M.A. Graduate Admission Requirements

It is the policy of the department to provide equal opportunities to all students regardless of race, creed, color, sex, or national origin. The department maintains slightly different requirements than the general requirements for admission to graduate study at UNC Charlotte. The department requires applicants to demonstrate evidence of suitability for the program. Applicants are evaluated in the five major areas listed below. Each of these areas are weighted equally during the evaluation of applicants.

All applications for admission will be reviewed by the Graduate Advisory Committee. The department will admit applicants on a competitive basis as space in the program allows and grant exceptions to the minimum standards already mentioned as deemed in the best interests of the program.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

In general, the department prefers an overall GPA above 3.1 (or a 3.1 for the last 2 years) and a GPA of 3.2 in the major. However, averages less than these minimums will not exclude applicants if the other elements of the application are strong.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of reference are required. For the most part, letters from college or university teachers who have worked with and/or taught applicants are preferred. These letters will be evaluated on the basis of how well the applicant is suited, in terms of intellect, motivation and temperament, to do graduate course work.

Personal Essays

Applicants must write a personal essay which directly addresses why they wish to do graduate work in geography, why they wish to participate in the M.A. Program at UNC Charlotte and what they wish to do with the degree they would obtain. They should address directly how the program at UNC Charlotte fits their career and/or professional goals.

This essay is very important in determining the applicant's commitment to graduate education and to a professional career in geography or a related field. Careful consideration of what goes into this essay is time well spent.

Scores on the Graduate Record Exam

In general, the Department prefers scores in the range of 1000 or more on the combined Verbal and Quantitative portions of the GRE. Scores less than the suggested minimum do not automatically exclude applicants if the remainder of their application is strong.

Transcripts of College Course Work

Transcripts are evaluated on the basis of the types of courses taken, range of geography, statistical and computer course work attempted. Not only is the applicant evaluated on the strength of the performance in these areas, but also on the range, depth and suitability of the applicant’s preparation for graduate level course work.

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate their proficiency in English by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination. Overall scores of 575 with scores of 55 on individual sections (listening comprehension; structure and written expression; vocabulary and reading comprehension) are preferred.

Prerequisite Requirements

Minimum Preparation Suggested for Students Entering the Program:

All prospective graduate students must demonstrate competence in undergraduate subject matter in their area of study. While the Department does not require that applicants have a degree in Geography, prospective graduate students should provide evidence that they are prepared to immediately take full advantage of graduate level course work in Geography.

Students applying to the program should, at a minimum, be familiar with the concepts and materials offered in courses such as basic Economic Geography, Introduction to Spatial Analysis, Location Theory, and Introduction to Research Methods or Statistics.

Any student wishing to pursue additional training in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) should have basic cartography preparation and computer file management and data base skills. The relevant courses at UNC Charlotte are Fundamentals of GIS and Technology and Cartographic Techniques. These courses are considered basic for admission to the UNC Charlotte Masters of Arts in Geography Program. Consequently, a student will normally not be considered prepared for graduate study without equivalent course work. Any student passing the above courses with a grade of B or better at UNC Charlotte or the equivalent courses from another university with a grade of at least B will not be judged deficient in these courses and will not be denied entry based solely on a lack of preparation. All judgments in this area are the responsibility of the Graduate Advisory Committee, the Community Planning Interdisciplinary Committee, and the Department Chair.