Graduate Studies


“My experience in the Geography MA program at Western Illinois University broadened my view of the world and also enhanced my knowledge and skills to contribute to the community as a GIS specialist.” – Keisuke Nozaki, MA, 2007 GIS Specialist, GIS Center, Western Illinois University

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.
  • Locations:
    • Macomb
  • Required GPA:
    • Cumulative: 2.75 or
    • Last 2 years: 3.0
  • Admission Requirements:
    • Transcripts
  • Interesting Facts: Fall 2014
    • Currently enrolled: 14
    • International: 0
    • Minority: 3
    • Male: 8
    • Female: 6
    • Students with Assistantships: 8
  • Department Contact Information

Tillman Hall 312

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