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Graduate Program

Chicago and Geography

What better place to advance your studies of Geography than in Chicago, the nation's third largest metropolis and the geographic core of the nation's economy. The city offers a wide variety of research and career opportunities. Major libraries, research collections, and foundations call Chicago home, while a diversified economy provides job opportunities in a wide number of areas.

Chicago State University -- conveniently situated 10 miles south of the Loop on the city's far South Side -- is at the center of a diverse and changing environment that poses a number of questions for geographers to answer. What are the long-term effects of industry on the nearby Lake Calumet wetlands? What role does the Calumet industrial region play in the nation's drive towards a service oriented economy? Can the local development needs of predominantly African American and Hispanic communities be met with equality and fairness? How can teachers best bring global perspectives to local classrooms?

Geography at Chicago State University

Geographers at Chicago State University have a great deal of experience working to answer these questions, and as a comprehensive Geography department, they ask many more about the region, nation, and world. The department's Frederick Blum Neighborhood Assistance Center serves as the focus for many of these efforts. The Calumet Environmental Resource Center (CERC) serves as a unique information clearinghouse of environmental and economic development resources pertaining to the Calumet region of southeast Chicago and northwest Indiana.  The department is housed in the Daniel Hale Williams Science Center. The GIS laboratory with its Linux and Windows-based systems provide user access to state-of-the-art applications including ArcGIS, ERDAS Imagine, and SPSS.  Several datasets are also housed in the laboratory for student use including satellite imagery for the past three decades and census data.  Access to geocoding software and Trimble and Garmin Global Positioning Systems (GPS) equipment is also available for student projects.  The University is also a US Geological Survey Map Depository, with emphasis on the Midwest and the 1:100,000 series topographic maps.

Student Life

A very active student organization, the Geographical Society sponsors field trips and subsidizes attendance at annual Association of American Geographers meetings.

The campus is highly accessible by automobile, bus , and elevated commuter railroad. Chicago State University's new Residence Hall houses both graduate and undergraduate students. In addition, the city of Chicago has a range of housing by styles and cost.

The Department works closely with students in developing research assistantships and internship opportunities. International students must complete a CSU declaration and certification of financial support form and provide an official copy of TOEFL scores if English is not the native language. For more details, contact Chicago State University's Graduate Studies Office at (773)995-2404.

Geography After Chicago State University

Some examples of recent employment by graduates of CSU's Geography Department include:

Director of Site Planning for a major retail corporation Analysts for a Toxic Waste Management Company Research Analyst for the Chicago Public Works Department
Executive Director of a southside Chicago neighborhood organization Teachers of geography in colleges, high schools and elementary schools Data Analyst for the American Hospital Association
Computer Cartographer for the United States Census Bureau    

M.A. in Geography Program (33 Hours):

Admission Requirements

 Fulfillment of the general requirements for admission to the graduate program.
 Completion of a minimum of 15 semester credit hours of undergraduate geography courses,

     including one course in physical geography or equivalent, one course in human geography or

     equivalent, and one course in research methods or statistics. The department may prescribe

     additional prerequisites on a case-by-case basis. Students must also satisfy prerequisite

     requirements for specific graduate courses.

General Requirements

 Completion of 33 credit hours of graduate courses, including a comprehensive examination to be

     taken prior to graduation.
 Successful completion of a research thesis, written under the direction of a departmental specialist

     in the thesis area. The thesis represents six credit hours of the 33 required hours. The student may

     receive an incomplete grade on the thesis until the completion of the thesis and its acceptance by

     the thesis committee.

Specific Requirements

 Students must take Geographic Inquiry (GEOG 5860), Geographic Measurement Techniques

     (GEOG 5880), and electives to be selected with the advisor’s approval.


M.A. in Geography with Geographic Information Systems Concentration (33 hours):

Admission Requirements

  • Fulfillment of general requirements for admission into graduate programs at Chicago State University, which includes attainment of a 3.0 GPA at the undergraduate level.
  • Students who lack at least 3 hours of computer programming and 3 hours of introductory GIS may be required to make up these deficiencies. The requirements to complete the program are as follows:

Course Requirements

GEOG 5860 Geographic Inquiry
GEOG 5880 Geographic Measurement Techniques


GEOG 5820 Environmental Remote Sensing
GEOG 5830 Advanced GIS
GEOG 5810 Cartographic Design and Visualization
GEOG 5840 Digital Image Processing and Analysis
GEOG 5850 GIS Applications


GEOG 5500 Urban Geography
GEOG 5530 Neighborhood Development
GEOG 5540 Community Analysis
GEOG 5520 Principles and Practices of Urban and Regional Planning
GEOG 5841 GIS Database Development and Management
GEOG 5842 GIS Programming and Customization
GEOG 5851 GIS Internship


GEOG 5991 Thesis I
GEOG 5992 Thesis II

Students with previous degrees/certificates in GIS seeking admission into the MAG-GIS program should consult with the graduate advisor about their program of study.

M.A. in Geography with Geographic Information Systems Concentration Information Sheet (PDF File)

M.A. in Geography with Geographic Information Systems Concentration Information Sheet (Word File)