Geographic Information Science

Geographic Information Science (GIScience) is the scientific discipline that conducts spatial analysis to examine economic, environmental, physical, and social phenomena. The study of spatial data structures and computational techniques to capture, represent, process, and analyze geographic information are essential to GIScience. GIScience overlaps with and draws from many research fields such as computer science, statistics, mathematics, and psychology, and contributes to progress in those fields. GIScience also supports research in many academic disciplines such as natural resource management, environmental science and engineering, geosciences, agriculture, marine sciences, sociology, history, public health, business, and anthropology.

Courses in GIScience enable students to develop capability in spatial thinking and gather in-depth knowledge in geospatial technology. Geospatial technology is a term used to describe the range of modern tools contributing to the geographic mapping and analysis of the Earth and human societies, e.g. geographic information systems (GISystems), remote sensing, the global positioning system (GPS), spatial statistics, web mapping and navigation technologies.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, graduates with skills in geospatial technology are in extremely high demand and are one of the highest growth areas in the federal government. Students have employment opportunities in many corporate and government entities. Students with an undergraduate degree in GIScience are also prepared to move on to graduate school to pursue M.A, M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in many fields that enable them to pursue academic jobs or to secure higher ranking positions in the public and private sectors.

Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts

Students can obtain a B.S. or B.A. degree. The GIScience B.A. degree does not require students to take biology, chemistry, physics, or calculus, and focuses on classes related to spatial analysis of social issues. The GIScience B.S. degree requires students to take biology, chemistry, physics and calculus and is intended as preparation for students pursuing a career in natural science or engineering with geospatial technology.

Major Requirements

The major in GIScience requires at least 26 credits of 2000-level or higher courses in the Department of Geography. GIScience majors complete basic core courses before beginning advanced courses. Recommended preparation for the major: GEOG 1010 and 1302.

Required Core Courses (at least 14 credits)

GEOG 2500, 2505, 3510 or 3500Q, 3530, and any GEOG W course at the 2000 level or above (one or three credits).

Electives (12 credits)

In addition to the required courses above, the plan of study must include 12 credits of electives from courses below. At least six credits of electives must be selected from the list of GIScience courses.  At least six credits of electives must be selected from the list of Human Geography or Physical Geography courses. At least three credits must be 4000-level. No more than six credits of internship and/or independent study (GEOG 4090, 4091, and 4099) may be counted toward the additional credit requirements of the Geographic Information Sciences major.

GIScience Courses:

GEOG 3110, 3500Q*, 3505, 3510*, 3512, 4130, 4230, 4515, 4516, 4518, 4519.

* if it’s not chosen as a core course

Human and Physical Geography Courses:

GEOG 2000, 2100, 2200, 2300E, 2310, 2320, 2400, 3000, 3200, 3310, 3400, 3410, 3420, 4210, 4220, 4240, 4300.

Related Courses (12 credits)

12 credits of related coursework taken in other departments. The following is a list of pre-approved related courses that may be relevant to the GIScience major. Other courses can be used with approval of a student’s Geography advisor.

Remote Sensing Courses:

NRE 2000, 3535, 4535, 4545, 4575.

Computer Science and Engineering Courses:

CSE 2050, 2100, 2102, 2300, 2304, 2500, 3000, 3100, 3150; 3300, 3400, 3500; CE 2251, 2310E, 2410, 2710.

Math and Statistics Courses:

MATH 2110Q, 2130Q, 2143, 2144, 2210Q, 2410Q, 2420Q, 3160, 3410, 3435, 3710; STAT 2215Q, 3025Q, 3115Q, 3375Q, 3445, 3515Q.

Social Science Courses:

ANTH 2510, 3003, 3090, 3503, 3512, 3513, 3514, 3515; INTD 3584, 3594; POLS 2062, 2072Q; SOCI 3201, 3211Q; URBN 2000, 2100, 2301Q, 2302, 2400, 3210, 3993, 3981/3991, 3998; COMM 2000Q, 2110, 2300, 2700; WGSS 2124, 2255, 2255W, 3255, 3255W, 3269.

Natural Science Courses:

EEB 4100, 4230W; ERTH 2500, 3230, 4050W, 4210, 4735; MARN 2060, 3000E, 3014, 3030, 3812.

Economics Courses:

ECON 2201, 22022211Q, 2212Q, 2301Q, 2311, 2312Q, 2326, 2327, 3103, 3313, 3421, 3439.

The Information Literacy Competency and Writing in the Major requirements can be satisfied by passing any 2000 or higher level W course in Geography.

CLAS Home | Back to top