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Master’s Program

The faculty, with extensive world-wide experience (Latin America, the Caribbean, Southern and Eastern Asia, Europe, Africa, the American West, and the American South), is exceptionally qualified to direct graduate research in geography of the natural environment (especially biogeography, paleoclimatology, and geomorphology), spatial analysis (especially location analysis, environmental modeling, and geographic information science), and human geography (especially economic, urban, transportation, population, and cultural).

The Master’s Degree emphasizes development of professional competence as a geographer, and offers opportunities to acquire substantial depth in a subfield. The degree requires a minimum of 30 hours of approved graduate credit. Required courses include Introduction to Geographical Research, Research Design and Field Methods, Quantitative Methods, a minimum of three hours in a research seminar, and participation in the departmental Colloquium. Students without a sound undergraduate background in geography may require additional credit hours. No more than six hours of thesis credit may be counted toward the degree. A final examination is required. Although a non-thesis degree option does exist, the thesis approach is strongly recommended for most students.

Minor in Environmental Policy

The program is designed to give Master’s level graduate students an opportunity to develop an interdisciplinary specialization in environmental policy. While administered through the Economics Department, the program is coordinated by a committee of representatives from the following participating departments: Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology; Civil and Environmental Engineering; Ecology; Economics; Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries; Geography; Management; Political Science; and Sociology.

Students may request admission to the minor following admission to the Master’s program in one of the participating departments. Students in good standing in one of these programs may apply for admission to the minor in environmental policy. The coordinating committee will consider the admission of interested students. Applicants should have a background in both natural and social sciences evidenced by prior coursework or experience. One course in environmental studies from the student’s Master’s discipline and one course in quantitative methods are required. These requirements may be fulfilled before or after admission to the minor. All students admitted to the minor will be required to register for at least three hours of Economics 579, Environmental Policy Research Workshop, and to complete successfully the following:

  • Ecology 520 or Plant and Soil Sciences 414 or Geography 433 or an equivalent course approved by the coordinating committee.
  • Six hours of coursework outside the Master’s discipline approved by the coordinating committee.

Interdisciplinary Graduate Minor in Computational Science

The Interdisciplinary Graduate Minor in Computational Science (IGMCS) is a new, campus-wide academic program developed by faculty from a wide range of campus colleges and departments with an interest in Computational Science. Computational modeling and simulation are indispensable tools in nearly every field of science and engineering. People trained in Computational Science find themselves in very high demand, especially for the most exciting, leading edge work. Computational Science integrates elements that are normally studied in different parts of the traditional curriculum, but which are not fully covered or combined by any one of them.

Students can find information relevant to the program and its development, including schedules, descriptions, etc., at the IGMCS website.

Interdisciplinary Watershed Minor

Growing awareness of the complexity of water quantity and quality issues related to human activities leads to dealing with those issues on a watershed scale. This interdisciplinary minor is for undergraduate and graduate students wishing to develop expanded skills in watershed science/engineering, planning and design, and culture and policy issues related to water. These skills are especially useful for careers in natural resource policy, water and land management, sustainable development and design for private industry, and stormwater management for government agencies.
This minor is housed in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. It will become available as an option beginning with the Fall 2012 catalog.

Students can find information relevant to the program and its development at the Interdisciplinary Watershed Minor website.

Academic Plan, Admission Requirements, & Financial Aid

The University of Tennessee operates on a semester system. General information on admission requirements may be obtained from the Director of Admissions, 201 Student Services Building, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-0220. Students interested in graduate studies should write to the department.

Although new graduate students may begin during any term, the fall term is strongly recommended. A 3.0 (4.0 scale) or higher undergraduate grade point average is normally required for admission to a graduate degree program. Official transcripts of all previous college work, a minimum of three letters of recommendation, and Graduate Record Examination scores are required. No single criterion will dominate but the aggregate should provide strong evidence of ability and potential. Foreign students without degrees from an accredited U.S. institution must submit TOEFL scores (minimum of 550 required for admission). Admission to the geography graduate program is subject to the availability of space and faculty advisors.

Several types of financial aid are available, including teaching and graduate assistantships that include stipend and tuition waiver. Research grants and contracts provide additional opportunities for support, and part-time research positions are often available through various campus research units and through the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Applications for fellowships may be obtained from the Director of Graduate Admissions, 218 Student Services Building, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-0220. Additionally, University housing (furnished and unfurnished apartments) is available at modest prices.

Academic Common Market

The Academic Common Market is an agreement among Southern states for sharing unique programs. Participating states can make arrangements for their residents who are fully admitted to specific programs at the University of Tennessee to enroll on an in-state tuition basis if these programs are not available in the state of residence.

Cooperating states in the Academic Common Market are Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

Residents of member states who seek further information on approved programs should contact the Southern Regional Educational Board, 592 Tenth Street, N.W., Atlanta, GA 30318-5790, (404) 875-9211, FAX (404) 872-1477,; or Norma Harrington, Office of Undergraduate Admissions, (865) 974-2184.