Geography and Urban Studies - MA

The MA is designed to prepare students for further graduate study, as well as professional positions related to urban and economic development, environmental sustainability and social justice, including local and governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations at the local and international scale, community-based and public interest organizations, and business.

The complexity of human-environment interactions, as well as the interconnectedness of the global economy, culture, and politics, have fueled a resurgence of geographic theory and methods as a framework for analyzing metropolitan and urban conditions. The MA program encourages (although it does not absolutely require) students to develop familiarity with GIS as a research tool. By bringing together a wide range of geographic data at varying spatial scales for representation and analysis, GIS permits a simultaneous view of the human and environmental dimensions of urbanization.

Our faculty excels at theoretical and applied analysis of metropolitan areas within their broader regional, national, and global contexts, often using the complex Philadelphia metropolitan region as a laboratory. We draw upon our Philadelphia location to provide students with opportunities to engage in public policy and applied urban and environmental research. Students can use our faculty’s linkages with public agencies, educational institutions, community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, and social movements in our region to deepen their knowledge of urban dynamics.

Culminating exercise in the MA program:

Master's research paper that students produce under the supervision of both a faculty member with expertise in the content area of the paper, and an instructor guiding a class in which the individual students are producing these papers. This is a supervised but independent research experience that enhances the student’s ability to contribute to professional conferences and journals upon graduation.