Applied Geography


Master's Degree program

Many problems facing society today have a geographical dimension. By studying Applied Geography at the University of North Texas, you learn to apply research methods and spatial and environmental problem-solving skills to:

  • Address problems related to floods and droughts
  • Create plans for sustainable urban growth
  • Evaluate effects of globalization and environmental change on human security
  • Evaluate human impacts on ecosystems
  • Find good locations and markets for business expansion
  • Identify patterns in the spread of disease

The Department of Geography offers course work leading to a Master of Science degree in Applied Geography and a 15-credit-hour certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). You can also take graduate-level courses without enrolling in the degree program.

Gain new perspectives

Our curriculum educates you in physical and human geography through required course work, research and teaching experience, and numerous internship opportunities.

We house several specialized laboratories for studying archaeological science, earth science, physical geology, geomorphology, hydrology, ecosystems, remote sensing and GIS. Other facilities are housed in the Institute of Applied Science, a center for interdisciplinary research.

You can gain additional insights by interacting and researching with faculty members from the School of Public Health at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth and specialists in environmental science.

Our faculty members are recognized experts in their fields. They conduct research in:

  • Ecosystem management
  • Hydrology and water resources
  • Environmental archaeology
  • Globalization and development
  • Medical geography and health care delivery systems
  • Natural hazard assessment
  • Remote sensing and digital image processing
  • Soil geomorphology
  • Urban and economic geography

Outstanding student support

The university provides several services exclusively to graduate students. The Graduate Student Writing Support office can help you with writing, and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research offers assistance with statistical research.

A Thesis Boot Camp and other specialized workshops are available through the Toulouse Graduate School. Many of the workshops are available online for your convenience.

Degree tracks/Topical areas

Applied geomorphology focuses on the configuration and evolution of landforms that shape the Earth’s surface and their societal significance. You’ll study hazards such as flooding, expansive soils, landslides, hurricanes and coastal erosion.

Applied GIS plays a vital role in planning, policy and implementation in urban geography, economic/ business development, environmental science and medical geography.

Business geography integrates geographic analysis, reasoning and technology to improve business decisions.

Environmental archaeology prepares you for cultural resource management positions or doctoral programs in archaeology. You gain a broad geographical, geological and archaeological background.

Medical geography focuses on the theory and techniques needed to understand the spatial patterns of health outcomes, environmental risks and exposures, disease spread and the distribution of and need for health care services.

Urban environmental management prepares you to manage the planning and implementation of compliance and ethical strategies necessary for sustaining the urban environment.

Water resources management prepares you for a role in a research or regulatory agency, municipality, water supply district or environmental consulting firm by studying scientific, technical and political aspects of water resources management.

Facilities and laboratories

The Center for Environmental Archaeology

The center maintains fully-equipped laboratories in archaeology, geoarchaeology and zooarchaeology. Research includes projects at Upper and Middle Paleolithic sites in Portugal and Ukraine, the 1.8 million-year-old site of Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia, environmental impacts resulting from human colonization in New Zealand and several projects in Texas.

The Center for Remote Sensing

This unit provides opportunities in computer-aided analyses of remotely sensed and other spatial data. Research includes monitoring land and water environments, developing information management systems to assist in decisions about natural resources ecosystem-level analyses for land management questions, and change detection of urban land use and sand dune migration using multitemporal LiDAR data.

The Computational Epidemiology Lab

This is a multidisciplinary research center focused on activities related to population health. Projects include outbreak modeling, visualization of complex data, geospatial analysis and response plan design.

The Ecosystem Geography Lab

Faculty and students affiliated with this lab study the impacts of global environmental change — land-use/land-cover change and climate change — on the structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems in spatially heterogeneous landscapes.

The Environmental Modeling Lab

The lab develops mathematical models and computer simulations to assess the impacts of anthropogenic stressors on environmental and ecological systems. Research topics include linking environmental models to remote sensing and GIS for landscape and regional dynamics, studying how global change affects ecosystems, and integrating modeling with optical and microwave sensors and data acquisition electronics.

The Geomorphology Lab

Researchers study contemporary and historical geomorphological processes, including hazards such as flooding, expansive soils, landslides, hurricanes, tsunamis and coastal erosion.

Attending UNT

Admission requirements

You’ll need to meet the admission requirements for the graduate school and provide the following materials in your admission application:

  • Three reference letters
  • Self-statement essay addressing who you are and why you’re interested in geography at UNT
  • Preferred major professor statement addressing which faculty member(s) you’d like to work with and why
  • Research writing sample (term paper or other completed research project)
  • Résumé detailing education and work experience
  • Applied Geography Data Sheet (available from our program website)
  • GRE scores (optional; included in your record only if submitted)
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended

Program admission is based on a holistic review of your qualifications. More detailed admission information is available at our website. Graduate school admission requirements are outlined at the graduate school website and in our catalog.

Degree requirements

Non-thesis option

  • 9 credit hours of core research technique courses
  • 6 credit hours of courses in a minor concentration
  • 18 credit hours of course work in a topical area
  • 3 credit hours completing problems in lieu of thesis project
  • Comprehensive exams

Thesis option

  • 9 credit hours of core research technique courses
  • 6 credit hours of courses in a minor concentration
  • 15 credit hours of course work in a topical area
  • 6 credit hours writing a thesis
  • Oral defense of the thesis

GIS certification

The GIS certificate program provides the conceptual understanding and technical proficiency necessary to apply GIS in various settings. Fifteen credit hours of course work are required to earn the certificate.

Financial assistance

We provide teaching and research assistantships on a competitive basis to help you pursue your graduate degree. Teaching assistants work in earth science, geology, GIS and archaeology laboratory classes or assist instructors in introductory geography courses. Research assistantships are often available through faculty research grants.

Private industry and various local governments offer internships and job opportunities. For more information on financial assistance, visit the the financial aid website or the graduate school site.