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Information for Current Graduate Students


Graduate Assistantships (GA)

Typically there are three types of funding opportunities available for graduate students. Teaching Assistants (TAs) and Research Assistants (RAs) receive a scholarship to cover tuition, plus a stipend (paid bi-monthly). TAs and RAs are expected to work 15-20 hours on their assignments. Students awarded a Graduate Recruitment Scholarship (GRS) receive a scholarship and stipend (paid bi-monthly), which combined cover the cost of tuition; students receiving a GRS are expected to work 6 hours per week on their assignments. Regardless of the nature of the funding, all graduate students are representatives of the department, and need to accord their assignments top priority. 

Graduate Assistantships are nine-month appointments. Special Summer Tuition Scholarships are available for students enrolled during the summer term, provided that they were enrolled in either the previous spring or subsequent fall semesters. 

Departmental Scholarships Available for Geography Graduate Students


  • The Joe Ferguson Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship commemorates the contribution of Joe Ferguson to Geography at Ohio University and to the National Geographic Society (NGS) as an educator and administrator. Joe was killed on 9/11/2001 in the plane that terrorists crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.  Bound for California to do environmental work on the Channel Islands, Joe and a colleague were taking high school students from Washington, D.C. on the NGS-sponsored trip.

    In the department, Joe participated fully in the intellectual life, gave tirelessly as a cartography teaching associate, and worked to create cohesion among his contemporary graduate students. One of the first to be awarded the National Geographic Internship, he moved into the ranks of NGS administrator after its completion. While at NGS he remained in contact with and was supportive of the department whether hosting tours of cartographic field trips or providing materials for distribution at the department's annual Geofest event. In the larger arena of the institution, he participated in dorm and other social events to the fullest.

    While at NGS, Joe accomplished many things especially advancing geographic education. One substantial effort was promoting the state level membership in the NGS sponsored Geography Alliance. His work was effective because he had the requisite background and the personality to bring together the disparate elements from the affiliated state departments.

    His spirit and contributions are remembered by this scholarship.

    Recipients of the Joe Ferguson Scholarship must be Geography majors, and either a full-time undergraduate student with junior or senior rank, or a graduate student enrolled in or accepted for admission to the University.  Preference will be given to a student exemplifying intellectual accomplishment combined with service and good humor.

  • The Isaac Sindiga Memorial Fund for Geography. Established in honor of the late Dr. Isaac Sindiga, who received his master's degree from the Department in 1981, this award is given annually to one or more graduate students to support direct costs of conducting thesis research.   The award is administered by the Graduate Committee; selection criteria include academic performance and research potential.  Eligibility requirements include 30 semester hours of graduate coursework in the Geography Department, and approval of the project by the thesis committee.  The research must include some element of travel or fieldwork as well as research expenses that would otherwise be out-of-pocket.  Applicants should provide to the Graduate Committee Chair a brief (maximum three-page, double-spaced) synopsis of their projects indicating the purpose of the research (what & where), the rationale for the research (why), and the plan for accomplishing the research (how & when).  Use an additional page if necessary to provide a budget detailing estimated expenses for conducting the research and information on any other funding received or applied for to help cover those out-of-pocket expenses.  In addition, an applicant’s thesis advisor must submit a letter of recommendation to the Graduate Chair via email by the application due date in early June.  Students may not receive support from the Isaac Sindiga Memorial Fund for Geography more than once.
  • The Outstanding Graduate Scalia Scholar. Established by the former Scalia Laboratory for Atmospheric Analysis Director Dr. Ronald Isaac, the Outstanding Graduate Scalia Scholar is given annually to a full-time graduate student on the basis of academic performance, research and scholarly activity on behalf of the Scalia Laboratory, and/or community outreach, service, and education on behalf of the Scalia Laboratory.  The award decision is made by the Director of the Scalia Laboratory in consultation with the Geography Department graduate committee.



Travel Grants 


To help defray travel expenses, the Department will award Geography Graduate students a maximum of $500 per academic year, to present at a professional conference, or $250 to attend a conference.  Students should ask for a letter of recommendation from their advisor, who will submit the request to the Department Chair along with a Travel Authorization Request Form for that student. Students will need to provide Patti Malloy original receipts totaling the request amount after travel. Graduate students are also encouraged to apply for Graduate Student Senate Travel Grants.


Other Sources of Funding


Students are also encouraged to pursue other funding opportunities  at Ohio University, including Student Enhancement Awards, CRSCA Discretionary Fund, Graduate Student Senate’s Grant for Original Work, and GSS’s Travel Program.  Links to all the programs can be found here.



For students pursuing a thesis: 

  • Thesis proposal defense form. Students should take this form to their thesis proposal defense, which should take place by the end of their first year, or no later than the fifth week of their third semester (excluding summer). The form is to be signed after the thesis committee approves the proposal, then delivered to the Department's Administrative Associate. 
  • Thesis Defense: You must follow the instructions on completing your thesis available from "Thesis and Dissertation Services" (TAD) within the Graduate College. Please visit and familiarize yourself with the requirements and deadlines as soon as you start to write your thesis. The following forms are required for your defense:
  • Arrangement for Oral Defense
  • Report of Oral Thesis Examination and Dissertation Defense

Please deliver the signed originals to the Geography Graduate Chair. 


For students pursuing a non-thesis degree:  

  • Complete the comprehensive examination committee form at least one semester prior to the comprehensive exams are administered, and ideally by the end of your first year. Please deliver the signed original to the Department's administrative associate.
  • Complete the Exit Survey within one week of your comprehensive exams, and email it to James Dyer, Chair.