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Geography and Planning

Graduate Programs

Contact Geography and Planning  

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 McQueen
Position: Department Secretary
Email: HMacQueen@wcupa.edu

Graduate Programs

The Spring and Fall 2018 graduate application portal is now open. Click here!

MS in Geography

MS in Geography

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The MS in Geography prepares students for a variety of career choices in GIS 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 in geospatial technologies, engineering, and planning firms. Another option for students with a MS 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. Two state-of-the-art GIS labs and a fully equiped Planning Studio are available for graduate student work. Students who enter the program on a full time basis should be able to attain the MS degree in two years.

Advising sheets are available online.  Paper copies are available from the department secretary in the Business and Public Management Center, Rm. 506. 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 MS in Geography program is A539.

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

Master of Urban and Regional Planning

The Program

The Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) at West Chester University prepares students to enter the workforce as  professional planners and thereby meet the growing demand for urban and regional planners, and related professions in the region. Professional planners help to influence the future of neighborhood, local, regional and metropolitan areas. A planner plays a major role in shaping communities, in providing guidance for sustainable development, and in addressing social, economic, environmental and political problems of communities. The urban and regional planning curriculum equips students with the professional knowledge and technical skills to guide the complex processes of a changing world, to utilize geospatial and other technologies to create a sustainable built and natural environment.

Students will understand how to make decisions based on sound knowledge and guided by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Code of Ethics. The program has been designed to align with the standards of the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP).  Students will develop specific competencies for planning research and analysis, plan making, effective communication skills, working with diverse environments and communities, applying ethical principles, advocating for social justice, and employing geospatial technologies for planning applications and decision-making.

Students will develop specific competencies for planning research and analysis, plan making, effective communication skills, working with diverse environments and communities, applying ethical principles, advocating for social justice, and employing geospatial technologies for planning applications and decision-making.

The program utilizes two state-of-the-art GIS labs and a fully-equipped Planning Studio, which are located in the Building and Public Management Center on the 1st floor. Check out some recent media coverage of the building with images of the labs and Studio here: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2017/03/22/cutting-edge-technology-at-west-chester-u-prepares-students-for-real-world/

The Curriculum

The MURP degree is comprised of nine required core courses (27 credits) and six or seven additional elective courses (21 credits)

Required (27 credits)

PLN525 Planning History, Theory & Ethics

GEO509 Quantitative Methods

PLN527 Planning Law & Organization

GEO534 Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

PLN508 Qualitative Methods & Community Engagement Techniques

GEO521 Suburbanization & Land Development

PLN536 Environmental Planning

PLN505 Planning Design (Studio A)

PLN605 Planning Design (Studio B)

In consultation with their graduate advisor, students select six or seven courses in their area(s) of interest from a range of course offerings. Students also have an option to complete an internship for course credit. If approved by a thesis committee, students also have an opportunity to complete a graduate thesis.

Admission to the Program

To meet the requirements for full admission to the program, applicants must have an undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA of 2.8. Provisional admission will be considered for students who do not meet the minimum requirements.

Interested persons will need to complete the online application and will need to submit the following materials:

  • Completed graduate application, including a state of how the MURP 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 professors or supervisors who can attest to the applicants knowledge and professional potential.

Applications received prior to May 15 for the fall semester and November 15 for the spring semester will receive priority consideration for graduate assistantships.

Advising sheets are available online.  Paper copies are available from the department secretary in the Business and Public Management Center, Rm. 506. Advising sheets are subject to change; students should check with their advisor before registering for classes.

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Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning

Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended the Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning program.

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 Science, 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 the Business and Public Management Center, room 506. 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)

Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended the Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) program.

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 the Business and Public Management Center, room 506. 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

Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended the Online Certificate in GIS program.

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 2017-2018 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.

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.

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