UMKC Catalog


Master of Science : Environmental and Urban Geosciences

The Department of Geosciences offers a master of science degree in Environmental and Urban Geosciences, the only such program in North America. This unique program prepares students, depending on their emphasis area, for advanced study of different facets of the environment including: environmental issues and geospatial methods (GIS and Remote Sensing), natural hazards, environmental remediation, waste management, air and water pollution, resource evaluation and management, geoarchaeology, historical geography, and urban land use and planning. Although the program requires students to select an area of concentration, all students must complete a core curriculum and a thesis.

Admissions Requirements

For full admission to the graduate degree program in environmental and urban geosciences (Code 6, degree-seeking status), the following requirements must be met:

  1. Completion of an undergraduate degree with a major in a geosciences field (such as Environmental Sciences or Studies, Geography, and/or Geology) and a grade-point average of at least 3.0 (A = 4.0) overall, as well as in the major.
  2. Submission of scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required but highly recommended. GRE scores may be used to award assistantships.
  3. Two letters of recommendation from academic and/or professional references.
  4. The student must declare one of the three degree emphasis areas in his or her application.
  5. All application materials must be submitted to the Admissions Office by March 31 for fall semester and October 1 for spring semester for final consideration.

With department approval, students with non-geoscience undergraduate degrees may be provisionally admitted on a non-regular degree-seeking basis (Code 6-V). After successfully completing recommended courses for the appropriate undergraduate geoscience degree, provisionally-admitted students may be granted degree-seeking status.

Graduate Assistantships

Teaching assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis to incoming fully-admitted graduate students. Assistantship applications and all supporting materials should be submitted by March 31 for fall enrollment and October 1 for spring enrollment.

Students whose native language is not English must take the iBT test prior to holding a teaching assistantship.  Specific scoring requirements for the iBT may be found here.

Core Curriculum


GEOG 5544 Spatial Data Analysis - 3 hrs
GEOG 5595 Graduate Seminar I - 1 hr
  /GEOLOGY 5595
GEOG 5597 Graduate Seminar II - 1 hrs
  /GEOLOGY 5597
GEOG 5599 Research and Thesis 3-6 - hrs
  /GEOLOGY 5599

Areas of Concentration

Students must select one of the following areas of concentration:

Environmental Geography and Geographic Information Science

The Environmental Geography and Geographic Information Science area of concentration will prepare students with a wide range of knowledge on environmental issues and geospatial methods (GIS, remote sensing, and environmental modeling). Required courses for students in this area are:

GEOG 5502 Environmental Remote Sensing and Digital Image Analysis - 4 hrs
GEOG 5506 Global Environmental Change - 3 hrs
GEOG 5507 Advanced Geographic  Information Science - 4 hrs

Based on student interest and departmental research priorities, students may also take courses in such areas as biogeography, climatology, ecosystem management, hydrology, and quaternary environments.

Environmental Geology

The Environmental Geology area of concentration provides opportunities for advanced study of geology with emphasis on human interaction with the environment. Hydrogeology, neotectonics, geochemistry, and environmental hazards and remediation are among the possible specialties a student could pursue in this emphasis area. Required courses for students in this area are:

GEOLOGY 5551 Geotechnics - 4 hrs
GEOLOGY 5570 Hydrogeology -  3 hrs
One of the following:
GEOLOGY 5531 X-ray Methods in Geosciences - 2 hrs
GEOL 5532 ICPMS Applications - 2 hrs
GEOLOGY 5535 Aqueous Geochemistry - 3 hrs
GEOLOGY 5541 Environmental Geophysics - 3 hrs

Other coursework may include appropriate geology courses, as well as related departmental courses, especially those in geographic information science.

Urban and Cultural Geography

Students choosing this area of concentration can pursue studies in cultural geography, historical geography, history of cartography, geoarchaeology, regional analysis and development, and urban geography and planning. Required courses for students in this area are:


GEOG 5503WI History and Philosophy of Geography - 3 hrs
GEOG 5507 Advanced Geographic Information Science - 4 hrs
GEOG 5509 Urban Geography - 3 hrs

Other coursework may include appropriate geography courses, as well as related departmental courses and cognate courses in other departments.

Requirements for Retention

  1. All fully-admitted students are required to pass a qualifying examination administered by the department during their first year.
  2. A 3.0 (B) average or better must be maintained in all graduate coursework. In addition, a 3.0 (B) average and a satisfactory balance of grades must be maintained in the approved program of study, or the student will be subject to either probationary status or dismissal from the program.

Requirements for Graduation

  1. Formal acceptance of a planned program of study and research is required by the department and the graduate officer of the College. Such a program must comprise at least 30 graduate credit hours (approved by the supervisory committee), including 3 to 6 hours of thesis credit, and completion of the core curriculum and emphasis area requirements. No more than 40 percent of the program may be 300- to 400-level courses, and at least 18 credit hours must be at the 5500 level or above.
  2. A formal written thesis is required of all students, and its format must be in accordance with guidelines of School of Graduate Studies.
  3. A final examination is required, including oral examination of thesis research and related coursework.
  4. Satisfactory compliance with all applicable requirements of the School of Graduate Studies is required, including continuous enrollment and residency.