Graduate Studies


“The Geography graduate program at WIU was a great experience. It allowed me to have an opportunity to further learn GIS, while being empowered to apply this knowledge to real scenarios in the local community through an internship with the GIS Center. This, along with the mentorship from my advisor and committee members, prepared me for the challenges that exist in a professional career. This allowed me to obtain, and excel in, a GIS position upon graduation.” – Richard D. Ostrowski, 2014, GIS Technical Specialist National Information Systems Cooperative, Lake Saint Louis, Missouri

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

Program Overview

The Department of Geography offers the Master of Arts degree oriented on a core of balanced training in four areas: (1) theory and methodology, (2) physical geography, (3) cultural geography, and (4) regional geography. The requirements are highly flexible, allowing a student to arrange programs of study that will serve as a basis for further graduate study or to prepare for positions in industry, business, or government. 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 or geographic information systems (GIS). 

Areas of emphasis include rural and urban planning, GIS, and environmental.

Possible Careers

Federal, state and local governments, private sector - retailing, weather forecasting, GIS technician, transportation, nature conservation, etc.

Why Choose Geography at WIU?

Geography at WIU prepares students to be academically successful. The department instills in students technical, analytical and conceptual skills, which are paramount in understanding the spatial dimension of both physical and human phenomena. Students are able to achieve their academic goals by specializing in GIS, rural, urban, community or environmental planning, to mention a few. The geography curriculum provides students an excellent competitive advantage in preparing for the workplace or further studies. A high proportion of our students go on to graduate work, in geography or cognate fields, while others enter some of the best Ph.D. programs in the country.

Our Faculty

There are 13 full-time faculty members, who specialize in physical and human geography, meteorology, GIS, rural/planning, geomorphology, conservation and environmental impact. They teach in their area of specialty and each has a unique profile of scholarly research and other accomplishments. Additionally, faculty members are committed to mentoring student in the program. All the faculty members are dedicated to fulfilling the vision of the department, college and university. The majority of the faculty are active members of several professional organizations, particularly the Association of American Geographers and University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

Extracurricular Opportunities

One of the hallmarks in the department is an extension of academic activities such as field trips. Some of the faculty organize field trips in order to show the relationship between theory and practice. The non-academic activities include an annual department picnic, geography awareness week, community outreach and others.

Other Information

The WIU GIS Center is hosted by the Department of Geography. The Center serves WIU, City of Macomb and McDonough County. Graduate students who are proficient in Arc GIS software are assigned to the Center. While in the Center, students work on GIS and GPS projects for various federal, state and local entities. In essence, the Center exposes students to real world GIS applications.

Quick View

Degrees Available:

  • M.A.


  • Macomb

Required GPA:

  • Cumulative: 2.75 or
  • Last 2 years: 3.0

Admission Requirements:

  • Transcripts

Interesting Facts: Fall 2015

  • Currently enrolled: 17
  • International: 1
  • Minority: 5
  • Male: 12
  • Female: 5
  • Students with Assistantships: 7
  • Currently enrolled in the certificate programs:11

Department Contact Information:

Tillman Hall 312