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Master of Arts in Geography

The MA in Geography prepares students with advanced geographical thinking and methods essential to understand and solve linked human and environmental challenges. A flexible and personalized curriculum connects core concepts in space, place, and environment to diverse course offerings focused on global development, urban development and planning, environment and natural resource management, or geospatial science.

This academic program emphasizes intellectual growth, critical analysis and communication, and professional development. Ability to contextualize social and environmental problems in real-world decision-making positions our students for leadership in mapping a more sustainable future.

Our faculty are capable of advising interested graduate students in the concentrations of: Global Politics & Development, Human-Environment Relationships, and Urban Worlds. 

All students apply advanced methods and research-management skills through individualized inquiry and experiential learning. Many students undertake thesis research, communicated through a high-quality manuscript, which can lead to joint publication with faculty. MA students also have the option to complete a three- to six-month internship, undertaken simultaneously with required graduate course credits, written up in a report of comparable rigor to a thesis. 

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate competency in contemporary geographic theory and research methods;
  2. Students will complete a research project consistent with larger trends in the geographic field;
  3. Students will demonstrate effective academic written and oral communication skills;
  4. Students will engage in activities that contribute to professional service and development

All students gain experience in individualized research in collaboration with faculty. Undergraduates have diverse opportunities to undertake independent research or participate in faculty research, and all students do in-depth research in required undergraduate capstone courses. All graduate students do advanced experiential research through thesis or internships. Along the way, they develop critical project-management, data-collection, and critical-thinking skills. Projects have brought students to diverse places across the globe, from Oxford and Chicago in America's Midwest to Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Graduate Student Theses and Internships

May 2024

  • Julia Feldman. Exploring stakeholder Interests and Interactions in a Forest Ecosystem: A case study of Tena Ecuador. S. Jakubowski, adviser. 
  • Reforce Okwei. Interrogating Urban Morphological Change in African Cities: Case Study of Ridge, Accra-Ghana. I. Yeboah, adviser.
  • Clara Conover. Narconomic Geography: Cocaine Consumer Markets in the European Union, 1990-2020. B. D’Arcus, adviser.
  • Sumaia Nahar. Equity in the Planning, Distribution, and Implementation of Open Streets in New York City. D. Prytherch, adviser.

August 2023

  • Justin Becker. Managing the Strengths and Challenges of Student Residential Growth Around the Campus: A Case Study of the University of Cincinnati. D. Scott, adviser.
  • Patrick Kwaah. Urban Development, Water Infrastructure, and Water Security in a Mining Town: A Case Study of Obuasi, Ghana. D. Prytherch, adviser.
  • Mikayla Schappert. Examining the Effects of Landscape Heterogeneity on Lepidoptera Richness, Abundance, and Community Composition Across an Agricultural to Exurban Gradient. A. Davis, adviser.
  • Ella Varel. Evolving Approaches to Vulnerability, Resilience, and Equity in Charleston, South Carolina's Planning Process. D. Prytherch, adviser.

May 2023

  • Melissa Ervin. Forced Migrant Resettlement and Re-Establishment of 'Home': How Organizations Helped Forced Migrants Re-Establish Sense of Place During Resettlement. B. D’Arcus, adviser
  • Paul Kwasi. The Geography of Interchanges in the Modernization of Urban Ghana: A Case Study of Accra-Tema City-Region. I. Yeboah, adviser.

January 2023

  •  Justin Fain. Artic Persistent Fire Identification: A Machine Learning Approach to Fire Source Attribution for the Improvement of Artic Fire Emission Estimates. J. McCarty-Kern, adviser.

May 2022

  • Kennen Sparks. Paradise Lost: How Place-Marketers Use Maps to Frame Tourist Perceptions of the Las Vegas Strip. D Scott, adviser.
  • Gregory Treiman. Should I Stay or Should I Go? Migration Aspiration and Ability in Cameroon. S. Toops, adviser.

December 2021

  • Jessica Stoyko. Determinants of Willingness to Plant Pollinator Beneficial Plants Across a Suburban to Rural Gradient. A. Davis, adviser.

August 2021

  • Tessa Farthing. Impact of a Forested State Park on Nutrient Concentrations in an Agriculturally Dominated Watershed in Southwest Ohio. B. Grudzinski, adviser.
  • Eileen Rintsch. Effects of a Forested State Park on Stream Dissolved Organic Carbon and Total Suspended Solid Concentrations in an Agriculturally Dominated Watershed in SW Ohio. B. Grudzinski, adviser.

