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Geography and Planning

Undergraduate and Graduate Programs

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Geography and Planning

Address:
West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Department of Geography and Planning
College of Business and Public Management
Fifth Floor
Business and Public Management Center
50 Sharpless Street
West Chester, PA 19383


Phone: 610-436-2343

Name: Dr. Dottie Ives Dewey
Position: Department Chair
Email: DIvesDewey@wcupa.edu

Name: Heather MacQueen
Position: Department Secretary
Email: HMacQueen@wcupa.edu

Graduate Programs

Master of Arts in Geography

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The MA in Geography prepares students for a variety of career choices in planning, environmental work, and population and site analysis. It can also prepare students for entry into many government agencies such as the EPA, Census Bureau, CIA, and Forestry Service, as well as private sector jobs. Another option for students with a MA in Geography is entry into selective Ph.D. programs.

The degree program minimally involves 11 geography classes, or 33 credits to complete the required thesis. Programs of study are tailored to each student's interests, prior background, and career aspirations. The advising process gives students careful individual attention so that their interests are met, and so that they graduate in a timely manner. Three well-equipped GIS labs are available for graduate student work. Students who enter the program on a full time basis should be able to attain the MA degree in two years.

Advising sheets are available online. Paper copies are available from the department secretary in Ruby Jones Hall, room 103. Advising sheets are subject to change; students should check with their advisor before registering for classes.

The Graduate Catalog with information on graduate geography courses may be viewed here.

Admission to the Program

Applicants should submit transcripts of all undergraduate work, two letters of recommendation, a resume that indicates relevant work experience, and a statement of career background and goals. GRE or other standardized scores are useful in the admission process, but not required. The department welcomes qualified applicants who have no previous background in geography, although additional preliminary or concurrent work may be required. Admission is based on department evaluation of course work taken for the baccalaureate degree and additional course work, if any, in combination with the other criteria above.

To Apply

Interested students should complete the online graduate studies application and follow the instructions for the self-managed application process. The plan number on the application for the MA in Geography program is A537.

The application deadline is May 15 for the fall semester and November 15 for the spring semester.

Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning

Eighteen Credit Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning

The Department of Geography and Planning offers a certificate program in Urban and Regional Planning that consists of six courses. Urban and Regional Planning is a creative way to influence the future of regions, cities and neighborhoods. Professional planners use a variety of tools and techniques to design communities that are equitable and sustainable. This certificate program provides graduate-level instruction on the major areas of planning. If a certificate student subsequently or simultaneously applies for and is accepted into the Master of Arts or the MPA-Urban and Regional Planning degree programs in geography, the geography courses (GEO) listed below can be counted towards the degree. For students enrolled in the MPA program, the certificate will be awarded along with the MPA degree.

Prerequisites

A student who wishes to enroll in the certificate program needs to hold a bachelor's degree (in any subject area) from an accredited institution, and needs to have an undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 2.8 or greater.

Advising Sheets

Advising sheets are available online. Paper copies are available from the department secretary in Ruby Jones Hall, room 103. Advising sheets are subject to change; students should check with their advisor before registering for classes.

Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning

Course requirements:

  • Introduction to Urban and Regional Planning (GEO525)
  • Five courses selected from the graduate course offerings chosen in consultation with the graduate coordinator based on areas of interest to the student.

To Apply

A student who wishes to apply to the Urban and Regional Planning Certificate Program should download the Graduate Studies Application, and follow the instructions for the self-managed application process.

For the Graduate Studies application, the plan number for the Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning is C250.

For more information, contact Dr. Dottie Ives Dewey, Graduate Coordinator for the certificate program.

Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Twelve Credit Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

The Department of Geography and Planning offers a certificate program in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) that consists of four courses. Geographic Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies have become prominent workplace tools used widely in public and private sectors. This certificate program will provide graduate-level instruction on their use. If a certificate student subsequently or simultaneously applies for and is accepted into one of the Masters degree programs in geography, the geography courses (GEO) listed below can be counted towards the degree.

Prerequisites

A student who wishes to enroll in the certificate program needs to hold a bachelor's degree (in any subject area) from an accredited institution, and needs to have an undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 2.8 or greater.

Advising Sheets

Advising sheets are available online. Paper copies are available from the department secretary in Ruby Jones Hall, room 103. Advising sheets are subject to change; students should check with their advisor before registering for classes.

Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

The required core courses: 9 credits

  • Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GEO534)
  • Applications of Geographic Information Systems (GEO584)
  • Geodatabases (GEO577)

Additional elective course chosen from the following: 3 credits

  • Internet Mapping (GEO507)
  • Environmental Modeling with GIS (GEO538)
  • Introduction to Business GIS (GEO556)
  • Geography Field Methods (GEO585)
  • GIS-related Internship (GEO615)
  • Water Quality & Health (ENV533)
  • Emergency Preparedness (ENV570)
  • Topical Application Elective: 3 credits- chosen in consultation with graduate coordinator to combine geographic technology application in a topical area of interest to the student.

To Apply

A student who wishes to apply to the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) certificate program should download the Graduate Studies Application, and follow the instructions for the self-managed application process.

For the Graduate Studies application, the plan number for the Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is C233. For more information, contact Dr. Dottie Ives Dewey, Graduate Coordinator for the certificate program.

Online Certificate in GIS

Twelve Credit Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

West Chester University now offers an on-line option for students wishing to earn a Certificate in GIS through distance education. The online GIS Certificate offers the same curriculum and is taught by the same faculty who teach our in-class courses. The WCU Online GIS Certificate is recognized as high-value and it is one of the most affordable programs offered by any University in the U.S.

Geographic Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies have become prominent workplace tools used widely in public and private sectors. This online certificate program will provide graduate-level instruction on their use.

Curriculum

The Online GIS Certificate follows the same general structure and requirements as our in-class program. The online certificate follows the same curriculum and is taught by the same faculty who teach the classroom-based courses. The only difference is that courses are taken online instead of in the classroom. For students who wish to combine online with in-class courses, that option is also available. Students are required to complete a total of 12 credits, or four courses to receive the Certificate.

Required core courses: 9 credits

  • Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GEO534)
  • Applications of Geographic Information Systems (GEO584)
  • Geodatabases (GEO577)

One elective courses chosen from the following current offerings: 3 credits

  • Internet Mapping (GEO507)
  • Environmental Modeling with GIS (GEO538)
  • Introduction to Business GIS (GEO556)
  • Geography Field Methods (GEO585)
  • GIS-related Internship (GEO615)
  • Water Quality & Health (ENV533)
  • Emergency Preparedness (ENV570)

Advising Sheets

Advising sheets are available online. Advising sheets are subject to change; students should check with their advisor before registering for classes.

Tuition

The WCU Online GIS Certificate is a tremendous value for both Pennsylvania residents and for those who reside out-of-state. The 2016-2017 Graduate Catalog lists the current tuition and fees.

Admission

A student who wishes to enroll in the on-line certificate program needs to hold a bachelor's degree (in any subject area) from an accredited institution, and needs to have an undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 2.8 or greater. Occasionally students with a lower GPA are accepted if there are other strengths in their application.

Students can take up to three GIS courses before they must apply to the program. However, students who have not yet applied and been admitted to the Online GIS Certificate program are limited to taking one GIS course per term.

If a certificate student subsequently or simultaneously applies for and is accepted into one of the Masters degree programs in geography, the geography courses (GEO) listed above can be counted towards the degree.

Course Delivery

West Chester University's Online GIS Certificate courses are primarily taught asynchronously with students required to meet certain learning, assess and other requirements in a stated time period. Online courses do not meet in a classroom, but students have an option to enroll in classroom-based courses if desired.

WCU delivers its Online GIS Certificate through Desire2Learn (D2L) online courseware. Using D2L, professors teaching online courses have many options for delivering course material including video, voiceover presentations and readings, and many options for assignments including discussion forums, blog postings, file uploads and online testing.

While most of the course requirements can be completed in your own time, in some cases professors may assign assignments or activities that may require students to be available at certain times.

Course Requirements:

The course requirements for the WCU Online GIS Certificate are the same as the requirements for students taking in-class courses.

To Apply

A student who wishes to apply to the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) certificate program should download the Graduate Studies Application, and follow the instructions for the self-managed application process.

For the Graduate Studies application, the plan number for the Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is C233. For more information, contact Dr. Dottie Ives Dewey, Graduate Coordinator for the certificate program.

MPA Urban and Regional Planning

The Program

The MPA degree with a concentration in Urban and Regional Planning (MPA:URP) focuses on land use development and management at the local, county, and regional levels. It is an appropriate concentration for those who desire to enhance their knowledge of comprehensive planning, zoning and mapping, and demographic and environmental impacts of land development. See the Department of Geography and Planning for additional information.

The program utilizes the Geography and Planning Geographic Information Systems Lab, a state of the art GIS lab on campus. Access to all resources in the lab is provided to students. Students are encouraged to work with faculty and other students to develop skills in order to complete projects similar to the ones shown at the website for the Geography and Planning Geographic Information Systems Lab.

