Curriculum Requirements

​The program is offered by the faculty of the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  Students undertake 36 credit hours over a two-year period.  These 36 hours include required core classes (9 credit hours), a required service learning studio (6 credit hours), and required geo-spatial science coursework (12 credit hours). Students can elect to undertake either of two tracks: the first “coursework” track involves a further 9 hours of elective courses, whereas the second “thesis” track involves 9 hours of electives, and preparation of a written thesis (3 credits).

Thesis Option (33 Hours of Coursework + 3 Thesis Hours)

Printer-Friendly MA Thesis Checklist

All of the following:

GEOG 6300: Foundations Seminar in Human-Environment Interaction (3)

GEOG 5050: Applied Spatial Statistics (3)

GEOG 6750: Research Design (3)

GEOG 6800: Community-Based Research Studio (3)

GEOG 6950: Master’s Thesis Preparation and Writing (3)


Geospatial Science & Methods Courses (12 hours):

GEOG 5050: Applied Spatial Statistics (3)

GEOG 5060: Remote Sensing I: Introduction to Environmental Remote Sensing (3)

GEOG 5070: Remote Sensing II: Advanced Remote Sensing (3)

GEOG 5081: Cartography and Computer Mapping (3)

GEOG 5085: GIS Applications for the Urban Environment (3)

GEOG 5090: Environmental Modeling with Geographic Information Systems (3)

GEOG 5091: Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial Applications (FOSS4G) (3)

GEOG 5092: GIS Programming and Automation (3)

GEOG 5095: Deploying GIS Functionality on the Web (3)

GEOG 5235: GIS Applications in the Health Sciences (3)

CSCI 5559: Database Systems (3)

ENVS 6200: Risk Assessment (3)

ENVS 6220: Toxicology (3)

ENVS 6230: Environmental Epidemiology (3)

CVEN 5382: GIS Spatial Database Development (3)

CVEN 5383: GIS Analysis – Theory and Practice (3)

CVEN 5385: GIS Relational Database Systems (3)


Elective Courses (9 Hours)

Human Geography (at least 1 course)

GEOG 5230: Hazard Mitigation and Vulnerability Assessment (3)

GEOG 5265: Sustainability in Resources Management (3)

GEOG 5300: Children’s Geographies (3)

GEOG 5335: Contemporary Environmental Issues (3)

GEOG 5350: Environment & Society in the American Past (3)

GEOG 5420: The Politics of Nature (3)

GEOG 5440: Science, Policy and the Environment (3)

GEOG 5470: Urban Geography: Denver and the U.S. (3)

GEOG 5680: Urban Sustainability: Perspectives and Practice (3)

GEOG 5710: Disasters, Climate Change and Health (3)

GEOG 5990: Travel Study: Costa Rica (4)

GEOG 5990: Travel Study: China (4)

ENVS 5305: Water Quality and Resources (3)

ENVS 5340: Multicultural Science Education (3)

ENVS 5450: Urban Food and Agriculture: Perspectives and Research (3)

ENVS 5460: Sustainable Urban Agriculture Field Study I (3)


Physical Geography (at least 1 course)

GEOG 5240: Applied Geomorphology (3)

GEOG 5251: Fluvial Geomorphology (3)

GEOG 5270: Glacial Geomorphology (3)

GEOG 5720: Climate Change: Causes, Impacts and Solutions (3)

GEOG/ENVS 5740: Geography of Soils (3)

GEOG 5995: Travel Study: Patagonia (4)

ENVS 5020: Earth Environments and Human Impacts (3)

ENVS 5280: Environmental Hydrology (3)

ENVS 5731: Mountain Biogeography (3)

Other Electives selected in close coordination with primary advisor.

Advising Notes

  • Students should fill out and submit all relevant department forms for their files. Importantly, all petitions for course substitutions and identification of where courses fit as electives, with the subsequent approval/denial, should be submitted to this file.
  • Students may take up to two (2) courses from outside the department as electives with approval of the student’s primary advisor, which must be documented in the student’s file.
  • By the end of the first semester, each student should identify and declare a graduate advisor in the area of the student’s interests or specialization. Students should file the Graduate Student – Faculty Advisor form by the first week of the second semester.
  • Additionally, by the end of the first semester, students should determine whether or not s/he is pursuing the thesis or non-thesis option. If pursuing the thesis option, students should begin work under the guidance of their graduate advisor (see above) to develop a thesis topic and identify a thesis committee. The Graduate Student – Faculty Committee form is due to the department by the third semester of the student’s degree program.
  • Many of the electives have pre-requisites; students must have met these requirements in order to take the course.
  • Students may transfer up to 9 hours of approved graduate-level credit into the program. These courses must be approved by the Graduate Director and they may not replace core courses. If a student has completed the GISci Certificate at CU Denver in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, 15 credit hours may apply towards the MA if admitted to the MA program.
  • Students may count up to 6-credit hours of Independent Study, with a maximum of 3-credit hours per Independent Study toward elective credit in the degree program as approved by the Graduate Director. No more than 3 credit hours of independent study may be taken with the same instructor, and they may not be taken in the same term.
  • Students may count up to 6-credit hours of internship in total, but only 3-credit hours per internship (two sponsorships may be sponsored by the same professor, but they may not be the same internship or project). Please note that a maximum of 6 total credit hours of internship and independent study, combined, may apply.
  • Students may not count 4000-level courses towards electives in the program; this may be petitioned to the Graduate Committee in exceptional cases.
  • Students may take a maximum of 2 online courses, or petition to the Graduate Committee in exceptional cases to apply more than two online courses.
  • Students may enroll in thesis preparation and writing hours only after submission of the signed committee form (see above), which requires approval of the thesis proposal.
  • Students will not receive a grade for thesis preparation and writing hours until the thesis is successfully defended.
  • Students must follow the graduate school deadlines for submission of paperwork for the graduation application, comprehensive exam, and any other deadlines, in addition to departmental guidelines and deadlines. Links to these can be found on the GES/MS website: http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/CLAS/Departments/ges/Programs/MasterofScience/Pages/Forms.aspx


