeling based upon continuous data. Integration of vector data and concepts when appropriate for the solution of cell-based problems. Laboratory. Prerequisites: GEOG 302 and GEOG 308.

409G Geographic Information systems Modeling II. (3) Emphasis upon GIS modeling based upon coordinate-based spatial data. Integration of raster-based GIS data and concepts when appropriate for the solutions of vector-based problems. Laboratory. Prerequisite: GEOG 408G.

504 Philosophy and Literature. (3) The purpose is to acquaint the student with the various types and sources of geographic literature, its nature, content and value, and the history and philosophy of the discipline.

505 Methods of Research. (3) Research techniques employed in graduate work. Methods used in solving geographic problems and in evaluating geographic research projects.


421G Physiography. (3) Characteristics and distribution of landforms of the United States. Prerequisites: GEOG 120 and 121; or GEOL 110 and 112; or permission of the instructor.

425G Radar Meteorology. (3) The theoretical principles and operational procedures fundamental to weather radar; the uses of weather radar in synoptic meteorology. Prerequisite: GEOG 322 or permission of the instructor.

426G Conservation and Management of Natural Resources. (3) Problems in the conservation and management of natural resources, including soil, water, rangeland, forest, wildlife, air, and energy resources. Special attention to resource problems of the United States. Prerequisites: Two courses in geography or permission of the instructor.

428G Geography of Soils. (3) Distribution of soils, and their regional aspects. The relationship of different kinds of soils to other environmental conditions, both natural and human. Prerequisite: Earth science or a geology lab sequence, or permission of the instructor.

630 Seminars in Physical Geography. (1–3, repeatable to 9) Seminars are available under the following titles: climatology, conservation, geography of soils, paleography, physiography, water resources planning, environmental assessment.


443G Population Geography. (3) Analysis of population phenomena in space and time, their mutual interactions, their relationship with nondemographic elements and, especially, the impact of population pressure on natural environments. Prerequisite: GEOG 100, or permission of the instructor.

444G Political Geography. (3) Geographic foundations of political phenomena; significant geographic factors in the growth and development of states, boundary problems, population distribution, and international problems. Prerequisite: Two courses in geography, or permission of the instructor.

445G Urban Geography. (3) An analysis of the nature, distribution, and principal functions of urban settlements and supporting areas. Prerequisite: Two courses in geography, or permission of the instructor.

448G Introduction to Urban and Regional Planning. (3) An examination of the contemporary planning process. Emphasis is placed upon utopian planning antecedents, the framework for planning and the mechanisms for carrying out the planning process, and comprehensive planning and its implementation. Prerequisite: GEOG 445 or POLS 370, or their equivalents, or permission of the instructor.

450G Professional Workshop. (1–3) Lincoln's Illinois: special topics. Graded S/U.

549 Nonmetropolitan Planning. (3) An advanced course on the process of nonmetropolitan planning. Particular emphasis is placed upon planning for smaller communities, and the restrictions that geographic space places on the planning process, especially in the delivery of public services.

557 Planning Implementation. (3) An examination and application of the various instruments that may be used to implement comprehensive or development plans. Topics included are land use regulations, ownership, taxation, and public investment. Particular emphasis is placed upon the preparation of an implementation program for a unit of government within the western Illinois region. Prerequisite: GEOG 448 or its equivalent, or GEOG 549, or permission of the instructor.

650 Seminars in Cultural Geography. (1–3, repeatable to 9) Seminars are available under the following titles: agricultural geography, economic geography, historical geography, land use policy, manufacturing geography, political geography, population and resources, regional planning, rural development, settlement geography, transportation geography.


461G The U.S. and Canada. (3) Analysis of regional variations in physical environments, and of humans and their activities in the United States and Canada. Prerequisites: Two courses in geography, or permission of the instructor.

466G World Regions. (3, repeatable to 9 with different regional subtitles) Analysis of the physical and cultural geography of a major world region chosen from the following: Latin America, U.S.S.R., Monsoon Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle America, South America, and Asia. Prerequisite: Two courses in geography or permission of the instructor.

591 Field Project in Geography. (2–6) Study of human activities and their geographic relationships in the field. Areas covered may be local, national, or foreign. Repeatable, but no more than three semester hours of credit may be applied to the minimum credit hour requirement of the program.

Individual Study and Research

580 Skills in Community Development. (3) This course emphasizes the practical skills required to be an effective community developer, including conflict resolution, leadership, comunication, and community capacity-building. The focus is on skill-building, as students are provided opportunities to practice new techniques. Topics will be modified as new technologies and other external factors impact the practice of community development. Graded S/U. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

596 Internship in Applied Geography. (1–6, repeatable to 6) Assignment as an assistant in public, private, or university agencies engaged in meteorology, cartography, etc. Repeatable, but no more than three semester hours of credit may be applied to the minimum credit hour requirement of the program. Graded S/U. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

597 Internship in Planning. (1–6) Assignment as a student assistant in governmental and other public agencies that are engaged in urban, rural, or regional planning and development. Repeatable, but no more than three semester hours of credit may be applied to the minimum credit hour requirement of the program. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

598 Directed Study–Research. (3–6) A research course designed to allow students to investigate geographic phenomena not covered in their previous graduate-level courses. Repeatable, but no more than six semester hours of credit may be applied to the minimum credit hour requirement of the program.

698 Thesis. (3)

Western Illinois University.

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