Geography - MS

S.J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources

About This Degree

The master’s program in geography is centered on exploring how the geographic perspective informs our understanding of human-environment relationships.

Broadly, geographers are concerned with the relationship between people and place and why place matters, the spatial patterns of human activity across the earth and the processes underlying those patterns, and the linkages among places in a globalizing world.

Formed in 2002, the Department of Environment and Society is the first of its kind in a college of natural resources in the country and has served as a model for the development of similar departments at other institutions of higher learning.

What You Will Learn

Geography is a diverse field, covering a wide range of issues, including the social aspects of natural resource management and conservation, land-use and environmental change, international and rural development, map making, planning, natural disaster response, and more.

The geography degree combines technical training in geographic/information systems, remote sensing, and quantitative and qualitative analysis with the study of the human-environment relationship.


Climate Adaptation Science (Geography MS):

The Climate Adaptation Science specialization provides students with experiences in actionable science through internship and research experiences. Program includes interdisciplinary research to identify adaptive responses to changing climate extremes and two-part internships with agency, NGO, and industry partners. In a first internship, students contribute to projects and learn the workplace cultures and science needs of the host. The internship experiences inform interdisciplinary climate adaptation research by student teams. In a second internship, students share science results and tools with the host organization and help put that science into action.

Career And Outcomes

Career Opportunities

Graduates can work in the following areas:

  • GIS specialist
  • Natural resource management
  • International conservation
  • Non-profit/non-governmental organization work
  • Education
  • Planner
  • Cartographer
  • Environmental consulting
  • International development

Job Outlook



Becky Hirst

Environment and Society Staff Assistant
Office: NR 201
Phone: (435) 797-3781

I am not a current USU student

I have not applied or been admitted, even if I've taken a USU Concurrent Enrollment course

I am a current USU student

I have been admitted and plan to attend, or continue attending USU

USU Locations



Admission Requirements

Applicants from various undergraduate backgrounds may be considered. Depending on the student’s desired area of research, certain prerequisite courses may be required.

To be accepted to the program, it is recommended that applicants first contact a specific faculty member with whom they are interested in working. If the faculty member is accepting graduate students and agrees to work with the student, the student can then apply by completing the following application requirements:

Application Requirements:

  • Complete the online application
  • Pay the $55 application fee
  • Score at or above the 40th percentile on in the GRE
  • Have a 3.0 or higher GPA on your last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits
  • Provide transcripts of all college/university credits
  • Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation

International students have additional admissions requirements.


The department has the following deadline:

  • Fall semester – February 15

The degree programs in the Department of Environment and Society have rolling admission, meaning the department will continue to consider and accept applications until the program is full. The time it takes to process an application is primarily dependent on the speed with which the School of Graduate Studies receives letters of recommendation, transcripts, and test scores. For most students, this process may take six to eight weeks. Applicants should plan accordingly.

Plan Options

Students can receive the MS by pursuing one of two options:

  • In the Plan A option, students complete graduate-level coursework and must write a thesis.
  • The Plan B option requires the production of a paper or creative work of art and is expected to reflect equivalent scholarship standards as a thesis.

Financial Aid

The Department of Environment and Society provides funding for most of its graduate students through research assistantships, available through professors having contracts, grants, or other awards.

A variety of funding opportunities are available on the graduate school website.

Take The Next Step

You May Also Be Interested In

Environment and Society

Learn how human activities affect the natural environment and help make changes in policy, land management, and human behavior to reduce society’s impact on the natural world.

Geographic Information Science (GIS)

Develop skills and experience applying industry standard GIS and remote sensing tools to natural resource issues.

Master of Natural Resources

Earn a master’s as a working professional as you take courses to help you become a manager and decision maker in the natural resources field.

Recreation Resource Management

Earn a degree at a university with six national parks close at hand as you prepare to manage outdoor recreation settings.