May 2021

  • Zoey Armstrong. Modeling Distributions of Cantharellus Formosus Using Natural History and Citizen Science Data. M. Henry, adviser.
  • Topista Barasa. Speculative Urbanism and the Urban Planning Process n Nairobi Kenya: A Case Study of the Southern Bypass. I. Yeboah, adviser.
  • Connor O'Hearn. Sustainable Coffee Farming in Hawai'i: Gathering GIS Data to Inform Development and Planning in the Rainforest and Protect Natural and Historic Features. J. McCarty, adviser.
  • Lauren Sandeman. Racialised Discourses of Educational Opportunity: Neoliberal Education Reform and Community Resistance in Bronzeville, Chicago. D. Scott, adviser.

August 2020

  • Brooke Ecklar. Evaluating MigratoryStopover Success Monitoring the Decline of Bird Populations at Hueston Woods Biological Station. H. Cummins, adviser.
  • Keelin Haynes. Modeling Land-Cover/Land-Use Change: A Case Study of a Dynamic Agricultural Landscape in a Giang and Dong Thap, Vietnam. J. McCarty, adviser.
  • Andrews Korah. Frontier Urbanization and Affirmative Action in Urban Ghana: A Case of Airport City, Accra. I. Yeboah, adviser.

December 2019

  • Nilupaer, Julaiti. Utilization of Crowdsourcing and Volunteered Geographic Information in International Disaster Management. S. Toops, adviser.

August 2019

  • Kevin Baker. The Rusted Steel That Binds: How Craft Producers Form Neolocal Economies in Pittsburgh, PA. D. Prytherch, adviser.
  • Meghan Jones. GIS Modeling and Parcel Prioritization for Strategic Conservation Planning. Utilizing an Easement Implementation Tool for Land Trust Priority Mapping in Southwest Ohio. R. Abbitt, adviser.
  • Maria Sanchez Luna. Mapping Small Scale Farming in Heterogeneous Landscapes: A Case Study of Smallholder Shade Coffee and Plastic Agriculture Farmers in the Chiapas Highlands. J. McCarty, adviser.

August 2018

  • Samuel Holleman. "Tourists Don't See Borders": Destination Marketing and (Bio) Regionalism in Western Oregon. D. Prytherch, adviser.
  • Jeffrey Lazar. Storm Flow Sediment and Nutrient Concentrations across a Land Cover Gradient in Southwest Ohio Streams. B. Grudzinski, adviser.
  • Marina Salnikova. Maintaining and Modifying Identity: An Exploration of Muslim Community in Inverness, Scotland. B. D'Arcus, adviser.

 August 2017

  • Isaac Asante-Wusu. Geography of Urban Water Security and Vulnerability: Case Studies of Three Localities in the Accra-Tema City-Region, Ghana. I. Yeboah, adviser.
  • Briana Berkowitz. Home Gardenscapes for the Promotion of Ecological and Cultural Plant Diversity on St. Eustatius, Dutch Caribbean. K.Medley, adviser.
  • Michael Browne. Autonomy in Georgia's Ajaria Region: Its Benefit for the State and How it has Evolved Since the Collapse of the Soviet Union. B. D'Arcus, adviser.
  • McNichol Kaloki. Mapping Vegetation Status at Lake Nakuru National Park and Surrounds, Kenya. J. Maingi, adviser.
  • Christopher Myers. Electrification as Development for Sustainable Livelihoods at Mt. Kasigau, Kenya. K. Medley, adviser.

August 2016

  • Luci Xi Lu. A Geographic Analysis of the Vulnerabilities and Coping Strategies of Tibetan Herders in Gansu, China. S. Toops, adviser.
  • Elina Sukarayavichute. Transit Planning, Access, and Social Justice: Competing Visions of Bus Rapid Transit and the Chicago Street. D. Prytherch, adviser.

Winter 2016

  • Meghan Sheehan. Determining Drivers for Wildebeest (Connochaetes Taurinus) Distribution in the Masai Mara National Reserve and Surrounding Group Ranches. J. Maingi, adviser.

August 2015

  • Genevi Schindehutte. Remembering is Resistance: in Physical and Virtual Places of Downtown Cairo. B. D'Arcus, adviser.
  • Rupak Shrestha. Seasonal Migration and Circular Turmois: A Geographic Narrative of Brick Factory Migrant Workers in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. S. Toops, adviser.

December 2014

  • Kwame Adusei. Land Cover Change in a Savanna Environment, A Case Study of Bawku Municipal. M. Henry, adviser.
  • Dan Pearlman. Patterns and Processes of Land Use/Land Cover Change, 1975-2011, at Mt. Kasigau, Kenya. J. Maingi, adviser.

