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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Submitted by darmstro on Fri, 04/07/2017 - 2:15pm

What Graduate Programs does the Department of Geography offer?

We offer thesis-based programs of study leading to MA, MSc, and PhD degrees in a wide range of subject areas within the discipline of Geography. In addition, we offer a course-based MGIS (Master of Geographic Information Systems) degree. Our faculty members have extensive expertise within physical and human geography and geographic methods. Meet our faculty

Do I need a Geography degree to apply for a Master Degree in Geography?

Yes, but there may be special exceptions. Some preparatory coursework may be required.

How do I find information on Graduate Programs in Geography?

The first point of contact is the Graduate Program Administrator in Geography Information may also be found on our Graduate pages.

What are the minimum entrance requirements for each program?

A four-year Baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from the University of Calgary or a recognized institution with a grade point average equivalent to 3.00 or better is required for admission to a Master program. In most cases, a Master Degree or equivalent is required for admission to a Doctoral program . In addition to the Faculties of Graduate Studies and Arts requirements, please view the Department of Geography requirements

What funding is available for Thesis-based Graduate Studies?

There are a variety of scholarships and awards administered by the Faculty of Graduate Studies Scholarship Office. See eligibility criteria, deadlines, and application instructions.

Departmental funding is available on a competitive basis to outstanding students in the form of teaching assistantships, Queen Elizabeth Scholarships and Faculty of Graduate Studies Scholarships.

Does the University of Calgary have a Graduate Student Association?

Yes, please refer to

How does the MGIS differ from GIS certificate programs?

The MGIS is a Master Degree. The work is at a graduate, university level. Each student must complete their own research, and must meet all qualifications and demands of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. A certificate program usually requires mastery of the technology and procedures of GIS, and does not focus on theory and independent research 

Are courses offered online?

Only GEOG 603 currently

What type of background do I need to apply for the MGIS Degree Program and what are the academic requirements?

The Department will accept a four-year BA or BSc in Geography or in any related field that makes use of spatial data. The minimum academic requirements for Graduate Studies are a 3.00 (B) grade point average calculated on the last two years of a four year undergraduate degree or equivalent. If your degree is not from a Canadian institution, please check the Graduate Studies website for information on international requirements for admission

Can I apply if my grade point average does not meet the minimum requirement?

If you do not meet the minimum academic requirements on your undergraduate degree but have completed additional course work and/or have extensive industry experience in a field related to GIS, the department may consider your application. If this is your situation, please provide the department with a description of how your academic and work experience has provided you with suitable preparation for an MGIS degree.

How long will it take to complete the MGIS program, and is there opportunity for financial support?

The MGIS degree program normally takes 20 to 24 months to complete, however, you have six years to finish the program. No departmental funding is available for this program. However, there are a few small scholarships and awards available to course based program students.

I have a three-year undergraduate or an applied degree. Am I eligible to apply?

If you have a three-year degree and have done additional course work at a college or technical institution, you may be considered.

How detailed should my optional project description be when I apply to the program?

In your application, you need to include a general statement of interest about what you wish to research and which faculty member you are going to work with. Include: background and relevance, research question, data accessibility, related interest and support within industry, faculty supervisor, courses of interest.

When is the application deadline for the MGIS program? 

Applications from Canadian and permanent residents for September are accepted on an on-going basis up until July 31. International students must apply by April 30.

Do the two MGIS project courses require students to do two, separate projects? And what would be required as finished projects?

There are two project-related courses that must be completed as part of the core of the program. These two courses, however, entail only one project. The first of the two courses is a critical literature review. The second course will involve carrying out the research into the chosen topic and will necessitate making use of the Geographic Information Science tools acquired in the core courses and the electives.

Where can I find information on potential projects and supervisors?

Please refer to our Research section

How much does the MGIS program cost?

The program consists of ten courses plus annual general fees. Please check the Fee section in the Faculty of Graduate Studies online calendar for tuition costs. Please note: International students pay a 100% differential on tuition fees. Check the Faculty of Graduate Studies for the most current information on tuition and general fees.

How can I find out about residence?

See the Student Residence site. International students should contact University of Calgary International

Will I have an office?

Department of Geography Graduate students have a shared office research space.

Will I be eligible for a PhD program after the MGIS degree?

Yes. We have MGIS graduates enrolled in PhD programs across Canada. Although the program is course-based, your research and communication skills are developed and honed while conducting the mandatory research project. However, if you have an interest in applying for a specific PhD program, it is always wise to check with the Graduate Advisor  to ensure your qualifications are recognized and accepted by that academic institution.

Do I need to have a supervisor in place when I apply?

Yes and a brief explanation of how your subject area relates to their research interest. Please refer to our Meet Our Faculty, Contact, and Research Group pages.

What if I change my mind about my project area?

Once in the MGIS program, it is not unusual for students to discover whole new areas that fascinate them, and to want to move in that direction. If this is the case, once in your program you may apply to change Supervisors.

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