The Curriculum

The MPA:URP degree is comprised of six administration courses, as well as one required Urban and Regional Planning core course and five elective Regional Planning courses. Upon completion of the six Planning courses, students will earn a Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning.

Each student in this concentration, in consultation with the graduate coordinator, develops a tailored program of courses meeting the needs of the student. The individualized program will address the background and career goals of the student.

More information on Graduate Geography and Planning courses may be viewed in the Graduate Catalog.

Administrative Core (18 credits)

For administrative core course descriptions, please see MPA Core.

No comprehensive examination is required for the administrative core. However, in lieu of an examination, each of the six administrative core courses must be completed with a grade of at least "B".

Concentration Core (18 credits)

Required (3 credits)

GEO525 Urban and Regional Planning: Theory and Practice Application of community-planning theories and methods to designated urban and regional systems.

Electives (15 credits)

Students select five courses from the list of Graduate offerings in consultation with Dr. Ives-Dewey.

Advising Sheets

Advising sheets are available online. Paper copies are available from the department secretary in Ruby Jones Hall, room 103. Advising sheets are subject to change; students should check with their advisor before registering for classes.

To Apply

Interested persons should complete the online Graduate Studies application and submit the following materials to the Office of Graduate Studies:

  • Completed graduate application, including a statement of how the M.P.A. furthers the individual's professional goals;
  • Official academic transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended at both the undergraduate and graduate levels;
  • Two letters of reference from current or former supervisors who can attest to the applicant's management potential;
  • Resume

Students wishing to pursue this area of study would select the MPA General program code, P526, making note of the intention to also pursue the Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning.

Normally, the application process must be completed and admission granted prior to course enrollment for the fall or spring semesters. The deadline for applying for the fall semester is May 15 and for the spring semester, November 15.

Steps to Degree

The process for completing a Master's degree at West Chester University includes some of the following steps:

After completing 12-15 credits, the student applies online for formal degree candidacy.

If you should decide to complete a Research Report Project, the first step in gaining approval to register for research credits is to fill out the Independent Study/Individualized Instruction form. This form should be signed by your advisor and the Department Chair. It should then be returned to the Geography and Planning Department.

If you should decide to complete a thesis, the first step in gaining approval to register for thesis credits is to fill out the thesis examination committee form. The form should be printed out, filled in and signed by your thesis faculty advisor and at least two additional thesis evaluation committee members.

Before you begin writing your thesis document, it would be worthwhile to read the Office of Graduate Studies Master's Thesis Guidelines. It might also be helpful to look at a recently-completed thesis and, as the Department receives a bound copy of all theses, ask the graduate coordinator or department secretary to locate one for you. Dr. James Lewandowski has put together a thesis guideline which you may also find helpful to consult as you carry out your thesis.

After the thesis has been successfully defended and all changes have been made and approved by the thesis committee, thesis advisor, and Graduate Dean, students should submit 4 FINAL copies of the thesis printed on 8 1/2 X 11 inch white 22-24 pound bond paper containing 100% cotton (a watermark on each page will clearly reveal the cotton content when held up to light). The 4 copies (or more if you wish) will be delivered to the library for binding.

If you should wish to present your research at a professional conference, the Graduate Student Association (GSA) offers support to present at and/or attend a professional conference.

Continuing Education

Students interested in graduate courses in Geography and Planning, but not a graduate degree, may apply to become "Professional Growth" students. Examples of typical students enrolled in this program include professionals who already possess a Masters degree and do not need another, and students in a particular profession (e.g., real estate) for whom a graduate degree is not necessary.

"Professional Growth" admission requires an application that includes transcripts. However, enrollment prior to the completion of the application process may be permitted if time is a factor.

Here are some examples of professional growth interests: People working in public administration and/or real estate may elect to take planning courses. Social Studies teachers may choose to enroll in a cluster of regional and topical courses (for example, Latin America). Others may be interested in a cluster of courses that develop analytic capabilities such as the two-course GIS sequence plus Field Methods course.

An advisor will work individually with "Professional Growth" students to help select the most appropriate courses.

To Apply

Admission to Professional Growth requires an application, a professional goals statement, two letters of recommendation and a $50.00 application fee. This is an on-line process. In addition, the applicant will need to supply an official, sealed transcript from their Undergraduate or Graduate school. Once all the information has been received, the applicant will be notified that their file has been sent for review and a decision will be made in a timely manner.

The Professional Growth code for Geography and Planning is PG13.