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Graduate student FAQ

View some commonly asked questions you may have about applying for graduate studies in the Department of Geography

We offer thesis-based programs of study leading to MA, MSc, and PhD degrees in a wide range of subject areas within the discipline of Geography. In addition, we offer a course-based MGIS (Master of Geographic Information Systems) degree and a Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Information Technology. Our faculty members have extensive expertise within physical and human geography and geographic methods.

Yes, but there may be special exceptions. Some preparatory coursework may be required.

Extensive information is found on our program pages. Please write to for information not found on the webpages.

A four-year Baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from the University of Calgary or a recognized institution with a grade point average equivalent to 3.00 or better is required for admission to a Master program. In most cases, a Master Degree or equivalent is required for admission to a Doctoral program. In addition to the Faculties of Graduate Studies and Arts requirements, please view the Department of Geography requirements.

There are a variety of scholarships and awards administered by the Faculty of Graduate Studies Scholarship Office. See below for eligibility criteria, deadlines, and application instructions. 

Departmental funding is available on a competitive basis to outstanding thesis-based students in the form of teaching assistantships and Faculty of Graduate Studies Scholarships.

Yes, please refer to the Graduate Students' Association website.

We offer our GIT courses online.

Department of Geography graduate students have a shared office research space.

A supervisor is required for Thesis programs. An Academic Advisor will be appointed for course-based programs. Please refer to the Meet Our Faculty, Contact, and Research website pages for information on our Faculty and their research focus.

Once in the MGIS program, it is not unusual for students to discover whole new areas that fascinate them, and to want to move in that direction. If this is the case, once in your program you may apply to change Supervisors.

If you have a three-year degree and have done additional course work at a college or technical institution, you may be considered.

In your application, you need to include a general statement of interest about what you wish to research and which faculty member you are going to work with. Include: background and relevance, research question, data accessibility, related interest and support within industry, faculty supervisor, courses of interest.

The Department will accept a four-year BA or BSc in Geography or in any related field that makes use of spatial data.

If you do not meet the minimum academic requirements on your undergraduate degree but have completed additional course work and/or have extensive industry experience in a field related to GIS, the department may consider your application.

Masters degree programs normally takes 20 to 24 months to complete, however, you have six years to finish the program.

MA, MSc and PhD: January 5th for September.

MGIS and GIT: Applications will be accepted up until March 1.

The MGIS is a Master Degree. The work is at a graduate, university level. Each student must complete their own research, and must meet all qualifications and demands of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. A certificate program usually requires mastery of the technology and procedures of GIS, and does not focus on theory and independent research. We do offer a Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Information Technology.

Check the Faculty of Graduate Studies for the most current information on tuition and general fees.

Yes. We have MGIS graduates enrolled in PhD programs across Canada. Although the program is course-based, your research and communication skills are developed and honed while conducting the mandatory research project. However, if you have an interest in applying for a specific PhD program, it is always wise to check with the Graduate Advisor to ensure your qualifications are recognized and accepted by that academic institution.

Understanding graduate studies

Understanding graduate studies

Build on your previous education under the mentorship of some of the top minds in your field.

Future graduate students

Future graduate students

UCalgary's commitment to research and student success, its campus amenities and its community culture add up to a perfect setting for ambitious graduate students.

International students

International students

As an integral part of the academic environment, your success is our priority. Learn everything you need to know before you apply and attend UCalgary as an international grad student.

Graduate program contacts

Contact us for any questions you may have about the programs we offer..

Graduate Program Advisors

Ask me about graduate program advising

For Thesis-based students: Denise Retzlaff

For Course-based students: Federica Gowen»

Graduate Program Directors

Ask me about graduate degree requirements

For Thesis-based programs:

Dr. Gwendolyn Blue 

For Course-based programs:

Dr. Yvonne Martin


View some commonly asked questions you may have about applying for graduate studies in the Department of Geography.

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