Wilfrid Laurier University Graduate Calendar - 2006/2007
Canadian Excellence

MES in Geography

The objective of the MES program is to refine critical, scholarly, and professional skills. Students are expected to acquire critical understanding of issues and insights in all main areas of geography or environmental studies, as well as an indepth knowledge of one area of specialization. This objective is achieved through advanced coursework, seminars and substantive research (i.e., thesis or research paper) which emphasize independent knowledge generation and current research methodologies.

Additional Information
 
Admission Requirements

Applicants for the master's program should hold an undergraduate honours degree or equivalent with at least a B standing. Normally, the undergraduate degree will be in geography, but applications are welcomed from superior students regardless of background. However, applicants must demonstrate that they have the necessary background to pursue graduate work in their field of specialization.

 
Program Requirements

Two types of master's programs are offered: MES students are admitted to either the thesis or the research paper option. If a student wishes to switch from thesis to the research paper option, or vice versa, the change must receive approval by the W-LGPIG Executive Committee by the end of the first term after initial registration. The MES with thesis program requires the student to complete nine units of credit (a unit of credit is the equivalent of a half-credit course). The research paper option MES program requires the student to complete 10 units of credit. Both programs are available on either a full-time or a part-time basis. MES students are required to select a portion of their credits from a specified set of courses identified by an * in the course description section.

For full-time students the research paper option must be completed in three terms. For part-time students the coursework option must be completed in six terms.

MES Thesis Option

MES Thesis Option

Requires the successful completion of nine units of credit comprised as follows:

  • Research seminar (one unit); selected from GG600, GG620, GG630, GG640, GG660; for the MES degree this must be selected from research seminars identified by an * in the course descriptions.
  • GG691 (one unit).
  • Three electives (three units); for the MES degree, a minimum of two geography courses must be selected from those courses identified by an * in the course descriptions.
  • Thesis (four units).
Note: A maximum of one reading course can be taken for credit in the thesis program.

The program director approves a thesis advisory committee for each candidate, consisting of a supervisor and one additional member. The candidate must prepare a thesis proposal to be approved in writing by the thesis advisory committee no later than the end of the second term of registration. The thesis must be defended successfully before a thesis examination committee composed of a non-voting chairperson (who may be the supervisor) appointed by the program director, the thesis advisory committee, and two readers who may be from outside the discipline, outside WLU or UW or both, and who are knowledgeable in the area of the thesis topic. At least two members of the thesis examination committee must be members of the Waterloo-Laurier Graduate Program in Geography.

The decisions available to the examining committee are the same as those for the PhD thesis defence page.

MES Research Paper Option

Requires the successful completion of ten units of credit composed as follows:

  • Two research seminars (two units); selected from GG600, GG620, GG630, GG640, GG660; for the MES degree at least one of these must be selected from those research seminars identified by an * in the course descriptions;
  • GG691;
  • Five electives (five units); for the MES degree at least three of these must be selected from those courses identified by an * in the course descriptions;
  • GG698 (two units).

Note: A maximum of two GG675 courses can be taken for credit.

Each Research Paper MES student will have a supervisor and a reader. The student will develop a research paper proposal for approval by her/his supervisor prior to the end of the first term. A copy of the approved research paper proposal will be kept in the student's file. The research paper will normally be completed in the spring (third) term. The paper should be approximately 8,000 - 12,000 words and be organized into clearly defined sections on problem statement, status of research, research procedure, findings, and conclusions. The student and supervisor together must agree on the organization of the paper into discrete chapters and on the necessity or suitability of maps, statistics or appendices.

Research papers can take a variety of forms such as a journal article format or a standard research paper. In principle, the research paper shall be of such quality that it is publishable in a refereed review journal relevant to the discipline in question.

The research paper must be presented to an examination committee composed of the student's supervisor and reader. The student will make a 20 minute presentation, to be followed by 40 minutes of questions (20 minutes for each committee member). At the conclusion of the presentation the two members of the committee will excuse the student and briefly discuss and agree upon a grade. A portion of the final grade may be allocated to the presentation itself.