Non-Thesis Option (36 Hours of Coursework)

Printer-Friendly MA Non-Thesis Checklist

All of the following:

GEOG 6300: Foundations Seminar in Human-Environment Interaction (3)

GEOG 5050: Applied Spatial Statistics (3)

GEOG 6800: Community-Based Research Studio (3)


Geospatial Science & Methods Courses (12 hours):

GEOG 5060: Remote Sensing I: Introduction to Environmental Remote Sensing (3)

GEOG 5070: Remote Sensing II: Advanced Remote Sensing (3)

GEOG 5081: Cartography and Computer Mapping (3)

GEOG 5085: GIS Applications for the Urban Environment (3)

GEOG 5090: Environmental Modeling with Geographic Information Systems (3)

GEOG 5091: Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial Applications (FOSS4G) (3)

GEOG 5092: GIS Programming and Automation (3)

GEOG 5095: Deploying GIS Functionality on the Web (3)

GEOG 5235: GIS Applications in the Health Sciences (3

CSCI 5559: Database Systems (3)

ENVS 6200: Risk Assessment (3)

ENVS 6220: Toxicology (3)

ENVS 6230: Environmental Epidemiology (3)

CVEN 5382: GIS Spatial Database Development (3)

CVEN 5383: GIS Analysis – Theory and Practice (3)

CVEN 5385: GIS Relational Database Systems (3)


Elective Courses (15 Hours)

Human Geography (at least 1 course)

GEOG 5230: Hazard Mitigation and Vulnerability Assessment (3)

GEOG 5265: Sustainability in Resources Management (3)

GEOG 5300: Children’s Geographies (3)

GEOG 5335: Contemporary Environmental Issues (3)

GEOG 5350: Environment & Society in the American Past (3)

GEOG 5420: The Politics of Nature (3)

GEOG 5440: Science, Policy and the Environment (3)

GEOG 5470: Urban Geography: Denver and the U.S. (3)

GEOG 5680: Urban Sustainability: Perspectives and Practice (3)

GEOG 5710: Disasters, Climate Change and Health (3)

ENVS 5303: Water Quality and Resources (3)

ENVS 5340: Multicultural Science Education (3)

ENVS 5450: Urban Food and Agriculture: Perspectives and Research (3)

ENVS 5460: Sustainable Urban Agriculture Field Study I (3)

GEOG 5990: Travel Study: Costa Rica (4)

GEOG 5990: Travel Study: China (4)

Physical Geography (at least 1 course)

GEOG 5240: Applied Geomorphology (3)

GEOG 5251: Fluvial Geomorphology (3)

GEOG 5270: Glacial Geomorphology (3)

GEOG 5720: Climate Change: Causes, Impacts and Solutions (3)

GEOG /ENVS 5740: Geography of Soils (3)

GEOG 5995: Travel Study: Patagonia (4)

ENVS 5020: Earth Environments and Human Impacts

ENVS 5280: Environmental Hydrology (3)

ENVS 5731: Mountain Biogeography (3)

Other Electives selected in close coordination with primary advisor.

Advising Notes

  • Students should fill out and submit all relevant department forms for their files. Importantly, all petitions for course substitutions and identification of where courses fit as electives, with the subsequent approval/denial, should be submitted to this file.

  • Students may take up to two (2) courses from outside the department as electives with approval of the student’s primary advisor, which must be documented in the student’s file.
  • By the end of the first semester, each student should identify and declare a graduate advisor in the area of the student’s interests or specialization. Students should file the Graduate Student – Faculty Advisor form by the first week of the second semester.
  • Additionally, by the end of the first semester, students should determine whether or not s/he is pursuing the thesis or non-thesis option. If pursuing the thesis option, students should begin work under the guidance of their graduate advisor (see above) to develop a thesis topic and identify a thesis committee. The Graduate Student – Faculty Committee form is due to the department by the third semester of the student’s degree program.
  • Many of the electives have pre-requisites; students must have met these requirements in order to take the course.
  • Students may transfer up to 9 hours of approved graduate-level credit into the program. These courses must be approved by the Graduate Director and they may not replace core courses. If a student has completed the GISci Certificate at CU Denver in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, 15 credit hours may apply towards the MA if admitted to the MA program.
  • Students may count up to 6-credit hours of Independent Study, with a maximum of 3-credit hours per Independent Study toward elective credit in the degree program as approved by the Graduate Director. No more than 3 credit hours of independent study may be taken with the same instructor, and they may not be taken in the same term.
  • Students may count up to 6-credit hours of internship in total, but only 3-credit hours per internship (two sponsorships may be sponsored by the same professor, but they may not be the same internship or project). Please note that a maximum of 6 total credit hours of internship and independent study, combined, may apply.
  • Students may not count 4000-level courses towards electives in the program; this may be petitioned to the Graduate Committee in exceptional cases.
  • Students may take a maximum of 2 online courses, or petition to the Graduate Committee in exceptional cases to apply more than two online courses.
  • Students may enroll in thesis preparation and writing hours only after submission of the signed committee form (see above), which requires approval of the thesis proposal.
  • Students will not receive a grade for thesis preparation and writing hours until the thesis is successfully defended.
  • Students must follow the graduate school deadlines for submission of paperwork for the graduation application, comprehensive exam, and any other deadlines, in addition to departmental guidelines and deadlines. Links to these can be found on the GES/MS website: http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/CLAS/Departments/ges/Programs/MasterofScie nce/Pages/Forms.aspx