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Geography Graduate Handbook

Table of Contents

View handbook as pdf.

Introduction

Advising

Summary of Coursework Requirements

Thesis Track

Non-Thesis Track

Registration

Grades and Standing in the Program

Financial Assistance and Fees

Code of Conduct

Departmental Operational Policies and Procedures

Service and Participation Opportunities

Travel Funds and Research Awards

Introduction

Welcome to the master’s degree program in the Geography Department at Ohio University! The geography graduate committee has prepared this handbook as a convenient source document to assist you in completing your graduate program and to communicate major policies and procedures affecting geography graduate students. Familiarize yourself with this document’s contents, and refer back to it as questions arise. In addition, much information, including the most recent edition of this handbook, is available on the department’s webpage. If you need assistance beyond what is discussed in the handbook, consult the graduate committee chair or your advisor. You should also read the section about the geography program in the current OU graduate catalog. For guidance on what is expected of you as a member of the Ohio University community, familiarize yourself with the student code of conduct, including information regarding academic misconduct, found online at the Division of Student Affairs, Department of Community Standards.

The Geography Department offers a number of possible specialties at the graduate level:

  • Agriculture/Cultural-Political Ecology
  • Geographical Techniques (GIS, Remote Sensing)
  • Cultural-Historical Geography
  • Biogeography
  • Economic Development/Globalization
  • Climatology and Meteorology
  • Gender and Development
  • Geomorphology
  • Urban Geography
  • Environmental Assessment
  • Land Use and Environmental Planning
  • Resource Management and Sustainability

Students have the option of choosing the thesis or non-thesis track in the program. Both tracks typically require two years (four semesters) to complete. Graduate students receive credit only for classes at the 5000 level or higher; courses at the 4000 level or lower are not graduate courses.

Advising

Individual welcome interviews for new graduate students, and a group orientation for all geography graduate students and faculty, are held just prior to fall semester, usually on the Friday before the first week of classes. Welcome interviews acquaint the graduate committee with our new students, and serve as each student’s initial advising session for developing a program of study. During the welcome interview, you will be assigned an interim academic adviser. This is your temporary adviser until you arrange for a faculty member to supervise your thesis or non-thesis work; your thesis/non-thesis supervisor will then serve as your academic adviser. Your academic adviser, whether interim or permanent, helps you select courses, plan your program of study, assess options, and strategize on handling any academic deficiencies noted in the welcome interview. Academic advisers are available to answer your questions and of

Determining who will become your permanent thesis or non-thesis supervisor results from your conversations with individual geography professors whose interests are similar to yours. Once you have identified a faculty member you would like as your supervisor, you must ask if they would agree to assume the responsibilities of serving in that capacity. The thesis adviser should specialize or have expertise in the systematic geographic subfield, method, or technique that will be the focus of your thesis. If you are a non-thesis track student, your supervisor should have expertise in one of your three selected areas of concentration. If, after identifying a permanent adviser, your primary research interests change substantially to one better represented by a different professor, it may be possible to change advisers.

Registration

Full-time students take between 12 and 18 graduate credit hours per semester. The Graduate College requires all students receiving a graduate assistantship (GA, TA, or RA) to carry a minimum of 12 graduate credit hours per semester, and students receiving a Graduate Recruitment Scholarship (GRS) must take at least 15 hours per semester. The Geography Department requires all students receiving any financial aid to carry at least 12 graduate credit hours each semester. This applies to students supported by the department or by other units in the university. A course load of more than 18 credit hours is considered an overload by the Graduate College. An overload requires special permission from the college and incurs additional tuition costs. Tuition scholarships do not cover the costs of more than 18 credit hours per semester.

Graduate student tuition and fees must be paid within 30 days of registration. Students on assistantships or scholarships should be aware that registering early for the next term could mean that payment will be due before receipt of their first stipend payment for that term. Be sure to plan accordingly.

Code of Conduct

All graduate students need to pay close attention to university regulations and procedures, especially regarding the student code of conduct, rights to privacy, and sexual harassment. Information on the student code of conduct is found online. Teaching assistants in particular need to maintain a sense of professionalism and adhere to the university’s privacy policies regarding students’ personal information. Among other things, this includes maintaining the confidentiality of any student’s health issues, disability status, and grades, whether for a course, lab, or assignment. Personal relationships with faculty, or with students who you supervise, should not occur. According to the university’s statement on sexual misconduct, “consensual romantic or sexual relationships in which one party retains a direct supervisory or evaluative role over the other party are unethical, create a risk for real or perceived coercion, and are expressly a violation of this policy.” Such interactions can compromise your ability to teach or learn effectively, participate fully in our program, and realize your professional goals. You should read the university’s policy on sexual misconduct in full.

If at any time you feel that you are being subjected to harassment of any type, or that you are being asked to perform tasks beyond what is reasonable to expect given your graduate appointment, you should contact the graduate chair, department chair, your adviser, or university authorities, such as the Office of Institutional Equity, immediately.

Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty (e.g., cheating on exams, falsifying information) are unacceptable forms of behavior. When a faculty member judges that plagiarism or academic dishonesty has taken place, action will be taken against the student or students committing the offense. Additional action by the graduate committee is possible. Academic misconduct may result in failing an assignment or course, referral to the Ohio University Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility, and the possibility of being dropped from the program.

When a student is accused and judged guilty of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty, he or she may follow the established appeal process. For more information, contact the department chair and consult the information available online at the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility.

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