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Geography and Environmental Resources Master's Program

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Advanced research. Advanced opportunities.

Geography and Environmental Resources is the study of how humans modify, impact, adapt to, monitor, and manage the natural environment they inhabit. Geographical approaches are central to solving some of the most pressing issues facing humanity, making graduate study in Geography and Environmental Resources a great pathway to a rewarding career.

Our graduate students choose from two concentrations: Geographic Information Science (GIS) or Environmental Geography and Sustainability and work directly with a faculty advisor and committee to develop and carry out an original research project. Students are required to produce a research paper or thesis in addition to graduate-level coursework.

Application Deadline: January 15th for entry Fall Semester

Program Information


The graduate program in Geography and Environmental Resources stresses a problem-solving perspective. Our students come from a wide range of academic backgrounds, so each student must complete a set of core courses. Additional elective courses are identified through consultation with the graduate advisor and committee and with consideration of each students’ professional goals.

In addition to the M.S. in Geography and Environmental Resources, we offer two certificate programs: Sustainability and Geographic Information Science (GIS). Relative to the M.S. program, our certificate programs offer the opportunity to engage in a highly focused set of courses designed to develop or enhance professional-level expertise.

For complete details, please refer to the Graduate Catalog or view graduate courses.

You can view details of our graduate, teaching, and research assistantship opportunities.

Research Support
Through the Priscilla Anne Moulton Memorial Fund, we can offer limited reimbursement of expenses incurred for graduate research travel. Funds are designated for travel related to M.S. research data collection.

Travel to Conferences
We encourage our graduate students to present at professional conferences. The GPSC provides $75 for attending a conference and $150 for presenting at a conference. There is a limit of receiving $150 per academic year.

Graduate students presenting a poster or paper at a conference can also request support from the School of Earth Systems and Sustainability. The amount of travel support available varies from year to year, with information shared with all graduate students each fall.


Environmental Geography and Sustainability

Environmental geography focuses on understanding the physical environment and the factors, both natural and human, that shape it. Environmental geographers conduct fundamental and applied research, often in interdisciplinary contexts. They study natural hazards including floods and droughts, environmental change, environmental communication, education, and much more.

At the most basic level, sustainability is about meeting the needs of society without compromising the future needs of society. Sustainable solutions must consider environmental, economic, and social perspectives on societal problems. The interdisciplinary nature of environmental geography is well suited for studies focused on sustainability.

As global environmental concerns increase, experts in environmental geography and sustainability will increasingly be at the forefront of the scientific and policy solutions to societal problems.

Geographic Information Science (GIS)

We are living in a data rich world. Geographic Information Science (GIS) is all about gathering, visualizing, and analyzing environmental data. GIS includes methods of environmental remote sensing (satellites, radar, lidar), visualization, and analysis. Modern data analysis is often conducted on large data sets and therefore requires development of strong computational skills.

Our GIS students develop a set of practical computational skills as well as specialized expertise in the collection of spatial environmental data and the application of geospatial tools and software. The market demand for graduates with expertise in GIS is very strong, with many public and private sector opportunities.

Contact Information

Ruopu Li
Director of Graduate Studies

4543 Faner Hall
1000 Faner Dr.
Carbondale, IL 62901
Phone: 618-453-6038

graduate students accepting awardAwards for Graduate Students

Through the generosity of alumni and friends, we are able to offer numerous awards and scholarships to outstanding students in Geography and Environmental Resources. The SIU Foundation manages these important donations on behalf of our program. Each Spring, we recognize outstanding Graduate students that meet the criteria for these awards, scholarships, and honors.

School of Earth Systems and Sustainability | College of Agricultural, Life, and Physical Sciences | 618-536-3375 |