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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Graduate Programs

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Chair: Donald Friend

Graduate Program Coordinator: Woo Jang, Ph.D.

Geography, as taught at Minnesota State University, deals with phenomena in earth space and their areal extent, intensity and variation. Graduate programs in geography are designed to help students develop advanced skills in research design and analysis, as well as competence in using specific tools of geographic inquiry. In addition, the department provides necessary continuing education for a variety of elementary, high school and post-secondary teachers and other professionals, such as planners.

Geography graduate study emphasizes knowledge and understanding of environments and processes derived from the basic structure of Earth, as well as the cultural attributes and diversity of its peoples. Geography, also examines links among economies, cultures and intellectual models that attempt to explain perceptions of Earth, along with the geographer's concepts and strategies for analyzing these interconnections.

In addition to a diverse and experienced faculty, the department supports its own reference collection of books, periodicals and maps. A fully equipped cartography laboratory is maintained, including drafting, photomechanical, and computer-assisted cartography software and equipment. The department supports a geographical analysis laboratory in which students have access to GIS software and DOS/windows-based computers along with appropriate peripheral equipment; GPS software and equipment also are available. The department has a superb weather laboratory in which both Kavouras equipment and PC/McIDAS software are used to analyze and display meteorological data from live satellite down links in a near-real-time context; this lab also includes a number of other microcomputer-based analytical systems for working with meteorological data. The university library holds many of the major U.S. geographical journals. The library's map and atlas holdings are formally organized in its Map Collection, which is a depository for maps produced by federal government agencies including (but not limited to ) the U.S. Geological Survey, the Defense Mapping Agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (including the Forest Service).


Applicants for admission to graduate programs in geography must have maintained a grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for a four-year degree. Applicants should submit a letter of intent, official transcripts from all universities previously attended, and letters of recommendation from three individuals familiar with the applicant's undergraduate academic performance in order to be considered for the program . Applicants having grade point averages below the minimum who present convincing evidence of potential for success may be considered for provisional admission.

Financial Assistance

Several graduate assistantships are available through the Geography Department. Most are funded directly from the College of Graduate Studies. Typically, assistantships carry an obligation of about ten hours per week. Further information about the availability of assistantships and about the status of applications for assistantships should be sought from the department chair.