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Department of Geography Simon Fraser University Calendar | Spring 2018


Master of Arts

This master of arts (MA) program consists of a thesis and required and elective courses, as shown below.

All candidates are expected to complete the program and thesis requirements (30 units) in six terms.

Admission Requirements

Normally, an undergraduate 3.25 cumulative grade point average (CGPA) is required for entry.

Admission is in the fall term and applications should be completed by January 15.

Admission to the MA program requires a command of quantitative techniques and the history and philosophy of geography (that is, courses equivalent to GEOG 251 and GEOG 301). We urge potential applicants to have completed appropriate undergraduate courses in these areas prior to admission. It may be possible to fulfill these requirements after admission. However, this will increase course-load and may slow completion of the MA.

The admitted candidate works under the faculty advisor’s guidance pending the choice of a two faculty member supervisory committee, one of whom may be from outside the department. They will be chosen by the beginning of the second term.

Supervisory Committee

The candidate, once admitted, works under the guidance of a faculty advisor, pending the choice of a supervisory committee. The supervisory committee, normally consisting of two faculty members, one of whom may be from outside the department, will be chosen by the beginning of the second term.

Program Requirements

The required and elective courses total 12 units.

Students complete 12 credit hours minimum (three courses) and both of

GEOG 600 - Introduction to Graduate Studies: Fall Semester (0)

Introduction to graduate studies in the Department of Geography at Simon Fraser University, covering formal requirements and practical considerations. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Equivalent Courses: GEOG700.

GEOG 601 - Introduction to Graduate Studies: Spring Semester (0)

Completion of GEOG 600, with an emphasis on the preparation and presentation of the research proposal. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Equivalent Courses: GEOG701.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Nadine Schuurman
Th 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
RCB 7327, Burnaby

These seminars are offered each fall and spring. Grading is satisfactory/unsatisfactory. Attendance is compulsory for a satisfactory grade.

Students also complete both of

GEOG 604 - Research Design and Analytical Techniques in Human Geography (5)

Qualitative and quantitative techniques relevant to human geographic research. Equivalent Courses: GEOG704.

GEOG 605 - Geographic Ideas and Methodology (4)

Contemporary and historical modes of analysis in human geography. Equivalent Courses: GEOG708.

These two courses are offered every year. With the advisor’s consent, GEOG 604 can be replaced by another course.

GEOG 620 - Selected Topics: Economy, Environment and Development (4)

Geographic perspectives on selected topics in economy and environment in Canadian and international contexts.

GEOG 640 - Selected Topics in Social and Urban Geography (4)

Geographic perspectives on society and the city in Canadian and international contexts.

One of these courses is normally offered each year, depending on research interests.

Other courses are offered less frequently, depending on demand and faculty availability.


The program requires the submission and successful defence of a thesis. The thesis involves the conceptualization of a problem and the collection, analysis and interpretation of empirical data.

Students prepare their thesis by completing

Normally, students present proposed research at a one-day conference (research day) held in November. A written proposal is submitted to the supervisory committee, defended in colloquium and approved by the end of the second term and before substantive research.

The recommended maximum length of a thesis is 120 pages (including bibliography, but excluding appendices). The completed thesis is judged by the candidate’s examining committee at an oral defence.

Academic Requirements within the Graduate General Regulations

All graduate students must satisfy the academic requirements that are specified in the Graduate General Regulations, as well as the specific requirements for the program in which they are enrolled.