August 2014

  • Lisa Dershowitz. A Geographic Examination of Stakeholders' Perceptions of Ecotourism Along the Israel National Trail and Jesus Trail in Israel. S. Toops, adviser.
  • Sanan Moradi. Mellat and Qowm: A Political Geography of 'Nation' and 'Ethnicity' in Iran. C. Dahlman, adviser.

May 2014

  • Brandon Flessner. Species Distribution Modeling of American Beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh) Distribution in Southwest Ohio. M. Henry, adviser.
  • Chris Fortney. Who made you the graffiti police?”: Graffiti, Public Space, and Resistance. B. D'Arcus, adviser.
  • Nicollette Staton. International Anti-Trafficking Norms in Kosovo: How Local Actors Implement Global Expectations. C. Dahlman, adviser.

August 2013

  • Henkin, Michael. A Biophysical Analysis of Forest Diversity Patterns at Mt. Kasigau, Kenya. K. Medley, adviser.
  • Kamau, Peter. Anthropogenic Fires, Forest Resources, and Local Livelihoods at Chyulu Hills, Kenya. K. Medley, adviser.
  • Mordini, Michael. Gulf of Maine Land Cover and Land Use Change Analysis Utilizing Random Forest Classification: To be Used in Hydrological and Ecological Modeling of Terrestrial Carbon Export to the Gulf of Maine via Riverine Systems. M. Henry, adviser.

August 2012

  • Gathongo, Njoroge. Validating Local Interpretations of Land Cover Changes at Mt. Kasigau, Kenya. K. Medley, adviser.
  • Hall, Alexander. Effects of Multiple Small Impoundments on Hydrologic Regime in Southwestern Ohio. W. Renwick, adviser.
  • Roades, Heather. Species Composition, Relative Abundance, and Habitat Occurrence of Neotropical Migratory Birds Overwintering in Dominica, West Indies. W. Renwick, adviser.
  • Schiefelbein, Trey. Neighborhood Identity and the Construction of a Noncapitalist Economy in Milwaukee's Riverwest Neighborhood. B. D'Arcus, adviser.

December 2011

  • Everette, Dennis. The Filthiest People Alive: Fear of the City in the Films of John Waters. M. England, adviser.
  • Eysenbach, Brent. Gentrification and the Production of Neighborhood Identity in East Nashville, Tennessee. M. England, adviser.

August 2011

  • Ogboo, Adanma. The Geography of Automobile Spare Parts Trade: Aspmda and Lapido Automobile Spare Parts Markets, Lagos, Nigeria. I. Yeboah, adviser.

May 2011

  • Lawlor, Sarah. Using Advanced Land Imager (ALI) for the Detection of the Invasive Shrub Lonicera Maackii in Southwestern Ohio Forests. M. Henry, adviser.
  • Prather, Jennifer. Bridging the Digital Divide: Integrating Social and Technical Capacity Within Participatory GIS. D. Prytherch, adviser.

Why Choose Geography

Our MA program provides students the choice, flexibility, training, and professional networking to go on for a PhD or to take a job related to their graduate education.

Our graduates have excelled with either of these two choices:

  • Those students seeking post-MA employment related to their training have been successful in finding it after graduating. Our recent graduates work in environmental analysis and protection, urban and regional planning, geography-related publishing, start-ups and tech companies, geospatial firms, and university administration.
  • Those students choosing to go on for a PhD after their MA have generally received offers that were significantly better than they could obtain with just a BA; in other words: a Miami University MA in Geography provides an important asset that strengthens one's application to PhD programs.
  • But we know that these two options are not mutually exclusive, so we encourage our MA students to pursue degrees that generate original (and hopefully publishable) research, while simultaneously positioning themselves to be competitive on the job market.
  • Students have opportunities each semester to meet and have one-on-one networking opportunities with local, regional, and national-level geospatial and data science, planning, environmental, and cultural Geographers and Geography-related corporate, start-up, governmental, and Academic professionals. 
student in a classroom using a computer

Gain Lifelong Skills

The theoretical, methodological, teaching, and practical skills that our MA graduates develop at Miami University prepares them for success in public service, conservation and sustainable development, geospatial technology, and business analytics. Our graduates obtain entry- to mid-level technical, geospatial, and managerial positions in city, state, and federal governmental agencies, and in a variety of start-ups, corporations, and non-profit and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Our MA program also positions students for admission and funding to a Ph.D. program in Geography or a related discipline. Our recent graduates have received attractive offers from top PhD programs.

student in classroom

For More Information

Geography Graduate Policies & Guidelines - Please contact Dr. Bruce D'Arcus (  if you would like access.

Graduate School Handbook

Department of Geography

118B Shideler Hall
250 S. Patterson Ave.
Oxford, OH 45056