M.A. Graduate Admission Requirements

It is the policy of the department to provide equal opportunities to all students regardless of race, creed, color, sex, or national origin. The department maintains slightly different requirements than the general requirements for admission to graduate study at UNC Charlotte. The department requires applicants to demonstrate evidence of suitability for the program. Applicants are evaluated in the five major areas listed below. Each of these areas are weighted equally during the evaluation of applicants.

All applications for admission will be reviewed by the Graduate Advisory Committee. The department will admit applicants on a competitive basis as space in the program allows and grant exceptions to the minimum standards already mentioned as deemed in the best interests of the program.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

In general, the department prefers an overall GPA above 3.1 (or a 3.1 for the last 2 years) and a GPA of 3.2 in the major. However, averages less than these minimums will not exclude applicants if the other elements of the application are strong.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of reference are required. For the most part, letters from college or university teachers who have worked with and/or taught applicants are preferred. These letters will be evaluated on the basis of how well the applicant is suited, in terms of intellect, motivation and temperament, to do graduate course work.

Personal Essays

Applicants must write a personal essay which directly addresses why they wish to do graduate work in geography, why they wish to participate in the M.A. Program at UNC Charlotte and what they wish to do with the degree they would obtain. They should address directly how the program at UNC Charlotte fits their career and/or professional goals.

This essay is very important in determining the applicant’s commitment to graduate education and to a professional career in geography or a related field. Careful consideration of what goes into this essay is time well spent.

Scores on the Graduate Record Exam

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) with minimum scores of 150 on both the verbal and quantitative sections and a 3.5 or above on the analytical portions. Applicants must have taken the GRE; no other test will be accepted in its place. Scores less than these suggested minimums will not automatically exclude applicants if the remainder of the applicant’s file is strong.

Transcripts of College Course Work

Transcripts are evaluated on the basis of the types of courses taken, range of geography, statistical and computer course work attempted. Not only is the applicant evaluated on the strength of the performance in these areas, but also on the range, depth and suitability of the applicant’s preparation for graduate level course work.

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

TOEFL exam scores of at least 84 on the Internet-based test for applicants whose native language is not English. The program expects a minimum score in the low to mid 20s on each of the components of the TOEFL. In addition, international students who are supported through a teaching assistantship (TA) will be required to undergo evaluation by the English Language Training Institute (ELTI) at UNC Charlotte prior to beginning their assistantship.

Prerequisite Requirements

Minimum Preparation Suggested for Students Entering the Program:

All prospective graduate students must demonstrate competence in undergraduate subject matter in their area of study. While the Department does not require that applicants have a degree in Geography, prospective graduate students should provide evidence that they are prepared to immediately take full advantage of graduate level course work in Geography.

Students applying to the program should, at a minimum, be familiar with the concepts and materials offered in courses such as basic Economic Geography, Introduction to Spatial Analysis, Location Theory, and Introduction to Research Methods or Statistics.

Any student wishing to pursue additional training in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) should have basic cartography preparation and computer file management and data base skills.

Early Entry Program

Exceptional undergraduate students at UNC Charlotte may apply for the Early Entry Program and begin work toward the graduate degree before completion of the baccalaureate degree. See the
Undergraduate Catalog for details and requirements. Also see the Degree Requirements and Academic Policies section of the Graduate Catalog for more information about Early Entry Programs.