Directions and Challenges of Master’s Programs in Geography in the United States

Janice J. Monk*, Kenneth E. Foote

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Measured by growing student numbers and new programs, master's education is one of the most dynamic areas of U.S. higher education. We focus here on the current state of programs that award the master's as their highest degree, so-called master's only departments, a distinct institutional type in the United States, which has received little research attention. Focusing on sixty-four geography programs, considerable differences are apparent in terms of size (both student and faculty numbers), mission, and curriculum; this includes a number of new programs and hybrid degrees that have recently been developed. The findings raise questions about levels of program staffing, program structure, student recruiting, and overall program quality and viability. Given the changing nature of master's education, further attention should be focused on helping universities create, strengthen, and expand such programs in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)472-481
Number of pages10
JournalProfessional Geographer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • geography
  • graduate education
  • higher education
  • U.S. master's programs


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