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Department of Geography

Assessment of Graduate Student Learning


General Learning Outcomes for Geography Graduate Students 

The Department of Geography has identified a series of nine fundamental elements of geographic learning. These elements frame the basis of our curriculum and directly guide the expected outcomes of our undergraduate program. In that a graduate education is constructive and requires a solid foundation on which to build, the nine fundamentals form the basis of our graduate program. In addition to progressive mastery of the nine fundamentals, through their course work and thesis experience graduate students in Geography will be able to: 

  • Think in a holistic way about geographic issues.

  • Express the value of thinking about the role of space, place and time in affecting real world problems and real world solutions.

  • Identify, evaluate and select appropriate methods of inquiry and analysis.

  • Independently conceive, initiate, and complete investigation of geographic problems.

  • Understand the ethical issues faced in geography, the academy and the workplace.

  • Effectively communicate complex ideas and geographic methods and reasoning to a broad audience.


Students completing a graduate degree in Geography will be prepared to either enter the workplace or to continue their graduate studies. In order to ensure that the above learning outcomes are met for students completing our program, we have the following measures and requirements in place:

  • A department taught research perspectives course addressing a wide range of topics including: a history of geographic thought, research design and methods, and ethical issues in geography.

  • All graduate students are encouraged to complete some coursework in a department other than Geography. These courses are intended to provide breadth to each student's program.

  • All graduate students will be responsible for completing a Progress Report Form prior to the completion of their second semester of enrollment and every semester thereafter less their graduating semester. The form will address the student's progress in completing the department's degree requirements.

  • All graduate students will be required to present their research at the UW Graduate Symposium or another professional venue (e.g., department seminar, WyGISC, a county meeting). The Department of Geography is committed to helping students meet the financial burden of attending and presenting at professional meetings.

  • All theses and theses defenses shall be evaluated by the graduate faculty representative based upon the stated learning outcomes appropriate to the Plan A or Plan B expectations. This will allow precise feedback to the student and a basis for ongoing process improvement by the department.


Collectively, the above measures are designed to provide each student timely guidance and feedback regarding their progress in the graduate program. Each of the above measures both directly and indirectly addresses multiple aspects of the stated learning outcomes and provides students and faculty an opportunity to evaluate progress towards completion in a timely manner.



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Department of Geography

Ross Hall, Room 223

1000 E. University Ave

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-3311


1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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