Aerial view from plane of ocean and land.The Master of Science in Geography at Western Michigan University is designed to:

  • Assist you in acquiring the skills needed for independent geographic research, including organizational and communication skills.
  • Enable you to develop a concentration in a particular aspect of the field.

MS in Geography: Concentrations

Select one of three concentrations. Each program is individually designed to suit your career or personal objectives.

  • Community development and planning prepares you for:
    • Planning related careers in local and regional governments and as urban and regional planners, land use planners, transportation planners, county planners and zoning administrators.
    • The private sector where planning consultant firms carry out substantial work on contract for public agencies using students' specialized skills.
  • Environmental and resource analysis prepares you for a career as an environmental or groundwater analyst with:
    • Local health departments, state agencies like the Michigan Department of Natural Resources or Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
    • Federal agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, Environmental Protection Agency, National Park Service, Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Geological Survey or Soil Conservation Service.

    Many environmental and resource analysis careers are located in the private sector too, in consulting firms or resource development and analysis corporations.

  • Geographic Information Science prepares you for a career:
    • Either wholly or partly involved in developing, training or applying geographic information science methodologies.
    • In both government (local, regional, state and federal) and the private sector. The long-term outlook for careers related to Geographic Information Science in the private sector is extremely promising.
    • By giving you as much time as you have available in the geographic information science labs to experiment with our state-of-the-art software. Each geographic techniques course offers about 30 hours of lecture and 30 hours of lab exposure, much more than a single in-service training course offered by companies.

Several flexible courses (individualized independent study courses or professional internships) may be used in any concentration area when relevant to your program of study.

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Apply for admission if you possess a bachelor's degree with a major or minor in geography or a related major such as social science, biological, engineering, health, business or physical science. To apply for the MS in Geography program, you are not required to take the GRE test.


Once admitted, you must fulfill the required geography core areas and follow the Graduate College guidelines.

Financial assistance

Financial assistance is available through the department, the Graduate College and the Office of Student Financial Aid (domestic students).

Our students

Our students work alongside award-winning and renowned instructors. Great value is placed on mapping, field work, the natural environment, community engagement and technology.


Our faculty carry out research in multiple areas. For more detailed information about our faculty's current research interests, contact them directly.