Geography and Urban Studies MA


Learn more about the Master of Arts in Geography and Urban Studies.

About the Program

The Master of Arts program in Geography and Urban Studies focuses on geographic approaches to the study of urban and environmental processes and conditions in U.S. and international settings. Our emphasis is on the themes of geographical, globalization, social justice and sustainability methods. We train our students to conduct research that is theoretically informed and empirically grounded along the urban to rural continuum; understand interdisciplinary and integrative analyses of complex human-environmental processes; and specialize in techniques for urban and environmental analysis with an emphasis on GIS, spatial statistics and qualitative methods.

The program prepares students for further study and for careers in academia, business, government, nonprofit organizations, and community organizing and social change efforts, such as economic development, environmental management, geographic systems management, and planning and public policy. Throughout, emphasis is placed on the development of research techniques and analytical skills applicable to problem solving.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 3 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: Students complete the degree program through classes offered after 4:30 p.m. The degree program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis.

Interdisciplinary Study: Faculty members in the Department of Geography and Urban Studies hold doctoral degrees in environmental science, geography, urban and regional planning, and other social sciences. Even beyond the interdisciplinary expertise of the departmental faculty, the program draws on the expertise of Graduate Faculty conducting research and teaching courses in related departments across the university.

Affiliation(s): The program is affiliated with the Association of American Geographers and the Urban Affairs Association.

Areas of Specialization: Graduate faculty expertise is at the intersection of geographical, globalization, social justice and sustainability methods, including Black and feminist geographies, community-based research, energy geography, geographic information science, geospatial data science, health geography, political ecology, sustainability science, urban analytics, urban and economic geography, and urban studies and public policy. Faculty have regional expertise in Latin America and East and Southeast Asia. Faculty networks with academic institutions, community organizations, nongovernmental organizations and public agencies, as well as social movements in Philadelphia and beyond, provide opportunities to actively engage in research.

Job Prospects: Graduates have continued their education by pursuing doctoral degrees in some of the nation's most prestigious PhD programs. Graduates also find employment in public sector agencies that deal with environmental planning, land use and urban problems. In addition, they work for quasi-public social service institutions that address various needs of urban residents, as well as for private sector firms whose business requires an understanding of urban and spatial dynamics.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Non-matriculated students may take up to 9 credits prior to matriculation. If accepted into the program, these credits may be applied toward the degree.

Funding Opportunities: Typically, the Department does not provide financial assistance to students at the master's level. Teaching and Research Assistantships are reserved for PhD students.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: March 1
Spring: November 1

Applications may be reviewed prior to the deadlines. Although students are sometimes admitted for the Spring term, the Department encourages applicants to apply for the Fall term since the program sequence is designed to begin at that time.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from college/university faculty members familiar with the applicant's academic competence. The recommendations may be submitted on the "Reference Report for Graduate Study" or as a traditional letter of recommendation. Letters must be signed and forwarded as a PDF on official letterhead.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: No specific coursework is required as applicants are drawn from a variety of disciplines.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A baccalaureate degree in any of the social sciences is appropriate. A bachelor's degree in another discipline may also be considered.

Statement of Goals: In approximately 500 to 1,000 words, share why you are interested in Temple's Geography and Urban Studies program, your research and academic goals, future career goals, academic and research achievements, and any other information that you believe will be helpful in evaluating your application. The Graduate Admissions Committee is particularly interested in students' interests and goals and whether they fit with our program offerings and faculty interests.

Standardized Test Scores:
GRE: Optional. Scores may be submitted if available.

Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 88
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5
  • PTE Academic: 60

Resume: Current resume required.

Writing Sample: At its discretion, the Graduate Admissions Committee may request a writing sample.

Transfer Credit: Applicable graduate coursework may be transferred from outside the University, provided that the credits were obtained no more than five years prior to the student's matriculation at Temple and the grades are "B" or better. The credits must be equivalent to coursework offered at Temple. The maximum number of credits a student may transfer is 6.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 36

Required Courses:

Core Courses
GUS 5159Geographic Inquiry3
GUS 8011History and Theory of Urban Studies3
GUS 8016Public Policy for Urban Regions3
GUS 8031Critical Issues in Globalization, Sustainability, and Social Justice3
Introduction to Statistics course3
Methodology Courses 16
Research Course
GUS 9991Master's Research Paper3
Total Credit Hours36

Culminating Events:
Master's Research Paper:
In a student's final term, they develop a high-quality paper on a topic of their choice. Students meet as a class to facilitate their projects. The class is graded on a pass/fail basis. The course instructor evaluates the paper and determines whether the student passes the class.


Program Web Address:

Department Information:

Dept. of Geography and Urban Studies

308 Gladfelter Hall

1115 W. Polett Walk

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6089


Submission Address for Application Materials:

Department Contacts:

Senior Manager, Administration:

Jessica Brennan


Graduate Chairperson:

Allison Hayes-Conroy, PhD



Melissa Gilbert, PhD